Spotlight On: Galveston, Texas
With everything else we have keeping us busy all summer, how can we stay connected with our religious school families as Back-To-School approaches?
One of our ISJL Education Partner Communities, Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, Texas, has found a way to bring their religious school families back together before the start of the traditional religious school year—and we’re shining a spotlight on it because it’s something more schools might want to try!
Living on an island provides a few unique opportunities, like boating on the gulf and having beach based programming. CBI has made it a goal to have a one of a kind kick-off program taking advantage of their surroundings. To help rekindle relationships between students and parents CBI religious school begins their year by cruising through the Galveston Bayou on a sailboat. This program serves as part youth group event and part religious school kick-off. CBI leadership has set the goal of encouraging relationships between families to be fostered and maintained outside of the formal religious school setting. By showcasing positive Jewish interactions to their students, CBI is proving to students and their families that Jewish relationships are not confined to the synagogue.
Not all of us are lucky enough to live on an island, so taking a ride on a sailboat may be an unattainable goal. But what is fun and unique about YOUR town? It is our job as educators to find opportunities and experiences that allow our students and their families to create a sense of community, away from the synagogue. Engaging our community members is as simple as finding out what they would like to do.
If you do have a beach, or indoor water park, or other fun-summer’s-end-draw, definitely take advantage of that! If you have a group of families who love baseball, you could take a trip to the local minor league ball park. Or if your religious school families just want a time to relax at a park you could host a picnic potluck with relay races or a scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless. When we show our students that Judaism and relationships can be celebrated anywhere, we will begin to see a new level of youth and family engagement.
Thanks for leading by example, Galveston!