Sunday School: Atidaynu
Atidaynu, “Our Future,” is Har Shalom’s Sunday school for families with children from ages 3 – 13. We honor and enjoy the diversity of every participating household. Interfaith families are welcome. No prior knowledge of Judaism or Hebrew is required. Participating families must be members of Har Shalom.
Parents/guardians and other volunteers lead the program with the participation and guidance of Rabbi Laurie Franklin. We typically meet twice monthly on Sunday morning during the Missoula school year. Registration for 2021–2022 is here and this year’s 5782/2021–2022 Atidaynu calendar is here. Families can fill out the Har Shalom membership form and stay current on their membership financial support here, or mail to Har Shalom, PO Box 3715, Missoula, MT 59806.
Last year, we met online during the pandemic. This fall, the Atidaynu leadership team has chosen to do the same because we are concerned about maintaining continuity, and we do not yet know the impact of the Delta variant of Covid-19 on schooling. The safety of our families is paramount, especially that of our unvaccinated youth and vulnerable adults. We hope to revisit our decision in January.
We enjoy being together as a group! Online, we begin with a welcome time and t’filah (prayer), which the b’nei mitzvah students help lead, for approximately 30 minutes. Then we break into small groups for age- and stage-appropriate learning for Hebrew and Jewish subjects, including religion, history, culture, and current events. We’ve learned that “less is more” online and usually wrap up between 11 am and 11:30, depending upon the age of the group. Last year, our b’nei mitzvah group also met weekly during the week on Zoom for Hebrew. We expect to continue that this year.
Younger kids spend time with stories, arts and crafts, and games, learning in a variety of ways—through studying Bible stories, the Hebrew alphabet, and Jewish customs. As they grow older, they learn more about acting on Jewish values in the home and in the community. During the two to four years preceding bar or bat mitzvah age, students learn to read Hebrew and lead prayers.
When possible, parents/guardians enrich our community by participating in Atidaynu, too. As you can, please learn, lead, and connect with us—we will put you to good work!
B’nei Mitzvah Education
We recommend beginning preparation for b’nei mitzvah at least one year, and preferably two, before the anticipated date of the bar or bat mitzvah. Each student works with a tutor to build reading, chanting and prayer skills and meets monthly with Spiritual Leader and Rabbinic Intern Laurie Franklin to discuss ideas and meanings in Torah, Haftarah, and words of prayer. Engaging a tutor is the responsibility of the bar or bat mitzvah’s family. Laurie will communicates regularly with tutors and family about each student’s progress. We expect that students are enrolled in Atidaynu and attend services regularly. Each student engages in a community service project as part of b’nei mitzvah education. Har Shalom’s draft b’nei mitzvah guide will soon be available here.