Cheder

Hebrew and Jewish Studies for Children

“Teach your children” is at the heart of the culture and faith of Judaism. The OJC works very hard to fulfill this mitzvah, particularly in relation to its children.

The Oxford Jewish Congregation’s Cheder teaches Hebrew and Jewish studies to children between the ages of 5 to 15 years.  At the end of the senior class children may sit a GCSE in Jewish studies. Many of these children choose to remain involved in cheder by becoming helpers, then going on to our teacher training programme and eventually becoming teachers.

Classes are held on Sunday mornings during term-time at the OJC starting promptly at 9:45 and finishing at 12.30pm.  Our well trained and committed cheder team works very hard to make learning enjoyable and Sunday mornings are a buzz of activity. We regularly get positive feedback both from parents and from students.  Our cheder reflects the welcoming nature of the community which embraces and recognises all regardless of background or level of observance. 

We offer a dynamic programme comprising 3 sessions – Judaic Studies, Hebrew, and ‘Options’. 

Judaic Studies – our year groups follows a spiral curriculum in five areas – Tefillah, Torah, History, Living a Jewish Life, and the Calendar.

Hebrew – each week students work individually through the Aleph Champ reading programme and have classroom lessons to extend and reinforce their knowledge of Hebrew.

Options – These creative lessons change half termly and students are often given the opportunity to choose the activities that they enjoy the most.  We regularly incorporate crafts, drama, music, cookery and the use of our laptops.

We also organise several off curriculum activities including a Cheder Seder, Sukkah Decorating and Mitzvah Day.  One of our students favourite events is our annual residential weekend based at a site close to Oxford.  During the year we hold ‘Classes Shabbats’ where students are encouraged to participate in services.  We rotate between Orthodox, Masorti and Liberal services with the aim for students to grow up familiar with and comfortable with several strands of Jewish religious practice, irrespective of their personal background.

Children are accepted into cheder classes once they have reached the age of 5 and are in year 1 at school. Those who have attended Playshul find the transition particularly easy, but new arrivals are always welcome at whatever age. We have a considerable transient population in Oxford, and are adept at accommodating children who may only be here for a short while, or who wish to engage with the community at any age.

We also welcome children of those who are not members of the OJC. Fees for cheder are paid as part of the OJC subscription.  Non-members pay by cheque.  If you wish to enrol your children or would like to look around the cheder with a view to joining, please contact classes@ojc-online.org.

Parent involvement is strongly encouraged at the OJC, being positive on many levels including the good example it sets for the children, emphasising that parents consider the cheder commitment to be an important one.

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