Kohelet Yeshiva High School, Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Kohelet Yeshiva High School implemented several initiatives aimed at enhancing the tefillah experience and expanding tefillah education: a tefillah class entitled Jewish Outlook, special minyanim throughout the year, an assigned seating system in the Beit Midrash, and the development of a new tefillah curriculum.

JEWISH OUTLOOK

Jewish Outlook was a big success, allowing the school to start teaching tefillah in a formal manner for the first time. In 2016-2017, students in 9th and 10th grades had a class three times a week for about six weeks overall. These three classes were held during other Judaic Studies subjects, each of which gave up one class from their rotation. In 2017-2018, the class will get its own consistent schedule and class location.

Kohelet

SPECIAL MINYANIM

Kohelet developed a Freshmen minyan, a singing minyan, a Sephardic minyan, an explanatory minyan and a special minyan for a handful of students for whom tefillah is most challenging. The explanatory minyan, held Mondays and Thursdays, was the most successful with an abridged davening followed by parsha (weekly Torah portion) questions and a brief discussion of a theme or topic of the davening. Local NCSY staff, with parent approval, ran the special minyan for four to six students who had a difficult time davening. These students spent about 30 minutes looking at sources on davening, and were then asked to put on tefillin, and say Shema and Shmonei Esrei. The program was very helpful both for these students as well as for the main minyan for they no longer distracted other trying to daven.

BUILDING A TEFILLAH CURRICULUM FROM THE GROUND UP

Kohelet has begun developing a tefillah curriculum as a result of Legacy 613’s Tefillah Initiative. The staff took a holistic approach towards davening and asked themselves what they want a tefillah education to encompass and the best way to achieve that. They created Tefillah mini-courses that will allow students to choose a topic of study for an entire week. These courses will take place instead of Tanach classes for a week in 2017-2018. Topics include “Does Davening Work?” “Biblical Sources in Tefillah,” and “Tachanun Workshop.”