Seekers: Holistic Hebrew School for Kids and their Families

At Romemu, we understand that Judaism is about living life deeply — not just about acquiring information.

 

Click Here to Register Today!

Children experience the spiritual and ethical resources at the heart of the Jewish tradition. In Seekers, children learn about the sacred narratives and myths of the Jewish people, the holiday cycle, and Jewish values and civilization. They learn to read and understand prayer book Hebrew. But Hebrew School at Romemu is about more than Jewish literacy. They question, offer ideas, and use play to learn. Students celebrate Jewish holidays, sing, pray together and use Central Park as a laboratory for learning about Judaism as a holistic earth-based tradition.


In addition to weekday classes and experiential learning for children on Shabbat, Seekers engages the entire family. Our dynamic program provides children and parents with opportunities for study as well as community gatherings, and holiday celebrations.   Your whole family will be connected, inspired, and engaged in building meaningful Jewish lives in community. We invite you to join us on this family adventure.

Schedule, Tuition, and Logistics

Our program is for children starting in Kindergarten and upwards. Our schedule is as follows:

Weekly Study

Mondays: B Mitzvah individualized preparation

Tuesdays: Kindergarten through 5th grade

Thursdays: B Mitzvah two-year preparation class (6th and 7th grades)

Tuition includes:

  • Initial consultation with Seekers Director
  • Weekly two-hour sessions, in small groups, from mid-September through early June (excluding Jewish and national holidays and school vacations)
  • Seeker Saturdays every Saturday of the year from the fall through late spring with the exception of school vacations
  • Monthly study sessions for parents
  • Community Events (additional fees may apply)

Seeker Saturdays, 10:00am–12:15pm

Open to all children.

  • 10:00-10:50 Music and movement: This musical service features learning prayers and spiritual exploration.  For children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
  • 10:50 -11:00 Children’s Blessing at the Torah:  Every week our rabbis bless the children at the ark as we move into our weekly Torah service.
  • 11:00-12:15 Parsha Play: Children explore the Parsha of the week in small groups through creative play. For Children in Kindergarten through 7th grade.  

Cost per Family: 

  • with one child $2,000
  • with two children $3,900
  • with three children $5,800

Tuition can be paid in monthly installments.  

Limited Financial Aid packages are available.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Shoshana Leis at shoshana@romemu.org

Seekers Staff and Teachers

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Rabbi Dianne was the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community to be ordained as a Rabbi. She graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1995, where she was awarded several fellowships and a prize for academic excellence. Since that time she has served as an educator, scholar-in-residence, and administrator for multiple organizations in the Jewish world, including CLAL, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, The Curriculum Initiative and UJA Federation. In 2007 she was named one of fifty top rabbis by the Washington Post online. Besides leading education efforts at Romemu she currently co-teaches the Arts Beit Midrash at the Skirball Institute with Tobi Kahn, teaches courses at UJA Federation a nd writes and speaks regularly on Torah, Jewish values and family life, Jewish ethnicity and Judaism and disabilities. Rabbi Dianne and her journalist husband Larry live on the upper west side of Manhattan and have three children.

Chazzan Basya Schechter

Chazzan Basya Schechter was ordained January 2016 by ALEPH Cantorial School, and has been the recipient of numerous compositional and project grants from NY State Council of the Arts and the American Music Center.  She is also known for her group Pharaoh’s Daughter, a seven-piece neohasidic world music ensemble that travels effortlessly through continents, key signatures, and languages with a genre-bending sound.

Stephanie Guedalia

Stephanie Guedalia is an educator at Romemu and the Tarot Society. She also makes “art” around Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan that people look at/listen to sometimes. Stephanie was raised with a deep love of Jewish texts and spent her time–as a student in Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in NYC, as a theory and philosophy student at NYU, and as a student of theater at Tisch— getting in touch with the importance of mythology and storytelling in communities and personal lives.

Lauren Jacobs

Lauren is thrilled to be returning for her third year at Seekers!

She has worked in preschool programs at Bank Street, Yaldaynu, the 14th Street Y and Karma Kids and has also been a curriculum designer, workshop presenter, creative & editorial writer and teacher of language arts, theatre, improvisation, creative writing and anti-bullying.

