About Us and our Philosophy
Established in 1989, Moadon Kol Chadash was spearheaded by a group of parents who sought to create an after-school Jewish educational program that brought the same kind of joy of Hebrew learning they had experienced at a Jewish summer camp. From this aspiration emerged Moadon Kol Chadash, or "camp in the city"--an informal, experiential program focusing on Israel and Jewish education via modern Hebrew. In 2002 we added a new dimension--the preschool Gan Gani. Gan Gani was designed to engage Jewish American families who may not have a family tie to Israel but who understand the value of a Hebrew immersion-based curriculum, along with 2nd- and 3rd-generation Israelis renewing their connection to the language. We are a place for families and all of their most cherished milestones, from 9 months to 90 years.
Etty is the Director of Education at Moadon Kol Chadash (ages 9-month to high school). In 1989 she and Rabbi Yocheved Mintz together established Moadon Kol Chadash. They also co-directed the Kesher team, publishers and distributors of Hebrew learning materials for many years.
Etty is the chair of the IAC Chicago Chapter (Israeli American Council). She held the position of Master Israel Educator at the Community Foundation of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago Area from 2002-2018. She is a graduate of the Master Teachers' Institute in Chicago and a member of the Principals' Center of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education.
Etty has been a vibrant moving force in Hebrew education in Chicago since 1970. She served for 18 years as Hebrew Director and Youth Director of Temple Sholom, Chicago. Etty has been involved with the Hebrew program at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) since 1970. She founded the Merkaz Ivrit of OSRUI and has been Director of Hebrew Learning from 1982-2020. Etty is a graduate of the iFellows program of the iCenter in Chicago. She also received her MA degree in 2012 in the Spertus Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS). 2018 - Graduate of the Board Member Institute for Jewish Nonprofits by Kellogg School of Management. In May 2022, Etty completed a graduate certificate program in Early Childhood Education Leadership and Advocacy at the Erikson Institute.
Etty is married to Giora Dolgin and has three children: Harell, Mayrav, and Yaniv and eight grandchildren. Mischa, Romy, Emmett, Sy, Eitan, Millie, Jonah, and Elan.
Ilana is starting her sixth year working at Gan Gani. Ilana has been working, loving and taking care of children of different ages for more than thirty years since she arrived in the United States from Israel.
Working at Gan Gani is like having part of her family here. She loves kids and wants to bring Israeli culture and traditions into the classroom, which is why she keeps choosing to come back.
Ilana loves travelling all over the world and exploring the beauty of each place she visits.
Odelia was born in Rehovot, Israel. She came to Chicago with her husband and three kids in 2001. Odelia is starting her third year at Gan Gani. And has nearly ten years of experience with preschool aged children.
Ronit Ben Aharon
Ronit Ben Aharon was born and raised in Netania, Israel. In 1984, she received her teaching certificate and since then she has worked with early childhood, elementary and high-school students.
In her free time, she likes reading, gardening, and quilting. Ronit began teaching at Gan Gani eight years ago.
Haya Gozalzani was born in Israel. She is married to Shahar, a Software Engineer, for the last 21 years. She has three boys - Maor, a sophomore at Purdue University, Itay, a senior at Stevenson High School and Yannai, attending kindergarten.
She earned a degree in education (B.Ed) and two teaching certificates – one in teaching ESL for Elementary, Middle and High School and the other as a Kindergarten teacher. Haya has been teaching for 18 years in schools and kindergartens in Israel as an employee of the Ministry of Education. She was also a homeroom teacher throughout the years and a director of a kindergarten. This will be Haya’s fourth year in Gan Gani and Kesher @ Moadon. Haya is also an expert in Hebrew adult teaching.
In her free time, she likes to cook, listen to Israeli music, read Israeli literature, travel and see new places and spend time with her family. “I’m so excited to begin a new school year and teach the children. I can’t wait to start our new adventure together.”
Galina's journey began when she was 16 years old and immigrated to Israel from Kazakhstan. Following her husband's career, she moved to Chicago twelve years ago. Galina is a proud mom of two grown up sons.
