Religious School Curriculum
Our program capitalizes on child development starting with basic symbols of Judaism and then builds in intensity and knowledge as our children mature. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten experience holidays and basic Jewish knowledge. First graders learn about holidays, stories, and how to live Jewishly by experiencing mitzvot (commandments) such as bal tashchit (do not destroy) and hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) By second grade, our children are familiar with Jewish symbols, and they can study how they are used—both historically and practically (ah, here is why I use them). Second graders also take a trip through the Torah, story by story. All of the primary grades introduce students to the alef-bet, the Hebrew alphabet. Third grade focuses on a more intermediate level of learning about holidays and Shabbat prayers, as well as real Hebrew readiness. Our fourth grade will begin an in depth study of God and prayer, and the Prophets. By fifth grade, our students are able to understand and study Israel and Life Cycle Events. This leads to a sixth grade year focusing on American Jewish History and the Holocaust.
Our seventh and eighth grades continue to flourish under the guidance of the Rabbinic Intern, utilizing the innovative programming of computer chat room sessions, and Sunday morning class sessions and social programs, and off-site mitzvah missions. Through dealing with a myriad of topics this year, the Sunday morning sessions focus primarily on issues of God, comparative religion, and mitzvot.
Our Hebrew program has expanded due to the fact that our religious school has done such a thorough job of Hebrew Readiness. We are close to the point where our incoming Hebrew students (those children entering fourth grade) will already be reading simple prayers as they enter mid-week Hebrew School. We should be proud of the fact that we teach Hebrew two days a week—a dedicated time each Sunday, in addition to Tuesday evenings. This is done with the expectation that by the time of B’nai Mitzvah, not only will our students be able to read from the Torah, but to translate as well.