The Dalet students will be studying Israel. The goal is to make Israel a tangible and exciting part of their identity. Students will study the major cities, customs and traditions of their homeland. Holidays will be discussed in terms of observance in Israel versus the United States. A project will be assigned about Israel. This year the students continue their study of Torah from the weekly portion or parsha to form a deeper understanding by exploring the values, morals, and spiritual truths surrounding the stories. The students will explore the messages as they relate to their own lives as well The year begins with a review of the Hebrew letters, vowels and simple word recognition. Students move from the primer to a workbook that introduces the student to basic prayer vocabulary while at the same time encourages reading proficiency. Students will be able to recite: all items mentioned in Gimmel, Holiday candle lighting, Pesah blessings, Barechu, Adon Olam, Yotzer, complete V'ahavtah, Mi Chamocha, and Friday night Kiddush.
HAY (5th grade)
The Hay students will focus on the Jewish lifecycles. Students explore the rituals, meanings, history and customs surrounding Jewish lifecycle events from birth to death. Students are encouraged to tell their own stories and relate family background with regard to Hebrew names, ceremonies, etc. Students explore gender roles and the understanding of the rituals around Jewish living. The students will study the history of important beliefs, practices and customs that make up the historic faith of Judaism and holiday rituals. The students will be assigned one project that can be worked on as a family centered around the Jewish Side of Me. Students will continue building their Hebrew skills in terms of reading prayer, text and vocabulary. Discussions incorporating the weekly Torah portion or parsha will be introduced using key Hebrew root words. Students will work on reading Hebrew comfortably and accurately, will gain a strong Hebrew based vocabulary, will begin to read from the Siddur and Chumash. Students will be able to recite: all items mentioned in Daled, Avot, Gevurot, Kedusha, l’cha Dodi (all), V’Shamru, Shalom Aleichem, Shalom Rav, Sim Shalom, and Hatikvah.
VAV (6th grade)
The Vav students will focus on Mitzvot, and Jewish Values. The students will be expected to choose a mitzvah project to begin working on for their B’nai Mitzvah. Students will explore the Reconstructionist philosophy of living in two civilizations. Holiday study will include comparative analysis of how diverse cultures and other movements celebrate the calendar events. Emphasis on the weekly Torah portion or parsha will be incorporated into Hebrew studies. Each student will be expected to complete one project for the year, centered on their family tree. Vav students and their families participate in the Bnai Mitzvah workshop once a month. This will help to reinforce their understanding of the service both in terms of choreography as well as meaning. Students continue their study of Hebrew and the Shabbat services. Students will be able to read from the Siddur and Chumash, recognize key words in the Siddur and Chumash, understand themes and concepts in the Siddur and Chumash. Students will be able to recite: all items mentioned in Hay, Torah Service, blessings for Torah Study, blessings for Tallit and Tefillin, Torah blessings, full Kiddush (Friday night and Saturday morning), Hatzi Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish, Eyn Keloheynu, and basic trope.
ZAYIN (7th grade - meets Wednesday evenings; the Rabbi and Cantor are part of the teaching team)
The curriculum for Zayin focuses on the history and values surrounding the Holocaust and the impact on modern Jewish identity. Students study the Holocaust through a variety of texts, movies, speakers and experiential discussions. “Hot Topics” through CAJE (Central Agency for Jewish Education) explores current political, social and religious aspects in the context of being a young American Jew. Students will attend Kehillah (gathering) and will have an opportunity to meet other Jewish children in the community through scheduled special events
Additional Curriculum Expectations for Gan-Zayin
Throughout the year, the teachers will focus on their given curriculum and texts as it applies to: Jewish Living, Jewish Values, Peoplehood. (See detailed grade curriculum above for more information).
All students will cover the Holidays at an age-appropriate level in class. There are special school-wide programs planned for all Jewish holidays.
All of our students are instilled with an understanding of the importance of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. The history of Zionism and the establishment of the modern State of Israel are incorporated into the classroom. Every grade level takes part in age appriopriate, interactive projects and discussions on Israel. On Yom HaAtzma'ut (Israel Independence Day), all Torah School children participate in our Ramat Shalom Salute To Israel Parade.
“Parshat haShavuah” (the weekly Torah portion) is often discussed by the Rabbi during the assembly time. Classes will often continue the discussion at their own class level in terms of personalities, values, history etc. All students develop a working knowledge of the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets and Writings).
All classes are exposed to Hebrew through song, prayer and reading. Prayer liturgy is the focus of the Torah School program. Students will also be exposed to basic Hebrew vocabulary as it applies to Jewish literacy. All grades have a “Prayer Contract”. As each student masters the prayers for their grade level, the teacher and the parents “sign off” on the contract. After several prayers are completed, the director will “sign off” as well. Prayer learning is cumulative; each year builds on the year before. All students enrolled in our Torah School are invited to attend our 5:00-6:00PM Wednesday afternoon Hebrew enrichment program, free of charge.
Our Cantor is our music teacher and works with each grade level during Tefillah (school-wide prayer service). She teaches songs that are relevant to the holidays as well as to the liturgy. Our Cantor also works with each class to prepare for their Shabbat Service.
Beginning in the fall of 2013, we will be introducing a new, online learning program that will focus on prayer. This program will allow students to login at a time that works for them and explore some of the most important prayers in our tradition. Interactive activities will teach students how to recite the prayers while, at the same time, encourage them to understand the basic meaning of these prayers. Teachers will monitor each student's online progress. Parents will be encouraged to take part in the online program.
All classes will participate in a Shabbat Service. Students will learn the parts of the service and lead the service for either the early (6:45pm) or the regular (7:30pm) Shabbat service. A special grade-wide Shabbat oneg activity accompanies each class-led service.
Post B’nai Mitzvah (Grade 8 - meets Wednesday evenings, twice a month)
Post B’nai Mitzvah, the bridge between Torah School and Confirmation, provides a unique educational experience and meets twice a month on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00PM. The students will enjoy Shabbatons, social events, educational programming, Mitzvah / Tikkun Olam projects and raise funds for trips. They will participate in a Madrichim program which focuses on Leadership Development. The activities are overseen by the Education Director and parent volunteers.
Confirmation (Grades 9-10 - meets Wednesday evenings, twice a month)
Confirmation is an important step to lifelong adult Jewish learning and meets twice a month on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00PM. The program is designed to answer students’ questions and help them experience how Jewish values help to shape their own lives. The students will participate in Shabbatons, social events, educational programming, Mitzvah / Tikkun Olam projects and raise funds for trips. The class will culminate in a Confirmation Service during which the students will share with the congregation what they have learned. The activities are overseen by a professional educator, Cantor Debbie and Rabbi Andrew.
Post Confirmation (Grades 11-12 - meets Wednesday evenings, twice a month)
Post Confirmation is the teen link between high school and college and meets twice a month on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00PM. This two-year program reinforces Jewish identity and pride in our teens. Through discussion groups led by Rabbi Andrew and visiting experts, students will learn how to be strong advocates for the Jewish community locally, nationally and even globally. Through partnerships with organizations such as AIPAC, BBYO and Stand With Us, this class will travel with Rabbi Andrew to Washington, D.C. to visit with national leaders and lobby in support of the Jewish causes they will learn about. Given the challenges that our Jewish college students face on campuses across the country, our Post Confirmation class is so important for each of our teens.