My family joined Chabad this year and our son, Matthew, is in the 3rd grade Hebrew School class. I can honestly say that it has been a wonderful first year for all of us. My husband and I agonized over choosing the right Hebrew School for Matthew. Our daughter was miserable at her Hebrew School and we didn’t want to go through that ordeal again of literally forcing her to go and having to listen to her complaining. We wanted to make the right decision. Needless to say, we visited just about every Hebrew School in the area. Then our friends told us about Chabad, and how their children love Hebrew School and actually look forward to classes. Quite honestly, we were very skeptical, especially given our experiences with the previous temple. We were even more skeptical as our friends described how accessible and down-to-earth the Rabbi is and what a warm and carefree environment Chabad offers.

We arranged to meet the Rabbi late on a Sunday night and he pulled up in a mini-van filled with his children. He conducted our meeting with one child on his lap and the others in and out of the room. It was late, and as can be expected, the kids were a bit cranky. But the Rabbi remained calm and handled our multitude of questions, while simultaneously handling his children. That did it for me, because any man who can multi-task like that (and there aren’t too many), can easily run a Hebrew School. We signed up and really didn’t know what to expect. What we wanted was for Matthew to get a good Hebrew education, while enjoying Hebrew School. We also wanted to feel like we belonged to a Jewish community. I can honestly say that we got everything we were looking for and could not be happier. Matthew absolutely loves Hebrew School. He has a wonderful teacher, Morah Cherry, and not only does he want to go, but he actually looks forward to it.

With so many fun activities for the kids, they may think it is all fun and games, but we know how much they are learning. For example, our family spent Passover in Florida with Matthew’s grandparents. Matthew was very excited about showing his grandparents the special hand-made matzo the children were given at Hebrew School and the seder plate and Afikoman bag that he made in Hebrew School, and he packed everything safely away in his suitcase for the trip to Florida.  My husband began the seder, and Matthew took over and practically ran the seder. He knew many of the readings and each step of the seder, and to the delight of his grandparents and their Florida friends, he instructed everyone on what to do. He has also moved up three colors in Aleph Champ and was able to read some of the Hebrew passages. It was so wonderful to see how truly excited he was about celebrating the holiday. Most importantly, he has gained a sense of Jewish pride from Chabad.


Having never gone to Hebrew School, I was a little concerned that maybe I wasn’t “religious enough” to feel comfortable at Chabad, but it turned out to be just the opposite. You are never made to feel out of place, and are brought through the process and can be as observant as you want to be. In fact, for the first time, my family has even started lighting Shabbat candles. I was determined that what I lacked in knowledge, I would make up for in my involvement with the Hebrew School, and kind of learn as I go along. To that end, I am a class mom for Matthew’s 3rd grade class and try and help out whenever I can.  At our class mom meetings, Gillie and the Rabbi always ask for feedback and involve us in the decision-making. You really feel like you are a part of the school, and we all have one goal in mind—to make the Hebrew School the best it can be for the children.

From the Passover Seder and Family Shabbat Dinners, to the Purim celebration, the Chanukah Parade and Pajama Night, not to mention Brocha’s incredible cooking, Gillie, Rabbi Mendy, Brocha and all the teachers do an unbelievable job and my family and I could not be happier here!! So, congratulations to all the students on moving up. We are all proud of you. We look forward to another great year next year…