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Journey — The Jewish Discovery Project : Online and In person

Program contact:
Harry Selig |

Journey has always been an experiment.  We seek to make Jewish education, Jewish life and Jewish values meaningful, relevant and fun.

The special beauty of Journey (and Shma Koleinu) is that both are inherently flexible and as such, every obstacle, challenge or even pandemic, is an opportunity to re-imagine how we fulfill our mission.  

As in the preceding 6+ years, Journey is on and it’s gonna be great.  Big surprise, but at this point, exactly how we are going to hold Journey remains to be seen.  We of course expect that it’ll be live stream with the possibility of some in person, outdoor sessions in family groupings,  but again, we’ll see.   

Here is how we are endeavoring to kick off the year! 

Opening Day Sunday morning, October 4 - Sukkot Mishpachah (Family) Mania - a safely distanced, outdoor, “Chai”-stakes contest (in family groups only), for families to compete in: 

  • Sukkah Building

  • Choreographed Lulav and Etrog Shaking

  • Edible Sukkot Making

  • Butcher Paper Torah Scroll Writing

  • And much more

Tentative Fall Schedule (to include monthly Family programs TBA):

October 11

October 18 

October 25

November 1

November 8

November 15

November 22

December 6

December 13 – Chanukah 


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What is Journey?

Since January of 2014, the Journey program has served over 50 families, 100 children, 44 B’nai Mitzvah AND been staffed by 20 different and wonderful VOLUNTEER teachers (we call them “Journey Guides”), tons of parents and teenage TA’s! 

We welcome children from 5 years old up to 7th grade on Sunday mornings for a Jewish educational experience that makes a real positive difference in their lives (and in the lives of their parents and families). 

Our philosophy isn’t so philosophical:

“Make Jewish life and learning enjoyable, engaging, enriching and inspiring!”

And do we succeed every time? 

Often but not always.

But on most Sundays in most years, do the kids go home happier, than when they arrived? 


Have they learned something more about Judaism, Jewish life, Hebrew, and each other than they knew before they came? 



Raising Jewish children in a very non-Jewish world can be tough but it can be worth so much!  At Journey, while Judaism is certainly about the “Jewish stuff,” it’s very much about the crucial lessons of being kind, offering patience, becoming curious, and growing into the person who will make themselves proud by how they live their lives. 


What does a day  at Journey look like?

Every Journey day includes Kehillah (community), a group prayer and celebration that helps set a positive mood for our morning together. On any given morning, Kehillah may include “Shabbat-in-Training,” interactive songs, prayers, readings, and stories designed to teach Hebrew, share Jewish values and instill a spiritual approach to life.

In addition to Kehillah, Journey includes brunch (parent-[provided), Hebrew taught and led by Rabbi Scott, Jewish Culture and Heritage and of course, Recess!  


Kol HaJourney Programs

Some days at Journey are what we call "KOL-HAJOURNEY" (ALL JOURNEY) programs.  These are like Jewish camp programs, bringing together all the children into teams and groups for Jewishly-inspired activites such as scavenger hunts, relay races, hands-on projects and even some reader's theater and other arts related events!  


Where and When does Journey take place?

Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Xavier Educational Academy in West U (6203 Edloe, Houston, 77005).


Mitzvahs & Mishpachah

This is a brand-new piece to the Journey curriculum.  Tikun Olam (repairing the world) is an essential element of what it means to be Jewish.  With the stellar leadership of one of our newest Journey moms, Nomi Solomon, we have envisioned this new monthly, family Tikun Olam day.  On the following Sundays, we will meet from 10 am – 12 pm at the site of a social service provider (e.g.: Houston Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Hermann Park, etc) for 2 hours of hands on volunteer work.  (We’ll even learn a little bit about the Jewish background for such an act!).


How and Why does Journey work?

In order to answer these questions, we need to ask what "work" means in this context. For us, Journey "working" means TORAH:


  • Terrifically engaging learning that utilizes a multiplicity of media to make Jewish values, history, and literacy connected to the lives of our students and families.
  • Open classrooms, Open hearts. Jewish wisdom and practice can touch us emotionally in ways that affirm its continued and consistent meaning. Through art, music and story telling, Journey delivers a powerful Jewish punch.
  • Relevance, relevance, relevance. There are many things vying for ours and our children's attention - and Judaism can have impactful applications to the improvement of the lives of our children and our own.
  • Affirming the unique ways in which our children learn is not only a sound educational strategy, but a matter of sacred action. Journey and Shma Koleinu are committed to ensuring that each child's learning experience and growth toward becoming a B'nai Mitzvah and beyond is met with flexibility and compassion.
  • Honoring the past in order to know who we are in the present and into the future. Modern Jewish existence is indeed a miracle and inspiring our children with the central lessons and foundations of Judaism is the way in which we help them deepen their roots and spread their wings.

Sat, August 8 2020 18 Av 5780