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August 1, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 1, 2014

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PAGE 2B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 1, 2014 Religious school program SOJC Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation Religious school students having fun. a honed and evolving curricu- lum, a professional teaching staff and happy, prepared students." The school boasts a qualified teacher for each grade level, Pre-K through seventh as well as the High School class taught by Rabbi Hillel Skolnik in concert with JTEN (Jewish Teen Education Network). Our school also of- fers dedicated Hebrew reading tutors. All grades (PK-7) meet on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and third through seventh grades also meet on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. The high school class with Rabbi Skolnik is held on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Students in all grades learn Hebrew, Torah, Jewish holi- days, customs, community, ethics and what it means to be Jewish. Students having difficulty with their Hebrew reading are identified early and are given extra atten- tion every week. "Perhaps as important as gaining Judaic knowledge, the students also have a chance to interact wifh other Jewish children in a car- ing, nurturing environment," The Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation (SOJC), at 11200 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., is 2 miles from Down- town Disney and next door to the Jack and Lee Rosen JCC South Campus. SOJC and its Religious School have been leading Jewish education in South Orlando since 1991. "Our school has been a stal- wart of excellence in Judaic education," says Cantor Doug Ramsay, the synagogue's school director. "We have had years of consistent and quali- fied leadership at our religious school, which is evidenced by says Ramsay. Students in all grades also learn liturgical prayers and Jewish songs from Cantor Doug, as well as from the entire staff. Cantor Ramsay has been involved in SOJC's religious school daily operations since 1997. "Our students develop a high level of com[ort with Jewish religious practices and prayer," says Ramsay. "By the time our students reach the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah, everyone in our congrega- tional family is kvelling and visitors marvel over how our capable young people lead services, read Torah, chant Haftarot and deliver insight- ful Divrei Torah. Better yet, our students continue to do these things even after their Bar or Bat Mitzvah through our Cantorial Corps, Kadima, and USY youth groups. All of this is a result of the love and commitment to Judaism that they have developed during their fulfilling and rewarding religious school experience." SOJC youth programs are, "coming off of another very successful year! We are looking to expand our award- winning programs," says Brett Spector, one of our SOJC parents. These programs are filledwith loads of excitement, laughs and fun, and according to SOJUSY Youth Director Risa Sikora, "that's what it's all about! This is where you will make amazing memories and lifelong friendships! You'll definitely want to be a part ofSOJUSY!" TheYouth groups hold monthly events both on and off campus, run joint programs with other chap- ters, and play an active role in sub-regional and regional conventions and events. "USY and Kadima are wonderful youth organizations that al- low you to have fun while you explore and practice Judaism with your peers," says Shana Medel, SOJC member and a former youth coordinator. Rabbi Hillel Skolnik adds, "It is clear that our Re- ligious School forms the foundation for the incredibly family-friendly atmosphere that we have at SOJC. Our children cheer when we an- nounce the start of Religious School classes and ask to participate in our services. It is an amazing thing to witness and a privilege to be a part of." SOJC places Jewish values, knowledge and community at the heart of its education program. Cantor Ramsay sums up by saying, "Here at SOJC, we see our children as the guarantors of our Covenant with God. They are the future of that Covenant and our responsi- bility to their education is an awesome one..." For more information, visit our website at or e-mail education director Cantor Doug Ramsay at prin- Registration materials can be downloaded from the SOJC website. Regis- tration day is Sunday, Aug. 17 from 10 a.m.- noon, with Open House Meet the Teachers from lla.m.- noon. Classes begin Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Aug 17, Sunday--10 a.m.- noon, Registration; 11 a.m.- noon, Open House and Meet the Teachers Aug 20, Wednesday--5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., First Day of School for grades 3 through 7 and high school Aug 24, Sunday--9 a.m.- noon School for grades Pre- K through 7th (first day of school for PK-2) Temple Israel's first day of school is Aug. 17 The Meitin Religious School at Temple Israel will officially open on Aug. 17 for the 2014- 15 school year. Tours and one-on-one appointments with Rabbi Joshua Neely, who is also school jrincipal (Rav Beit HaSefer), are available any time beginning imme- diately and throughout the school year. The overall goal of the school is to equip our next generation with the tools to be self-aware and active mem- bers of the Jewish and world community. The students of the Meitin Religious School receive a solid education, which covers history, clas- sic Torah learning, mitzvah skills, Hebrew, Israel stud- ies and more. The warm learning environment helps instill a life-long curiosity and security in the students' place in history in ways that go beyond the mastery of synagogue skills. Since Rabbi Neely became school princi- pal, students have daily and personal access to their rabbi in addition to their teachers. "When I decided to become a rabbi, it was because I wanted to share thewonders of our faith with everyone, young and old. Working to share our school together with our wonderful staff, volunteers and families gives us a chance to make a special environment for our kids," said Neely. Temple Israel has anumber of unique strengths. Classes are small, thus each student gets individualized attention. Wisdom of heritage is taught with modern technology and insights. In fact, the school is committed to using technol- ogy in its teaching to help the students bridge the gap between ant:ient wisdom and modern situations. He- brew classes are divided into student-ability groups rather than age groups, which less- ens any worry for children who did not begin their religious school education in kinder- garten or first grade. Children are taught based on skill and comfort level under the per- sonal attention of Rabbi Neely. In addition, there are a variety of creative projects, school social action projects, and family participation op- portunities in all events. This past year, Meitin Religious School students crafted their own tallit and kippot, cleaned up Mead Gardens, baked for local fire, police and emer- gency room personnel, visited an assisted living facility and made 4,000 meals in support of Feeding Children Every- where. This year promises to be even more fun filled while, at the same time, instilling a sense of Jewish community in our congregational students and families. For additional information about Temple Israel's religious school, please visit TI's web- site at or call 407-647-3055. Families are invited to stop by the synagogue any time between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mon- day through Friday, and on Sundays between 9 a.m. and noon once school is in session on Aug. 17. Temple Israel is located at 50 S. Moss Road in Winter Springs, 32708. Morn, Sharon Sachs, sags, "The religious school at Temple Israel has given my daughters wonderful opportunities to expand their Jewish knowledge, develop their Jewish identity, and make lifelong friends." Steven Rosenberg, M.D. Carlos M. Jacinto, M.D. Harleen Anderson, M.D.  Ca  tot ov 25 Yes T ASmgtc D-aJ o th Ears, Nose & Throat   re ard Cen C Pats Winter Park 407-678-4040 Altamonte Springs 407-331-6244 Orlando 407-370-3705 , Viera 407-678-4040 The Brammer sisters show what Temple Israel offers in the new Tot Shabbat program for this school year.