Five years ago, Shir Hama'alot in Irvine, California, experimented with its Hebrew program by creating small, chavura-style learning groups. Intended as a way to build community, similar to the school's format for Judaica learning, the Hebrew program simply didn't work out as planned.
The congregation's religious school Principal Heather Rosenthal and Rabbi Leah Lewis, director of life-long learning, realized they needed to make a change. They first showed the education committee that, for a variety of reasons, the small-group format was not working to meet the community goals, and proposed returning to Hebrew learning by class level. Read More