GROW, not your typical Hebrew school in Nocatee

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Chabad of St. Johns will begin its GROW enrichment program once again this school year.

The program offers a place for Jewish children to go after school and learn about their faith in a fun and interactive approach.

“We’re very excited to have the program running in Nocatee,” said Dini Sharfstein, youth director at Chabad of St. Johns. “It is designed with Nocatee kids and parents in mind.”

According to Sharfstein, the program is devised with the goal of being more than just what has become known as a traditional Hebrew school.

“We want it to be more hands-on learning,” Sharfstein said. “It’s all about bringing it to their level, so that they can more easily relate.”

An example of this would be the involvement of cooking traditional recipes on holidays where food is part of the culture.

The program caters to elementary and middle school students.

“Most will live in the Nocatee neighborhoods or around,” Sharfstein said.

According to Sharfstein, the program is only expected to grow, especially as more new residents move into St. Johns County.

“It’s a great way for new kids and families to get introduced to other Jewish families in the community,” Sharfstein said. “It’s a perfect opportunity to meet and greet and share conversations with similarly-minded people.”

At the moment, the program will be held on Wednesdays in Nocatee.

“Every kid is different, but our goal is to have it to where every Jewish kid can have the chance to connect,” Sharfstein said. “It’s all about allowing them a creative environment so they can discover their Jewish pride.”

The program uses the exclusive and highly motivational Aleph Champ Hebrew reading program and aims to strengthen their Jewish heritage by using STEM skills, art mediums and Kosher cooking, all in a Jewish context.

The GROW program is one of two such tracks that Chabad of St. Johns offers to the county’s residents.

To find out more information or further details about the program, go to www.JewishSJohnsCounty/GROW or email Dini@JewishSJohnsCounty.com or call 904-701-4422.

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