“Beyond The Basics: A Jewish Education at
Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Community Hebrew School”
In the popular Israeli song, Eretz Yisrael Sheli, My Land of Israel, the lyricist
calls our attention to the necessity of planting trees to build the “pretty and
blossoming” land of Israel. The rest of the lyrics and the energy of the song
teach us to understand the difficult, but rewarding work of building the
bridges, highways, houses, and infrastructure of Medinat Yisrael. Obviously,
to build and sustain our strong state of Israel, everyone had to go beyond the
A few years ago, I asked our veteran teacher of blessed memory, Mrs. Eta
Knepler, if she would teach this song to her students. She embraced this task
enthusiastically. She not only taught them the correct Israeli pronunciation
of the words, but also taught our students to form Hebrew sentences with
the vocabulary in the song. When the students performed the song, they and
the audience were filled with Jewish pride. With the visual cue of displaying
Israeli flags, this moment was etched in everyone’s memory. Mrs. Knepler
went beyond the basics.
In Jewish education, educators often ask themselves questions such as: how
can we “etch” the basics of a Jewish education into each individual student?
Do we teach more than basic prayers? How can we make meaningful impacts
on both the young lives and futures of our students?
At the AKSE Community Hebrew School, we answer these questions by going
beyond the basics. Lauren Unterberger, a recent graduate of our school
and upcoming bat mitzvah, described her experiences in an insightful and
articulate graduation speech:“I can’t believe my Bat Mitzvah is coming up so soon.
I wouldn’t be readyfor my Bat Mitzvah without the terrific education I received at Adas
Kodesch and the wonderful Jewish Community of my fellow Hebrew school
students and teachers.”
“I had a lovely teacher named Mrs. Knepler. She taught me Hebrew
writing, cursive, prayers, and Hebrew numbers and would never hesitate
to offer a kind word or a hug. She told us about her trips to Israel and
brought us souvenirs from Israel. Although she passed away a year ago,
I will probably think about her long after I have graduated here. Like I
said, my time at AKSE has prepared me for Torah, Hebrew, and my Bat
Mitzvah. But most importantly, it has prepared me for my life and to
appreciate the educators who made it so special.”
If, like Lauren, you would like to go beyond the basics and learn more
about our comprehensive, individualized and nurturing Jewish educational
program, please call Gail Weinberg, Educational Director, at 302 762 2705 or
email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .