Our kindergarten and first-grade classes will focus on the joy of Jewish discovery through the five senses. Through movement, art, song, and play, they will explore holiday celebrations, Torah stories, mitzvot, and our connection with the land of Israel. Students will engage with cultural literacy Hebrew: prayers, blessings, and Hebrew words they will hear as part of everyday Jewish life.
Our second-graders will explore the people, places, and stories from the Torah. Through art projects, skits, games, and more, they will bring to life our matriarchs, patriarchs, and ancestors, and the values that their stories teach us. They will learn about how the symbols and rituals we associate with each holiday connect us to our heritage and shared history. They will also begin learning to read Hebrew, learning both sight words and decoding, with a focus on words and phrases they will hear in the synagogue and at home.
The third grade will explore the history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of Israel through stories and puzzles. They will explore the Jewish Life Cycle through hands-on learning, as well, with a focus on joyful rites of passage. Students will polish their Hebrew reading skills and explore the building blocks and familiar patterns of Hebrew prayer and blessings. Third grade is the first year that students will be expected to attend class midweek.
The fourth grade will begin exploring their personal thoughts and beliefs about God and Jewish values, as well as the beliefs of our sages, through stories and activities that encourage questions, reflections, and thoughtful and respectful interaction with peers. They will engage in values-based community building through artistic expression and experiential and project-based learning. Fourth grade is the first year that students will begin studying the Shabbat prayer service in detail. Along with learning to recite the prayers in Hebrew, students will explore themes found in these prayers: mitzvot (commandments) brit (covenant), hoda'ah (gratitude), and chesed (lovingkindness).
Fifth grade takes a more in-depth look at two topics they began to explore as younger students: Torah and Life Cycle. They will explore the weekly Torah portion and Life Cycle events through drama and artistic expression, the first step to the thoughtful interpretation of our text and tradition. Their Hebrew instruction will continue to focus on meaningful prayer experiences.
Sixth grade will focus on putting Jewish values into action in the real world, beginning with the words and actions of our biblical prophets. They will learn to put into practice our sacred tradition of speaking out against injustice and speaking up for those in need. Part of their curriculum includes a unit on the Shoah, the Holocaust, focusing both on remembrance and on recognizing and speaking out against hatred. Sixth grade Hebrew is taught by Cantor Flynn, who guides our students in learning to participate in and lead the Torah service.
Seventh grade is a chance for students to tie together all of the threads of their Jewish education thus far. They will experience an overview of Jewish History that begins with Torah and continues through modern times, with opportunities to contextualize the stories of our matriarchs and patriarchs, the actions of our prophets, and the lives of Jews lived all over the world and throughout all of our history. Students are encouraged to suggest in-depth learning about specific times, places, and people so that they have the chance to guide their learning around the topics that interest them the most.
We are excited to bring back Wednesday afternoon Hebrew in person for all students in grades 3-6. Classes will run from 4:45-5:45 each Wednesday, and we will also provide space and supervision for students to socialize and complete homework from 4:00-4:45 for those who arrive early. Students will begin their Wednesday session by gathering in the sanctuary to lead each other in prayer. Classes divided by grade level will also be devoted to the mechanics of reading and decoding Hebrew words and phrases with their teacher for the second part of the session. If you live too far to travel to us midweek, we still want you to participate! Let us know if that is the case, and we will make sure a device with Zoom and a quality microphone is set up in your child's midweek classroom as well as in the sanctuary. While there will be options for individual tutoring for students, we think students will truly enjoy what we have in store for them on weekdays.
We know that a small number of our students prefer one-to-one online tutoring for individual reasons. While will be able to offer one-to-one online tutoring to a few students as needed and our staff is just as dedicated to your child's learning experience, there will be an added fee for the convenience of private tutoring and flexible time options. If a student scheduled for one-to-one Hebrew does not complete their weekly session, they will be marked absent for that week. Students using the one-to-one tutoring option will be expected to work independently, as well. We are trusting students to do the work and to spend an appropriate amount of time on it -- if we notice that a student is regularly not doing the amount of work that we expect is a realistic amount for that student, then we will have a conversation. Our goal is for us all to be partners in success.
Recordings of prayers our students will learn in Religious School can be found here: