Limudim: Kids’ Learning
Limudim (“Studies”) is IKAR’S educational program for Pre-K though 7th graders, designed to connect our children to Judaism and the world through a stimulating, interactive and inspiring Jewish learning experience.
- Pricing, Registration, & Contact
- Meet Our Teachers
Limudim aims to instill within our students a deep love of and connection to their Jewish heritage and Jewish life. Our goal is to educate them about their Jewish tradition, inspire them to pursue a life-long commitment to Jewish life and Jewish values, and encourage them to actively seek justice and righteousness in the world.
Limudim provides experiential and hands-on educational approaches to teach our students about their Jewish history, liturgy, and practice, through creative and artistic methods that engage them in deep, meaningful, and fun learning, through which they are able to think, feel, and live Judaism.
Knowing Judaism, Experiencing Judaism, Living Judaism.
Experiential education is a core principle of our teaching and learning.
We believe that when teaching kids, there is definitely a need for a basic core curriculum that will provide students with a common Jewish knowledge. However, children learn best when they are able to experience the material on their own in a hands-on way and relate it to their own daily lives, and utilize and explore their own natural skills, talents, and areas of interest.
This principle of experiential learning is especially important in Jewish education, where so much of the curriculum already relies on experience: one could tell a lot to a child about Sukkot, for example, but nothing will make that child grasp the essence of the holiday better than actually sitting in a sukkah and shaking the lulav and etrog. Similarly, we can teach our students about tzedakah, but nothing will make them truly understand the meaning of it like actually participating in a social action project.
We also strongly believe that the learning process should not end in the classroom, but rather continue in the homes of the students and the community at large. Judaism, at its core is about community. To this end, Limudim students meet on Shabbat, with the rest of the IKAR community, which helps both students and parents to learn together, feel the rhythm of the Jewish week, and establish their own Shabbat routine and practice.
Most importantly, we want our students to understand the core principle that their Judaism is not only a part of their Limudim experience, but of their entire lives. We do not want them to just ‘be Jewish’ in Limudim or at IKAR, but to understand and internalize the fact that what they learn here applies to every aspect of their lives, and that their Judaism carries through to their daily lives and their entire existence.
At IKAR, we promote a culture of both honoring and challenging the tradition. We believe that open questioning is vital and that every generation has a new set of questions. We encourage critical thinking and debate, and hope to together uncover innovative new paths to God, Torah, and a Jewish life of purpose. At the same time, we hope to instill a sense of love, commitment, obligation and responsibility to the Jewish people and to the larger world. We engage thoughtfully and seriously in the important questions facing us as Jews and as human beings.
Our students learn about social justice and tikkun olam (repairing the world) through study, advocacy and action on behalf of local and global causes. Limudim aims to bring the spirit of IKAR to our children, blending social justice with spiritual depth and helping students connect to Judaism and the world. Our community is creative, spiritual, and egalitarian, welcoming people of diverse backgrounds, affiliations and lifestyles.
Graduates of Limudim are young Jewish adults who possess a vast knowledge of Judaism and are deeply connected to their Jewish community. They have developed a deep appreciation for Judaism and a strong Jewish identity. They will have come out of our program with a strong sense of culture and of what it means to be Jewish and live Jewishly.
The Limudim curriculum is a spiral curriculum and a core knowledge curriculum. This means that some of the subjects are taught initially in the earlier grades and then revisited in later grades. These include Torah (and Nevi’im and Ketuvim), Avodah (prayer and liturgy), Mitzvot (and social Justice), and Jewish Holidays.
In Torah, students learn age-appropriate narratives from the tradition. In Avodah, students learn about the meaning and origins of some of the prayers and blessings they have practiced in services. In Mitzvot, students learn about different mitzvot and Jewish values. In Jewish holidays, students learn the customs, traditions, symbols, stories, and songs around each holiday, focusing in each grade on a different aspect of the holiday.
1st Grade – introduction to Israel (places, geography, culture, etc.)
2nd Grade – Jewish heroes (exploring Jewish history, culture, and values through learning about famous Jewish figures such as Sandy Koufax, Yoni Netanyahu, Abraham Joshua Heschel, etc.)
3rd Grade – ritual and practice (Shabbat, Kashrut, Havdalah, etc.)
4th Grade – Israel (a deeper look: history, Zionism, the modern state, etc.) and God (who/what is God, how do we talk about God, etc.)
5th Grade – Life Cycles (Brit Milah, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Jewish weddings, mourning rituals, etc.) and Jewish history (from the early Israelites to U.S. Jewry)
6th Grade – Israel (the different communities and different conflicts, the complexity of Israel), and Jewish history continued (from East European Jewry to American Jewry today)
7th Grade – big questions in Judaism (God, faith, Jewish identity, etc.), self-identity and becoming an adult through a Jewish perspective (in collaboration with the Moving Traditions program), and the connection between Judaism, the Holocaust, and social justice (in collaboration with the Righteous Conversations project with the LAMOTH)
The Hebrew program at Limudim is based on meeting the students where they are, catering to their individual needs, and teaching them at their level.
