For the second year in a row, the Jewish Community Hebrew High School of Gratz College is adding a branch in Bucks County. Gratz offers supplementary Jewish education to students between grades eight to 12, in 13 locations spread across the Delaware Valley.
Congregation Tiferes B'nai Israel in Warrington, a Reconstructionist synagogue, is the newest addition to Gratz's list of branches, according to Ari Goldberg, director of the Hebrew High School. Last year, the high school started a program at Congregation Beth El, a Conservative synagogue in Yardley.
Goldberg said that these additions clearly come in response to a growing Jewish community throughout Bucks County.
He also said that in the case of the Warrington synagogue, the decision to open a new branch was prompted by parents, who wanted the Hebrew High School closer to home.
"There was such a strong commitment and desire in the community. We were thrilled," he said.
About 20 students and two teachers are expected for the Wednesday-evening classes, stated Goldberg.
According to Rabbi John Cutler, the synagogue will no longer offer its own Confirmation courses, since the high school classes will provide the requisite knowledge for Confirmation purposes.
"We wanted to expand our Confirmation program beyond our synagogue," explained the synagogue's religious leader. "We like the idea that our kids will be connecting to other Jewish children beyond the synagogue.
"It also becomes a social network for the children," he added. "And we like the strength of the academic program. The students can continue with their Hebrew and with Jewish history."