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Drop by the 'Torah Express' Before Hoppin' on the R2 Line

October 12, 2006 By:
Ryan Teitman
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The new storefront in Elkins Park
When Etz Chaim of Eastern Montgomery County opens in a storefront right near the Elkins Park train station this November, commuters will have an exciting new option in Jewish education: "Torah Express."

These 15-minute classes will allow commuters to have a danish and coffee, hear a brief lesson for the day, then catch their train to work.

This innovative class is just one of the programs that will be offered by the Elkins Park location. This new branch grew out of Etz Chaim in Center City, a Jewish education and resource center led for the last 16 years by Rabbi Dovid Wachs.

The new site will be headed by Rabbi Alexander Coleman and, like its Center City counterpart, will focus on creating "a spiritual connection to Judaism," according to Coleman.

Etz Chaim provides a bevy of Jewish education and outreach for adults. The new branch will include Hebrew-language classes, and classes in Jewish philosophy and spirituality.

The new location is a boon for Etz Chaim: "It was a mark of growth for our organization," said Coleman.

The new branch further provides a valuable opportunity for the Jewish community in Montgomery County.

"A lot of people who like our programs don't like coming into the city," said Coleman.

But in his work throughout the county, he found a desire for more Jewish outreach.

As such, "it kind of naturally fell into place," he said.

The branch is also preparing classes for adults whose children are now in Hebrew school.

"A lot of parents who have kids going to Hebrew school would like to supplement their own education," said Coleman. Children often ask philosophical questions, so Etz Chaim will offer classes for parents on conveying spirituality to children.

Coleman also added that the organization will offer personalized, custom classes in addition to its normal curriculum.

Noted the rabbi: "It's a place that's solely committed to Jewish education."

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