Our religious school reflects an educational partnership between parents, students, staff and the wider synagogue community where we share a commitment to engendering a positive Jewish identity in both intellect and affect. We achieve this goal through experiential learning, social action, acts of Gemilut Hessed and a commitment to Klal Yisrael. Through our creative curriculum, we teach core synagogue skills as well as fundamental aspects of Jewish culture. We strive, to the best of our ability, to meet the educational needs of all children including those with special needs.
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The focus of this curriculum is to introduce the children to being Jewish. This is achieved through stories, songs, arts & crafts and discussion. The topics covered are Shabbat, Jewish holidays, Jewish symbols and Bible stories. There is also some exposure to the Hebrew alphabet.
In this program, the children continue to explore their Jewish identity.The concepts of Shabbat are reinforced and the blessings for Shabbat are learned. The students are also introduced to the Hebrew letters as well as learning some common Hebrew phrases. The holidays are once again taught through hands on projects. There is also a Shabbat Family dinner for the families held on a Friday night during the year where the children are able to actually use what they have learned in the classroom.
The students begin to learn how to decode the Hebrew alphabet. By the end of the year, the students are able to read words both accurately and fluently. They also learn key Hebrew words and some common Hebrew phrases. The Parshah (Torah chapter) of the week is studied and discussed through reading, activity sheets and discussions.
Introduction to the siddur (prayerbook) and the Shacharit service prayers are the focus of this curriculum. The textbook series, Hineni, is used which helps the students not only learn how to read and chant the prayers fluently, but helps them to understand the meaning and themes of the prayers as well. Learning the meaning of key root words is introduced as well. The stories of some of the major Prophets are read as well as the teaching of ethical values and mitzvot (commandments).
This curriculum uses Hineni 2 which continues to build on the prayers learned in Kitah Bet, adding more prayers from Shacharit and introducing new prayers from Kabbalat Shabbat. Israel is also introduced. The students learn the history, geography, cultural life and the importance of Israel to the Jewish people through textbooks, stories, videos and even cooking. The workings of the Jewish calendar are explained and the Hebrew date determined during every class.
The Hineni 3 book is used which teaches the students the prayers of the Torah and Musaf service. By the end of the year, the students are able to recognize key root words, read/chant prayers fluently and most importantly, feel a sense of comfort and familiarity in the service. The Jewish Life Cycle is also taught where the students are explained the “hows” and “whys” of the different major cyclical events.
This year the Rabbi and the Education Director teach the students some of the curriculum. The rabbi introduces the students to the Torah trope and gives them the opportunity to chant a few lines of Torah at a Shabbat morning service. The class is also taught some conversational Hebrew, using texts with simple Hebrew stories. The educational director teaches the Holocaust, using a program designed by Facing History and Ourselves. The class also learns about the laws of Kashrut and other Jewish topics that the class decides on.