Park East Jr. Congregation meets every Shabbat at 10:45. The children eagerly await spending Shabbat together.
Jr. Congregation is for children from first through sixth 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.
Donny Wechsler has been overseeing the Jr. Congregation Department since 2013. Under his direction, he has seen tremendous growth in the Jr. Congregation Services and High Holidays Programs. He has been a part of the Park East Community for the past 25 years. He is the school’s Physical Education teacher and Director of Student Activities. He also coaches multiple school sports teams. Donny implemented the Park East Youth Group Trip Program and has taken children on adventures both in and out of New York City. In the summer months Donny and Heidi Wechsler run a sleep-away camp, Camp Poyntelle, and are always eager to return to Park East. His son, Alexander Philip, is a student at Park East Day School