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Religious and Hebrew School

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Click here for the 5781-2020-2021 Calendar

Religious School (K4-7th Grades) 
Detailed Virtual Program Description
5781 (2020/2021)

Religious School will begin with a live Zoom Family T'filah, service, taking place from 9:30-10:00am.  Family T’filah serves a few purposes.  First and foremost, it serves as a chance for your children to hear and practice singing the Hebrew prayers.  The more exposure your children have to hearing the prayers, the more “Aha! moments” they will experience as they deepen their Religious and Hebrew studies.  The second purpose is to connect our families to themselves, to each other and to God.

Following Family T’filah, we will “break out” into different Zoom rooms from 10:00-10:45am.  Thirty minutes of that time will be filled with age-appropriate class or group learning (see more details below, broken down by age group).  Fifteen minutes of that time will be filled with Chugim, specials.  This year, the chugim consist of: (music, art, Hebrew Through Movement, yoga, drama, and community-building-games)

Educational Program Details By Grade

K4-3rd Grade 4th Grade 5th Grade
6th Grade 7th Grade 8th/9th Grade
10th Grade 11th/12th Grade Aleph-Dalet: 3rd-6th Grades


K4-3rd Grade - Family Education Mikdash Me’at: Bringing the Sacred Home

The term Mikdash Me’at, meaning miniature Temple, comes from a reference in the Book of Ezekiel, where God reassures the Jewish People that even in a time of physical dispersion, God will dwell within their homes -- wherever they might be, so long as they make their homes into holy places, marking sacred time and sacred space.

The Mikdash Me’at Kit Curriculum enables your family to do just that, while also connecting you to other families in our community.  For the first semester, this curriculum focuses on the following learning themes: The High Holy Days; Dedicating Your Home; Shabbat; Blessings; and Hanukkah.

Here’s how it works:

  1. For each unit taught, each family will receive a kit consisting of materials for: 
    1. a hands on project
    2. a recipe
    3. a tikkun olam component
    4. a discussion starter
  2. We will divide the families with children in grades K4-3 into smaller groups with a facilitator.  These groups will take the place of Religious School grade level classes.  In the registration form, you’ll have an opportunity to request other families with whom you wish to learn.  Keep in mind that these families can have children in different grades from your own.
  3. During each session of Religious School, these family-groups will “meet” for roughly 30 minutes of learning time, and 15 minutes of Chug, specials time.  In this time, the facilitator will offer a lesson, including detailed instructions for how to engage with the kit.
  4. Families will choose, according to their own schedules, when to engage with the materials in the kit, outside of the Sunday zoom sessions.
  5. The facilitator will stay connected with families throughout the week (through a What’s App group chat), helping the families to engage with the materials in the kit.

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4th Grade - La’Bri-ut: To Our Health and Wellness

This curriculum offers relevant and compelling content that supports our fourth graders and their families at this unprecedented moment in time.  The curriculum is built on Jewish values that stand on their own, but also complement five caregiving principles that support recovery for those who experience trauma, such as the challenges emanating from the pandemic.  Each module aligns with one Jewish value and one caregiving principle:

  • Sukkat Shalom (shelter of peace) - a sense of safety
  • Ometz Lev (inner strength) - a sense of calm
  • G’vurah (courage) - Self - and communal - efficacy
  • K’hillah (community) - Social connectedness
  • Chesed (loving kindness) - Hope attained by reaching out to assist others

This curriculum is also framed by Rabbi Hillel’s teaching in Pirkei Avot:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?

After T’filah, fourth graders will engage in 30 minutes of learning the above material, and engage in 15 minutes of a chug, special, each week.

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5th Grade - Jewish Identity Formation Through Lifecycle & Holidays

Fifth grade focuses on the events and holidays that help build a sense of Jewish identity in our children. Through discussions and hands-on activities, our fifth graders will learn about the rituals, prayers, and foods that bring joy and meaning to our celebrations of Shabbat, Pesach, Tu b'Shevat, Purim, the High Holy Days, and Shavuot. They also will gain an understanding and appreciation for what it will mean for each of them to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in just a few short years.

Classes will be taught for much of the school year using Zoom. Meaningful and enjoyable learning with this digital technology will involve students and their families discussing some of the material in advance (always supplied by the teacher via email) and engaging in some of the hands-on activities involving handling and cooking food, building with Legos, and drawing and assembling art projects. There will also be short videos to watch and discuss as well as games to measure what has been learned and comprehended.   Though the year ahead will be different, it will be a year full of powerful learning, achievement, and growth. 

After T’filah, fifth graders will engage in 30 minutes of learning the above material, and engage in 15 minutes of a chug, special, each week.

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6th Grade - Jewish Identity Formation Through History

In Pirkei Avot (3:1) Akabyah ben Mahalel said: … know from where you come, and to where you are going...

