Middle School Program

With this innovative program, we aim to provide rich Judaic content in the context of a fun and intimate peer experience for middle schoolers.

About the Program:

The weekly two hour session will included socializing and community building, dinner together, and active, hands-on, and discussion-based learning.  The middle schoolers will meet as a whole group, and will also have opportunities to break into small groups based on their grade.  This format will ensure plenty of all group community building and will also provide the students will age appropriate learning. 

Program Focus: 

We are building out a three-year curricular rotation, featuring exposure to core Jewish texts and to key periods in Jewish history.  Although much of the learning is historical, we make explicit attempts to make the material relevant to the children's developing understanding of their Jewish values and identity. This year's curriculum will focus on:

Torah: Explore key stories and themes from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Torah study is the foundation for all Jewish learning!

Jewish History: Dive deep into three times and places that have been critical in the history of the Jewish people: Jews in Roman Times; Jewish Immigration to the U.S.A. 1880-1920; People of Contemporary Israel.  

Please mark your calendars for the following dates that the Middle School Program will NOT take place during the school year:
December: 20, 27
February: 21
April: 11, 18
May: 30 

Program Staff

Jeremy Wood
Middle School Program Educator

Before Jeremy began his current career as an attorney he spent years as an educator in and out of the Jewish community. After receiving his BA (History and Classics, emphasis in Judaic Studies) from the University of British Columbia, he taught English and coexistence programming in Ramle, Israel to mixed elementary and high school classes of Ashkenazi, Palestinian. immigrant Ethiopian and Russian youth. He then served as an AmeriCorps fellow with Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps in which he counseled and taught youth 9-20 on issues of sexual health, health relationships, and sexuality/gender. Around the same time, he taught fourth graders at the Boston Workmen's Circle, a secular Jewish community. He works as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals.

Maya Itah
Middle School Educator

Maya is excited to co-teach the Middle School Program. A recent Seattle transplant, she spent most of her childhood in Israel and moved to California in the 6th grade. She has worked with at-risk youth as an AmeriCorps Member.

Cara Abrams-Simonton
Middle School Educator

Cara loves Jewish learning and particularly learning with Jewish youth and their families. She currently teaches 4th & 5th grade Judaic Studies at the Jewish Day School in Bellevue after teaching at non-denominational Jewish days schools in the San Francisco and New York City areas. After two amazing years living and learning in Jerusalem, Cara graduated from the Pardes Educators Program with a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew College and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Outside of Jewish day school education, Cara has worked with under-privileged youth at Boys & Girls Clubs, taught Hebrew school, tutored B'nei Mitzvah students, and served as a registrar at a Waldorf-inspired charter school. A pacific northwest native, she is very happy living in Seattle and is excited to join the Kavana Middle School Program!