Park East Jr. Congregation meets every Shabbat from 10:30 - 12:00. The children eagerly await spending Shabbat together.
Jr. Congregation is for children from Kindergarten through 6th grade. They are always there on time so they can help prepare the room by setting up the chairs and tables and handing out the Siddurs. Each week a new Hazan and Hazanim are picked to lead us in the Davening. Following Davening, we read the Parsha of the Week. This too, is also read out loud by the children and each week several children get a chance to be our “Parsha Readers”. After the Parsha, the children anticipate applying their Parsha knowledge in our weekly “Parsha Trivia”. The fun continues when we then start our activity or classroom game.
For each holiday there is a theme-based activity. Children look forward to our many entertaining activities such as Let’s Make a Deal, Minute to Win It, Match Game, Dress Up Esther, Noah’s Charade Ark, and Roshashana Blindfold Apple Tasting Contest to just name a few. Each class, raffle tickets are handed out throughout the morning as children try to earn as many as possible for our Raffle. At the end of each class we end our raffle, and four winners get to choose a prize from our Shabbat Prize Box. Park East Jr. Congregation is wonderful opportunity for our children to learn our Jewish values, be with their friends and have fun at the same time.
Heidi and Donny Wechsler have been overseeing the Jr. Congregation Department for the past 3 years. Under their direction they have seen a tremendous growth in the Jr. Congregation Services and High Holidays Programs. Heidi has been teaching Pre K for 16 years and the past 8 at RASPEDS. Donny has been a part of the Park East Community for the past 20 years. He is the school’s Physical Education teacher. He also holds several other positions, such as Director of the Afterschool Program Act II and coaches the school’s Basketball and Soccer Teams. Donny implemented the Park East Youth Grip Trip Program and has taken children on adventures both in and out of New York City. In the summer months Heidi and Donny run a sleep-away camp, Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village, and are always eager to return to Park East. They look forward to their son Alexander Philip joining all the exciting programs at Park East.