So many Jewish children attend Hebrew school when they are in primary school. The kids who do go are usually kids who do not go to a Jewish day school. Attending Hebrew school gives Jewish children the opportunity to mix with other Jewish children, learn some Hebrew and also learn about Judaism.
Hebrew school vs Judaism at home
Many parents think that if they send their child to Hebrew school they do not need to practice Judaism at home. It is common for parents to think that it will provide all the Jewish education a child needs. This is one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. The two work hand-in-hand. Practicing Judaism at home reinforces what is taught at Hebrew school.
One example is saying the blessings for Shabbat over the candles, wine and challah (plaited bread). At Hebrew school, the child will learn the blessings. He or she will also learn the reason why the blessings are said. When the family says the blessings home, it is reinforced. However, If the blessings are not recited, then shabbat will be something learnt in the classroom, and that is it.
Forming Jewish Friendships
Many children who go to Hebrew school have no other interaction with Jewish kids. Does this matter? In my opinion, it does make a different. By having the opportunity to play with children from the same culture or religion, can help children feel a sense of being part of a community. Singing the same songs and celebrating the same festivals, all helps with a sense of belonging.
Many people say that the friendships made a Hebrew school will last a lifetime. Some do, and some don’t. However, what is important is what is happening in the child’s life right now. By having these friendships help make Judaism fun. It becomes a shared experience.