New Parent at Makom Community Fall 2024

I was VERY timid about sending our child to a Jewish program because I didn’t know what it would mean in terms of her Israel/political education. But Makom has been a perfect example of a kind of value based inclusive Judaism that I want to model to her. This has probably been the most difficult year to do Jewish education in over half a century, and everyone at Makom went above and beyond to provide a safe and joyous space for the kids.

Thank You, Ash!

Ash was a great Makom Community facilitator. They modeled engaging ways to bring text study into our classrooms and helped us look at integrating the arts into our lessons. The activities that were introduced can be used in all grades. I am inspired to look at prayers not just for singing and mastery but to bring them to life through drama, dance, building and visual arts.

Art & Science of Religious School

Perhaps the most important message of the Jewish Placemaking Accelerator is that teaching Religious School is a science and an art and cannot be done WELL without significant support for teachers & directors. Many of us get into this field with a deep desire – but without a clear picture of how – to create Jewish learning experiences that are at the same time fun, interesting, relevant, and educational for young people. The Accelerator has gotten us closer towards this reality by sharing both empathy and concrete tools for doing so. I hope I can implement even SOME of what I learned here, as I know it will make a difference to our students, families and community.

Supporting My Questions

All the questions I have gotten answered between the Jewish Placemaking seminars and coaching. A lot of the skills I’m working on professionally, on my own, feel really supported by the Accelerator. I feel really empowered!

Strengthening Jewish Education

Through our professional development sessions with Makom, staff were able to hone their lesson planning skills, while grounding that growth in a focus on relational culture and well being in their classrooms. We saw the value of this training in our classrooms, where we documented students sharing big ideas from their own lives, often using the text as a vehicle to do so.

As a Director in my second year of managing our program, I found regular coaching sessions with Beverly to be immensely helpful. I found Beverly to be attuned, patient, and creative in our coaching sessions. [They] regularly offered perspectives that I did not hear inside our organization, which were immensely helpful for me in taking a step back and thinking critically about my role as the Director of our after school program. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from Beverly Socher-Lerner and Makom this year.

Makom is NOT Boring

Parents complain all the time about how their kids don’t like Hebrew school. They’re bored, they’re not learning anything, they refuse to go. In 8 years at Makom community, my child has NEVER said any of these things about Makom. He is always eager to go, never bored, always knows he’s learning and proud to show what’s he’s learned. This speaks volumes about Makom staff, the pedagogy, and the ability of this organization to recognize what is working and what is not working in 21st-century supplemental Jewish education and respond to it. No one recognizes the issues and implements change like Makom Community.

A Community for Learners and their Parents

When Norah started kindergarten, I was very excited for her to attend Makom Community after school. Makom has met all of my expectations. Norah has made many friends – some at her school and some to attend other schools – and we’ve made friends with Jewish families in our community. Norah has an awareness and understanding of Jewish holidays and rituals – she comes home singing songs, asking to light Shabbat candles and bake challah, asking Michael and I to share our “brush it off, lock it in” for the week.

Makom’s educators have also impressed us throughout the year as they supported and navigated Norah’s sometimes “big” emotions. The attention to both Norah’s feelings and experiences, follow up with the thoughtful phone calls from staff to discuss how we can all best support her showed us Makom staff’s excellent skills in supporting kids to be their most authentic. When she’s at Makom, Norah gets to lean into what she loves and also learns new ideas that enrich her Jewish life.

Helping to Make Magic!

Makom’s inspired guidance and coaching enabled us to recreate our education program from top to bottom. Simply put, without Makom we would never have made it happen. Beverly, Gaby, and Terri taught us how to think about design, how to write curriculum, how to articulate our educational goals, how to train faculty, how to make the magic happen. Shorashim’s stunningly successful first year is now ‘in the books’; we’d never have succeeded without Makom’s expert support and help.

A Safe Space for Educators

Had I not had the financial support of my synagogue, my teachers and I would not be benefiting from our coaching sessions with Makom as we are. Makom is an incredible sounding board and pushes me to grow professionally. Our time with you is thoughtful, relevant and meaningful. Makom provides a safe space for us educators.

Coaching Wins!

I am an Education Director at Dorshei Tzedek in Newton, MA. I reached out to Makom for coaching after attending a virtual place making conference. Terri came through as a wonderful coach! It was such a relief to work with a coach who had so much experience in Jewish education programs and synagogue settings. We worked together on a parental leave plan for me and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support!

A Jewel!

Makom is a jewel. It’s such a wonderful compliment to our daughter’s education. Her transition to first grade was a bit hard for her and Makom has been the perfect landing for her everyday as a place where she can expand her mind and her soul. We all love it so much.

Exemplary Professional Development

Engaging a cadre of Jewish educators over Zoom, after almost 3 years of all the Zooms, is no easy task. But Beverly and team knocked it out of the park. The amount of thought and intention that went into creating a 90 minute experience for our team, thinking about how physical space impacts learning environments, was impressive. From the initial conversation about making this session happen, to the preparatory conversations leading up to our time together, and all the way through the experience, Beverly and everyone on the Makom team we encountered showed great compassion and leadership. The session was a huge success, and we look forward to finding additional ways to continue our work with Makom!

A Less Scared Educator

Thank you both (Makom Making educators) for taking the time tonight. I will do my part of the brit and you both did more than your part, not just by being present but also by being so prepared. I feel more prepared myself, a little less scared. You held my hand, helped me with my confidence, and gave me things to reflect on and rest on, hopefully things I can bring into the challenging work of making Hebrew decoding engaging. When the students ask me why we need to do this, perhaps I can tell them the Jewish community, the Torah and synagogue, have given me a place to belong. What type of Torah or God will make it worthwhile for you?

Makom’s Radical Pedagogy

I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you all thank you for all you do at Makom! L absolutely LOVES her afternoons at Makom and has been learning so much that she shares with us all. I am thrilled to find a community that values reflection, radical pedagogy, community, and history in the ways that y’all do. I also appreciate how developmentally appropriate you have made your curriculum and learning environment. I know it’s so much work to cultivate a space like this and you all have really made a special place. So thank you all for making L and our family feel so welcome and for creating such an inclusive space. We are incredibly grateful!

Thoughtful Kiddo

Our son trusts his teachers, looks forward to enrichment, and is excited to be Jewish! Makom has allowed him to be a more thoughtful kid.

Not just for Kiddos!

As adults, we have really enjoyed getting to know other parents and neighbors through the Family Shabbat program.

Authentic Community at Makom

I love that Makom feels like somewhere where everyone can be themselves and show up as they are. We are confident that even if my kid has a bad day and is extra-grumpy, he will still be met with compassion and understanding. We are also thrilled that he is further deepening his Jewish roots and meeting others – he can no longer complain that “everyone” he knows celebrates Christmas!

Curious Jewish Learner

Our child absolutely loves Makom which is a big deal for me. She is curious about Jewish learning and developing a Jewish identity and Makom has been a big part of that. The staff has been extremely responsive and I appreciate all of the personalized updates and feedback.