Please note that we are now visiting schools in person again (for schools within a 90 minute drive of Reading), but virtual visits are here to stay, and we can now visit any school in the UK.
We work with each school to provide a tailored high quality service to fit your educational needs within your budget.
We offer assemblies, as well as workshops that allow children to engage actively and ask lots of questions. Rabbi Zvi also offers workshops for teachers (after school or at lunch) to enable you to teach more effectively and confidently. Let us know how we can help you!
WORKSHOPS FOR ALL AGES
Below are a selection of our offerings. We are adding topics every week so if a topic is not listed, do let us know. We can also combine topics to create custom workshops to fit your needs.
The following can be adapted to any Key Stage, as each topic can be taught at many different levels.
Scroll to the bottom for advice on ideal workshop sizes and lengths.
Please note that due to Covid-19, in-person workshops may be conducted a bit differently from that you see pictured to allow for social distancing.
*MOST POPULAR* Synagogue tour in the classroom
Experience a visit to a synagogue, without the expense or inconvenience of an out-of-school trip. We set up the classroom as a synagogue. Then the children can have a tour, learn about Jewish prayer and look at Jewish prayer objects. This is combined with an opportunity for the children to ask questions about general Judaism.
For virtual visits, the children instead have a virtual tour of our small house synagogue, including seeing the Rabbi Zvi open and read from the Torah scroll.
Assembly on General Judaism
What is Judaism? What is a rabbi? What does it mean to be Jewish? Rabbi Zvi will normally tie this to whatever festival is current in the Jewish calendar. Assemblies can be for the whole school, for KS1 or KS2 or for a single year group, depending on the needs of the school.
Sit around a Shabbat table, learn about Shabbat and (for longer time slots) have some challah and grape juice to role-play a Friday night dinner. One can discuss the meaning of holiness and why it can be good to step back from creating.
This can also be linked to the study of the Creation story and what this story means to Jews -- for example, the notion of being partners in creation and whether evolution is consistent with creation.
For virtual visits, we can supply you with shabbat candlesticks and other items so you can set up your Shabbat table in the classroom while Rabbi Zvi teaches over zoom. Check our our extras page for more details.
Secondary School seminars
Although Rabbi Zvi normally works with individual classes using props to create a hand-on experience, sometimes a seminar format is needed, so that several classes can participate in a session together at large secondary schools.
Such a seminar provides a basic introduction to Judaism, and/or addresses key questions for the GCSE Judaism paper, using a slide show as a visual to cater to the large number of children participating. This workshop is perfectly adaptable to a virtual format.
Tour of Jewish Life
We use props to teach the children and engage them in asking questions about different festivals and aspects of Jewish life such as kosher food and Shabbat. The number of topics covered depends on the time available. A full hour would allow a combination like synagogue with Shabbat, and 90 minutes would allow a combination like synagogue with Shabbat and Passover and kashrut. Best suited to Key Stages 2 or 3.
Learn the story of Chanukah and its relevance today. This can involve songs and stories and the dreidel game, as well as more complex discussions for older children about assimilation and juggling multiple identities in a multicultural society. Latkas are an optional food component. (Best covered in the winter. )
Sit around a seder table and learn about the Jewish exodus story and its moral lessons (value of freedom, not oppressing strangers). Like for Shabbat, there can be a food component. (Best covered in the late winter or Spring. )
For virtual visits, we can post you display items such as the seder plate and candlesticks to set up in the classroom. Check our our extras page for more details.
Judaism in the Home
What is special about a Jewish home? Learn about Jewish dietary laws, how to organise a kosher kitchen, and the meaning of the mezuzah scroll you find on every door. Ideal for Key Stage 1-2. Normally covered in combination with Shabbat.
Harvest Festival in the autumn. Build a model succah in the classroom (takes minutes) or experience a virtual tour of a real succah. Stories and songs and actions. A great topic for Key Stage 1. Great fun, but the children also learn deeper lessons about communal unity, hospitality, and not judging others.
Children are not the only ones with questions about Judaism.
We can set aside some time during the day for teachers to ask questions directly and receive advice about appropriate materials and resources for KS1/2/3 and GCSE.
Workshops for teachers can also be during lunch or after school if the visit is extended.
GUIDE TO WORKSHOP LENGTH AND NUMBERS:
In-person workshops are normally for 30 children (sometimes 45). For years 5 and 6 (and occasionally year 4), we sometimes do synagogue workshops for 60 children together, if a full hour is available, but then it is less hands-on and more like an assembly. At secondary level, we sometimes offer seminars for up to 100 children, like an extended assembly with a presentation, but this format is not recommended for primary and even secondary children benefit from being in a group of 30 if possible.
With a virtual visit, two or three classes can participate in a single session simultaneously, allowing more children to be included even at primary level.
A typical workshop length is 30-50 minutes for a single topic, or longer if multiple topics are covered. KS2 and secondary children benefit most from longer sessions so they have time for detailed explanations. KS1 benefit most from small groups so that they participate most actively. For year 1, 30 minutes is often sufficient but a full hour can also work very well for some groups.