Norma’s HaKol Article

Temple Beth El Religious School July 2023 Update

Norma James

Religious School is out for summer, but Judaism is 24/7.  What do you have planned to enrich your family’s Jewish connection this summer? When you vacation, look for Jewish museums, landmarks, or historical synagogues. They are everywhere. Rabbi Raina Siroty, our new rabbi, begins at Temple Beth El July1st.  This would be a wonderful time to bring your family to a Shabbat service.  We can plan a Family service, but all of Rabbi Siroty’s services will have a family touch.  There are always special Jewish events going on in Knoxville, make it a goal to attend at least one or two.  Consider doing a family mitzvah project that you plan together.  If you are enjoying nature, remember to make Jewish connections with your children and perhaps say a prayer together.  Light Shabbat candles, have wine/grape juice, and challah. If you need the Shabbat prayers go to MyJewishLearning or  We all get carried away with our summer activities and our good intentions can be forgotten.  Put a simple reminder on your calendar on the wall or in your phone.  It can just say “Jewish?” to remind you to do something Jewish that week. It is easier than you think!

Let’s go to camp! Many of our children will be campers or counselors at Milton Collins Day Camp at the AJCC.  There is still time for you to sign up your child.  We are excited that many of our young people will be attending our URJ Camp Colman in Cleveland, GA.  We have many students who will attend other wonderful Jewish camps in surrounding states such as Camp Blue Star, Camp Barney Medintz, and Camp Nadav.  In addition, many children attend secular camps; some of which have lots of Jewish campers. There is an abundance of specialty day camps in our area.  Both day camps and overnight camps provide wonderful opportunities for children to explore their interests, grow their independence, enrich their spirituality, commune with nature, develop lifelong friendships, and have fun!

Norma is available for summer Hebrew! Would you like for your child to have some individual Hebrew this summer.  I have found this can make a huge difference for a child’s Hebrew confidence.  I offer this at no cost to parents. I like to keep it flexible to work around both your and my summer activities. Email or text me if you are interested.  If you want an in-person small group of friends, I can work that out as well.

Religious School for 2023-2024 begins August 27.  Registration will begin August 1 and will be completely online on our Temple Website.  Go to and select the Religious School registration link.