Young People | Congregation Darchei Noam
At Congregation Darchei Noam, we strive to make Judaism meaningful to our youth through interactive programming that prepares children for active involvement in Jewish life. The Reconstructionist approach to education encourages families and children to be full participants in the act of meaning-making and community building, and our youth programming encourages children to think for themselves. Our Hebrew School provides children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 with an interactive environment for Jewish learning. In addition to our educational programming, we offer a full range of Shabbat and Holy Day programming designed with our young community members in mind.
Our youth are our future, and we are committed to their growth and development. Whether you are a member of Congregation Darchei Noam or not, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Darchei Noam is a very special experience. In addition to attending classes, students are encouraged to participate in all parts of synagogue life with their families, including our extensive programming and religious services. It is the practice at Darchei Noam, following the Reconstructionist tradition, to celebrate both Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations following the child’s thirteenth birthday.
During the year prior to the simchah, students meet for class approximately twice each month from September to May. They tackle three topics that are vital to a person’s transition from childhood to adulthood: Mitzvah (our ethical code), theology (our ways of approaching God and Godliness), and Kavanah (services from the heart). This is done through a mixture of text study, discussion, community projects, learners’ services on Shabbat and a retreat to help students achieve a sense of community and friendship. Additionally, students study with a tutor to acquire the requisite skills, such as Torah and Haftarah blessings and chanting. Together, the students participate in a group mitzvah project to encourage them to move towards Jewish “adulthood” with a strong sense of ethical duty.
We encourage families to study together, attend services, perform tzedakah, and strengthen their ongoing bonds with Darchei Noam and its members. Families wishing to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Darchei Noam join our Congregation as members for at least two years prior to their simchah. In this way, they are fully integrated into the Darchei Noam community, promoting a sense of sharing in the mitzvah of being called to the Torah.
At Congregation Darchei Noam, our teens become involved in synagogue life in a variety of ways. Whether it is by working and volunteering with the younger children in our synagogue programming, or volunteering in broader community initiatives like First Interfaith Out of the Cold or Shabbat services for residents of Baycrest, our teens are an integral part of everything we do. For teens looking to fulfill their high school community service hours, Darchei Noam has many opportunities that are meaningful and will connect teens to each other and to their community.
Recognizing the importance of keeping our youth in touch with each other and connected to our community after their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, we host annually a DNTeen Shabbat, where our teens get together to lead our Shabbat morning service in the sanctuary for the whole congregation. We welcome our teens to read Torah or haftarah, or to deliver divrei Torah to continue their Jewish growth and development beyond Hebrew School.