Kids at Ansche Chesed
Ansche Chesed offers three Shabbat morning services for children: the Mishpachah Service (mishpachah means “family”) for families with children preschool-age and younger, the Yigdal Service (yigdal means “growing up”) for children in preschool through Grade 2, and the Big Kids’ Service for children in Grade 3 through pre-bar/bat mitzvah age. Each group meets on its own and occasionally come together in Ansche Chesed’s chapel, on the ground floor, to conclude the Shabbat morning service. Afterwards they join the adults in the Sanctuary Service to sing Adom Olam, a perennial children’s favorite and the final Shabbat morning prayer.
An Introduction to the Shabbat Morning Service
For families with children preschool-age and younger
Babies and toddlers are exposed to the sights and sounds of Shabbat during this lively service that follows the outline of the adult service but is supplemented by fun and engaging songs, stories, and movement. The emphasis is on the tactile as everyone plays and dances with rhythm instruments and plush Torahs. Parents attend with their children, which inevitably leads to enduring friendships and a sense of kehillah (community).
Exploring the Structure of the Shabbat Morning Service
For children preschool-age through Grade 2 and their parents
This service exposes children to a greater number of Shabbat tefillot (prayers) than are presented in the Mishpachah Service. Boys and girls are encouraged to help lead the prayers and are helped to start thinking about prayer as a lens through which Jews can connect to God. There is a Torah service during which a section of the Torah is read and the week’s parshah (Torah portion), or a story related to an upcoming holiday, is presented through discussion, skits, and stories. Parents are welcome, but not required, to attend.
Big Kids’ Service
Engaging In and Leading the Shabbat Morning Service
For children in Grade 3 through pre-bar/bat mitzvah age
This service delves into the structure and purpose of tefillot (prayers) and the weekly parshah (Torah portion), which is examined through discussion and activities. The children are encouraged to play a greater role in both and to prepare a reading from the parshah, whether a verse of an entire chapter, in Hebrew. As they watch each other participate, children develop a palpable feeling of community.