Outline of Learning

Preschool – B’nai Mitzvah

Our teaching staff will continually work to provide enriching opportunities for Jewish learning and religious exploration. Holidays and celebrations are taught in an age appropriate manner and are integrated with the students’ general course of study. Jewish values are also integrated into the curriculum and studied at every age. All students participate regularly in Tefillah (prayer services) so that we can teach our students to become functional and comfortable in the synagogue. The study of Hebrew and participation in tefillah are vital aspects of this goal.

The curriculum is built in a spiral fashion, designed to coincide with the developmental stages of children at each grade level. While familiar areas are repeated, new foci are added at each progressive stage. While we hope that all students will begin their studies in our Preschool program and continue all the way through, it is possible to enter the program almost anywhere along the way. Our Hebrew program allows for individualized and self-paced instruction so that all children can achieve their fullest potential in a supportive and nurturing environment.

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

At the end of this 3-year, once a week class, students will be able to identify, name and describe the purpose of many Jewish symbols and ritual objects associated with Shabbat and holidays. They will be able to name the holidays, describe the rituals associated with each and identify at least one mitzvah with each holiday. They will explore their place within their Jewish family, their synagogue and the greater Jewish community. Children will develop a basic Hebrew vocabulary of key words related to holidays, blessings, the synagogue, home and the classroom. The students will be able to identify the key Biblical characters from the Books of Genesis and Exodus and retell stories that illustrate an understanding of Jewish family life and the performance of mitzvot. They will be able to recognize and name the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

3rd – 4th Grades

In this 2-year level of the learning center, students will focus on a more in depth, dynamic study of the Bible as well as an exploration of the state of Israel. In 3rd grade, students also begin to attend a midweek session focused on the study of Hebrew.

The Biblical study portion will challenge students to ponder and wrestle with the text. Students will be exposed to classic interpretations of text and learn to create their own midrashim. They will make connections between text and core Jewish values to personalize the Bible’s lessons.

In the subject area of Israel, students are introduced to Israel’s history, geography, political, commercial and cultural life. The students will be able to identify Israel as the historical and modern homeland of the Jewish people. They will be able to list key cities and regions in the land of Israel. Identify famous Jews who helped build the land of Israel. Connect Biblical stories with key places in Israel. Feel pride in having a special Jewish country and describe daily life in modern Israel.

5th – 6th Grades

During this 2-year period, students will focus on the Jewish Life Cycle and a survey of Jewish history from the post-Biblical period to the creation of the State of Israel. Students will be able to explain the concept of life cycle as the set of events and rituals that delineate the stages in a person’s life. Outline the events which mark the Jewish life cycle. Describe the customs and rituals for each life cycle event. Apply general information about the Jewish life cycle to their own lives. Formulate thoughtful reasons about why life cycle observances are important. Demonstrate ownership of life cycle observances and celebrations by accepting them as positive inclusions in their lives. And express their own feelings about life cycle events and life’s passages in general. The study of Jewish history will help students consider how their lives compare with the lives of those who came before them, how Judaism has evolved in every generation, and how the decisions of our forebears to adapt Judaism to their times and circumstances influence our own decisions today.

7th Grade

Most students in the 7th grade class will be simultaneously preparing to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah. In addition to those individualized sessions with the Rabbi and Cantor, the class will focus on what it really means to become a member of the adult Jewish community and take responsibility for performance of mitzvot. In the course of the year, students will be able to define mitzvot as sacred actions that connect us to God and the Jewish people. Differentiate between the concepts of ritual mitzvot and ethical mitzvot. Identify mitzvot they already perform and consider how they affect their daily lives. Express what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience means in their lives, in the lives of their family and for the Jewish people. Gain confidence in leading and participating selected parts of the Shabbat morning service. Continue developing Hebrew reading and comprehension skills through study of the Shabbat Morning Service.