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Religious School 2023/2024

Resources for talking about Israel with children


Dear Religious School Families,


I write to you today with great concern for our children, and how the recent events in Israel and Gaza may affect them. I’d like to offer some suggestions about how to best talk to our kids about what is going on, and help guide them through whatever they may be feeling and wondering about. There are a number of things to consider here.

First of all, children need us to be calm presences facing what is going on. They want to feel safe and reassured. We don’t determine how children feel; but we model for them how to behave. It’s important to give children a chance to name what they are feeling. It’s also important to give children space and permission to talk and ask questions. And we don’t need to know all the answers to their questions.


Chances are that children around you will either see or hear something about what is going on in Israel and Gaza. Or even that they will sense something is wrong from watching how you yourself are feeling and reacting to the recent events there. You don’t need to hide your feelings, but we need to assure children that we’re not upset because of them. You can just explain that you are sad because there is a war in Israel, but that it’s not because of them.


How young is too young to talk about this? Teacher Educator Dr. Sivan Zakai, says that if a child can talk, they can talk about this. You should assume your kids do know or will know something is going on. Children hear things from other children or adults or from assorted media. It’s best to frame it up front. You don’t need to give gruesome details. Talk to them at their level of understanding. Be willing to deal with it when it comes up. It’s okay too if they don’t want to talk about it, but it’s important for them to know you are open to it and there for them if they do.


Children want and need to know that they are safe. Reassure them of their safety. You can discuss the safety measures that are in place in their schools, and right here at Adat Shalom, for instance, having our guards and security gates. We have done everything in our power to protect them. We are not alone. We have strength together as a family and a community.


By 2nd and 3rd grade, many children have access to the internet and social media. It’s important to monitor your children’s access to social media and websites, and to limit children’s access to violent videos and pictures. Things can’t be unseen once they are seen. You might want to set screen time rules, and explain that there will be different rules in place for the next few weeks. Consider deleting certain apps for now. For older children, you may want to suggest certain websites that you feel give accurate and reliable information.


We want to preserve children’s mental health. One way to help with this is by preserving a sense of normalcy, such as regular meals, regular bedtimes, lots of hugs. Primary education happens in the home in conjunction with schools and synagogues. Give your children basic information about what is taking place, at an appropriate age level for their understanding. Give them a chance to name what they are feeling. Allow them to ask questions. You might want to ask “What else do you want to know?” You don’t need to know the answer, but offer to sit and think about it together.


I highly recommend the following article by Dr. Sivan Zakai for talking to your children in specific age groups about what is going on in Israel. In it, she gives some very concrete examples of conversations you can have with children of different age groups. Here is the website:


I hope these suggestions are helpful to you as you navigate this challenging situation of talking with your children. I have heard children of different ages asking about and commenting on the situation in Israel, so I know they are aware and wanting to talk. I am of course open to talking with any of you further about this, or hearing how your children are reacting. Please don’t hesitate to call or email me at (562) 234-8560,


In closing, I’d like to point out that in this week’s Torah portion, we read in Genesis the story of Cain and Abel. And Cain asks “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I suggest that we are indeed each other’s keepers. As such, we need to band together as a community as much as possible and be sensitive and caring toward one another. May we all experience our own sense of peace, as we pray for peace in Israel and for our Israeli brethren.



Rabbi Karen Isenberg

Adat Shalom Religious School Director


Adat Shalom’s Religious School offers a unique, engaging, and joyful religious school experience.  Our approach is experiential and highly dynamic, bringing together the best of traditional Jewish education with a program that is both relevant and forward-thinking.


The religious school offers a flexible schedule that includes Sunday mornings, and a community for the entire family including Friday night dinners, Saturday morning services, Sunday morning learning forums, and more! The program provides a well-rounded education that strengthens our students’ Jewish identity, building character as Jewish citizens of the world.  It is a place where children and their families become part of a warm and enthusiastic community, and where Torah and Judaism come alive.

We are now offering the first year of Religious School FREE with membership.


Program highlights include:

  • An approach to Jewish learning that emphasizes critical thinking and personal connections
  • Meaningful learning opportunities with Rabbi Potok and Rabbi Isenberg
  • Joyful Tefillah (prayer) and lively music with Cantor Dale Schatz
  • Hebrew instruction geared toward synagogue skills
  • Seamless transition to Adat Shalom’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah track, guided personally by Rabbi Potok
  • Hands-on Tikkun Olam projects that teach acts of loving kindness within the Jewish community and with our neighbors in the wider community
  • Connection with Israel

Religious School Learning 

Sunday Schedule

9:00am - 11:30am at Adat Shalom

Community Shabbat

For a few weekends this year, we are introducing an experiential, family learning program to occur on Shabbat. This is part of our curriculum. We hope you make this a priority and attend.

Morah Ronit

Cantor Dale Schatz

Additional Resources

"My Pesach Packet:  Journal Prompts and Activities Special for 2020" by Sari Kopitnikoff. Click here to download. 


Jewish Learning, Anywhere, Anytime:  
Jewish Interactive has ready-made FREE Jewish and Hebrew resources for you to use immeditely for home learning. Click here for JiBytes home page and click here for JiBytes Passover.


From PJ Library:

PJ Library National is offering a string of engaging offerings throughout the day for parents and children at Also, PJ in LA will be launching fun and engaging offerings Monday to Friday starting this week on our PJLibrary in LA Facebook page.

Read-alouds and storytime - We have limited permission from certain publishers to create videos for the main PJ Library Facebook page during this time. We encourage you to share these videos-they are posted every weekday at 11am, 1pm, and 4pm, eastern. You can also find the full library of them at



From BJE (Building Jewish Education):

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784