The Wimbledon Synagogue Cheder (Hebrew for Room), aims to provide a caring environment for the children of the community in which to learn together and make new friends. We aim to foster a positive Jewish identity amongst our pupils, where all are equal and individual strengths and talents are celebrated. We fully support children with special needs and recognise all areas of skill including drama, crafts and Mitzvah projects.
The Wimbledon Synagogue Cheder strives to provide the highest level of Jewish Education. The curriculum in Play Shul (pre-school) through to Hay ( year 5 ) focuses on:
- Jewish history and current events
- Hebrew reading and writing skills
- Jewish values
- Lifecycle events and traditions
At age 11 to 13, the Cheder curriculum focuses on the diversity of Jewish life and what it means to be Jewish in a non-Jewish world. This course of study will ensure that every child is prepared to become a Jewish adult in the community. The curriculum is based on 6 strands:
- Jewish literature – Torah, Tanach and Talmud
- Jewish History
- Prayer and ritual – Festivals, traditions and synagogue literacy
Judaism and Ethics for Teens Programme
The Re’ut (year 9) and Atid (year 10) classes are the final years of Cheder, and also of our bespoke Judaism and Ethics for Teens Programme.
The mission of this two-year course is to equip our teens with the Jewish knowledge and skills to
- Fully participate competently in Jewish lif
- Make ethical choices, and
- Serve as effective assistants in the Wimbledon Synagogue Cheder
In the first year of the programme (Re’ut class), students studied Judaism and Jewish practice. Atid is the ethics class, and we have spirited discussions grappling with Jewish perspectives on topics like body ethics, the environment, wealth, conflict, and crime and punishment. In our conversations we also explore different ways of engaging with Judaism, including text, practice, mussar (ethics and character), spirituality and mysticism (with an introduction to Kabbalah), tikkun olam (social justice), and the creative approaches of midrash.
We participate in our community, learning how to create social justice programmes and completing a class project in support of the Synagogue Night Shelter. Students explore their own thinking, their family background, and the opinions of other Jews through Individual and group projects, building leadership and communication skills along the way. Finally, teacher training will prepare students to come back as assistants if they wish in the autumn.
Students who complete all of the requirements of the course will be eligible to become assistants, and will also receive an official award certificate from Leo Baeck College, presented by Dr. Jo-Ann Meyers, Director of Jewish Education and our external examiner.
Why should I send my child to Jewish religion school?
There are a number of potential reasons why someone might choose to send their child to a Jewish religious school:
Jewish education: Our Cheder provides children with a comprehensive Jewish education, including learning about Jewish history, beliefs, values, and practices. Students study Hebrew, Jewish texts, and Jewish customs, and have the opportunity to participate in Jewish holidays and traditions.
Community: Our Cheder provides children with a sense of community and belonging. Students usually form close bonds with their classmates and teachers, and have opportunities to participate in social and cultural events with other Jewish families.
Moral and ethical education: Our Cheder emphasises the importance of moral and ethical living. Students learn about the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which emphasises repairing the world through acts of kindness and social justice.
Preparation for life events: Our Cheder helps to prepare children for important life events, such as their bnei mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals. Students learn about Jewish lifecycle events and traditions, and feel more comfortable participating in these events as they get older.
Heritage and identity: Sending a child to our Cheder helps them to connect with their Jewish heritage and develop a strong Jewish identity.
Of course, the decision to send your child to our Cheder at the Wimbledon Synagogue is a personal one and may depend on a variety of factors, including your family’s religious beliefs, values, and priorities. Therefore, we invite you to speak to us, as well as other Jewish families and Rabbi Adrian Schell, to learn more about what our Cheder can offer and to determine if it is the right choice for your child and family.