Our sixth graders will discover more about themselves as they study our people’s history from ancient Israel through the third wave of Jewish immigration to the United States.  Through the study of our people’s story, the students will consider how their own lives compare with the lives of our ancestors, how each generation adapts Judaism to its time and place, and how the decisions of previous generations influence our own lives and decisions.

After T’filah, sixth graders will engage in 30 minutes of learning the above material, and engage in 15 minutes of a chug, special, each week.

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7th Grade - Jewish Identity Formation Through Tough Questions & Holocaust Studies

Using Rabbi Ed Feinstein’s book, Tough Questions Jews Ask, our seventh graders will find themselves deep in conversations about God, prayer, the afterlife, miracles, and so much more.  Rabbi Feinstein writes, “Every day I wonder if God is real, if the Torah is true. Every day I wonder why I’m a Jew. But that’s part of being Jewish. In the Torah, we’re called Yisrael―the ones who wrestle with God. Wrestling, asking, wondering, searching is just what God wants us to do! God loves good questions. Now tell me, what are your questions?"  Our seventh graders will get to know each other, and themselves better as they begin to parse out their own Jewish beliefs as they come into Jewish adulthood.

In the second part of the year, the students will engage in studies about the Holocaust.  They will tackle this difficult topic so that they can take their place in fulfilling the obligation to never let an atrocity like the Holocaust occur again against Jews, or any other group of God’s precious children.

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8th/9th Grade Chai School (Also open to 10th-12th Graders) - Judaism & American Civics/Judaism & Gender

Our 8th and 9th graders will meet virtually from 9:15-10:00am, giving them the opportunity to also serve as madrichim, teaching assistants, for the younger grades from 10:00-10:45am.  For the first semester of our Chai School program, we’ve engaged two fabulous teachers from across the country to teach two mini-mesters.

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The first mini-mester, titled “Judaism & American Civics” will be taught by Logan Zinman Gerber, who serves as the National Teen Campaign Organizer for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.  Students will learn about the intersections between their Jewish and American identities, and realize that they have powerful voices in shaping not only our society of tomorrow, but our society of today.

The second mini-mester, titled, “Judaism & Gender,” will be taught by Rabbi Andrew Terkel, who serves as the NFTY South Area Manager.  Together with Rabbi Terkel, students will explore concepts of gender, and particularly masculinity, in Judaism.

10th Grade - Confirmation Studies

Our 10th grade Confirmation students will meet virtually with the rabbis on Sunday mornings from 10:30-11:15am, giving them the opportunity to also serve as madrichim, teaching assistants, for the younger grades from 10:00-10:30am.

Our Confirmation students will engage in deep conversations with the rabbis and each other about what it means to be Jewish.  They’ll debate one another about Jewish dilemmas, analyze critical Jewish texts and examine the meaning behind many Jewish rituals; all in an effort for these students to be able to confirm their own religious beliefs and identities.

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11th & 12th Grade Post-Confirmation Studies

Our 11th and 12th Graders are encouraged to serve as madrichim, teaching assistants in our school.  They are also welcome to join in the Chai School classes taught by our expert teachers.  Should your 11th or 12th grader wish for deeper study beyond these opportunities, the rabbis will work with the teens to develop an individual course of study that is both relevant and meaningful for your teen.

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Hebrew School (Aleph-Dalet: 3rd-6th Grades)

Hebrew School this year will take place on Zoom in small groups, consisting of no more than 6 students per group.  Our Aleph and Bet students will focus primarily on building a strong foundation of letters and vowels so that they can decode any Hebrew that they see with ease.  Our Gimmel and Dallet students will study the prayers in more depth, both for meaning and for fluidity of decoding.

Hebrew School is offered in two main tracks:

  1. Mid-Week Hebrew will be offered in 45 minute segments on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays:
         -Early Session from 4:15-5:30pm
         -Late Session from 5:00-6:15pm

    Mid-week Hebrew consists of a 30 minute age-appropriate T’filah led by one of our clergy members.  The purpose of this T’filah is to familiarize the students with the sounds of the prayers.  This will lead to more “Aha! Moments” in the course of their Hebrew studies.

    We have shortened the class time to accommodate for the online Zoom learning.  Eventually, when it is safe to return to our building, we anticipate combining the early and late sessions, offering 1 session on Tuesdays and 1 session on Wednesdays, both running from 4:15-6:15pm.
  2. Boker Tov Sunday Morning Hebrew will be offered online from 8:30-9:30am on Sunday mornings.  These classes are smaller by design.  Students should sign up for Boker Tov Hebrew if they are unable to make the mid-week Hebrew option work with their schedule, or if learning in the afternoon following a full day of school proves challenging.

Please note that because we are capping our Zoom Mid-Week and our Boker Tov Hebrew classes at 6 students per class, priority will go to those who complete their registration on a first come, first served basis.
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Mon, August 2 2021 24 Av 5781