(August 24, 2021, Yad Binyamin, Israel, JNS wire)
Last year, as schools around the world remained closed due to the COVID pandemic, Steven and Amy Harris from Long Island sought a Jewish education solution that would provide their son with meaningful Jewish learning throughout. the year. They learned Kitah from their rabbi, Ira Ebbin, spiritual leader of Congregation Ohav Shalom in Merrick, NY. The Harris family enrolled Sean in Kitah, so he could learn to grow in Jewish learning alongside his busy schedule in public school.
Today, many families do not send their children to a formal Jewish school.
In recent years, many families have moved away from metropolitan areas, often to communities that do not offer full-time Jewish education. Some families have children who are simply not doing well in the local Jewish school. Other families prefer homeschooling. Finally, many families find the financial burden of the Jewish school too heavy to bear and instead send their children to public school. All of these families supplement their children’s Jewish learning at home.
Yet too often these families lack the experience, materials and time to provide their children with a rich Jewish education.
To help meet this critical need, Rabbi Reuven Spolter created Kitah, the online Jewish class for families.
Inspired by the famous Khan Academy, Kitah’s classes combine student-driven instruction via a YouTube video with online questions that reinforce what children have learned.
Families enrolled in Kitah receive on-demand Torah, Navi, Mishnah and Gemara classes each week, and students complete their classes at their own pace, according to their own schedule. At the end of the week, students meet with Rabbi Spolter for a Zoom Group Lesson to review and reinforce what they have learned in their lessons and play educational games online.
Kitah follows a unique pricing structure.
“Kitah has to be affordable,” says Spolter. “For this reason, families with more than one child can register their children without having to worry about any additional costs.” Last year, several families took advantage of the offer, and a Midwestern family enrolled three of their children together.
Rabbi Ebbin of New York was extremely pleased with the program.
“Kitah has been an incredible resource for parents in my community,” he said. “The superb educators and the phenomenal teaching style have helped the children in my community improve their skills and even be excited to learn.”
The Harris family strongly agreed. “We loved the program,” said Amy Harris. “It exceeded our expectations and provided Sean with a high school base for an education in the yeshiva.”
Kitah’s next school year begins on Monday August 30. Parents interested in learning more about Kitah or registering their children can visit www.kitah.org, or contact Rabbi Reuven Spolter at firstname.lastname@example.org.