A pluralistic Progressive cheder in Harrow is the first stage of a partnership between four north London synagogues.
More than 100 youngsters from the Middlesex New and Kol Chai Reform congregations, Harrow and Wembley Progressive and Hatch End Masorti have joined the cheder, based initially at the Middlesex New’s Bessborough Road premises. The age range of pupils is from five to 18.
Cheder head Jacky Martin formerly led Kol Chai’s religion school. She said the cheder was “accepting and inclusive” and that students would receive a “wide and grounded Jewish education, will learn for their bar- or batmitzvah in a way suitable for each community and will then study for GCSE and Kabbalat Torah and to become assistant teachers.
“There are two things we aim to give our children — a love and emotional attachment to Judaism and the knowledge and educational tools to equip them to practise their Judaism.
“If they love Judaism, they will continue to learn for the rest of their lives. We also aim to provide children who attend Jewish day schools with the one thing those schools cannot provide — a connection with their own synagogue and community.”
With the cheder up and running, the four congregations will progress their plans to share accommodation and resources on a new site.
An accord on the partnership was signed in April and the formal creation of the joint community is expected next spring.