“Me?” said Rabbi Jamie, when a group of parents approached her asking that she run Girls’ Time. (Girls’ Time is Adventure Judaism’s monthly outing-based class, for 5th and 6th graders.) “And then,” said one of the moms, “she squealed with delight in a very un-rabbinic fashion, which is exactly why we wanted her to teach our kids.”
“I actually created Girls’ Time,” explained Rabbi Jamie. But she had never taught it. She dreamed up Girls’ Time when her own daughter announced that she really, really, really, really didn’t like Sunday school. She complained that the boys were loud and physically pushy and soaked up all teacher’s attention. “The problem was,” explained Rabbi Jamie, “that in our religious school (ARK) we wanted the boys to be active and stretch their legs. We don’t do desks or books or worksheets in our religious school. We move, hike, and play games. I want the boys to be active. But I also wanted my own kiddo to enjoy our Sunday school.”
And so, Girls’ Time was born. It’s changed over the years but under Rabbi Jamie’s leadership, it will return to its roots as an outing-based class. “I don’t want to be confined by school walls! I take the kids on outings.” The small group, limited to eight 5th and 6th graders, will go on an outing each month. Looking at the schedule, there seems to be a lot of yummy treats- a visit to “babka maven” to bake, a havdallah hike (with a bonfire and s’mores), and a Shabbat evening at Rabbi Jamie’s house making challah and crafting ritual objects.
The students also visit a mikveh to learn about women’s role in Judaism, do a community service project, and start gearing up for their b’not mitzvah by learning prayers and songs- how lovely to do that with a cohort of supportive, fun and friendly girls.
Asked what she liked about Girls’ Time, one of the students said, “Friends. Friends. And we did fun Jewish stuff with our friends.”
An alum added, ” It was amazing to start in Girls’ Time and then go through the Adventure B’nai Mitzvah class together. I don’t think I could have done it without them. I didn’t know a single girl when we started. Now we are all BFFs.”
What does Rabbi Jamie hope to accomplish in the class? “My goal is simple. I want the kids to build positive Jewish identities and to make some Jewish friends.”
With this format, it looks like she can deliver.