fbpx

Going to Jewish Preschool

Through my wonderful children, I’ll keep on learning about Judaism in a fun and joyful way, in the way it’s meant to be learned.
[additional-authors]
April 10, 2024
Artrise / Getty Images

It was 4 p.m., and I was once again texting my daughter’s preschool teacher to ask her the difference between various Hebrew letters.

“That one is Kaf, and that one is Fey Sofit,” she replied.

I turned to my oldest daughter and told her what those letters were so that we could complete her homework. 

As a convert, I didn’t learn Hebrew growing up, and I still don’t have a firm grasp on it. I don’t know the lyrics to all the songs on Shabbat or the holidays, I use a translated prayerbook and when my friends casually throw a Hebrew word into a sentence, I have to ask them to translate it.

When I converted back in 2015, I told my husband, “I wish I could now go back to Jewish day school like Adam Sandler in ‘Billy Madison.’”

“You can,” he said. “Just wait until we have kids.”

Nine years later, and I’m slowly learning Hebrew and Jewish rituals, songs and traditions more in-depth thanks to my 4-year-old and 2-year-old’s gan, their Hebrew-focused preschool.

They come home at the end of every week with coloring pages of the parsha and projects they’ve made depicting the upcoming Jewish holidays. Thanks to them, I always know when Rosh Chodesh is because they have a party at school, and I can recite “Girls in the Army of Hashem, Stand Up” by heart.

Many people have told me that through their child’s Jewish schooling, they learned more about their Judaism as well. Oftentimes, it is the children who keep us connected to our religion and culture.

Many people have told me that through their child’s Jewish schooling, they learned more about their Judaism as well. Oftentimes, it is the children who keep us connected to our religion and culture – which is one of the many reasons it’s so critical to send them to Jewish school.

When I converted, I also agreed that one day, I’d enroll my children in a Jewish school. I’m so glad I did. Not only is it a warm and nurturing environment, but also, I know that my children are receiving a solid education that will set them up for success in their personal and professional lives. I believe that through schooling and an education at home, they will have the tools to deal with life’s challenges and know they can always turn to Hashem for hope. 

I wish I’d had something like that growing up. But it’s OK – because I do now. 

My oldest daughter reminds me to say “Thank you Hashem” for all our blessings and prays to Him when her little sister stubs her toe or falls down. She also corrects me when I get a Hebrew letter wrong.

“No, mommy, that’s a Mem,” she’ll say.

“Oh, thank you!” I’ll tell her.

“It’s OK. I know you weren’t born Jewish. But now you are!”

She learned my story through the children’s book I wrote before I even had children – a book for the children of Jewish converts – called “Jewish Just Like You.” In it, I talk about how I wasn’t born a Jew but was inspired to convert after going to a Shabbat dinner at Chabad.

My daughter loves reading the story, which features a little blond girl who looks like her. I must be psychic, because I asked the illustrator, Barbara Mendes, to draw my future child this way. It turned out that I was spot-on.

Through my wonderful children, I’ll keep on learning about Judaism in a fun and joyful way, in the way it’s meant to be learned.

In the meantime, this year for Pesach, after learning all the songs for the holiday in Hebrew, I feel like I could get up on a chair and belt out the “Ma Nishtana” – but I’ll leave that to my daughters instead.

Did you learn more about Judaism through your child’s Jewish education? Email me: Kylieol@JewishJournal.com. 


Kylie Ora Lobell is the Community Editor of the Jewish Journal.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

wildpixel/Getty Images

Politically Homeless

Although I used to just call myself a moderate, that’s never actually been accurate.

The Good German

Christian brothers and sisters, do your Jewish friends think of you as a person who will stand by them?

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.