Temple Beth Shalom is well known for its excellent Religious School, which has over 220 students from Kindergarten through grade 12. Classes meet on Sunday mornings for grades K – 7 from 9:30am to 11:30am and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8pm for grades 4 to 12.
Religious School Registration for the 2017-2018 school year will begin in June. Forms will be uploaded at that time.
Makhela Schedule for 2016-2017 – Makhela is open to students in grades 2-7. About to begin its 8th year, Makhela regularly participates at Friday night services and occasionally performs for other special programs and venues. Makhela is a fun and rewarding activity, and is now recruiting for new and returning members!
Mission of Temple Beth Shalom Religious School
The Religious School of Temple Beth Shalom seeks to provide a Jewish education to students from kindergarten through high school, which will foster knowledge of Reform Judaism and of Jewish traditions; understanding and love of Torah; familiarity with the Hebrew language; a strong sense of identity with Israel and the Jewish community; and a solid foundation for a lifelong commitment to practicing and studying Judaism and the teachings of the Torah.
- The ability to decode Hebrew and to translate root words found in prayers and daily life.
- The ability to participate in and understand the structure and liturgy of the Shabbat service and other worship services (in English and Hebrew).
- An understanding of how Reform and traditional Judaism consider issues of ethics and values.
- Knowledge of the stories and teachings of the Torah, and appreciation for its significance in Judaism.
- Knowledge of the history of the Jewish people from ancient to modern times.
- Knowledge of, and a strong connection with, the land, people and history of Israel.
Primary Program (Kindergarten – Grade 3):
The Primary Program provides an introduction to Temple Beth Shalom and to Judaism on Sunday mornings. Students learn key concepts related to Torah, holidays, the synagogue, mitzvot, and everyday Jewish life through multisensory and developmentally appropriate learning experiences. Although the formal Hebrew curriculum does not begin until Grade 4, students are also exposed to the Aleph Bet beginning in kindergarten and will learn all their letters and vowels by the end of Grade 3. Special activities include music with the student cantor, school-wide assemblies and activities, and Israeli dance. Each grade will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service once during the year as well as a grade-specific Mishpacha (Family) Education Program. Through our Primary Program, students will receive a solid foundation for future learning and foster a strong sense of Jewish identity within the Jewish community.
Kindergarten begins the Jewish journey of our youngest Religious School students. Kindergarteners learn about holidays, Torah, Jewish symbols, synagogue, and mitzvot through play, art projects, and song. Students will learn Shabbat songs, the blessings recited over bread and wine, and the first line of the Shema. Families are invited to a Mishpacha (family) educational program in the fall. A Consecration ceremony will be held for families to attend at a synagogue service in the fall, and kindergarten students will also participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service in February.
The First Grade continues to explore Jewish holidays, Torah stories, synagogue, and mitzvot. Students also learn about Jewish heroes and heroines, such as Moses, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, and King Solomon. Shabbat is central to the First Grade curriculum, and students engage with the holiday through stories, songs, a Mishpacha (family) program, and introduction to Challah the Bear. All First Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service, and new students and families will attend Consecration in the fall.
Second Grade students will focus extensively on the Jewish holidays and mitzvot. Students will read stories, engage in art projects, and play games to enhance their learning. Second Graders will also receive additional exposure to the Aleph Bet, even learning to write some Hebrew letters (with shaving cream!). A Mishpacha (family) program will focus on the topic of Chanukah. All Second Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service and new students and families will attend Consecration in the fall.
Third Grade students will study the Torah, with primary focus on the books of Bereshit (Genesis) and Shemot (Exodus), in order to engage their critical thinking skills and make connections to their daily lives. Students will also learn the entire Aleph Bet and be able to decode simple words through practice with games, art projects, and yoga, as well as an interactive CD for use at home. A Mishpacha (family) program will focus on the theme of freedom in anticipation of Passover. All Third Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service.
Intermediate Program (Grades 4 – 7):
The Intermediate Program at Temple Beth Shalom continues the Jewish journey of our middle grade students on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Students study Tanakh (Bible), what it means to be a mensch through good deeds and Jewish values, life cycle events, Jewish history, and Israel. Grade 4 also begins the formal study of Hebrew prayer, so that each student is prepared for Bar/Bat Mitzvah and further participation in Jewish ritual life. Special activities include t’fillot (prayer) with the student cantor and school-wide assemblies and activities. Each grade will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service once during the year as well as a grade-specific Mishpacha (Family) Education Program. We also encourage our Grade 4 – 7 students to attend several Shabbat and holiday services throughout the school year, so that students are prepared to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Grade 4 is the first year students attend bi-weekly classes (Sundays and Wednesdays). On Sundays, students will study Tanakh, with particular focus on the nation of Israel. Through Tanakh as well as contemporary examples from modern life, students will explore what it means to be a mensch and highlight their learning in a Mishpacha (family) program. On Wednesdays, students will primarily focus on learning Hebrew prayer. All Fourth Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service.
In Judaic Studies, Fifth Grade students learn about Jewish life cycle events and the study of Israel. Students use biblical text and real-life stories to learn about significant events in Jewish life. In their study of Israel, students learn the history, politics, and culture (including food) of the Jewish state. Students will also continue their study of Hebrew prayer. A Mishpacha (family) program focuses on Israel as a theme. All Fifth Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service.
In Sixth Grade Judaic Studies, students focus on Jewish history and stories about the prophets found in the Tanakh. On Wednesday evenings, students begin with the history of the Israelites and continue through centuries of life in the Diaspora into 19th century American Jewish life. On Sunday mornings, students will learn about the prophets and how their messages apply to modern daily life, a theme that will also be explored during a Mishpacha (family) program. Students will also continue their study of Hebrew prayer, with focus on preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. All Sixth Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service.
In anticipation of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Seventh Grade students explore what it means to live a Jewish life. Students learn how performing mitzvot can help them achieve their own personal goals. Students also learn Jewish history from the birth of Zionism into the present day, which will also be explored in a Mishpacha (family) program. In Hebrew, students begin the year reviewing prayers and become more comfortable with the siddur (prayer book), setting individual goals toward their success. Students then study Modern Hebrew through conversation, games, and popular movies and music. In addition to regular Sunday and Wednesday classes, students have private meetings with their Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor and, as appropriate, learn trope (chanting). All Seventh Grade students will participate in a Friday Night Shabbat Family Service.
Upper School Program (Grades 8 – 12):
Our Upper School Program recognizes that as young Jewish adults, our oldest students need opportunities to discover what it means to live a Jewish life post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Through a variety of chugim (electives) held Wednesday evenings, students may select classes that speaks to their personal interests and enrich their understanding of Judaism. Chugim change each semester, but past classes have included Jewish cooking, Jewish film, Jewish meditation, Current Events, History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and Famous Jewish Celebrities.
Our 10th Grade Students also participate in Confirmation, an experience unique to the Religious School. Taught in alternate weeks, students discuss contemporary issues related to Reform Judaism through engagement with concepts drawn from articles and ancient texts. Confirmation culminates with a Friday night dinner and ceremony in the spring.
All Grade 8 – 12 students are also invited to join our Madrichim program. A great leadership opportunity for our oldest students, madrichim assist our teachers in K – 7 classrooms on Sunday mornings. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.