Thank you's from schools that visited EDRS
All through the year EDRS welcomes children from many of the local schools who come wanting to learn about Judaism, especially to see the synagogue and Torah Scrolls and learn about the festivals.
Marian Cohen delights in the reactions received when she opens the curtains of the Ark revealing the Torah Scrolls, it is always literally a wow moment as the children gasp at the sight of the Torah Scrolls. The adults are pretty impressed too. Marian makes the sessions as interactive and sensory as possible, whether it is allowing the students to view a Torah Scroll close up, getting the children to dress up and perform a festival play, shake the lulav, celebrate Shabbat, learn a Jewish song or sing themselves to the day centre clients, the children really enjoy their time here and go away with huge smiles on their faces. One group of school children recently rated their visit to EDRS as second in popularity only to their trip to Lego Land!
The children always mention the refreshments in their thank you notes, which Marian feels is an important part of welcoming the children, especially as for some children, this is the only experience that they will have of Jewish people and buildings and as such she feels the visits are very positive PR for EDRS. She enjoys the interactions she has with the children, especially when she knows, from the questions the students ask that they are learning. One recent visit she was rather apprehensive about was a group of children from a local secondary school that she was warned by their teacher were a difficult group with complex special needs and short attention span. From the moment she opened up a Torah Scroll she had them hooked and the visit was one of the best she and the students had experienced. The teachers expressed their surprise at how even the most challenging students were engaged and asking great questions. Another child had recently lost her mother and this was the first visit she had made since then and she left smiling, to the delight of her teacher.