By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Veteran preschool teacher Chani Rodin — well-known for her ability to ignite a love of learning in children — will be on hand in early October to speak with parents and students during the first open house for the new Jewish Education Texas (JET) program “Family First Hebrew School.”
The gathering takes place at 10 a.m. Sunday Oct. 11, in the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center building of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Road, officials said.
“Since the large majority of Jewish families in Dallas are not connecting to a synagogue or to a Hebrew school, we needed an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to attract families and to provide their children with a Jewish education,” Rabbi Shalom Rodin, a JET founder, explained in an email. “We needed a non–synagogue option. We needed a fun Community Hebrew School with a ‘twist.’ … The natural next step for JET was to provide a program for the children of these families, while attracting new unaffiliated families as well.”
JET was founded in Fall 2012 by Rabbi Shalom Rodin and Rabbi Tzvi and Adina Wachsman.
This unaffiliated organization provides young families in their late 20s to early 40s with opportunities to enjoy Jewish programming and enriching events in comfortable and relaxing environments.
During the 45-minute open house, parents and prospective students will have the opportunity to question Rodin, a veteran preschool teacher with 13 years of experience — and degrees from Chicago, Illinois institutions. Her bachelor of arts degree and state teachers certification comes from Hebrew Theological College and her masters in Educational Administration from Loyola University.
School officials say Rodin is passionate about molding young Jewish minds and loves teaching preschool age children.
“The objective of the school is to give the participants a positive associative awareness of Judaism that is both meaningful and relevant,” the rabbi stated in the email. “This is done through imaginative and thought-provoking teaching methods and fun hands-on activities taught by qualified, devoted educators who are committed to instilling love and pride of Judaism in their students.”
Rodin — who with her husband has three children, Rachelle, Tehilla, and Ayala — is very involved in Jewish women’s corner and countless other programs that JET has to offer, officials said.
This program is designed to accommodate those Dallas Jewish families who aren’t connecting to a synagogue or to a Hebrew school.
The goal of this program is to transmit a strong Jewish identity to the next generation and to give the participants a positive associative awareness of Judaism that is both meaningful and relevant through imaginative and thought-provoking teaching methods and fun hands-on activities taught by qualified, devoted educators.
The Family First Hebrew School’s focus is to educate and inspire the family unit as a whole – and in this way, the family grows together at its own pace, school officials said.
“There is no better way to strengthen Jewish life,” Rabbi Rodin said. “Our program will offer exciting and engaging opportunities for the whole family, for children and their parents to simultaneously learn about their rich heritage in a relaxed and family friendly environment.”