Our youngest learners will begin their religious school journey experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes that connect us to Jewish tradition and learning. Our curriculum provides an exciting introduction to Torah, God and acts of loving-kindness and how to add mitzvot into their everyday lives. Each grade will explore Jewish values and holidays through age appropriate literature, art, music and cooking projects and activities.
In K-2 students will gain the fundamental building blocks to prepare for Hebrew reading. Students will first be introduced to Hebrew greetings, simple Hebrew vocabulary and prayers. The next step will be learning a number of Hebrew words and phrases related to values and holidays. In addition, students will learn all the letters of the Aleph-Bet, Hebrew words for each letter and additional prayers.
Our Jewish values-based curriculum in grades three through five helps students develop skills to build positive relationships and make responsible decisions. Students will examine the importance of values such as gratitude, repairing the world, kindness, empathy and inclusion and how they connect us to our family, community, self and peers.
Third grade is the beginning of our formal Hebrew program. Students will learn how to decode Hebrew words, enabling them to recognize and read prayers and blessings. They will learn Hebrew songs, holiday rituals and the concept of tzedakah, (charity). Connections between making mistakes and forgiveness are examined and explored using real-life scenarios.
Fourth and fifth-grade students continue developing their Hebrew studies, learning prayer-based vocabulary and additional prayers. Hebrew reading skills are emphasized so that students can participate fully and comfortably in the Shabbat and holiday services.
Our sixth-grade curriculum continues to develop confidence in Hebrew reading, writing and oral vocabulary skills, and Jewish identity. The focus is on the impact the synagogue has on the local Jewish community, the State of Israel and their own lives. The concept of nourishing your soul by continually helping others prepares each student to become a member of the adult Jewish community as they approach the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Preparation for leading the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is an important goal of our program. Students will learn to read and understand prayers with confidence, sing with pride, and inspire our congregation through their words. Our mission during this year is to hone our students’ Hebrew skills so they will feel comfortable and at ease not only at our CBI worship services, but also at any synagogue they attend during their lifetime.
Seventh grade is a pivotal year in the life of Jewish students. Our program is designed to meet the specific needs of our students both before and after their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Our pre-Bar Mitzvah CORE program will focus on solidifying our students’ Hebrew proficiency and fortifying their confidence and comfort leading a service. Special attention will be paid to understanding the traditions of Bar Mitzvah and how they relate to the lives of today’s teenagers.
After celebrating their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students will be promoted to the EnCORE program. New opportunities will be available to these students, including joining our broadcast team to work on the school-wide newscast and taking their mitzvah projects to the next level. Students who have Bar/Bat Mitzvahs scheduled in the 2nd half of the school year will join the EnCORE program in January while continuing their CORE preparation.
The eighth-grade year is a practical and realistic exploration of matters relevant to teens, designed to provide students a safe space to express their emotions and engage in discussions about current social topics. By utilizing Jewish values as a basis for exploring contemporary concerns facing young teens, we will work cohesively to build a strong sense of Jewish identity and community amongst our students as they prepare to enter high school.
This year will focus on finding balance to the pressures put on teens as they transition to high school, maintaining social life, extra-curricular activities and rigorous schoolwork. In the ninth grade they will begin to ask the thought-provoking questions that challenge any preconceived notions they may have had about Judaism. Students will learn how to implement our ancient teachings and apply them to modern-day ethical dilemmas.
In the tenth-grade year, students delve deeper into meaningful connections with each other as well as to Jewish text, Jewish values, and Jewish traditions. They begin charting a path towards having a clear and confident sense of who they are as emerging Jewish adults and study comparative Judaism to understand what makes them alike and different from their peers. The year culminates with Confirmation; then they travel together to Israel to experience their curriculum “first-hand”!
The last two years in SLJ prepare our students to participate in Jewish life within and beyond Congregation B’nai Israel. Our goal is for all students graduating from CBI to have the resources in their toolbox to feel prepared to lead Jewish lives—through their knowledge, experience, understanding, and practical skills.
In this two-year curriculum, Grades 11 and 12 meet to equip themselves for their college journey. Exposure to Hillel, the ADL and other campus organizations will make their college environment feel familiar before they even leave home. Connections with SLJ alumni currently attending college will also help create a comfort level with their adjustment. Our mission is for our graduates to carry Judaism with them as they go into the world.