Playshul is the Oxford Jewish Congregation's weekly playgroup for children aged 0-5 and their parents. Meeting on Sunday mornings, 10.00 – 12.00, during the school term, Playshul provides Jewish learning through play and creativity, fun and friendship. We follow the pattern of the Jewish year: making shofarim and decorations for the sukkah, holding seders for Tu B’Shevat and Pesach, Purim puppetry, a Lag B’Omer hike and Yom Ha’atzmaut party. Alongside the annual cycle, each year follows a theme from our triennial “syllabus”: Bible families, Jewish life at home and shul, or Jewish legends and folktales, ending with our traditional “Sports Day” based on biblical events and encounters.
Each session includes art, craft, construction or cookery; snacktime with brachot, singing and birthdays; creative movement and story time. There’s plenty of free-play too, in the house corner – with a “kosher kitchen” and “Shabbat table” – and the dressing-up area; painting, playdough, puzzles, games, dolls and pushchairs, cars, duplo, baby and outdoor ride-on toys. We have a lending library of children’s and adults’ books on Jewish and parenting subjects.
Playshul is led by a staff team of an experienced teacher and two young adult helpers, all employed by the Oxford Jewish Congregation. Participating families are encouraged to become members of the congregation or pay a modest attendance fee in lieu to help support this provision. Regular attendees, newcomers and occasional “drop-ins” are equally welcome.
Playshul is entirely non-denominational, and families from every strand of Judaism and degree of observance attend, including many interfaith families and representing numerous nationalities and languages. Children attend accompanied by one or both parent, sometimes a grandparent or other carer.
Whatever your family circumstances, Jewish background or connection, you will be very warmly welcomed. Many Playshul families have come to Oxford from abroad, either temporarily or long-stay, and for very many of us, Playshul has provided a friendly and supportive introduction into Oxford’s Jewish community.
For this term’s programme and to find out more, email Louise at email@example.com.