She believes that some of the most important skills to have when working with kids is patience, flexibility, and love. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her family. She really loves live theater and follows the latest fashion trends.
Enav was born in Israel. She has lived in Skokie for 18 years with her husband and three children.
In addition to her love of children and working as an aid at preschools, she enjoys cooking and baking. Enav enjoys her job. She is very creative and passionate about helping the children, as well as staffing and supporting all activities. Enav has been working at Gan Gani for four years.
Inbar was born and raised in Israel and moved to Chicago 15 years ago. She gained a degree with honors in Biology, but changed her career trajectory after working at a summer camp in the United States. Inbar has worked at Gan Gani for 12 years.
Inbar loves working with the children and feels like every child is hers. “Gan Gani does not feel like a place I work at; it feels like I am a part of a wonderful family”
Carmela was born in Israel and moved to Chicago in 1983. She is married with 3 children. Carmela brings a wide range of experience in early childhood education. She worked at Solomon Schechter for 10 years prior to coming to Gan Gani where she has been for 13 years. She loves working with the little children. Carmela also is an amazing chef and she cooks often for community events at Moadon and Gan Gani.
Ziva was born and raised in Israel, and moved to Chicago 4 years ago when she began working at Gan-Gani.
In Israel, she worked as a teacher for more than 20 years and so it was natural for her to continue working in an educational setting.
Speaking in Hebrew, continue to be so connected to Israel and keeping the Jewish culture alive makes Ziva feel “at home” at Gan Gani.
Ilana moved from Ashdod, Israel two years ago, when she began working at Gan-Gani. Ilana lives in Highland Park with her husband and five kids. She is enthusiastic to drive every day to Gan Gani and teach Hebrew, the Jewish religion, and Israeli culture. Ilana has worked with early childhood students more than 20 years, and she holds caregiver certificates from Israel. Ilana looks forward to working with your children this year.
What is Moadon Kol Chadash
Moadon Kol Chadash is an inclusive, Chicagoland community for lifelong Jewish learning using Hebrew immersion.
Our mission is to provide vibrant, experiential, and informal Jewish education through unique preschool and after-school programs for all ages starting at infancy, to Bar/t Mitzvahs, through adulthood. Our comprehensive curriculum offers students and families the opportunity to explore their roots and heritage, discover the joys of Judaism, and forge strong connections to Israel.
What Programs are Offered at Moadon?
Pre Gan Gani • לפני גן גני ("Before Gan Gani") Is where our education begins. Through our partnership with the Jewish United Fund's “J-Baby” program, babies 6 to 24 months and their accompanying adult receive an early, sensory introduction to Hebrew with our Gan Gani teachers. No prior knowledge of Hebrew is required to enjoy the class. The current program runs Thursdays from 10-11am.
Gan Gani • גן גני ("My Preschool") is a year-round Hebrew immersion preschool program from Nine months to Five years old. It provides a unique place for your children to develop pre school skills and a second language, Hebrew, in an immersive play-based setting. Gan Gani is offered year-round, five days per week, with a traditional school year calendar. We also offer summer, winter and spring camps, Passover camps and more opportunities to help provide full time day care for children. The typical school day starts at 9am, with a 12:30pm or 4pm pickup time. We also offer early drop-off and late pickup options.
Kesher @ Moadon • קשר ("The Bond") is a place for all: Continuing Hebrew immersion for Gan Gani graduates, a program for children with little to no Hebrew language skills, a Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah program, a post Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah program, and a center for fun, educational and community gathering for adults including holiday services and celebrations, special speakers and events, and more.
It is an informal community that allows children, teens and adults to deepen their Jewish identity, increase their Hebrew skills and connect to Israel.
Among the programs offered within Kesher are:
1) Gan Gani graduates or children with considerable exposure to Hebrew continue their education with the language and culture. This program also prepares students for a smooth, stress-free transition to becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah with a special focus on conversational Hebrew. It is offered after school and into the evening offered Monday through Thursday, with many children carpooling and sometimes being bussed from nearby schools depending on enrollment. We offer flexible solutions and alternatives to allow for maximum attendance.
