Solon Chabad after school program

Rya Freedman, from left, Jillian Lazarus, Lyla Freedman and Eden Chattman, all of Solon, enjoy a coloring activity at the Solon Chabad. The Chabad’s after school program has grown from just 10 children six years ago to more than 60 today, and offers a camp-like atmosphere for children to play outside and inside throughout the school year.  

Solon Chabad this month kicks off its annual after-school program rooted in nature, Jewish traditions and old-fashioned fun.

“It’s like a neighborhood,” Miriam Greenberg, wife of Rabbi Zushe Greenberg, described of the atmosphere on the grounds of the Chabad on Harper Road. “As long as the weather holds up, kids are out there playing under trees.

“We give you a park for all kids to come and play,” she said. “It’s a time to just be kids.”

The program, which began with just 10 children six years ago, has grown, Rabbi Greenberg said. More than 60 take part today, he added. It kicks off this year on the first day of the Solon schools, which is Aug. 21.

Open to children kindergarten through fourth grade, the program follows the Solon school district calendar and is offered from 2:45 to 6 p.m. each day, with the exception of the Jewish holidays. Children of all faiths are welcome.

“It is made for Jewish kids but anyone can come,” the rabbi said. “We teach Jewish culture, traditions and values.”

Whether it’s making challah each Friday for the weekly Shabbat celebration or pastries for Purim, there is always Jewish-related cooking, Mrs. Greenberg said, as well as a craft option.

Electronics are left behind and games, stories and activities take their place.

“Really, this is like camp year-round,” Rabbi Greenberg said. “We are creating a camp for every child after school.”

“Kids talk, play and dig in the dirt,” Mrs. Greenberg added.

She said that while many complain that playing outside is a thing of the past, it is brought back to life at the Chabad.

“Kids are so structured, but they come here and get to be active, creative, spend time in nature and play,” Mrs. Greenberg continued. Many don’t want to leave when it’s time for pick up, she added.

The after-school time consists of a snack, story time with a moral and then activity and play.

“The best way of teaching is through a story,” the rabbi said. “That’s what people remember. Lectures they don’t remember, but stories they do.”

To register, visit solonchabad.com and click on the after-care link or call the Chabad at 440-498-9533.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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