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Curriculum Overview
Religious School
Religious school meets on Sundays from 9:30 - 11:30 for all students. Below is a brief overview of our Religious School curriculum.  Lower down is information about Hebrew School for 3rd-6th grade students.

All Students – Tefilah and Electives

Our mornings begin with an all-school tefilah.  Tefilah 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.
          Each week our students will participate in one or more electives to enrich their learning including (but not limited to):
  • Music – learning and singing Jewish songs with our Cantor and music specialist
  • Art – creating Jewish art with our art specialist
  • Hebrew Through Movement (HTM) – learning modern Hebrew in a physical and movement based curriculum
  • Torah Study – learning the weekly Torah portion with one of our Rabbis

K4 and K5 – Introduction to Judaism

            Our Kindergarten students spend much of their time learning through play, stories, and hands-on activities.  They will learn about basic Jewish symbols, our most central Torah stories, and have a chance to explore the Jewish holidays as they arrive throughout the year.

1st Grade – Shabbat and Holidays

            In 1st grade, our students learn more about the holidays with a special emphasis on Shabbat.  Through creating and decorating all the essential components of the Friday night Shabbat blessings, students will learn about this special time each week and how to celebrate it at home with their family. 

2nd Grade – Holidays with the Community

            Second grade students will learn about the synagogue and all the special symbols associated with it.  Additionally, they will learn more about how the Jewish holidays are celebrated at the synagogue compared to how they may celebrate at home with their families.

3rd Grade – Genesis and Israel

            In 3rd grade, students are reintroduced to Torah stories with an in-depth exploration of the book of Genesis.  Students will learn the stories of creation, Noah’s Ark, Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebekah; Jacob, Leah, and Rachel; and Joseph and his brothers.  Students will also get an introduction to Israel and begin formulating their own personal connection with the Jewish state.

4th Grade – Exodus and Tikkun Olam

            Our 4th graders will continue to explore the Torah by examining stories from Exodus.  They will learn about Moses as a child, how he came to be the leader of the Israelites, the 10 plagues and exodus from Egypt, the beginnings of wandering the desert, the 10 commandments, and more.  Students will also participate in a number of Tikkun Olam projects to help make our community and our world a better place.

5th Grade –Lifecycles & 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 of the main life-cycle events that happen throughout a Jewish person’s life, including an introduction to B-Mitzvah, which our 5th graders will become in just a few years!

6th Grade – Jewish 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.

7th Grade – Tough Questions Jews Ask, B-Mitzvah, and 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.  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.
They will also explore what it means to become a B-Mitzvah and become a teenager through a Jewish lens.  Finally, 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.

8th/9th Grade Chai School – Student Directed Learning Topics

Our 8th and 9th graders will meet from 10:45-11:30am, giving them the opportunity to also serve as madrichim, teaching assistants, for the younger grades from 9:30-10:45am. 
Our 8th and 9th grade students will help direct the topics they want to study as they take on the role of a Jewish adult after their B-Mitzvah.  They will also look at current events, with an emphasis on combating anti-Semitism and how to be an upstander.

10th Grade - Confirmation Studies

Our 10th grade Confirmation students will meet with the rabbis on Sunday mornings from 9:55-10:40am, giving them the opportunity to also serve as madrichim, teaching assistants, for the younger grades from 9:30-9:55am and 10:40-11:30am.
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.  The Confirmation class concludes with a Confirmation ceremony on Erev Shavuot in the spring.

11th & 12th Grade Post-Confirmation Studies

Our 11th and 12th Graders are encouraged to serve as madrichim, teaching assistants in our school.   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.

Hebrew School

Hebrew is an integral part of our curriculum at Congregation Shalom.  Our 3rd-6th grade students attend Hebrew classes each week in addition to their Sunday school classes..  Our Aleph and Bet students (3rd and 4th grade) 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 Dalet students (5th and 6th grade) will study the prayers in more depth, both for meaning and for fluidity of decoding.

A more detailed listing of our Hebrew curriculum, and resources for practicing at home, can be found HERE.

Hebrew School is offered in two main tracks:

  1. Mid-Week Hebrew will be offered on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 4:30-6:15pm.  Mid-week Hebrew consists of a 20 minute age-appropriate T’filah led by our Director of Congregational Learning.  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.  Students will also have the opportunity to lead services throughout the year to be more comfortable in that leadership role.  Mid-week Hebrew also includes bi-weekly visits from our Shin-Shinim (Israeli young adult ambassadors) who will do Israel enrichment education for our students.

  2. Boker Tov Sunday Morning Hebrew will be offered from 8:15-9:15am on Sunday mornings.  These classes are smaller by design.  Students should sign up for Boker Tov Hebrew ONLY 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 Boker Tov Hebrew classes are capped at 6 students per class.  Priority will go to those who complete their registration on a first come, first served basis.

Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784