2) Non-Hebrew speaking children and adults who are looking to explore their Jewish identity and the Hebrew language learn through an informal, experiential approach. Contact us to learn more.
3) A Bar/Bat/B’nai Mitzvah Program program which prepares students for a smooth, stress-free transition to becoming a Bar/Bat/B’nai Mitzvah with a special focus reading with understanding. In our program each child leads their entire service, and an individual siddur (prayer book) is prepared for each student. We also host the service and event in our brand new facility. Contact us to learn more.
4) Above and Beyond- Post B’nai Mitzvah Program is a monthly get-together with post B’nai Mitzvah students. Dinner is served and a variety of current topics are discussed, movies are shown, with guest speakers and field trips. This is typically offered once a month from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Contact us to learn more.
What if my family does not speak Hebrew?
The proven benefits of early second-language acquisition in brain development, mental health, and academic achievement are incontrovertible. Recent studies suggest that brain cells from birth until age 6 are especially primed for second-language acquisition.
We are so proud of our proven Hebrew immersion program and to welcome students from all walks of life with varying existing connections to Judaism, Hebrew and Israel. Through our nurturing, safe and fun environment, our children and families learn Hebrew, become versed in current events and the history of the Jewish people, and celebrate Jewish holidays, tradition and culture.
Often parents of children do not speak Hebrew, and are worried about communicating with their children. With ongoing communication, our teachers are available to the parents at any time to help with any disconnections (i.e. sending the teacher a recording of a word or song in Hebrew and getting a translation back), however, that is unlikely to happen. More than half of the families that send their children to Gan Gani speak little to no Hebrew at home without issue at school or at home.
The crown jewel of your child's education at our preschool will be the acquisition of a second language-a gift that lasts a lifetime. Our Hebrew immersion approach is particularly well-suited to develop a second language so marked at this age.
"Babies and young children have incredible early learning skills and are uniquely equipped to learn the building blocks of one or more languages starting at birth. This is an ideal time to introduce foreign languages to kids and to encourage cross linguistic learning."
--Dr. April Benasich, Infancy Studies Laborato
Director,Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
I want my child to be exposed to a diverse, colorful educational experience. How can Moadon achieve this?
Moadon proudly admits students of any race, color, ethnic or national origin and respects all diverse cultures. You do not need to be Israeli, let alone Jewish, to achieve the benefits of learning at any one of Moadon's programs. There is not only vast diversity between different people of the Jewish faith, including ethnic backgrounds, cultural differences, variations in the observation of Jewish laws, traditions and customs, but we also embrace families with little or no connection to Israel or Judaism. The "differences" of our families is what creates the rich, diverse tapestry of Moadon Kol Chadash in that we have children and families of multiple faiths, ethnicities, identities, and marital status.
The number of students and parents interested in informal, experiential learning is clearly growing, a fact that has enriched and diversified our population over the past 33 years. Though the majority of our students come from the Near North neighborhoods of Chicago, Moadon Kol Chadash serves students from almost every area of the city, as well as from such suburbs as Winnetka, Evanston, Glencoe, Skokie, and Oak Park. Our after-school program students attend a variety of schools across Chicago, ranging from public to private, specialty and home schools. Our students also represent a wide socioeconomic spectrum: some come from families able to support us above and beyond the cost of their children's tuition, while others require scholarships to be able to attend. Everyone feels involved, counted, and compelled to give whatever they can in support: whether that be time, resources, or simply an encouraging word. Most importantly, no child has ever been turned away from participating in Moadon Kol Chadash’s programs due to financial constraints.
How much does it cost to attend the programs at Moadon Kol Chadash?
You can find out more information about tuition rates and sessions for Gan Gani here.
You can find out more information about rates for Kesher @Moadon here.
Our goal is to accommodate every child whose family wants to participate in Moadon Kol Chadash’s programs. If you are experiencing financial constraints and would like more information about scholarship opportunities, please contact us.