It’s a midweek afternoon, and the bell is ringing at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. Everyone in the office and hallway stops to applaud the child who rang the bell. In this school, it sometimes happens 20 times a day.
The bell sits on the desk of Connie Heymann, principal of Shaaray Tefila’s religious school, which has about 500 students. Whenever a student completes a unit of Mitkadem, the self-paced Hebrew program, he or she comes to Heymann’s office and rings the bell.
“It’s the single best thing ever,” she says. “Everyone knows what the bell ringing means. It means that child has worked hard and made progress, and that’s worth applauding.”
Shaaray Tefila has been using Mitkadem for years, with great success. The individualized Hebrew prayer program