By Michele Justic

Families have become accustomed to certain schedules of learning balanced with playtime and when that disappears after the last day of school, chaos can take its place. Idle hands and minds are much more likely to find trouble and the inspiring lessons from school may begin to slip away. Rabbi Eli Herzberg, beloved pre-1A rebbe at Yeshiva of South Shore, has just the answer for you.

Rebbe Eli, as he is affectionately known, has entertained and educated YOSS preschoolers for over 12 years. Rebbe Eli attended Sh’or Yoshuv for three years beis midrash, spent three years in kollel, and received a master’s in educational leadership. He has mastered the perfect mix of positive messages, lessons in aleph beis, parashah, holidays, and gedolim, along with music, stories, and activities, and his talmidim not only run to his class each day, but his alumni still greet him in the school hallways as well as anywhere else he is spotted in town.

When seemingly endless snowstorms battered our region a few years ago, Rebbe Eli was faced with the same challenges as his students’ parents of how to keep the learning going when school is canceled. He explains, “I know that the kids today are playing on their parents’ smartphones and iPads. Let’s give them an outlet. Then the idea just developed more and more. I first wanted to do just stories, then I said, ‘Why stop there? Let’s do more!’”

Over a weekend, he created, a website that embodies Rebbe Eli’s enthusiastic and fun approach to learning. The site has audio stories, a davening song, music, exercise, divrei Torah, links to great games and other appropriate sites, coloring pages, bedtime music, and even a place for parents to write mitzvah notes. He notes, “I envision as a great tool for parents to help raise their children in a healthy way.”

All of the above is offered for free and the site is seeing exponential growth every day. Rebbe Eli explains, “The children have received so amazingly! Children told me, ‘Rebbe, I loved that story about Abba Yudin; ‘Rebbe, did you receive my mitzvah note?’ I received beautiful e-mails from parents expressing their thanks for creating the website. There is simply no better feeling in the world than seeing young children being excited about their growth in Yiddishkeit.”


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