Welcome! Kids, Youth, Families & Teen Programs
RUACH community school
RUACH community school of Beit Ahavah embodies RUACH (“ru-ach”). “RUACH – רוּחַ” is Hebrew for spirit, energy, wind and life! RUACH is the dynamic force of Judaism of learning, social justice, tikkun olam (repair of the world), music, art, spirituality and Jewish expression. In RUACH, kids and families experience community in a positive, Jewish environment creating pathways of connection.
JOIN US! RUACH, YOUTH & TEENS SIGN UP: Please click on the documents below and/or contact the office for a registration packet. You are welcome to speak with Rabbi Riqi (413-578-3770 x2, firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and questions. If you are new and ready to try RUACH, please let Rabbi Riqi know when you will be joining us. Welcome!
4. RUACH Calendar (PreK-7), October-May, Sundays 3:30-5:30 p.m.
(Also click here for the ongoing updated Beit Ahavah Google calendar.)
For Hebrew Havurah, B’nei Mitzvah class dates and teen group, please email office.
- RUACH ARTS (grades PreK-2) taught by Anna Sobel.
- RUACH LAB (grades 3-7) taught by Sophie Spencer-Zavos.
- HEBREW HAVURAH Thursdays (grades 3-7) taught by Rabbi Riqi.
- B’NEI MITZVAH JOURNEY with Rabbi Riqi – meets for 1-2 years prior to Bar/Bat/B’nei/B-Mitzvah celebrations for learning led by the Rabbi for study, discussion, art, class bonding, trips, tikkun olam projects, and creating a supportive container for students and families on the journey to Jewish young adulthood and becoming teens.
- CREATIVE holiday and Shabbat gatherings and celebrations for families and community – Being part of the amazing themes, rhythms and rituals throughout the Jewish year.
- KEHILLAH for community and family-led assemblies.
- TOT SHABBAT and families with young kids led by Marlene Rachelle – The growing, vibrant community of families and deepening friendships with each other and their young kids 0-7 to shape Jewish education.
- TEENS: Post-B’nei Mitzvah Judaism/Tween/Teen life – new BAFTY temple youth group and Reform Judaism’s youth movement “NFTY-Northeast” and more. See below.
- YOFIE education committee for parent involvement – Parents and those dedicated to youth education gather to kibbitz, dream, and plan Jewish and family education that supports parenting and learning together.
May it be a sweet new year of creation and connection!
Meet Teachers — Rabbi Riqi Kosovske (rabbi, director and educator, RUACH director, B’nei Mitzvah Journey, Hebrew Havurah), , Anna Sobel (RUACH ARTS PreK-2, High Holydays Family Services and special events), Sophie Spencer-Zavos (RUACH LAB 3-6 and Teen Leader), Hannah Donnelly, Jake Fein, Tamar Feinland & Aria Monet (Madrichim teen assistant), Marlene Rachelle (Tot Shabbat), Heidi Haas (Torah Improv), Lois Peirent, Morgan Terres & Anne Bussler (YOFIE committee organizers, Tot Shabbat coordinator and specialties),and more!
A creative and progressive approach to Jewish learning, RUACH builds community that offers meaningful entryways into Jewish life, celebrates diversity, and deepens our commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and love for our planet. With teachers and mentors, friends and family, we study, learn Hebrew, celebrate holidays, bring core Jewish values to life, go on “chavaya” real-world experiences and trips, delve into subjects through specialties and electives, build and make art, and have a lot of fun!
RUACH embodies the Sages: “The world stands upon three things: Torah (Jewish learning), Avodah (prayer and service) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of lovingkindness).” – Avot d’Rabbi Natan 11:1
Torah = Study! Engaging our minds and souls to deepen our connection with our past and to make our heritage relevant to how we live today through exciting Jewish learning. So much to learn and explore, ignite and apply!
Avodah = Spirituality! Awakening our hearts to connect to the Oneness of all creation through prayer, song, art, dance and other modalities, as well as service and connection to others.
G’milut Chasadim = Acts of Lovingkindness! Using our hands and hearts inspired by Jewish wisdom to perform actions that make the world a better place – Tikkun Olam! Repair of the World. We are “praying with our feet and hands, hearts and minds.”
