Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains announced that it will offer programs for children of all ages during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, September 25 and 26, and Yom Kippur, October 4.
“Children are always welcome at our regular High Holiday services, but we’ve also created age-appropriate programs to enhance the holiday experience for our younger members,” said Elly Bauman, Education Director of Congregation Beth Israel.
Supervised babysitting is available for children ages two to six during both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. Pre-registration is required for babysitting and all other children’s programs.
Children three years old through kindergarten can also attend an “Apples & Honey” pre-school program, led by a Congregation Beth Israel Religious School teacher. “Apples & Honey” will be held on all three mornings and will feature stories, songs, and snacks.
“Junior Congregation” is offered for students in first through sixth grade on all three holiday mornings. These participatory children’s services will be led by professional Congregation Beth Israel Religious School teachers and trained high school students. Children will be divided by grade into separate classrooms, utilizing different prayer books appropriate for each level. Light snacks will be provided.
In addition to morning programs, a special “Kids’ Kol Nidre” service will be offered for students in grades two through six on Friday evening, October 3, when Yom Kippur offically begins. Part service, part discussion, this program will explore the meaning of the mystical Kol Nidre prayer that is recited at night on erev Yom Kippur, signalling the holiday’s start. At the conclusion of the “Kids’ Kol Nidre” service, children will join their parents in the main sanctuary to recite prayers as one congregation.
Children in grades six through eight are invited to participate in Congregation Beth Israel’s special candlelighting procession, held during the Havdallah ceremony at the conclusion of Yom Kippur on Saturday evening, October 4.
“The Havdallah service at the end of Yom Kippur is so moving,” said Jacqui Gross, Education Chair, Congregation Beth Israel. “The lights are turned off in the sanctuary, and then the teens walk down the aisles with their braided Havdallah candles, while a full congregation sings songs together.”
Congregation Beth Israel offers several incentives for prospective new members to attend its High Holiday services and children’s programming. Young families, with children below third grade, can join Congregation Beth Israel at a special reduced rate and enjoy full benefits of synagogue membership, which includes free High Holiday tickets. Alternatively, young families can enroll their children in Religious School below third grade without joining the synagogue; these families are still eligible to purchase High Holiday tickets. And last, the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest offers free one-time High Holiday tickets to unaffiliated Jews new to the community through its MetroPass program.
“We are excited to welcome new families into our synagogue community during the High Holidays,” said Lisa Strug, Member Relations Chair of Congregation Beth Israel. “We have a lot to offer both parents and children, not just during the Jewish holidays but also year-round.”
Congregation Beth Israel is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue, serving the religious, cultural, educational and social needs of congregants from Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield and surrounding towns. It has an active Sisterhood, Men’s Club and youth group, plus a wide array of programs, ranging from adult education courses to social action opportunities. Congregation Beth Israel’s award-winning Religious School offers classes from pre-school through 11th grade, as well as special needs instruction.
For more information, contact the synagogue office at (908) 889-1830. Congregation Beth Israel is located at 18 Shalom Way, Scotch Plains, NJ (corner of Martine Avenue).