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Jewish Journey / מסע Masa at BHA

At Beacon Hebrew Alliance, we believe that Judaism is a journey. We travel on a highway thousands of years long, and we use the traditions of our ancestors to guide our footsteps into tomorrow. We may journey together, but each of us is walking our own path. Every one of us carries some part of what our community needs to move forward. We call our learning program MASA (מסע) which means "journey" in Hebrew. 

Register Here for Masa 5781 (2020-21)


Balancing our need for learning, community, and safety, Masa will begin the 5781 (2020-21) school year with distance learning. Our format has shifted, but our community continues! While we all want to be back together in person, our learning this spring helped us uncover a strong and nurturing model that we will be expanding this year. Our shift to distance learning offers some great opportunities to tailor the learning at Masa for each student’s needs and interests.

Our Four Pillars of Learning

Just as a tallit has four corners, our learning at Masa is built on four pillars.

  • Torah: We define Torah broadly, including both Tanakh (written scriptures) as well as other relevant Jewish writing.
  • T’fillah (prayer): Students will engage with T’fillah by participating in prayer and in mindfulness practice. They will also learn the structure of prayer services, and to decode  and understand Hebrew so that they can understand the prayers.
  • Shabbat v’Yom Tov: Students will experience and learn about Shabbat and holidays, both by doing the practices and by learning about them in class.
  • The Outward Turn: We will connect  with those outside of ourselves, from our families to our synagogue community, our local community, and the world. This includes work on tzedakah and tikkun olam.

One benefit of distance learning is that it is now possible to have shorter and more frequent learning sessions. Age-group classes will meet on Sundays, and then there will be elective classes throughout the week. We will also offer asynchronous learning for all students, particularly those who find it challenging to learn via Zoom.

Register Here for Masa 5781 (2020-21)

Learning Plans and Learning Coaches

We will be creating a learning plan for each student, based on Masa's four pillars of Torah, T'fillah, Shabbat v'Yom Tov, and the Outward Turn. Students will choose from the array of learning opportunities with Masa teachers and BHA clergy, and they can also choose to do independent projects shaped with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

Learning coaches will be assigned to families, rather than to individual students, to make it easier to coordinate schedules for meetings with parents. Learning coaches will be available as a point of contact, as well as helping students to be accountable for their learning plans.


Winter Term begins November 30, and will end on January 29. We will have a winter break from December 20 through January 2.

Age-Group Learning

We will meet on Sunday mornings so that students can continue to build a Jewish community with their peers. Age-group classes will continue to learn Hebrew Through Movement together, and teachers will be sharing mindfulness we have learned from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Students will also continue to learn about Shabbat and holidays, as well as examining events in their lives through a Jewish lens. Each Sunday will include time for students to share their independent learning, and to socialize with each other.

Students in grades K-2 will meet with Wendy on Sunday mornings at 11.

Students in grades 3-4 will meet with Debbie and Julia at 10.

Students in grades 5 and above will meet with Jonathan and Cantor Ellen at 12.

Elective classes

We are offering elective classes for students on weekdays, beginning the week of November 30th. With two exceptions, these classes are for students in grades 3 and above. This schedule is subject to change as teachers' and students' schedules evolve.

Mondays, 4:00-5:00: Soul strolls with Rabbi Brent. Rabbi Brent will gather in person, outdoors, with students to guide students in connecting to their souls through nature.

Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30: Campfire Stories with Rabbi Brent. This class is aimed at kids in grades K-2. Rabbi Brent will gather with students around the fire in his back yard and tell Jewish stories!

Wednesdays, 4:00-5:00: Conversational Hebrew with Debbie: learn Hebrew words and phrases through games, stories, and drama.

Thursdays, 6:00-7:00: Masa Jewish Stories Book Group: Students will read and discuss a novel or a collection of short stories (example: The Inquisitor's Apprentice).

Thursdays, 5:00-6:00: Torah Trope with Cantor Ellen. Students will learn the skill of reading Torah, and will discuss short Torah passages each week.*

Fridays 4:00-6:00: The Structure of the Service: Kabbalat Shabbat. Students will learn to understand the structure of the Kabbalat Shabbat service, and will practice the skill of leading services by leading Mini Minyan.*

Sunday afternoons, 4:00-5:00: Exploring Jewish foods. Students and their parents will explore what makes food "Jewish," learn the blessings for food, and cook that food at home. This class is open to ALL Masa children. We recommend that children under 10 join the class with an adult.

Social Justice Reading Group: If your student is interested in a social justice reading group, let Julia know, and she will coordinate a time that works for everyone who is interested in attending!

*Students who wish to have a prayer-service based celebration of their B-mitzvah are required to complete the Torah Trope class with Cantor Ellen, and the Structure of the Service classes offered this year (later terms will cover Shabbat Shacharit and Mincha services).

Individual Learning

Students in grades K-2 will have individual or small group story and activity time with their teachers, by appointment. Teachers will read a story, and do extension activities about that story (for example, learning more about early 20th century life on the Lower East Side while reading All-of-a-Kind Family or The Inquisitor's Apprentice).

All students will be able to sign up for independent activity packages. These packages will include activities students can do independently or with their parents as guides. The students' learning coaches will work with them to complete these projects, and to integrate their learning.

All students will also have the opportunity to complete independent learning projects over the course of the year, focused on Masa's four pillars of learning. The independent learning projects will be defined using SMART goals. Learning coaches will guide students as they work on these projects.

Hebrew Decoding: Students in grades 3 and above who wish to learn to read Hebrew will be tutored individually or in small groups, according to their skills. They will meet with a teacher (Jonathan, Debbie, or Julia) once a week for about half an hour.

Register Here for Masa 5781 (2020-21)

B-Mitzvah (Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah) Students: 

Our b-mitzvah students will meet on weekdays and Sundays along with the younger Masa students, and will also schedule independent meetings with Rabbi Brent, Cantor Ellen, and Julia. They will prepare to be active adult members of our community by learning more deeply about Torah and middot, by doing service projects, and by taking their first steps as adults in our community!


Thu, August 5 2021 27 Av 5781