The children and families of Kol Ami are an integral part of our congregation. Our education program provides our children with strong connections to Jewish traditions, culture, and ethics as well as prayers and the Hebrew language. Children are welcomed at Shabbat services and we encourage families to enroll their children in our Jewish Children’s Education Program which meets late on Sunday afternoons.
We invite you to become a Kol Ami family and infuse these programs with your energy and creativity. We function with the participation and generosity of members’ time, energy and expertise. The success of our programs relies on this volunteer involvement.
The location for all programs unless otherwise noted is the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA), 4444 Arlington Blvd, Arlington VA.
To learn more about these programs, please contact the Coordinator of Kol Ami’s Children and Family Programs.
Children as young as 6 years of age are welcome to enroll in our program. Classes meet from 5:00 to 6:30 pm on Sundays during the school year at the UUCA except when the dates coincide with Jewish holidays or school breaks.
Several members of our community volunteer as JCEP teachers. They are dedicated to making religious education fun and engaging. Our parent teachers create a gentle, positive atmosphere in the classroom, and encourage debate and discussion on the day’s topic. The curriculum emphasizes Jewish traditions, stories and values, and history, as well as Hebrew. We group children into small classes based on age and abilities.
If you are interested in enrolling your child, please contact the Coordinator of Kol Ami’s Children and Family Programs . We are happy to connect you with a teacher to learn more about the program. You may also schedule a time to observe a class. Families must be or become Kol Ami members before enrolling their children. The additional registration fee for JCEP is $325 for one child; $500 if you enroll two or more children. You will find JCEP teacher bios on the Kol Ami Leaders page.
Shabbat Services (for all ages): Our services are informal, and filled with singing, sounds of varied musical instruments, and open dialogue. We delight in the sights and sounds of children of all ages!
Over the course of each month we hold three Shabbat services. They are held either on Friday night or Saturday morning. Check the events page for leaders and types of services. Our services vary from rabbi-led to lay-led, from a poetry service, to musical services, to text study and speakers, and much more. Come join us!
In addition, each year the teachers and children from our Jewish Children’s Education Program (JCEP) lead one or more School Shabbat services for the community. Prior to these services the community will enjoy dinner together. Please check our events page for these services. Please RSVP for dinner to the Coordinator of Kol Ami’s Children and Family Programs .
For children about 3 to 6 years old: We welcome children of all ages to join our main Shabbat services. However, we also realize that young children’s attention is short and may not be able to attend the entire service.
Reaching the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a major milestone in the life of a child, his or her family, and the entire congregation. We are thrilled to watch children grow up in the community, attend JCEP, join us at services, and become more and more at home with Jewish living. Our Bnai Mitzvah services follow traditional lines but offer an opportunity for creative expressions of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student. We are sensitive to the differing needs, backgrounds, and level of comfort of each child with public performance.
Children (and their parents) interested in becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah are encouraged to review the Kol_Ami_Bnai_Mitzvah Policy & Expectations.
Parents should contact Rabbi Gilah Langner and may also wish to review the FAQs for Kol Ami B’nai Mitzvah Service and Celebration – March 2016 and Securing Shabbat Hosts for B’nai Mitzvahs.
Several Kol Ami members may be available to work with your child and family to provide B’nai Mitzvah consultation and/or training; we also recommend a number of tutors in Northern Virginia. B’nai Mitzvah students and their families usually meet with the Rabbi two to three times during the year before the service, in addition to holding a rehearsal the week of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Questions? Please contact the Coordinator of Kol Ami’s Children and Family Programs or contact Rabbi Gilah Langner.
Kol Ami offers High Holiday services for two age groups of children — young children (ages 3-6 years) and school-age children (ages 7-12 years) during the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning. At least one parent of the younger children must stay with your child/children during the service. Children who are 13 and older are welcome to attend our main services. In addition, younger children are also welcome to join their family at the main services.
Our High Holiday Children’s Services provides children with the meaning of the holidays as well as age-appropriate singing and crafts. Children join the main service to hear the shofar blown on Rosh Hashanah. For non-member families, donations are appreciated but not required.
Kol Ami holds a congregation-wide Hanukkah celebration at the UUCA or in a member’s home most years. Check the events calendar for details. We hold a Purim carnival and community-wide celebration at the UUCA, led by Rabbi Gilah with lots of volunteers. Check the events calendar for details. Kids and adults alike enjoy our Purim spiel that retells the story of Purim with a modern twist! Kol Ami also holds a community-wide Tu B’Shevat Seder led by our rabbi, and a Passover Seder led by member Herb Levy, at the UUCA. Check the events calendar for details.