Our Curriculum

Pre-Kindergarten: Our Pre-Kindergarten class begins Religious School with myriad hands-on projects from Torah scrolls and kiddush cups to Israeli flags and sanctuary objects. Stories about Bible heroes and how we can be like them add spice to this class.

Kindergarten: Our Kindergarten class is introduced to life cycle events. The children make many Jewish artifacts. Weekly grab-bag lessons facilitate imparting knowledge about our Judaic heritage. Mishpacha (family) is another focus of this year’s curriculum.

First Grade: Our First Grade class studies Shabbat, its rituals and customs are studied in depth. All holidays are addressed with an emphasis placed on the story behind them. Some basic prayers, as well as numbers, are taught orally in Hebrew.

Second Grade: Our Second Grade class learns valuable stories about Bible heroes who become a focus for discussion of personal Jewish values.  Videos about these heroes help provide the catalyst for exchanging ideas and opinions. Students create many of their own stories and prayers. They are introduced to Hebrew letters.

Third Grade: Our Third Grade class concentrates on a study of the synagogue, the sanctuary, and Jewish books. Creativity in writing a Temple newsletter and dictionary is encouraged. Students learn about Lifeline for the Aged in Israel and then teach their parents about it. Reading Hebrew begins in third grade.

Fourth Grade: Our Fourth Grade class introduces children to the ways Jews lived in other times. Bible characters come to life by students’ presentations. Students also make visits to a nursing home. Hebrew study continues with an emphasis on mastering phonetic reading of the Chanukah blessings and the Four Questions as well as prayers.

Fifth Grade: Our Fifth Grade class “travels” to modem-day Israel. From obtaining Israeli passports on the first day of school, to hosting a Jewish World’s Fair, students study K’Ial Yisrael, the world of Jews. We stress fluency and correct pronunciation of Hebrew with the goal of leading a service from the prayer book.

Sixth Grade: Our Sixth Grade class uses the Conference Plan, the NATE award-winning curriculum created by Rabbi Richard Birnholz, involving a series of hands-on mini-units. The subjects range from a study of our prophets and Spanish Jewry to anti-Semitism and the Jewish response to poverty. These activities challenge our students to act, based on knowledge of our rich heritage. Students continue to prepare for their B’nai Mitzvah as well as learning life cycle Hebrew they will need to know as adults.

Seventh Grade: Our Seventh Grade class uses Conference Plan, the NATE award-winning, curriculum created by Rabbi Richard Birnholz, involving a series of different mini-courses.  Through participatory activities, students are challenged to learn, examine their own beliefs, develop their own informed positions, and act on both historical and contemporary situations and topics. Many different media are used in these mini-courses. Current opinions and problems are offered using combinations of speakers, panels, videos, films, and field experiences. The topics of these mini-courses include ethical issues, tzedakah, Bible, interfaith programming, and comparative Judaism.

Eighth Grade: Our Eighth Grade class is taught by Rabbi Farb and Youth Director Lindsey Dewey and is titled “The making of a mensch.” The teenage years provide an opportunity to learn how to be an adult, and as our eighth graders begin that stage of their lives, we use discussion, games and activities, and field trips to see how our Judaism can help to guide the way we live.  We will look at how we treat each other, how we treat the world, and how we treat ourselves, applying traditional Jewish values to contemporary issues like poverty and bullying.

Ninth Grade: Our Ninth Grade class culminates in a Confirmation Service for the entire congregation. This class is designed to help our students understand what Confirmation means in terms of the basic tenets of our faith. Jewish Assertiveness Training and learning to cope with life’s challenges are highlights of this year. Community service projects and a canoe trip add a special bond for our Confirmation class. Our Rabbi Birnholz and another master teacher teach this class.

Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Grade: Many of our Post-Confirmation students work as teaching assistants in our Religious School classrooms. These students choose to return to work in the school in both Judaic Studies and Hebrew classes.