Religious School Curriculum

Our new curriculum has been designed with the end goal in mind, focusing on big ideas that have lasting value beyond the classroom. Our goal is to inspire deep learning, encourage students to ask questions, and to prepare our young Jews to take on meaningful, authentic, and comfortable roles within their Jewish community. 

Students will have study, create, play, sing, read, and taste their way through Jewish culture, prayer, and ideologies. With each exposure, learners gain knowledge and confidence which will help them grow along their Jewish journey.

Hebrew is gently introduced at the earliest opportunity through sensory play and movement classes with our Education Director, Rabbi Carolan. As students gain an ear for the Hebrew language, they learn the letters of the Alef-Bet and begin decoding. In preparation for B'nei Mitzvah, students practice their reading and comprehension skills while analyzing the meaning of prayers and discuss the purposes and benefits of having an active prayer life.  

Each grade is framed by a Hebrew phrase, big ideas, and enduring understandings to help contextualize and connect students' educational experiences. The essential questions encourage our learners to actively engage with material and make meaning for themselves with their teachers as facilitators, rather than repeat memorized facts and sound bytes. 

Enrollment is always open! We encourage you to speak with our education director to ensure your student has an easy transition to our school and to review any questions or concerns you might have.

Pre K and Kindergarten

"Chag Sameach - Happy Holiday!"

   Main Focus: 
  • Holidays 
   Big Ideas: 
  • I celebrate with my community to mark Jewish time. 
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • We mark special times in our lives by coming together to celebrate.
  • The Jewish calendar is different from our “normal” one.
  Essential Questions: 
  • What is a Jewish community?
  • How and why do we celebrate?
  • What makes our celebrations special?

 

1st & 2nd Grades
"Kol Yisrael areivim zeh b’zeh - All of Israel is responsible for one another." -Talmud, Shavuot 39a

 Main Focus: 
  • Mitzvot & Menschlekhite
   Big Ideas: 
  • I am part of the Jewish community and have responsibilities to it.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • Mitzvot help guide us to “do the right thing” and connect us to one another, the world, and to God.
  Essential Questions: 
  • What makes a mitzvah Jewish?
  • How do mitzvot help me decide how to act?
  • Why does my behavior make a different in the world? 

 

3rd Grade
"Al shlosha d’varim ha’olam omeid: al haTorah, v’al ha’avodah, v’al gemilut chasadim.
The world stands on three things: on learning, on holy work, and on loving acts." -Pirke Avot 1:2

 Main Focus: 
  • Torah Stories & Heroes 
   Big Ideas: 
  • I am part of the Jewish story.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • In reading Torah, we uncover the values and stories of our people, and add to the Jewish story by learning and participating in it.
  • The words of Torah stay the same, but we come back to it as different people each year.
  • Torah helps us grow throughout our whole lives.
  Essential Questions: 
  • Why do we study Torah?
  • Who are some of the important characters in the Torah? What are their stories? Why are they important in my life and my family’s life?
  • What values can I learn from these characters?
  • How am I like the people in the story? How am I different?  

 

4th & 5th Grades
"L’chol z’man v’eit, l’chol-cheifetz tachat ha’shamayim. 
To everything there is a season; a time for every experience under heaven." -Ecclesiastes 3:1

 Main Focus: 
  • Life Cycle & God
   Big Ideas: 
  • Life is cyclical.
  • We can mark time Jewishly.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • Jewish life is lived in community. Together, we celebrate during times of joy, mourn during times of sorrow, and support one another in between.
  • The prayers and rituals of the life cycle help us to build relationships with each other and God.
  Essential Questions: 
  • What does it mean to be a member of the Jewish community?  
  • How do these rituals help me understand myself, my life, and life itself?
  • When is God? 

 

6th Grade
"Or chadash al Tzion ta’ir, v’nizkeh chulanu m’heirah l’oro. 
Shine a new light upon Zion, that we may all soon benefit." -Siddur

 Main Focus: 
  • Israel & Calendar 
   Big Ideas: 
  •  We have a spiritual home in Israel.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • Israel is a special place for Jews worldwide.
  • Israel anchors the Jewish people as a spiritual, national, and cultural center.
  • Just as we stand by friends in times of trouble, the Jewish community stands by Israel during difficult times.
  • It is important to be “critical consumers” when it comes to Israel in the media.
  Essential Questions: 
  • How are the multiple meanings of “Israel” (people, land, state) connected to one another and how are they connected to me?
  • What is Israel’s role in Jewish life and in my life?
  • Why have the Jewish people been so focused on Israel for so long? How has this shaped who I am even though I don’t live there? 

 

7th & 8th Grades
"Tzedek, tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice shall you pursue." -Deuteronomy 16:20

 Main Focus: 
  • Israel & Calendar 
   Big Ideas: 
  •  As a Jew, I’m obligated to participate in tikun olam – the healing of the world.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • We are caretakers of the world and seekers of justice.
  • We can experience God in our world, in others, and in ourselves when we perform gemilut chasadim – sacred acts of loving kindness.
  Essential Questions: 
  • How can mitzvot help me to be my best self?
  • What does our tradition say that God wants us to do in the world?
  • How can I heal my corner of the world? 

 

9th & 10th Grades
"V’asita ha’yashar v’hatov b’einei Adonai. 
Do what is right and good in the sight of God." -Deuteronomy 6:18

  Main Focus: 
  • Ethics & Decision Making 
   Big Ideas: 
  •  Life is gray, not black-and-white.
  Enduring                  Understandings: 
  • By delving deeply into the sacred texts, we can uncover multiple voices of authority within our text that can help guide us in our own decision making process.
  Essential Questions: 
  • How do our texts help us make difficult decisions among several truths?
  • How can texts that illuminate competing values help us through complicated situations?
  • What is most important to me that I want to teach to others?
Sun, September 24 2017 4 Tishrei 5778