YFE Programs Q & A

Preschool – 5th grade

Q: My child attends weekly Emanu-El Preschool; can we still enroll in YFE Sunday Preschool program?

A: Children who attend Emanu-El preschool (CEEP) are welcome to enroll in the YFE Sunday program.  We have found, however, that this is sometimes too much for the little ones, and they do better with a weekend break from school.  If they really want to attend, or if it’s easier on the family due to other factors such as older children in the program, we suggest considering the Kadimah program, as it is in a different space and more active.

Q: I have a 2nd grader. When do we need to enroll in YFE if we want a B. Mitzvah at age 13?

A: We recommend enrolling in YFE as soon as possible, as children form real friendships with their classmates, families meet each other, and the sense of community is stronger.  If there are reasons not to enroll at that time, then 4th grade would the time to start since the students get the foundation for Hebrew by learning the letters, vowels, and decoding skills during that year.  In order to set a B. Mitzvah date, families need to be members of the congregation, and dates are generally set approximately three years in advance. Students who attend Brandeis need to enroll once they’re in 6th grade.  We will schedule a Hebrew assessment to determine whether the student should attend weekly Hebrew classes.  We’ve found that many Brandeis students are not familiar with many of the blessings we teach in 6th grade. Please contact us to let us know your child is a Brandies student, so we can make a note in our records.

Q: How do I make sure my child is in the same class as their friend(s)?

A: There is a field on the registration form for writing in the name of a friend.  Please include the friend’s first and last names.  We want children to be with their friends to the extent possible, as we know how important that is, and we also need to take many factors into account when forming classes.  Therefore, we will make sure to put your child with one friend and can’t guarantee that a whole group of friends will be placed in the same class.

Q: Is it possible to come visit the space, meet the staff or for my child just to test one session?

A: We invite you to participate in our all-school T’fillah on Sunday mornings from 9:00-9:30 am.  Following T’fillah, there may be an opportunity to meet with someone on the YFE leadership team who can answer your questions.  We have found that it’s disruptive to have extra adults and children in the classrooms.

4th-7th Grade Hebrew

Q: My child is taking Hebrew on Sundays 1-2pm. What are the options for that “gap” hour between regular class at 11:45 am and Hebrew beginning at 1:00 pm?

A: We have a “lunch bunch” option for students during the time between the morning program and the Hebrew class.  Students can bring their lunch and are supervised by our staff.  The other option that some families use is to go out for lunch and then come back for the class at 1pm.

Q: Can my child only take Hebrew – one day?

A: Our program includes both Judaic studies, and for 4th-7th graders, an additional hour of Hebrew instruction.  Students can attend either the Sunday or Wednesday Judaic studies classes, and when they’re in 4th-7th grade, they can either attend our Hebrew classes or work with a private tutor for Hebrew. 

Q: How do I find a private tutor for Hebrew?

A: Just ask!  We have a list of teachers who provide private tutoring.  You make your own arrangements with the person you choose.  We recommend contacting them one at a time, and not all at once, to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Q: If my child doesn’t want to become B. Mitzvah, do they need to take the Hebrew classes?

A: No, they can enroll in just the Sunday program.  However, we do not provide a discount for not taking Hebrew.  And, students often change their minds about what they want to do in the next few years, so we recommend participating in the Hebrew classes starting in 4th grade so they won’t have to play catch-up later.

Q: My child goes to Brandies school; do we need to enroll or take Hebrew classes?

A: Students who attend Brandeis need to enroll once they’re in 6th grade.  We will schedule a Hebrew assessment to determine whether the student should attend weekly Hebrew classes.  We’ve found that many Brandeis students are not familiar with many of the blessings we teach in 6th grade. 

Q:  Any chance to start the Tuesday Marin class at 3:45 pm rather than 3:30 pm?

A: It will depend on enrollment and what works best for everyone.  In the past, we had a lot of Marin students and needed to hold two sessions, which is why we had the earlier and later times.  If enrollment is similar to this past year, we’ll just have the one session and start at the “compromise” time of 3:45 pm. In the fall, someone will be in touch with all the Marin families with all the information.  Our Marin classes meet in Tiburon.

6th-7th Grades

Q: What’s the difference between the weekly Hebrew classes and the Blessings Class?

A: All 4th –7th grade students participate in weekly Hebrew classes.  Specific students who are approximately a year away from their B Mitzvah dates are invited to each Blessings Class.  This class meets for eight weeks on Mondays or Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 and reviews the blessings that students lead when they become B Mitzvah.  The Blessings Class is held three times during the school year.  You’ll receive an email with all the information when it’s time for your child to participate.

Q: I’m confused about the difference between the 6th or 7th grade classes and B. Mitzvah preparation.  Can you explain?

A: Students participate in the grade level class based on the grade they’re in. Their B. Mitzvah preparation begins approximately a year in advance of their service, regardless of their grade level.  B. Mitzvah preparation starts with the eight-week Blessings Class which is offered in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.  Following that class, students work individually with a Hebrew Reading Coach, Chanting Coach, Guide Rabbi, and Guide Cantor.  Everything is explained at an orientation meeting when the students receive their red binders, approximately a year before their B. Mitzvah.

8th-12th Grades

Q: My student completed the MiT program and wants to teach at YFE. Do we need to enroll in the 9th grade TEF program as well?

A: Yes, in order to teach as Madrichimot in YFE, the students need to participate in their own grade level Jewish education.  We are very proud to have so many high school students enrolled in our vibrant TEF classes, taught primarily by clergy members.

Q: My child did not participate in the MiT program in 8th grade.  Can they still teach in YFE?

A: Yes.  If there are openings for Madrichimot (teen teachers in the younger YFE classes), the 9th or 10th grader can volunteer for the first semester.  If everything works out well, they will be eligible for employment in the second semester.

Q: Is the cost of student trips to LA, Washington D.C. or NYC included in the tuition?

A: No, the cost is in addition to tuition, as all the trips are optional. We encourage students to attend, and no student is turned away because of financial reasons. We have payment options available, as well as financial aid.