Location:Porto Alegre, Brasil
Name of implementing organization:Centro Israelita Portoalegrense
Date of initial project approval:October 2001
Date of project renewal:November 2005
Number of Jews:
Local Jewish schools, and other Jewish organizations:
To provide, through pleasant situations, a vivid experience of our culture, tradition and values.
To create new bonds between the participating families and Judaism.
To bring the community closer to the synagogue, breaking the myth that there is only religious interest.
To develop new educators, with the purpose of achieving a modern system of education for our community.
To develop an educational leadership, interested in the process of achieving the required transformation in the Jewish schools.
This project aims to build feelings of Jewish identity, and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practices. It includes four components, each working with a different age group.
The first component, Lehatid, initially served children ages 4 through 10 years old. Classes meet for four hours, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, after which the children are provided with transportation to their state school. Children are divided into class groups by age. The curriculum includes Bible stories, Jewish traditions, and Israel. Parents with older children in the program have requested that the program be expanded to include a group for 3-year-olds. Parents also have requested that the program include lunch. 85 children currently participate in this program.
The second component of the program, Letamid, works with 11 and 12-year-old children, who have "graduated" from Lehatid. This program, takes place on Friday afternoons, and provides group activities with a curriculum including the Jewish calendar, the Jewish life cycle, the Synagogue, Shabbat, and Israel. Each week’s program concludes with a Shabbat ceremony, followed by the community Kabbalat Shabbat. Every two months a Shabbat meal takes place in the synagogue, for students and their families. 42 children currently participate in Letamid.
The third program component, Noar, serves youth during the year after Bar Mitzvah. It includes attendance at Kabbalat Shabbat services, Shabbat dinner, and a group activity. The curriculum includes Jewish identity, the Jewish festivals, the Mitzvot, and Zionism. 25 children currently are enrolled.
A fourth component, Maajan, has been added to the original program, due to the desire of youth who completed Noar to continue in the program. This initially began with two hours, and has expanded to four hours per week. The program consists of shiurim, on Monday and Wednesday evenings. 20 students currently participate.
The project is implemented by a General Director; coordinators for each component; teachers for the formal Jewish education components; and instructors who provide chugim in art, movement, dance, drama, and music, to further enrich the curriculum.
The reality for the Jewish community of Porto Alegre is that Jewish education is centered at the Colegio Israelita Brasileiro. However, not all school age children attend the Colegio Israelita. This is why Chavaia Kehilati is so important for the local Jewish community. The project has brought families who formerly were not participating in the life of the Jewish community, into the community framework. Families have been attracted by various activities (holiday celebrations, Kabbalat Shabbat for children, community activities, summer and winter camp programs, etc.).
The greatest challenges were to transform Chavaia Kehilati into a community project, to develop an educational program, to manage the space of the Porto Alegre community, and to provide for the continuity of the program.
It is important to hire a professional experienced in content development. This will facilitate enrichment of the program and the study materials.