Central Clubhouse – Spotlight on our Youth
The Central Synagogue offers the most enjoyable and educational options for kids mid-week, on Shabbat and throughout the High Holidays too. Whenever shule is open, Central Kids Services are on and each offers a fun and loving Jewish environment where each child can play, learn and grow in myriad ways.
There is a plethora of programs on offer week-in, week-out each designed to be fun and engaging, developing a true sense of belonging and enjoyment as part of a vibrant shule community. Rabbi Tzuri Avila is our energised Youth Minister and also the Hineni Shaliach, overseeing all within the Central Clubhouse and youth movement across every age and stage.
Ellie Nagel Silva is the devoted Youth Director and she personifies all that Central Youth represents. Here’s a Fun Fact: when Ellie was a little girl, she was taken to Central by her grandmother and joined in the youth services. She loved them so much when she was a teenager she was an aide to then-leader, (now respected Governor) Mrs Anne-Louise Oystragh OAM and … she never left!
Her devotion to all things youth-related continues and Ellie now leads a team of emerging and experienced youth leaders … all for the benefit of our Kinderlach!
Shabbat Children’s Program
Friday night 6pm-7pm – all children are invited to come together to play games and learn about the weekly Torah portion in the most magical and meaningful ways, enhancing their sense of identity. It is a fully supervised hour of non-stop Shabbat activities including a rewarding raffle – the kids also love walking into the main sanctuary to join in the singing of Lecha Dodi.
Youth Minyan – this is a smaller service that is spiritual yet simultaneously social for all preteens, yes, for our terrific ‘tweens’ and up. The autonomy and responsibility is embraced – it is proudly led by teenagers for teenagers.
Shabbat Day – 10:30am -11:30am
Crèche – 0-6 yrs – Located in the Library – also known as the Blue Room – all enjoy a dynamic davening program with age appropriate songs and activities. Judaica-themed toys are plentiful with each child sitting in a circle receiving their very own plush Torah – boys are given a kippah and tzizit as well. Games are played relating to the Parasha, such as the sensory and fabulous food craft – once again building on Torah knowledge in the most foundational (and delicious) way. The Shabbat program also incorporates stories based on the Torah portion and a Parasha quiz. Throughout, tokens are earned and then kids have a ball ‘spending’ them at the Central shop!
Primary-aged – 6-12 yrs – Located in the Art Garden and ‘Purple Room’ a carefully crafted Parasha-themed program is on offer in the most social environment – friends are made, games are tailored, always exploring the ‘fun factor’ while expertly infused with Torah-true knowledge too. Core memories are made via song, play and learning in the coolest Central way. Artistic and architectural skills are developed with the Torah-related food crafts – tokens are garnered and ‘spent’ wisely with sale choices debated and contemplated in the most earnest ways!
Kids are brought into shule for Adon Olam, Anim Zmirot and when recited, Birkat Kohanim – seeing all the children under a giant tallit is a spiritual and special sight to behold!
Parents and grandparents can go into shule with the comforting knowledge that their children are happy and safe, of if they prefer, they are welcome to stay close and watch the fun unfold.
Teen Lounge – this is a well-earned ‘chill-zone’ for our teens on their Shabbat – their Yom Menucha – Day of Rest. It is open and available for all to mix and mingle.
Did you know that all valued members of our talented Boys’ Choir also earn ‘treble clef tokens’ aka ‘choir dollars,’ so that they too can participate in fun Central Clubhouse activities and can purchase from our Central ‘shop’ with their hard-earned Central tokens!
Throughout a child’s journey as part of the Central Family there is a clear Leadership Program trajectory. For example, upper primary-aged participants can assume responsibilities within the Crèche children’s service. An impressive number return in a formal capacity as leaders inspiring those in younger groups. The continuity and connections formed, for parents and children alike, are truly heart-warming.
Playgroup – Mondays 9am-11:30am
All little children not yet enrolled at preschool or school are welcome to join this weekly precious playgroup in the Art Garden run by Youth Director, Ellie Nagel Silva. Parents, grandparents or carers bring their kids to this upbeat morning consisting of a planned fun activity, often relating to the Jewish calendar with upcoming festivals always on the horizon (such as Make Your Own Dreidel using cool craft options).
With a different theme each week, wide-eyed kids also enjoy free active play, art and sometimes a show with all loving the davening circle with songs and games dotted through the morning. Sensory play is paramount – bubbles are blown, colourful parachutes are used and parties are loved by all for Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and more! Carers enjoy a coffee and a schmooze while the kids connect with little friends and are delightfully occupied! No bookings are required and there is a suggested donation per visit.
In addition, a variety of activities are held over the Central calendar for both the little ones and older children. These include family picnics, sports days, shows and incursions such as the matzah factory and travelling shofar factory.
Central Synagogue is so welcoming and prioritises young children and families, so experiences can be enjoyed and a love for Yiddishkeit can truly flourish. So bring your kids, it is time to join the fun!