Parent Resources & Programs
YFE – A Place for Parents
We are always inspired by the families that prioritize Jewish life and learning by registering their children for Sunday and Wednesday YFE. Moms who make time in their busy schedules to get kids to weekday Hebrew classes and meetings with clergy and dads who make sweet potato latkes for Chanukah. But as the school year starts to pick up speed after the High Holidays, let’s also remember all of the YFE programs and opportunities especially for parents. Emanu-El is second home for your whole family and YFE has many places for parents to plug in beyond being chafeurs and cheerleaders!
Parents’ Place – NEW this year! Come visit the Main Foyer on Sunday mornings to find fresh coffee, tables for socializing, and wifi for maybe squeezing in a little work while your kids are in YFE. Sunday mornings may be a good time to go for a run or check out the farmer’s market, but why not stop by here before and after to see which of your fellow CEE members might join you!
YFE Shabbat Dinners – NEW this year! On the third Friday of each month (starting in November) we welcome all families with children in grades 1-6 to join us for Shabbat services and a communal family differ afterwards. This has long been a lively tradition for preschool families that people have been asking to extend to older families. What’s a better way to end the work week than to skip making dinner yourself, but instead gather together with friends, take a deep breath for song and centering, and a enjoying a delicious catered meal with wine and childcare! Pre-oneg at 5:30p, service at 6:00p (with a separate sermon/story for adults and kids), and dinner at 6:45pm. Register here for our first YFE Shabbat on November 15th:
Hebrew Naming – Every Jewish child has a birthright to a Hebrew name, something that can connect them to a family member that has passed, that they can use when traveling to Israel, and when they are on the bima as they become Bar or Bat Mitzvah. And choosing a name should be a fun, creative and meaningful task, not rushed nor puzzling. Join us for our 2nd Annual YFE Hebrew Names workshop for parents with Rabbi Beth on Oct 27th (Sunday, 9:30-11:00am)! This time is a great opportunity to connect with other parents, engage in stimulating adult learning with a rabbi, and to assist you with choosing the perfect Hebrew name for your child(ren) if you haven’t already. Then you will be ready to join us for a special Hebrew naming ceremony with your child(ren), bringing them one step closer to their roots and personal Jewish identity.
Orientation Days – For the second year in a row, on the first Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday of each YFE year, we invite parents to stay with us to connect with each other, teachers and staff, and the goals of the program. Highlighting curriculum content, logistics, and relationships, it has become an essential way to kick off the start of each year.
Shabbat Experience – In grades K-5, Emanu-El families have many options for Jewish learning (Sunday mornings, Wednesday afternoons, Jewish Day Schools, and private tutors). In 6th grade we bring these divided tribes back together as one community for monthly Shabbat celebration and learning. With great intention and purpose, these Saturday morning programs are for students and adult family members to participate in together. While some may think middle school is when children need to grow more independent from their adults, both modern research and our great tradition shows that it is a crucial time for parents to find new ways to connect with their maturing tweens. In part, because they are already or just on the verge of facing intense new social pressure and value judgements at their school and in the world. But just as importantly, as they dive deeper into their B’nei Mitzvah preparations, this is a nature age for questioning, challenging, and procrastinating! Once a month, this becomes a key example they should see as not being “sent” to temple, but “doing something valuable together”.
4th & 6th Grade Family Retreats – Shabbat is the day we celebrate by putting aside all the things the distract us from our connections to spirit and our best selves. We slow down, we don’t work, we don’t create or destroy. In this special space, we take care of ourselves and open up. It makes perfect sense that a weekend retreat, in which we leave our daily routines and homes and distractions, and settle in to a beautiful, natural setting with community, magnifies all the best parts of ourselves, our community and Shabbat! As with the 6th Grade Shabbat Experience program, this isn’t something students are sent to do on their own, but the whole family engages in together. So many connections between parents were made last year, they insisted “Why did we wait so long?! This should really happen earlier, like when our kids are starting their Bnei Mitzvah preparations!” And so, for the first time, this year 4th grade families will be joining the 6th grade families in the fun on Oct 25-27 at Westminster Woods in Occidental, CA. If you haven’t already, register today!
Family Days – Every grade has two Sundays a year (one in Fall and one in Spring) designed to facilitate a shared learning experience between you and your child. In many cases, there is time dedicated for adult-level learning with a rabbi first (and a chance to make meaningful connections with other parents in your child’s grade) before diving into a project with your student. These special mornings help bring insight into what your child is learning in class and create an invaluable opportunity to personalize our curriculum to your family’s personal experiences and values. You can always find the dates for your grade’s Family Days on our online calendar: https://www.emanuelsf.org/learning/youth-and-family/calendar/
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