The most important members of our community are our youth. What our children become is a direct result of what we invest in them. It takes a village indeed, and we try to provide it.
Let’s start with Shabbat mornings, which feature a robust program for our children. Beginning at 10:15 am there is a junior congregation, run in large part by our teen leaders. Following the service, the children have groups which mix some educational games and other fun activities. Many of the kids make their way up to participate in leading ein k’Elokeinu at the conclusion of the main services.
Our youth rabbi coordinates the special events for our youth. The goal in all of these programs is to develop a community of HIWP kids, built around meaningful experiences and activities. These include anything from Shabbat onegs at his home to Project Embrace when we deliver clothes and food to the homeless, to various study events. Often it’s just plain fun, perhaps a family flag football event or a little kids pajama night. There’s always something going on for your kids.
We bring our children in the cycle of the holiday seasons. This includes activities such as our Sukkah hops and a Chanukah party, the best Purim carnival in all of Westchester, a pre-Pesach car wash, Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations and Shavuot night kids learning.
A final note, perhaps the most important: Our children attend schools of all sorts, yeshivot and day schools and private schools and public too. What’s so nice is that kids have figured out how to build our shul youth community across school and even age lines. Adults have a lot to learn from their model!
SOCIAL EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
A beit knesset is about chevrah (circles of friends) and mishpachah (family). It’s a place where people hopefully develop close relationships and actually enjoy spending time together.
That’s certainly what our beit knesset is about. This happens informally all the time. Invitations for shabbos meals are plentiful, and our members enjoy sharing time with one another.
Beyond that, the congregation provides wonderful opportunities for us to get together socially in many different ways.
These include (in a far-from-exhaustive list):
- Shabbat and holiday dinners and celebrations
- Café nights: Jewish musical talent performs in a space that suddenly feels like a café.
- A layl shira
- Regular Shabbat afternoon onegs at our members’ homes
- Our annual tribute dinner celebrating our shul community
- And much more…