KINDERGARTEN is a joyous year where students receive their introduction to our school and synagogue life. The holidays come alive with celebrations, music, food, arts and crafts and prayer. An oral Hebrew vocabulary is formed which includes holiday, prayer and every day words. The students realize that they can make the world a better place by contributing to our many tzedakah projects and by performing mitzvot. An exploration of the synagogue and its place in Jewish life, in addition to the concept of G-d, rounds out an exceptional learning experience.
FIRST GRADERS continue their studies of the holidays with a deeper understanding of our customs and ceremonies and their place in a Jew's life. They discover basic prayers to communicate with G-d in the synagogue, in home celebrations, in the classroom and in their personal lives. The concepts of mitzvot and tzedakah continue to be a part of their studies, while they futher explore Gemilut Chasadim and Israel.
SECOND GRADERS focus on the early Bible stories of Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, The Tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel, and Joseph. Through art, music and role-playing, the Biblical personalities come alive and become memorable. The students continue with holiday observances, mitzvot, and tzedakah. Hebrew letter recognition and vocabulary prepare the students for the following year's formal introduction to Hebrew. In addition, a special library program is added to the curriculum to help create Jewish memories.
THIRD GRADERS become Tzofim (Israeli Scouts) for the year. Their year begins with the creation of their Tzofim t-shirt and a candle lighting induction ceremony where they begin their quest for badges in the areas of Synagogue, Torah, Prayer, Helping Hands, Israel, Bible, Jewish Books, Holidays, and Shabbat. Students begin the first level of formal Hebrew where they will learn the names and sounds of letters and vowels, and how to read Hebrew. They will learn to read simple prayers and increase their Hebrew vocabulary.
FOURTH GRADERS concentrate on the Jewish Life Cycle. During the year the students will receive their Hebrew name at a special Naming Ceremony. They explore the various components of Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, marriage and death. The second level of Hebrew introduces the students to the concept of prayer, reading prayers with fluency and accuracy, and holiday and prayer vocabulary.
FIFTH GRADERS explore the State of Israel, its past and present. The format for the year will involve the students taking a "tour" of modern Israel where they will visit and experience the major cities and sites, meet the builders of the country and confront the highs and lows of its history. Holidays are observed as though in Israel. Current events are an integral part of the program. The third level of Hebrew continues with the prayer curriculum, focusing on the Shabbat evening prayers.
SIXTH GRADERS explore our Tanakh (Bible). They will learn why we are called the "People of the Book" as they become familiar with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah, Joseph and Moses. Exciting activities include an Exodus Walk, Faith in Darkness Exercise, a Biblical Treasure Hunt and dramatic visits by Heroes of the Bible. The fourth level of Hebrew continues with an in-depth prayer curriculum focusing on Shabbat morning prayers. The year culminates with a unique Hadragah (moving up to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah level) ceremony written and led by our students.
UPPER SCHOOL/TEEN STUDIES
Our upper school meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 pm and offers 7th-10th Graders dynamic courses of high interest, which include text study, cooperative learning, media, guest speakers, field trips, retreats and hands-on learning experiences. The curriculum is comprised of core and elective classes in which the students get to choose what most interests them. In addition, our flexible options make it easy for students to attend classes at alternative times, through the Internet or through independent study.
Our upper school staff is comprised of highly experienced teachers which include our rabbis, cantors, school directors, youth director and other specially hand-picked educators who work well with our teens.
Some of the core classes incorporated into the curriculum may include:
Parashat HaShavua (Portion of the Week)
The Jewish Community
Why Be Good?
Pirke Avot (Sayings of our Ancestors)
Some of the elective classes incorporated into the curriculum may include:
Rock, Rap & Religion
Judaism in South Park
Jews and the News
Madrikhim Training (Teaching Assistants)
Jewish Art and Murals
Jewish Music and Drama
Martial Arts and the Mind-State of Judaism
Tenth grade culminates with Confirmation. The Confirmands help to lead the service on Shavuot, the holiday which commemorates God giving the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Following Confirmation, we take the 10th graders on a summer trip to Israel.
Eleventh and Twelth graders return for our Bar/Bat Yisrael Program. This two-year program, meaning Son/Daughter of Israel, provides the students with the opportunity to study with our rabbis once a month on a Sunday morning. This creates a further bond with the rabbis and a further connection with Congregation B'nai Israel. This two-year curriculum includes one year of Jewish Roots in America with a visit to New York City.
This year's curriculum incorporates a grant from The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and focuses on Teen Philanthropy. Our teens will choose organizations to work with, fundraise, write grants and learn to be active philanthropists in our Jewish community. The course will also include a weekend trip for which the teens will be responsible for deciding where they go and how they can help the most when they are there.
A formal graduation for seniors at the end of the year celebrates the accomplishments of our students.