Youth programs are ongoing and always being developed! Here is a sample:
Past years’ good stuff on The L’CHAIM K-2 BLOG.
RUACH ARTS – The PreK-2 group is taught by Morah Anna Sobel, Jewish educator and musician, creator of Talking Hands Theater and Animal Torah CD. This group delves into Omanut (art), Torah stories, holidays, values, Hebrew letter movement, prayer, cooking, Kids Tzedakah Shuk and family fun with art and exploration.
RUACH LAB – 3rd-7th taught by Morah Sophie Spencer-Zavos.
Musical Shabbat Shirah & Shabbat B’Yachad (“Sabbath Together”) because taking time out for joy, services and meals together on Shabbat is what it’s all about. Singing, Torah Improv, Torah study, and Shabbat meals. Watch the Beit Ahavah Highlights, emails and calendar for upcoming events. Families always encouraged to participate.
Chugim/workshops & Family involvement days – Engage favorite passions and new skills. Parents and community members help teach specialties like Jewish Kids Chorus, plays, Jewish Potions & Lotions, Jews in sports, Jewish cartooning, paper-cutting, Israel Inventions, Miriam’s Tambourines, Challah-baking and Teva (nature). Parents are often our favorite specialist,s so let us know what you can teach!
Kef = Fun! Dodge the ball in Ga-Ga, s’mores-dallah campfires, Shabbat-spa, bonding trips to Boston, scavenger hunt to the moon… because Jewish education is FUN!
Tot Shabbat & Bim Bam Ahavah
Tot Shabbat & Tot Sha-Potluck, 1st Friday of the Month, 5:15 p.m.
Teaching and Madrichim job opportunities – Contact Rabbi Riqi.
More program descriptions:
TOT SHABBAT & Tot Sha-potluck – families with kids ages 0-6 & friends, 1st Friday of the month, 5:15 p.m. led by Marlene Rachelle. Flyer here. Founded at Beit Ahavah by our beloved Peggy Walker z”l. Tot Shabbat is the wonderful, musical hour celebrating the Sabbath and holidays followed by a vegetarian (no nuts) potluck, and pizza provided. Bim Bam Ahavah is a morning play & prayer program for families with young kids focusing on music, movement and drumming.
RUACH ARTS – Grades preK-2 taught by Anna Sobel meets Sundays 3:30-5:30 p.m. with additional opportunities for Friday nights, Saturday morning “Shabbat B’Yachad” (Sabbath Together), family and holiday celebrations, gatherings, Hebrew aleph-bet through movement, art, cooking, Torah stories, values and crafts. We also welcome pre-K kids who are 4-4.5 plus.
RUACH LAB – Grades 3-7 meets on Sunday afternoons 3:30-5:30 p.m. as a projects “laboratory” for advance Jewish learning, with off-site “chavaya” adventures, opportunities for Saturday morning Shabbat B’Yachad (Sabbath Together) events and family holiday celebrations, and family-led gatherings.
HEBREW HAVURAH – Grades 3-7 meets Thursdays after school from 4:00-5:30 p.m. to study modern Hebrew and the prayer services, with healthy snacks, songs and fun in a great learning studio environment. We utilize progressive curricula including URJ Mitkadem, Hebrew Through Movement, Shiri the Llama, Hebrew in Harmony, and have a lot of fun. The Hebrew Havurah teaching staff is passionate about Hebrew for kids and includes Rabbi Riqi and Hebrew specialists.
B’NEI MITZVAH JOURNEY is led by Rabbi Riqi Kosovske for an exciting peer cohort class that meets bimonthly, Thursday evenings from 5:30-6:45 p.m. for students whose B’nei Mitzvah service is scheduled in the upcoming year or two, with family involvement in services and class Shabbat dinners. Vegetarian/vegan pizza dinner is provided by families.
“TORAH IMPROV” led by Heidi Haas is a popular specialty during special events such as holidays or Shabbat B’Yachad. Heidi Haas’s improvisational Torah Improv is a creative, theatrical experience of Jewish stories from the Torah, Holidays and Midrash, with games, fun and the imagination!
