SPRING HILL — With the goal of instilling a love of Judaism in its students, the Irwin Lieberman Religious School at Temple Beth David offers classes to children age 3 through 13 from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays during the school year.
"Our heritage in Judaism is 'l'dor v'dor,' " said Rabbi Paul ('Reb' Tuviah) Schreiber, who has been a teacher and principal in public and private Jewish schools. "What that means in English is 'from generation to generation,' and that's how Judaism has survived for thousands and thousands of years. We've passed our amazing and beautiful culture and history onto the children."
The school helps Jewish children understand, appreciate and live a Jewish lifestyle to the best of their ability, the rabbi said.
Named in memory of one of its former teachers, the school provides children instruction about Jewish holidays, the Torah, customs, ethics, prayer and some Hebrew.
"Music, arts and crafts, games and participation in services keep each session interesting and joyous," states a flier. "A dedicated group of teachers, along with our multi-talented and musical Rabbi 'Reb' Tuviah, ensure that each student will learn according to his or her abilities."
Students can begin the school at any age level. During their last two years of study, they are trained more rigorously and individually for their bar or bat mitzvah.
Once a month, families get together for a dinner and either a brief children's service or participate in the regular Friday night Shabbat service.
"This creates a close fellowship among the families. Interfaith families are warmly welcomed," says the flier.
It's not mandatory, but families of students are encouraged to attend Shabbat services at the temple.
"The school operates on Sunday mornings, and that's separate from our religious services," Schreiber said. "But for this upcoming school year, we will be planning different sorts of Shabbat experiences for families so that they can participate."
Children and their parents will play a part in conducting those services.
"It doesn't matter as far as their background or level of observance," Schreiber said, "or whether they come from orthodox homes or very secular, where they know nothing (about Judaism). We reach out to all different levels."
There is tuition to attend the school, but the fee for the next term has yet to be determined. That and how many classes and teachers will be hired will be influenced by how many children are enrolled.
"We've been getting emails and phone calls. A lot of new kids are signing up this year," Schreiber said.
To introduce people to the school and give them information, the temple is welcoming inquirers to its Beach Day and Barbecue for religious school families, beginning at 9:30 a.m. July 16 at Alfred A. McKethan Park at Pine Island.
"We'll talk about what the curriculum will look like and have some materials and textbooks on hand for folks to see," Schreiber said. "We'll barbecue, play some games, the kids will swim."
There is no deadline to register for classes at the school.
"Children can be registered at the picnic," the rabbi said. "Or parents can call or come by the temple. We'll even take kids in as the school year begins."