From kindergarten through 10th grade, our comprehensive curriculum provides the foundation our students need to create their own Jewish lives. Younger grades learn the customs and traditions of the holidays, Jewish history and Torah, and begin to study the Hebrew language.
The middle grades continue with Israel, great Jewish philosophers and leaders and B'nai Mitzvah training.
Upper grades attend Chai School which focuses on Jewish literature, comparative religion, the Talmud, politics and current events, ethics and action. There is a Confirmation celebration for all students who graduate from the program in the 10th grade.
Class Schedule (see calendar for dates):
- Kindergarten meets Sundays 9:30 - 11:00 am
- Grades 1-7 meet Sundays 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
- Grades 8-10 (Chai School) meet Tuesdays 6:45 pm - 8:15 pm
Concepts Learned in Kindergarten
During this year the synagogue is introduced as a a Beit Tefillah (house of prayer), Beit Midrash (house of learning), and as a Beit Knesset (house of gathering). Students will travel through the synagogue building observing all the people who work and visit the building, and their study of Jewish holidays will focus on synagogue observances. The Temple is a place to celebrate and pray together as a big family. The things we do in the synagogue help us feel close to God.
Through many books and stories specifically designed for this age group, children learn about Jewish values, holidays and associated rituals. These lessons are further enhanced through various art projects, games, cooking experiences, music and special visitors who come and speak to the children.
Students are introduced to the Hebrew alphabet through the Aleph Bet Story and will begin to learn the names of the letters, how to identify them and the sounds they make.
Concepts Learned in First Grade
In first grade we utilize the Torah Aura BJL Beginnings series. This curriculum combines the discovery and exploration of the Jewish holidays, the Jewish home, synagogue and the family with Hebrew reading readiness. It introduces students to the celebratory aspects of home, synagogue and community and enables the young student to begin to develop an understanding of God and to put those ideas into words.
The Hebrew alphabet will be reinforced and everyday vocabulary words will be introduced into classroom conversations.
Concepts Learned in Second Grade
Students in second grade use the Chai Curriculum which was developed by the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism). It is based on a learning model known as “understanding by design” whose approach ensures student learning goes beyond the specific classroom activities.
The lessons are designed to lead students to a deeper, enduring understanding, which will establish the basis for later learning and living. This curriculum is divided into three main sections; Torah, Avodah or worship and Gemilut Chasadim, or acts of loving kindness. The Torah lessons focus on the development of the Jewish people in the book of Genesis. Students begin to understand how the Torah itself is different from other books and how its stories help us in our everyday lives. The Avodah unit helps students answer questions about God and develop skills to feel connected to God. Through open dialogue about (and with) God, students will learn that understanding God is a lifelong process. The Gemilut Chasadim unit introduces students to many ways of doing kindnesses to and for others, teaching that doing gemilut chasadim is our duty and that it isn't too difficult for each and every one of us to act as God's partners in the world.
Students will focus on developing a deeper understanding of the Hebrew alphabet, vocabulary and writing skills.
Concepts Learned in Third Grade
Students focus on the creation during this year as an ongoing process which brings order to chaos, light to darkness and goodness in the world. Shabbat is an important part of the creation process and as such Shabbat rituals and common objects used on Shabbat are studied. Students experience the freedom to talk about their particular concepts of God and learn what it is like to be in a relationship with God. What are the things one does for another in a relationship? How do we show our love and our respect? All of these questions are discussed throughout the year.
Knowledge of Hebrew is expanded to include letter recognition and decoding skills, so that students will now be able to read tefilot, prayers, in class and during services. They will learn Hebrew songs, holiday rituals and the concept of tzedakah, charity.
Concepts Learned in Fourth and Fifth Grades
As in Second Grade, the Chai Curriculum developed by the URJ is also used in grades four and five. The curriculum contains the basis for 27 lessons in the three areas of Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim or study, worship and acts of loving kindness. These pursuits provide the framework in which Jews build their relationship with God, one another and the Jewish people. Teachers take these lessons and concepts and build individualized plans for their students.
Concepts Learned in Sixth Grade
The focus of study in the Sixth grade falls into two main areas: Jewish Ethics or middot and the establishment of the State of Israel. As students learn about the establishment of the state they will also learn and experience firsthand many of the foods, customs and aspects of Israeli culture.
Concept Focus in Seventh Grade:
Tzedakah and Who Wants to Be a Philanthropist?
Our students have been learning about being Jewish since childhood, but being Jewish is also about doing. This program is designed just for our Seventh graders as they take more responsibility for their own Jewish lives. Students will apply their cumulative Hebrew and Judaic knowledge to the study and performance of mitzvot related to tzedakah and tikkun olam. Students will learn core Jewish values and then put them into practice. The main goals for the Seventh grade year are:
1) To share Jewish sources and discuss their relevance today as a framework for thinking about our world and for decision-making in today's society, and
2) To translate Jewish values and mitzvot into experiences within the school and synagogue, as well as in the wider community; to have a lasting and positive impact on the student's personal, family, and community life.