The Coast News Group

Chabad at Rancho Santa Fe hosts open house

RANCHO SANTA FE — Chabad at Rancho Santa Fe held an open house recently so that prospective students and their parents could get a taste of its Hebrew School and meet the staff.
“We have more prospective parents coming in,” said Devorah Raskin, Hebrew School teacher. “There are a lot of brand new faces coming to our community.”
During the recent open house, held on July 7, Devorah Raskin was teaching the children how to make Challah, a special bread used in Sabbath dinners.
The Pearson kids, Jordan, 4, and Jacob, 6, got the opportunity to slip into aprons and form the braided designs of the bread before baking. They also got to work with flour and ended up with a lot of it on their faces, but they were having fun while learning a little about kosher cooking.
Their grandmother Luna Garzon and their nanny, Divina Palumbo, took part in the fun too.
“When they have an event here, we come,” Garzon said. “Devorah is so sweet and the kids lover her. Garzon said she thinks it is important for children to learn about their heritage.
“It gives them something to believe in,” she said.
Jonah Mannis, 10, is already an old hand at making Challah, finishing his bread in record time.
Next Devorah Raskin read to the children a cautionary tale about making the bread and adding too much yeast.
She said she enjoys making Challah for her family.
“My kids love it too,” she said.
She said she started the school by tutoring students individually, but as word spread, more parents wanted their children to undergo the training.
Currently there are about 10 students ranging from preschool age to 12 years old who take the training after school.
Hebrew School is divided by ages. The First Taste Program is for children age 4 to 6. Through song, art and drama, the child learns about the Torah, holidays and language.
Hebrew School is for students ages 7 to 13. Students learn to read and write Hebrew and “gain an appreciation for the whys and hows of contemporary Jewish life,” said a brochure about the classes.
Students can also take special classes to prepare him or her for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
“It is our purpose to make learning fun again,” Rabbi Levi Raskin said.
The Rancho Santa Fe Chabad is an offshoot of the San Diego Chabad, which is headquartered in Scripps Ranch. The local branch opened in 2006 with a Chanukah party at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, the rabbi said.
“It was well-attended,” he said.
Since the group has continued to grow to include about 100 members with about 35 being very active and attending services.
The Rancho Santa Fe group is based in the Morgan Run Golf Course and Resort where it holds temple and for bigger events, they use the larger ballrooms at the resort. They have an active men’s club and women’s circle and now a growing Hebrew School for the children.
“We are the only Jewish presence in Rancho Santa Fe,” Rabbi Raskin said.