Spiritual Community Life- Religious Education

  • Confirmation Class of 1953 at the Agudas Achim Synagogue

  • Confirmation Class of 1911 at Congretation Beth Israel

  • Adult Hebrew Class at The Emanuel Synagogue

  • Religious education class at The Emanuel Synagogue, c.1930's

When in the new centers of Jewish population new synagogues were built, they generally assumed the responsibility of providing Hebrew education for children and held sessions three times a week after public school hours. In 1952, four synagogues Agudas Achim, Beth David, Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, and the Emanuel Synagogue introduced a mandatory three day a week school for girls and boys in the fourth through the seventh grades. Children in the first three grades, and beyond the eighth, continued to attend classes only once a week. Beth El and Beth Sholom later adopted the same program, and eventually all Conservative and Orthodox schools in the Hartford area maintained a three day a week curriculum.

The Conservative synagogues also introduced a Leadership Training Fellowship, and a Midrasha (a Hebrew High School) where students after their public high school sessions could receive six hours additional instruction each week. In 1952, when the Midrasha was organized, 16 students were in attendance; by 1969, there were 129.

The success of these educational programs for girls and boys, together with their summer educational experience at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts, was reflected in more enlightened youths and better trained leaders and adults in the Jewish community.