How to make a home for yourself in a new Jewish community
When choosing between a day school and a supplemental school education for your children, ask yourselves questions such as: What level of Hebrew mastery (if any) would I like my child to possess? Do I want my children to be in an environment where kashrutand Shabbat observance are priorities? Is it important that my children receive an education in Jewish texts aside from the Torah? How much racial and ethnic diversity do I want my children to experience in the classroom? Do I want my child to be in a single-sex or co-ed classroom? How much time do I want my children to spend in Jewish studies every week?
As a family, it is a good ideas to create a list of what you are looking for in a school before comparing information about schools.
Many parents, having decided upon a day school education for their children, experience "sticker shock" when they learn how much it costs. Day schools are private schools. Some funding assistance may be available, based on your family's financial situation. Although very few supplemental schools will turn a family away on financial reasons, this is not the case with many day schools, which often do not have plentiful scholarship funds. Most school directors will work with you to come to a workable arrangement.
When you explore educational options, don't limit your questions to information about formal schooling. It's also important to make inquiries about Jewish daycare options, summer and winter camps, athletics, after-school programs, children's services, youth groups, and museums.
Although there are ideal times of the year to move--summer being a prime example—sometimes one cannot choose when it happens. From a Jewish perspective, moving is particularly difficult close to or during the High Holy Days or Passover. Each holiday season presents special challenges.
If you are among the many individuals who find themselves looking for High Holy Day tickets at the last minute, United Jewish Communities, the organization linking all North American Jewish Federations, provides an annual list of free High Holy Day services. The list is available at the website www.ujc.org. For those people who still have an active membership at a synagogue, it may be possible to transfer your ticket privileges to a synagogue of the same movement in your new hometown. In addition, if you are considering a congregation for membership, you can often receive complimentary ttickets to some or all of their services.
Before Passover, the biggest concern for newly relocated people is often, "Where am I going to find kosher-for-Passoverfood?" For others, particularly singles and couples without children, the main concern might be finding a seder at which to be a guest. Many communities have guides available through the Jewish Federation or local synagogues that list the stores providing kosher and kosher-for-Passover food. In addition, these same organizations frequently offer community sedarim or a service matching individuals looking for meal with potential hosts.
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