Lauren earned her M.Ed. at Harvard GSE and is completing her M.S. in Early Childhood General & Special Education at Bank Street.

She believes that experiences of creative play, community-building, storytelling, yoga & mindfulness and embodied Jewishness can inspire, empower and unite children, families and communities.

Arielle Shimko

Arielle grew up on the Upper West Side and attended the Ramaz Upper School. She then went on to study Hebrew at Tel Aviv University and Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University. Upon returning to the U.S., Arielle studied Hebrew Language & Literature & Art History at Queens College. Post college, Arielle has studied at both Pardes and Hadar. Arielle is currently a rabbinical student at Aleph through the Jewish Renewal movement. For the last three years, Arielle has been living in Miami Beach and has served as the Rabbinic Intern at Temple Emanu-El. She recently moved back to New York and is excited to teach Hebrew & Judaics at Romemu. Arielle is a yoga teacher who creates alternative prayer services that incorporate mindfulness, yoga and meditation. Arielle is also working with Kulanu, a non-profit dedicated to emerging global Jewish communities. She runs a monthly independent Carlebach minyan on the Upper West Side. Arielle is already a great supporter of Romemu and is excited to meet the greater Romemu community.

David Curiel

David is returning to Romemu this year as Senior Rabbinic Intern. He brings his passion for the spiritual development of children and their families, which he first nurtured in Boston, teaching at Kesher Community Hebrew School and Nehar Shalom Synagogue, both in the Boston area. Through his rabbinic studies in the Aleph S’micha program, David has learned at Pardes, the Hartman Institute and Hebrew College. He also holds a BA in English Language and Literature (U of Michigan) and an MBA (Indiana U). David is a lifelong singer, a closet artist and a father.

Cantor Greg Shafritz

Whether teaching children how to read their first Hebrew words or leading a congregation in song, Cantor Greg Shafritz derives great joy from providing people with the tools to express their Jewish identity. Raised in both the USA and Israel, Greg endeavors to share his optimistic worldview every time he works with a student. On his particular love of teaching children, he states: “The more a young person enjoys Judaic learning now, the more he or she will benefit from it throughout life.”

Shafritz’s engaging, approachable style is the product of nearly thirty years of teaching in both traditional and non-traditional settings. He first taught Hebrew School while he was still an undergraduate at University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s. In the long period since then, Shafritz has pioneered techniques for Modern Hebrew instruction using melody as one of his primary teaching tools, a program he calls, “Ivrit B’Musica”. One of his most popular innovations is a curriculum that employs contemporary Israeli rock and rap songs to teach conversational Hebrew. In the 1990s Shafritz lived abroad extensively, teaching Hebrew in Italy and Australia, holding outreach Passover Seders in Japan and working with B’nei Mitzvah students in South Korea. During the past decade and a half he has taught at a large number of Conservative and Reform Jewish schools in New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Fairfield Counties. Before becoming a Cantor in the Conservative movement, Shafritz served for seven years as Music and T’filah Specialist at Westchester Reform Temple Religious School in Scarsdale, where he was privileged to work closely with acclaimed Rabbi Richard Jacobs and his successor, Rabbi Jonathan Blake.

Cantor Greg’s outgoing nature connects him instantly with his students. He delights in the sound of children speaking Hebrew and singing together. Ultimately, he declares, “I love to see people happy expressing their Jewish identity.”

Stav Meishar

Stav Meishar, founder and director of Dreamcoat Experience, is a performer and Jewish educator born and raised in Israel, living and working in New York City. With a history of almost a decade in Jewish education, Stav specializes in weaving her artistic skills into her teaching methods, creating meaningful experiences for children incorporating drama, music, circus, dance, yoga and more. She’s worked at synagogues, schools and private homes all over the Tri-State area with children of all ages and denominations.  In 2014 Stav won the Jewish Education Project’s Young Pioneers Award for her unique work at Dreamcoat Experience.
Stav is a graduate of AMDA’s Musical Theatre Conservatory and has trained as a CircusYoga teacher and in using circus as a therapeutic tool for children with special needs at Holistic Circus Therapy. Currently she’s pursuing her BFA at The New School, doubling in Jewish Culture and Gender Studies.

When Stav’s not teaching Jewish children throughout the NY metro area she proudly juggles (no pun intended!) a career in the performing arts as a stage and circus performer.