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Jewish Childrens Folkshul

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Jewish children's folkshul & adult community is a parent-run cooperative committed to providing a secular, humanist jewish educational experience for children in the greater philadelphia metropolitan area. For over 85 years folkshul has offered an alternative option to enhance jewish cultural identity with all-ages education and a secular jewish community. Folkshul welcomes all who identify with celebrating their jewish identity and want to express and transmit the values, traditions, and knowledge of the jewish experience in a secular setting.

Programs: Youth education program: at the core of folkshul is its youth education program, serving k-9th grade students with weekly instruction by certified teachers on sunday mornings. The folkshul curriculum is centered on fostering an identity through learning about the ideas, values, ethics, activities, traditions and celebrations of secular humanistic jews and providing opportunities for students to practice what they learn. After completion of the 9th grade, our students are given the opportunity to become working assistants in our classrooms and community until their graduation from high school. Over 75% of rising 10th graders become folkshul assistants each year.

b'nai mitzvah program: folkshul offers bar and bat mitzvah in a manner unique to secular humanistic jews. Working with a mentor, the child will spend several months researching and developing a presentation for their family, friends, classmates, and the folkshul community. Together with the b'nai mitzvah coordinator, the family prepares a ceremony which reflects their love for, and ties to one another as well as their connection to their jewish past and future. Our community is diverse, and the process of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah in our community allows significant room for the students and their families to express their own feelings and orientations towards their jewishness, integrating his/her personal interests with his/her jewish values and knowledge. Topics of recent b'nai mitzvah include: anti-jewish propaganda in nazi germany; klezmer music; african american and jewish relations; history of the bar mitzvah and rites of passage in other cultures; the plight of argentinean jews; the use of wine in jewish tradition; and art created by concentration camp victims.

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