Both on Saturdays and Tuesdays students have specific periods dedicated to Hebrew only. The students are divided into mixed-ages levels based on assessments. The teachers use appropriate books, materials, games, and other resources in order to make the learning challenging, but also fun and engaging. The Hebrew curriculum is based on modern day Hebrew vocabulary, with the higher levels also focusing on liturgy and words and vocabulary from the Siddur.
Huggim (electives) are a way of enhancing the Limudim program through hands-on experiential education that calls on the creativity and artistic side of the students (and teachers). Through different electives, such as drama, music, cooking, and art, the students get to create and experiment with different projects as a compliment to their standard curriculum. The Huggim are taught by professional specialists.
We primarily follow the LAUSD calendar, and are also closed on Jewish holidays. Limudim Calendar 2019-2020
Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade
Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm. Kindergarten and first grade also have an optional Tuesday program from 4:00pm-6:15pm
Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm and Tuesdays, 4:00pm-6:15pm
• Before Winter Break: Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm and Tuesdays, 4:00pm-6:15pm
• After Winter Break: Saturdays, 7th grade students are welcome to join our Saturday teen program (Shabbateens) & Tuesdays 4:00pm-7:00pm.
Check out the Limudim Pricing Chart.
Limudim registration is now open to IKAR members! Register here.
For more information about Limudim please contact:
Sharon Graetz, Limudim Director (323.852.3703)
Limudim will not turn any child away due to financial constraints, thanks in large part to generosity of the Horowitz/Weintraub Memorial Early Childhood Education Fund. Donate to the fund by clicking here.
Gan Katan (PreK) – Debbie Younesi
Debbie Younesi, Gan Katan (PreK) Teacher, was born and raised in Iran. She lived in Israel for many years, earning her BA in Linguistics and Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching for over 25 years! Debbie works at our ECC during the week, and at several religious schools on the weekends. She is passionate about inspiring a love of Judaism in children.
Gan Gadol (K) – Jordana Lipsitz
Jordana is an LA transplant from Marylandish (also Pennsylvania). She graduated in 2013 with a BA from Temple University. She started at IKAR a year ago, working in the ECC and now Limudim. When Jordana isn’t teaching the magic of Judaism to the youngest learners at IKAR, she is usually snuggling with her four-legged life partner, Genevieve.
Kitah Keif (K/1st Grade) – Rabbi Deborah Goldmann
Originally from South America, Deborah now lives with her husband and two kids in the South Bay. She was ordained from Hebrew Union College in 2009 and serves, part-time, a congregation in Lubbock, Texas. Deborah has been teaching in religious schools since her sophomore year at UC Davis, working with kids ranging from pre-k through high school. She is enjoying being part of the IKAR community and getting to know our Kitah Keif (kindergarten and first grade Tuesday) kids. In her spare time, she runs, walks, reads, and finds moments of quiet wherever she can.
Kitah Bet (2nd Grade) – Anne Hromadka Greenwald
Anne Hromadka Greenwald holds Masters Degrees in Public Art Studies from USC and Jewish Nonprofit Management from Hebrew Union College (HUC-LA). These degrees unite her passions for exploring cultural heritage and for exhibitions that create open, unexpected conversations. Those values have guided all her work—including her time teaching, as the current curator for HUC-LA, and as curator for Valley Beth Shalom. She founded AMH Art Advisory in 2014.
Kitah Gimmel (3rd Grade) – Elana Mischel
Elana Mischel, Kitah Gimmel (3rd grade) is originally from Highland Park, New Jersey. She has attended religious schools for most of her life, and spent a year studying in Israel. She has taught at various Hebrew schools as well as a Montessori school. Her priority as a teacher is to get students engaged by making learning fun. Elana uses her background in acting to invent new and exciting learning games. She believes the dramatic arts can be a powerful teaching tool, specifically for remembering bible stories. Outside of teaching Elana works as a singer/songwriter and actress.
Kitah Vav (5th Grade) – David Mendelson
Hello, my name is David Mendelson and this is my second year as a Limudim teacher at IKAR. I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing community. I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA where I taught 4th grade – 7th grade over the course of four years at Temple Kol Emeth and Congregation B’nai Torah as well as being a part of the amazing yahadut staff where I taught incoming 5th graders through incoming 9th graders at Camp Ramah Darom during the summer of 2017. I am currently in my third year of rabbinical school at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. I am very passionate about making Judaism fun, accessible, and meaningful for all ages.
Kitah Vav (6th Grade) – Danny Zeff
Danny has taught at Limudim for 6 years. With a hunger for knowledge, he continuously seeks creative ways to get children excited about Jewish history and tradition. When he’s not teaching, Danny is either producing video content or blogging about Jewish pop culture. He lives with his fiancée Jessica and pets Daisy and Rudy.
