Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy is the recipient of a $7,000 2019 Ignition Grant from the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) to support its recently launched Tefillah Curriculum for middle school students. JEIC Ignition Grants jump-start new or developing out-of-the-box programs that improve Jewish education in day schools. JEIC Managing Director Sharon Freundel said, “We are enthusiastic about BiCultural Hebrew Academy’s approach to tefillah because it is presented as a precious and practical gift that enables students to apply Jewish wisdom in every stage of their lives.”
Through the program, students attend a short morning class followed by a tefillah service with only 12-15 peers in which the teachers serve as guides and mentors. Rabbi Yehuda Jeiger, Bi-Cultural associate principal of Judaic studies, said the structure enables teachers to help students develop a closer connection to them, their community, and prayer.
“We have embarked on year one of what we hope will be a four-year spiral tefillah journey,” said Rabbi Jeiger. “We hope that as we move through the years, students will connect on a much deeper and personally meaningful level as they progress through the grades at their stage of cognitive development.”
Over the past six years, JEIC has supported more than 15 Jewish day schools’ innovations aimed at reigniting students’ passion for Jewish learning and improving the way Jewish values, literacy, practice and belief are transferred to the next generation.
JEIC brings together educators, funders, influencers, and consumers to challenge day schools across North America to achieve their mandate of optimizing student internalization of Jewish wisdom, identity, and decision making in the modern world. Initiated in 2012 by the Mayberg Foundation and supported through multiple philanthropic partnerships, JEIC pursues lasting school change through directed funding, philanthropic partnerships, impactful conferences, and innovative educational enterprises.