Kehilat Hadar and Shaare Zedek share a commitment to be welcoming and inclusive to families with children of all ages, and for all members of the family to comfortably attend as much of our services and programming as they are able to. There are moments of our prayer service when we fill the room with beautiful song and are excited to have our children’s voices join with us. As there are also times of silent prayer or teaching, we do ask that parents are mindful of their children and noise levels during those times.
In addition to the main service, we have a variety of space and program options for kids during our Shabbat morning services, which meet at Schechter Manhattan, 805 Columbus Avenue, entrance on 100th Street.
As a joint community, our goals are that children:
- Come to understand our shared communal identity as one that elevates traditional Jewish life and liturgy in an egalitarian setting, and they are encouraged to grow their commitment to Jewish practice, alongside adults in our community.
- Experience the values of the community through the content of programming and the interactions they have with adults: empowerment, dignity, care and connection across life stages, and responsiveness to each other.
- Love coming to services and being in our shared community. Their experience of Shabbat and holidays is positive and engaging.
- Learn skills and tunes to be able to participate in our main service.
- Make friends in and through our community and are supported in having positive social interactions with their peers of different ages.
- Are treated with respect by all adults.
- Are welcomed into the main service to have a full experience alongside their parents, caregivers, and other adults.
Our communities organize:
- Weekly supervised playrooms for different ages.
- Weekly Shabbat morning activities for children up to 4th grade, and monthly Shabbat morning activities for children in grades 5-7.
- Communal celebrations of select Shabbat evenings, Shabbat afternoons, and holidays.
Please read our communal guidelines, addressing how we approach children to help them thrive.
Children are welcome and encouraged to attend our main service to enjoy, learn, and participate in our spirited davening. There is a space provided at the back of the main room for children to quietly play and read. Parents are expected to help maintain quiet in the back of the room.
Tot Shabbat Room
A space for children of all ages to play, though primarily geared to children under age 5 (Pre-K) Children should generally be accompanied by an adult, though this room is staffed.
Summer: 9:45 AM – 12:45 PM
Winter: 9:15 AM – 12:15 PM
The intent of the staffed room is to help support families with young children (under 8). It is not intended to be fully drop off, but you can go in and out, as this room is located right next to our main services. Parents and caregivers are still responsible for diaper changes, trips to the bathroom, and returning if child is in need of more supervision.
Our weekly Tot Shabbat services are held in this room: 10:45–11:15 AM year-round.
Children must be accompanied by an adult during Tot Shabbat Services.
Big Kids Room
A space for children in Kindergarten and up. We encourage children to be accompanied by an adult at times when the room is not staffed or programming is not taking place, in order to ensure that the school space is respected.
Summer: 9:45 AM – 12:45 PM
Winter: 9:15 AM – 12:15 PM
In addition to a paid staff running monthly programming for children in this age group, we will also have a Shinshin (Israeli post-high school ambassador) helping to run games, lessons, and activities.
Please note that children cannot be left unattended in the hallways of the school.
Tot Shabbat Service
Tot Shabbat Room | Weekly at 10:45–11:15 AM year-round
Infant to Pre-K
Join us for a spirited family service with song, movement, and story followed by grape juice and a snack. These services are geared towards children under age 5, with older siblings welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Kindergarten to 4th Grade Program
K–4 Room | Monthly at 10:15–11:15 AM year-round
Join us for movement activities including; games, yoga, dance, and more, followed by Jewish learning, prayer, discussion, and singing.
5th to 7th Grade Program
Monthly at 10:15–11:30 AM year round
Rabbi Esther Azar, SZ’s previous Director of Family Engagement, leads a monthly program, with the goal of enhancing the children’s love for and connection with Judaism as they enter young adulthood.
On all other weeks, older children are free to use the big kids’ room, except during the hour of K-4th grade programming. At that time, we encourage parents to invite their big kids into the main service.
(Coming Soon) Movement for Toddlers
Tot Shabbat Room | Weekly at 10:15-10:45 AM year-round
Little ones are invited to join in energizing activities before the Tot Shabbat service. Dance, jump, stretch, and smile as we celebrate shabbat with our whole bodies.
Additional programming outside of Shabbat mornings will be posted as special events on our website.
If you are interested in leading a service or program for children please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also run a list-serve to help parents in our communities connect with one another. Email email@example.com to join!
You can also speak to members of our Kids' Programming Team for more info:
Ariella Tabick, Alison Kapusta and Jason Lehrer