Welcome to Jewish Journeys, an initiative designed to revolutionize Jewish education. Imagine a program that ignites each child’s spirit, engaging them in activities they love while connecting them with Jewish life and learning. Imagine a community of children growing up together, absorbing the concepts, ideas, and traditions that are the building blocks of Jewish life. Imagine a program where kids don’t just learn about being Jewish—they sing it, dance it, bake it, paint it, film it, read it, play it. They—and their families—become part of a community that celebrates Jewish life together.
Jewish Journeys taps into New York’s creative and exciting environment to provide children with an immersive educational experience as richly textured as the city itself. Building on activities children enjoy—art, cooking, performance, games—and the resources of the JCC and its surroundings, Jewish Journeys leads children from the beginning of their Jewish journey to their bar or bat mitzvah—and keeps them engaged beyond that milestone. Tailored to young learners at each age of development, Jewish Journeys invites Jewish children and their families to discover what it means to be Jewish.
Havurah (ages 3-8) is the first stage of Jewish Journeys. It takes place on Saturday afternoons in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Together we celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays, learn Torah stories and grapple with big questions, practice Jewish values, and experience the rhythm and meaning of Jewish life.
Within each age group, we:
- Immerse ourselves in Torah stories by acting, crafting, and discussing responses to complex tales that have been told for generations.
- Experience rituals and learn narratives of Jewish holidays through activities including yoga, cooking, origami, computer programming, ceramics, and more.
- Celebrate Shabbat together through unique Shabbat traditions, as well as customary blessings over candles, grape juice, and challah.
- Sing and dance to holiday songs, Shabbat songs, Israeli songs, and songs about Jewish culture and values, while being exposed to Hebrew language in a fun and developmentally appropriate way.
- Adventure to diverse cultural institutions, from the Tenement Museum to the Central Park Zoo, linking the world around us to our Jewish identities.
- Participate in chesed opportunities, as community service is integral to Jewish life.
- Invite families to partner with us in the endeavor of Jewish education through weekly classroom reflections and occasional family programs.
Jewish Journey Project
The Jewish Journey Project (JJP) enables children in Grades 3–7 to explore their interests while absorbing knowledge and skills. In everything they do, whether it’s cooking a classic Jewish recipe or performing a skit, they are also learning about classic narratives of the Torah, connecting with the Jewish holiday cycle, forging a relationship with Israel, and delving into Jewish ethics and social justice.
Each semester, kids choose from a wide range of courses. There’s no minimum or maximum number required—we encourage them to take as many as they can fit into their schedules.
Midweek JJP courses are organized around themes that offers rich opportunities for creativity and exploration. These might include Torah stories, Jewish peoplehood, Israel, and social action/caring for others.
Monthly Saturday and Sunday Intensives allow kids to explore topics outside the semester's theme. And special programs during school vacations in December and February give them another chance to spend time together doing fun activities in a Jewish setting.
Hebrew is taught through Hebrew Homepage (HHP), an online platform that pairs each learner with a personal tutor for a weekly 30-minute Hebrew reading session.
Advising parents and children is a core value of JJP. Each child and at least one parent meet with a staff member before the semester begins to discuss their objectives for Jewish education and choose courses that will meet their families’ goals. Learn more.
B-Mitzvah: The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Journey
The B-Mitzvah Launch (Grade 6)
To prepare for becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, we offer an engaging yearlong program that is a natural next step for JJP students.
Learners attend a two-hour weekly session and participate in several chesed projects. They can opt into monthly and school vacation intensives and can continue to learn Hebrew through Hebrew Homepage.
This new program deepens the friendships and sense of community they have developed over the years, while providing a more focused learning experience. Learn more.
The B-Mitzvah Year (Grade 7)
The B-Mitzvah program ushers your child into young Jewish adulthood and lays the groundwork for continuing active participation in the Jewish community.
This year, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan presents brand-new options. You can join other families in a beautiful and unique communal ceremony, or have an individual celebration for your child with family and friends.
Whichever option you choose, your child will participate in a weekly two-hour class on leadership and advocacy, collaborate on a group advocacy project, and prepare an individual project in response to his or her Torah portion or a big Jewish question. They can also take other JJP courses and continue with Hebrew Homepage.
Parents share in the learning experience, joining their children four times during the year for family learning on Sunday afternoons. Learn more.