The Reform Temple of Forest Hills Parents Association, generally referred to as "the PA," provides adjunct support for Religious School programming and events. The PA sponsors, staffs, and is involved in many of the family-oriented activities that take place at the Temple each year. The PA is an integral component of the RTFH community, the larger family to which we all belong.
PA members and their families form friendships and learning circles; they help each other in ways large and small. The PA is a way for the parents and guardians of children in the RTFH Religious School to become involved in the Religious School and be connected to your child's learning experience. In addition, it provides a voice for parents within the Religious School and overall Temple community.
The PA provides a wide variety of support, from serving apples & honey in the classrooms on Rosh Hashanah to organizing the Purim Carnival and everything in between. A sample of annual PA events might include (subject to scheduled events as per the annual RTFH calendar):
Sukkot: Each year the Religious School celebrates the holiday by making new decorations, sharing a snack together or sometimes even a meal in the Temple's sukkah. PA volunteers are called upon to assist with decorating and/or food prep and service. It is a time where parents can assist the children while connecting with each other and enjoying the holiday as well.
Book Fair: This is our largest fund-raiser event. Typically held on the two Sundays & Wednesdays prior to Chanukah, the Book Fair is a great place to shop for books and gift items for your children, your friends and family, and yourself. The Book Fair features an extensive collection of Jewish books, including picture books, cookbooks, and fiction and nonfiction for both children and adults, as well as a selection of secular titles. PA volunteers set up and break down the Fair, help students shop, run the online e-book fair and run the check out. Through fund raising efforts, the PA makes a significant contribution to the library each year.
Chanukah Workshop: Programming for this holiday includes arts and crafts projects that children make to keep or give as Chanukah gifts. Older students might explore the "gift of giving" through the Tzedakah Fair where they will learn about charities and organizations that "give back" to the community. Occasionally as the calendar permits, the RTFH Religious School might participate in a mass latke-making! (And latke-eating!) The PA also provides candles, dreidels, and gelt to all students as well as to the college outreach program.
Hamantaschen: Continuing the food theme, RTFH religious school students may also make hamantaschen during Purim, as the RTFH calendar permits. For both this and the latke-making, PA volunteers work with students in the kitchen, ensure that all students have a chance to participate and that everyone's hands are clean.
Purim Carnival: Purim is a highlight of the year. Beginning with an always-hilarious Purimspiel, the event then continues with a fantastic Carnival. The teens from ToFHY are the event's DJ; the children dance, play games & win prizes at the various booths, and eat hot dogs and hamentashen. The Purim Carnival also features our wonderful gift basket raffle, with prizes that range from home-baked cookies to brand new games and toys, from discounts on Temple memberships to gift cards from area merchants. In addition to organizing this event, PA volunteers sell the food and drink, give out hamentashen, run the raffle, and work with other RTFH volunteer groups and ToFHY teens to run the games and entertainment.
Passover Model Seder: Each year the PA supplies volunteers as well as "the plagues" used during the Seder. The PA sets up and serves as students learn the story of Passover. Sometimes, Moses shows up! The entire school is involved, from the older students who enact parts of the Passover story to the younger students who collect plagues and sample home-made charoset (nut-free). The PA has even purchased new hagaddot for the younger grades in the past.
We also sponsor and present gifts to confirmands and graduates of ToFHY.
How do we do all this (and more)? With your help! The PA is a vital extension of Religious School programming. We need volunteers in order to enrich the RTFH learning experience! Come join us and make new friends! It's fun and can be very rewarding.
The PA meets about once a month, during Sunday religious school. Over coffee and baked goods, PA members, including officers, committee chairs, and volunteers, bring each other up to date on upcoming events, share ideas about fundraising, and discuss what's going on in the Religious School and the Temple.
Yes, we run fundraisers—but only so we can continue to support the events that make the religious school both fun and educational.
Can't make the meetings? Keep in touch via e-mail! Give us your e-mail address and we'll make sure you get regular announcements of meetings and events. And you can e-mail us at any time, to ask questions or make your opinions known, to volunteer, or offer a helping hand.
As with most school PA or PTA groups, the RTFH Religious School PA is an ever-changing group of adults who give a little time and energy to keeping the Religious School and the Temple humming. Some people volunteer for every event and attend every PA meeting. Others come for specific events, or once or twice a year—everyone is always welcome.
To join the Parents Association mailing list, or for any questions, e-mail the PA.
PA dues help us fund programming and alleviate the need to run fundraisers during the school year. Click here to log into ChaverWeb and click on the Donation icon to donate to the PA.