Zemer HaZayit believes that the participation of children in congregational life contributes to their long-term commitment to Judaism.
In accordance with this view, the congregation involves children in the synagogue’s activities and prayer services as much as possible. Children are asked questions before each section of the Torah reading on Shabbat to encourage their familiarity with the text’s content and to positively reinforce their attention during the reading. Also, the boys and girls lead the singing of the “Shir HaKavod,” assist with rolling up the Torah scrolls, and open and close the Holy Ark.
The younger children participate in a separate prayer group that includes activities connected to the weekly Torah reading. The children use special prayer books appropriate to their youthful spirit.
The children also participate in volunteer projects leading up to the holidays. For example, they work with the elderly, play with special needs children, and collect food for the needy. On Purim, when the younger children have difficulty sitting through the long Megilla reading, they participate in a separate reading with creative activities and short skits.
Every few months, the congregation sponsors a “Youth Shabbat” in which the youth lead all the services. This includes directing and leading the prayers, delivering the sermon, organizing the children’s group, and providing the Kiddush after the service.