Curriculum

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Our curriculum is based on the goals of the Temple Beth El Education Program. It is a spiraling curriculum, allowing several topics to “spiral” through the grades, growing in complexity as students mature.

Primary Grades
Students in grades Pre-K, Kindergarten, First and Second grades begin to develop skills and awareness of the holiday cycle, synagogue ritual, Jewish values & ethics, and Torah study, and begin a program of Hebrew Reading Readiness.

Age-appropriate worship services, music sessions with our Cantor, arts and crafts, field trips, and Family Education Programs enhance classroom studies.

Hebrew Department
Students in grades Alef (3rd grade) through Heh (7th grade) begin an integrated Hebrew and Judaica curriculum. Hebrew and Judaic studies are taught during both Sunday and Thursday sessions of Torah School.

Students develop functional literacy in siddur (prayer book) Hebrew, become conversant with the order of the worship service and the meaning of prayers, study lifecycle events for historical development and personal meaning, explore the weekly Torah portions, forge a connection with the Land of Israel, and grapple with ethical dilemmas in a Jewish context.

Confirmation Department
Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Grade students who have become Bar or Bat Mitzvah will meet on Sunday afternoons from Noon – 2:30 p.m. to apply previously acquired skills and knowledge in a broader context, in an environment both familiar and safe in which to explore their most difficult questions. We are revising the curriculum for these grades, and will fine tune details throughout the year.

Eighth & Ninth Grades: Over the course of these two years, students will wrestle with these Enduring Understandings: Judaism speaks to issues that I encounter in my life and Contemporary Jewish history affects my life. Among the issues that will be addressed in these two years are: Where does Reform Judaism fit within the spectrum of Judaism? Where is MY place within the spectrum of Reform Judaism? How do I relate to God? What is the Jewish impetus to social justice? Who wrote the Torah and what does it have to do with me? What are the Jewish rituals that mark important life passages? How do I explore my spirituality within a Jewish context? How do I identify as a Jew? What makes Judaism distinct from other religions? What role does Israel play in my life? What are the issues that divide the Jewish community? How can I make Shabbat for myself? How do I incorporate Jewish rituals into my life?

Tenth Grade/Confirmation: Confirmation students study with the Rabbi, exploring the confluence of belief and practice in their Jewish lives. Students will develop skills in critical thinking as they examine issues in religious life, and focus on their roles as adult members of our community. Students attend the Torah School Camp Weekend as CIT’s (Counselors-in-Training) and prepare their own ceremony of Confirmation.

Family Education Days
We continue our successful program of Family Education Days throughout our Torah School. Parents are invited and encouraged to come to Torah School during the year to study and to learn with their child(ren).

Each grade will have one Family Education Program. During each Family Program, classes will meet as usual; parents will participate in the varied and stimulating educational experience their children are accustomed to, and may have the opportunity to spend adult learning time with our Educator or the Rabbi.

Please note the specific dates for the Family Education Days for your family on the Torah School Calendar. Family Education Programs fill the school day, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Family Shabbat Dinners & Services

As in the past, students of the Torah School will participate in an Erev Shabbat Service and Dinner. Students will conduct part of the service, or add to our worship in some meaningful way. Specific details and information about each class’ participation will be sent home within the month prior to the actual service.

On the 1st Friday of each month:

  • 6:30 Family Shabbat Service, including birthday blessings for the children twelve and under and the “not ready for the bimah players” or a performance by our youth choir.

Half-Pint Havurah

Friday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

For families with young children at TBE. Join families with preschool, or pre-preschool aged children for a fun Shabbat experience. Each week has a theme connected to a Jewish holiday or to the Torah portion of the week. Make your own challah, do some art, sing some songs and celebrate Shabbat with your friends. Cantor Ilan Davidson facilitates this program. Our activities are appropriate for children ages 6 months to 5 years.

Madrikhim

Temple Beth El continues its successful program of inviting young adults who have become Bar or Bat Mitzvah to assist in our Torah School.

Students in Eighth Grade and above are eligible to become madrikhim, literally, “guides.”

We will help these role models for younger children to develop personal goals for each day at school, write weekly journals of observations and questions, and act as adjunct instructors in conjunction with the classroom teacher.

For the madrikhim, this guidance and experience in our school will impart to them valuable skills for later life. In addition, these young people who work in the classrooms or assist in the office are an essential asset to our synagogue community, and we are delighted to have them with us.

The teens who participate in the madrikhim program can earn community service hours for their time.