Kitah Zayin (7th Grade) – Adam Strater
Adam is IKAR’s seventh grade teacher and Teen Coordinator. Adam loves to teach all ages, but he especially enjoys teaching teens and young adults because they keep him guessing and offer the most unfiltered Torah. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Adam moved to Berkeley, California after college to pursue graduate school, where he met his wife, Sharon. Together, Sharon, Adam, and their toddler Milo enjoy good food and travel. Outside of IKAR and family, Adam is a PhD candidate currently finishing his dissertation at Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion.
Kitah Dalet (4th Grade) and 2/3 Art – Lieba Gould
Lieba Gould is a Brandeis University graduate. In the past she worked as a Jewish educator at Temple Dorshei Tzedek, as a Youth Engagement Specialist at Temple Beth Elohim, and as a religious school teacher at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. She is an energetic and enthusiastic teacher who deeply cares about Judaism! She believes that in learning about our Jewish traditions, and celebrating them together we can learn to think deeply, question everything, and connect to our heritage. She is passionate about fostering experiential and creative classroom settings. She brings her love of art, mediation, and games to all of her classes.
Kitah Vav (6th Grade) and 4/5 Drama – David Schwartzbaum
David Schwartzbaum, Kitah Vav teacher, is a teacher and comedian who recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago. David has been working with Jewish students for a decade as a teacher and administrator. David was Manager of the largest education enrichment program in Chicago, serving over 10,000 students a day and he currently works for several Jewish organizations in Los Angeles where he focuses on weaving the values of performing arts in with Jewish tradition. When not working with Jewish students, David is a working actor/comedian in Los Angeles. He has toured the country teaching improv, sketch and creative writing to thousands of people of all ages. David believes that the classroom should be a place where students are physically moving, feel compelled to play and have the permission to be thinking deeply. He is excited to bring his brand of Jewish learning to IKAR. David spends his free time either on stage or watching professional wrestling. The most impressive fact about David is he has proudly attended the past seven WrestleManias.
Kitah Vav (6th Grade) – Rabbi Keilah Lebell
Kitah Zayin, (7th Grade) – Rabbi David Kasher
Rabbi David Kasher, Associate Rabbi at IKAR, will be teaching Kitah Zayin (seventh grade) on Tuesdays.
Hebrew Specialist – Matt Teitelman
Born in Chicago, Matt Teitelman earned a Bachelor of Music from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and subsequently spent over a decade on the East Coast performing and teaching music. As an amateur linguist, he has studied Hebrew, French, and Spanish, among other languages. Matt has visited Israel many times, and, in 2018, he spent a year with his family in Jerusalem where he devoted much of his time to the Hebrew language. He currently lives in Palms, Los Angeles with his wife Sivan, a rabbinical student, and his son Aidan, a four-year-old.
Hebrew Specialist – Parivash Moussazadeh
I was born and raised in Tehran/Iran. After graduating from high school, l I moved to Israel. I continued my education at Technion College and got my Bachelor’s degree in Math & Computer Science from Tel-Aviv University. After ten years living in Israel, I moved to LA and got my Teacher Associate certificate in child development from Santa Monica College. I have been working as a preschool teacher and also as a Hebrew and Judaica teacher for the last 27 years at different Jewish schools. This is the eighth year that I have worked at Limudim and I also started working at IKAR’s ECC. I have the love and passion for teaching different age groups of children and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with them.
Floater – Meghan Hart
My name is Meghan Hart and I grew up in Irvine, CA. I graduated from University of Kansas and immediately went to earn my teaching credential through the DeLeT program at Hebrew Union College. I then earned my Masters in Teaching from the American Jewish University. I worked as a general studies teacher at Pressman Academy for 5 years and I am now a 4thgrade teacher at Valley Beth Shalom. This is my sixth year teaching at IKAR!
Floater – Ben Paul
Ben Paul, one of our Saturday Floaters, is from Los Angeles and attended Sinai Akiba and Shalhevet. He has been teaching Limudim for two years and has worked as a counselor at Camp Ramah. Ben has a strong background in Jewish history, religion, and Hebrew language. He is interested in exploring the world’s cultures and lived abroad for many years in China. His six-year-old daughter attends Limudim on Saturdays.
Torah Hugg Specialist – Molly Dworsky
This is Molly Dworsky’s second year teaching the 5th grade “Torah Through Improv” chugg. Molly hails from Minneapolis, where she got her degree in Family Social Science from the U of M. She was very active in the Minnesota theater and improv comedy scenes, as a company member at ComedySportz for a decade, as well as performing, writing, and directing for the Minnesota Fringe Festival and participating in community and regional theater productions. She’s lived in LA for almost 8 years, where she is part of a musical comedy collective — Robot Teammate — that creates improvised and written musicals. As part of this groups, she performs, writes, and directs, and most recently spent December starring in POCKETS, their latest original musical, off-broadway at SoHo Playhouse in NYC. Molly loves being part of the IKAR community, and looks forward every week to interpreting the Torah through performance with our smart and creative 5th graders!