Who are Kesher Families?
Kesher is a warm and welcoming community committed to creating a heimish environment for our students to learn, make friends, and develop their Jewish identities. Kesher’s community is a diverse group of families all committed to excellence in Jewish learning. We have families who are observant and not observant, who belong to synagogues and don’t belong to synagogues, who celebrate Shabbat weekly and who don’t; who are married, divorced, and single; who come from diverse cultural backgrounds, who have adopted children, who have one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent, who have non-Jewish grandparents, and who live in Newton, Watertown, Natick, Needham, Wellesley, Brookline, Lexington, and Jamaica Plain.
What all of our families have in common is that they are committed to excellence in Jewish learning, are looking for community for themselves or their children, and are looking for an alternative to either day school learning or congregational learning.
Why did our families choose Kesher?
Families choose Kesher for many reasons. Here are a few sample quotes explaining why.
“My son is not a passive learner, and I just couldn’t see him sitting at a desk while his teacher lectured. But Kesher kids learn with all their senses. When I heard my son “buying” falafel in Hebrew during Erev Ivrit, and when I saw the “passport” he used when learning about Jewish immigration, I knew I had found the right program for us.”
“Shabbat is important to us. But we don’t want to spend all weekend in synagogue. Leaving our Sundays free means that Shabbat at synagogue is a treat for our kids, and not a chore.”
“We thought seriously about day school, but we also appreciate the diversity (and the price tag) of public school. Kesher keeps us in the public school system but gives us an intensity of Jewish learning that is matched only by the day schools.”
“In Jewish nursery school, every kid loves being Jewish. But then kids go to Hebrew School, and it’s like a switch is turned and everything changes. We didn’t want that to happen to our kids. Going into our fourth year at Kesher, the kids’ enthusiasm about Judaism is stronger than ever.”
“With our work schedules, we need quality after-school programming for our kids. Kesher Newton makes our daughter’s afternoons both meaningful and enjoyable, and leaves Sundays free for family time.”
“We love the Kesher community. The older kids are great role models for the little ones, and it really does feel like a family. The other Kesher families are warm, involved, and interesting–they provide an important Jewish community for all of us."
“I love the Kesher teachers. They are energetic and passionate about what they do, and the kids really click with them. I wish I’d had teachers like that when I was in Hebrew School.”
“We want our kids to love being Jewish. Kesher makes that happen, when so many traditional Hebrew Schools just make kids resentful.”
“Kesher nurtures a great connection to Israel, which is important to me. With Kesher’s emphasis on modern Hebrew, its mix of American and Israeli teachers and families, and its creative teaching about Israel, our kids see Israel as a vibrant place which is relevant to their lives today, not some distant land.”
“I am Reform, and my husband is Orthodox. We haven’t yet found a synagogue that clicks for us both. Kesher gives our kids a solid grounding in Judaism, while we navigate our way.”
“When I think back to my own Jewish upbringing, the one place that still stands out is Jewish camp. Kesher reminds me so much of that experience, that I really wanted to give that to my kids”.
What does Kesher do for families?
Kesher’s main purpose is to create meaningful and excellent learning experiences for the students, but we do also want to create a community of families among Kesher families. Kesher provides many opportunities throughout the year for families to gather together to celebrate holidays, learn together, and get to know one another.
We begin our year with Sukkot family brunch to welcome back our community after the summer, and end our year with a family picnic at the Newton Centre Playground. We have two havdalot each year, one in November and one in March, where we sing, say goodbye to Shabbat, and do activities like Israeli dancing as a community. Families celebrate Chanukah and Purim together during Shira. We hold special events each year, such as Mimuna, for the entire Kesher community, and conclude the year with a festive Erev Ivrit in early June.