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Tefillah – Prayer

Tefillah – Prayer

Dear Parents,

This year’s Junior Congregation will begin Saturday, September 14!
We will meet every Shabbat morning from 10:30 to noon.
This year’s theme is “Thinkin’ About Shabbat.”

I am excited to work with you and your children as they continue to grow in prayer fluency and explore the spirit and meaning of Jewish prayer and Torah as part of  the CRS Tefillah program and the NSS Beth El Junior Congregation/Family Service. From an early age, our children learn prayer basics, gratitude toward G-d, and an appreciation of the holiday cycle and through song and liturgy. 

Beginning in Alef (1st grade), students learn many of the Shabbat morning prayers they will use in Junior Congregation and through their lives. In Bet (2nd grade) and Gimmel (3rd grade), our students prepare to lead a Kabbalat Shabbat service as well as continue to explore Shabbat morning. Many of them will read Torah on Shabbat as they attend Junior Congregation, and be called to Torah for their first aliyah. By Gimmel (3rd grade), we begin to learn the V’ahavta, Ashrei and get a taste of Shir Hakavod in addition to the Shabbat prayers they continue to learn with greater and greater confidence. In Dalet (4th grade), the focus is on leading a Saturday afternoon service at which they will chant Ashrei and lead the entire Havdalah service. In addition, we will focus on Shir Hakavod mastery, and continue to accomplish greater sophistication in their chanting of Torah (beginning to learn trope) and the Shabbat morning liturgy.

During Hey (5th) and Vav (6th grade), students will lead (in addition to any Junior Congregation they attend) six family services, at which they will lead the prayers, read Torah and have aliyot. Hey (5th grade) students will get an introduction to the system of cantillation (trope), which they can apply to their Torah readings during the year, and the Vav (6th grade) curriculum will focus on B’nai Mitzvah skills, including Haftarah tropes and blessings so they are well prepared for their one-on-one training that will carry them to the bimah for their B’nai Mitzvah. In that context, I am thrilled to have joined the NSS Beth El professional staff as the new Ritual Director. I so look forward to continuing to work with them beyond Vav (6th grade) and into the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year!

I invite you all to attend our energetic interactive Shabbat experience in the Grossinger-Brickman. All children Bet (2nd) thru Vav (6th) – as well as families – are always welcome to attend! All will participate in the prayers and songs according to their skills. Children in Gimmel (3rd) and up are welcome to read Torah. Hey (5th) and Vav (6th) as well, as long as they have signed up for a Hey/Vav reading. I will provide the materials to learn the readings. 

The prizes for this year’s Shabbat attendance are:

6 services – Puzzle gadget

8 services – Small Tin Thinking Putty

12 services – Larger tin of Thinking Putty (you get to choose the color)

16 services: Invitation to our Special End of Year VIP party and Award Ceremony

I look forward to seeing you there!!


Hazzan Barbara Barnett
Ritual Director