Join Kol Hai's Forest Hebrew School!
"Thank you for everything you have done for this incredible Hebrew School this year. [Our child] has loved it!"
"Thank you so much for a beautiful first year of Hebrew School. [Our daughter] enjoyed it very much and was so proud to share what she learned when we gathered with family for holidays."
Join our upcoming nine-month program at Stone Mountain Farm in New Paltz, NY. Classes will begin September 13th and will run for approximately 30 weeks. Program will not meet in January.
$850 Yasod Program (ages 5-8) Thursdays, 4:15-5:15 pm
$1200 Mitzvah Program (ages 9-12) Tuesdays 4:15-5:45pm
Please Contact Renée with any questions.
Forest Hebrew School offers village-building, nature-based learning, and soul-centric rites of passage for youth in our community. Through explorations of Judaism, spirituality, and nature connection, our programs plant seeds of purpose and interconnection that our young ones can draw upon and continue to develop for the rest of their lives. Our classes are taught outside, or in an open-air barn at the base of Mohonk Mountain.
Yesod (Foundations) Program - Ages 5-8
This program is geared towards sparking the imagination, utilizing play-based games, exercises, and theatrical explorations to introduce concepts such as:
- Wilderness survival and leadership skills
- Hebrew letters and vocabulary
- Torah stories & holidays
- Jewish History
- Core principles, ethics, and values of Judaism
- Prayers and rituals – traditional and non-traditional
- Mindfulness, hitbodedut/self-awareness, meditation
- Food systems, farming, cooking
- Bird-language, fire-building, shelter-building, and more.
Mitzvah Program - Ages 9-12
Mitzvah (translated as a righteous action), is a program for pre-teens ages 9 to 12. Our classes will teach the above topics, with more depth and breadth, emphasizing leadership in our community or "village." Our curriculum will include the foundational learning that prepares a child for a B'nai Mitzvah, including Hebrew reading, though those students having a B'nai Mitzvah ceremony may wish to obtain private tutoring to prepare individually.
Each of our Mitvah participants will experience a “Rite of Passage.” This will take place in the child's final year of the program and will involve a significant challenge according to each child’s ability - in most cases, a solo fire-tending experience. In preparation for this, we draw upon mentorship and character-building practices from many toolboxes and cultures, aimed at the development of empathy, responsibility, creativity, self-reliance, leadership, and a sense of spiritual connection.
Arielle Aronoff is the former Director of Teva, the outdoor education program of Hazon at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. A graduate of Kibbutz Lotan's Green Apprenticeship Program, Arielle brings knowledge of the intersections of Judaism and ecology in education and seeks to create a learning environment in which children's natural inclination for play, exploration, and curiosity can be engaged while they develop a meaningful relationship to Jewish tradition and the land.
Jamie Fleishman grew up a part of the synagogue co-founded by his great-grandfather, Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie. He left the area for Brandeis, where ironically he was not involved in the Jewish community. Totally unexpectedly, he found a deep sense of community in Beijing, China, where he studied abroad and later worked. He found a Jewish home (in all senses of the word) living for three years at the Beijing Moishe House, which served as a cultural, spiritual, and community hub for Beijing’s vibrant young professional Jewish community.
After stints at a Jewish international aid organization and an MSW program, Jamie returned to the Hudson Valley right before the pandemic to reconnect with his roots — the roots of his childhood, spirituality/religion, family, and the roots of our plant, flower, and tree relatives. Jamie is excited to join the Forest School and to learn alongside students getting to know all those types of roots. He’s particularly interested in how students approaching B’nai Mitzvah will engage in rituals and practices that support connection with Spirit and healthy individual/communal/planetary growth.
EARLY BIRD - Register here by July 15th
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