Tot Shabbat, Bim Bam Ahavah & programs for families with children 0-6
Tot Shabbat at Beit Ahavah
The wonderful magical, musical hour led by Marlene Rachelle with Rabbi Riqi, full of movement, stories and instruments welcoming the Sabbath and holidays. 1st Friday of the month, 5:15-6:30 p.m. with a vegetarian Tot Sha-potluck dinner; cheese pizza provided. Please bring a veggie dish (no nuts) to share. Welcome parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, interfaith, LGBTQ, newcomers, old-timers… All are welcome!
See Tot Shabbat flyer here (pdf) for dates and more info. Click HERE for the wonderful Gazette article on our joyful Tot Shabbat experience featuring many of our families — great quotes by beloved families. Lois Peirent is our fabulous Tot Shabbat Coordinator (and Vice President) and happy to help welcome newcomers to our robust Tot Shabbat community. Major funding provided by Harlold Grinspoon Foundation Family grant. Co-sponsored by PJ Library of Jewish Federation of Western MA.
Teen events for grades 678 and 9-12 * BAFTY youth group *
B’nei Mitzvah Journey * Post-B’nei Mitzvah learning * NFTY-Northeast regional and subregional events and weekends * Madrichim
Contact Rabbi Riqi or Sophie Spencer-Zavos (Teen Advisor) at email@example.com to share your ideas for teen programs. Generous support by Harold Grinspoon Foundation Teen grant.
NFTY-Northeast is our region of the Reform youth movement “North-American Federation of Temple Youth.” Read about NFTY-NE regional upcoming events this year here: https://northeast.nfty.org/. An advisor or Rabbi Riqi attends along with each group of teens.
Teen Info form: Please click HERE and fill out this 60-second Teen Information form so we can stay in touch about upcoming events.
Hanhalah = הַנְהָלָה = Leadership Team. Hanhalah is the group of teens who step up/step in to be managers and brainstormers of program ideas, creative events and things for teens. They meet at Dobra Tea or other places to plan and think up teen programs, social justice topics, trips or issues important to teens. This looks great on high school transcripts. Anyone willing can be on Hanhalah. Contact Sophie firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire or step in.
MADRICHIM = מַדְרִיכִים = Teen Teaching Assistants/Teen Leaders (sing. Madrich, Madrichah). Madrichim comes from the word “derech” – “to guide someone on their road.”
The Madrichim Program is built for teens who have become B’nei Mitzvah and are looking to continue their Jewish journey as youth leaders in RUACH, Hebrew Havurah and Tot Shabbat. Madrichim are students in 8-12th grade and involved with our Teen program. Madrichim serve as role models, teaching assistants and guides to younger students in K-7 and young families. Madrichim are nurtured and coached by Staff to develop teaching and leadership skills while strengthening Jewish identity. Many Madrichim have gone on to other leadership roles, leading or teaching a class on their own while in high school, becoming a camp counselor, or other teaching and counseling professions. Madrichim are paid a stipend and arrive with teachers for set up and clean up. Supported by Harold Grinspoon Foundation Teen grant and Anonymous Family Teen Donation.
Jewish summer camp, Israel adventures & other Jewish immersive experiences of a lifetime for kids, teens and families.
Camp changes lives. Rabbi Riqi Kosovske encourages and supports Jewish summer camp as an optimal Jewish experience for youth and teens. She grew up at URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute camp, was involved with NFTY, attended NFTY EIE high school semester in Israel, and worked as a counselor at OSRUI, NFTY-in-Israel and JCC Camp Kingswood, and directed JCC summer daycamps in the East Bay, California. Rabbi Riqi loves and promotes camp. She has experience recommending URJ camps, Eden Village Camp and other camps and Jewish teen and youth enrichment programs, and will help guide your family to choosing the right summer camp or program for your child or teen! Funding: Harold Grinspoon Foundation generously offers families up to $1000 in HGF Camperships ($1500 for first summer), up to $500 for Jewish Family Camp retreats and experiences, and up to 50% cost of Year-Round youth and teen experiences.
Pioneer Valley Jewish day camps and vacation camps: Camp Shemesh day camp, JCC Springfield Summer camp
Jewish overnight camps: URJ Youth Camps, Hudson Valley: Eden Village Camp, Great Barrington: URJ Eisner Camp and URJ Crane Lake Camp, Boston: URJ Six-Points Sci-Tech Academy East, NFTY-in-Israel, URJ Heller High semester/summer in Israel, for starters!