The Barry Ira Graff School for Living Judaism at Congregation B’nai Israel offers programs for children in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Our Lower School, Kindergarten-5th Grades, meet on Sunday mornings or Monday afternoons. There is also a Sunday morning option for 6th Grade.
During this year, students receive an introduction to our school and synagogue life.They will explore all aspects of the synagogue and discover the concept of God. The holidays come alive with celebrations, music, food, arts and crafts, and prayer. Students are taught to make the world a better place by contributing to our many tzedakah projects and by performing mitzvot.
This year focuses on Bible stories. Through art, music, cooking and role-playing, the Biblical personalities come alive and help to create Jewish memories. The morals and values we learn through Torah help to form the basis for these stories. Students continue to learn about the holidays as they explore associated concepts.
Our students learn how they can make a difference in the world through Mitzvot and Gemilut Chasadim. Through interactive and experiential learning, students delve into the ideas and notions that create a better world. They connect holidays to mitzvot and challenge themselves to make their own mark on our Jewish community, locally and in Israel.
The 3rd graders are engaged in a year-long Social Action project. Each year the students choose the project on which they want to focus. They will participate in a social media campaign, using the internet in our computer lab to research biblical references and learn what Judaism has to say about the topic chosen. Students will learn about various organizations to raise awareness of where their tzedakah goes. 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, including simple prayers.
The 4th grade curriculum focuses on Jewish Values. Students will be able to connect their day-to-day life with what Judaism has to say about it, through different experiential activities and lessons. They will learn about values they need to be a mensch. These values will further connect them to God, Torah and Israel. Students begin the second level of Hebrew, which includes the concept of prayer, reading prayers with fluency and accuracy, and holiday and prayer vocabulary.
This year students explore the State of Israel, its past, present, and future. They will take 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. In addition, they will have a partner school in Zichron Yaakov, our sister city in Israel, in which they will participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning with other fifth grade students in Israel through the internet. The third level of Hebrew continues with the prayer curriculum, focusing on the Shabbat evening prayers.
Our Upper School, 6th-12th Grades, meet on Tuesday evening, beginning with Youth Group Hangout and dinner.
Sixth, Seventh & Eighth Grades
TAG: A New Generation
TAG stands for Torah (Bible Study), Avodah (Worship and Service), and Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). Our new TAG program is a unique and innovative concept meant to help our students learn through action and deed. It is an experiential program where students learn Jewish concepts, ideals and values through a hands-on approach that will take them outside the traditional classroom. It is a program meant to help our students learn, not only by the guidance of our rabbis, but through their engagement in study, prayer, and most importantly, their deeds and involvement with each other and our community. It is a three year spiral curriculum with this first year focusing on Torah. The fourth level of Hebrew continues, focusing on the Shabbat morning prayers.
This year students will debate, study and explore insights into a host of Hot Topics. Through Jewish values, we will navigate issues relating to digital, medical, social and ethical issues. This course will allow the students to delve into meaningful discussions that will help them form their own opinions. Examples of this experiential curriculum are: What Should I Tweet?, What makes a person a good person? How does Jewish tradition define beauty? All topics are explored through the use of Torah and other Jewish texts.
Our Confirmation Program is made up of two semesters. During the first semester, students learn about Israel, in preparation for their three week trip in June. They study the different places they will visit, current events, politics, and people. During the second semester, students prepare for their Confirmation by organizing the Confirmation service through music, prayer and their own written thoughts on being Jewish. Our Confirmation Program culminates at the end of 10th Grade, as they lead our Confirmation service on Shavuot.
Eleventh & Twelfth Grades
Our Post Confirmation program provides students with the opportunity to study with our rabbis once a month on a Tuesday evening. This creates a further bond with the rabbis and a further connection to Congregation B’nai Israel. In this two-year curriculum, we explore our “Jewish Roots in America” one year and “Jewish Values That Support Civic Engagement” the next year. We will take a trip to New York City during the Jewish Roots year and to Washington, DC during the Jewish Civic Engagement year. A formal graduation for seniors celebrates their accomplishments.
For more information about all of our programs, fees, or to register, please contact of Director of Religious Education, Kim Beame.