Religious School

Religious School
The Rabbi Sidney and Shirley Steiman Religious School

Our goal is to develop a positive, joyous and informed Jewish identity that links home and synagogue. Religious School is offered for Kindergarten through tenth grade. 11th & 12th graders participate in our Madrachim program as helpers in the Religious School and are encouraged to enter Kehillah College, a community-based high school program. Our Religious School operates on Sunday mornings from 9:30-noon throughout the school year for grades K-7.  Confirmation Academy, our grades 8-10 meet Sunday evenings from 5:30-8:00pm during which there is a light dinner which mixes both formal and informal learning for our post-b’nai mitzvah students.

For additional information, please contact George Kelley, Education Director, 253-3441 or gkelley {at} bez613(.)org.


Each year the Beth-El Zedeck Rabbi Sidney and Shirley Steiman Religious School builds upon the knowledge gained during the previous year. Each class studies Torah, God/Belief, Israel and Peoplehood and Lifecycle events with activities and stories appropriate to their particular age group. This education can be summarized as follows:


Torah: Introduction to Jewish ideas, values and stories
God /Belief: The synagogue and the role of Rabbis and Cantor. Basic prayers are introduced
Israel/ Peoplehood: Israel through songs and stories
Lifecycle/Calendar: Students are introduced to the Holy Days through celebration, song and ritual.


First Grade
Torah: Bible stories: Creation through Abraham and Sarah are emphasized
God /Belief: Introduction to prayers of the service and special occasion.
Israel/ Peoplehood: Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people
Lifecycle/Calendar: Holy Days through children’s literature
Additional Material: Hebrew Enrichment before formal Hebrew instruction begins
Our First Graders are consecrated in a ceremony on Simchat Torah.


Second Grade
Torah: Bible stories from Abraham and Sarah through Moses and the Exodus are emphasized while all narrative is explored.
God /Belief: What we believe about God; the meaning behind familiar prayers.
Israel/ Peoplehood: The land of Israel in the early history of our people there.  We also explore aspects of the modern state.
Lifecycle/Calendar: Holy Days and their central values, e.g. Yom Kippur – forgiveness; Sukkot – Thanksgiving
Additional Material: Hebrew Enrichment before formal Hebrew instruction begins


Third Grade
Torah: Bible: The Early Prophets; the stories of Joshua, the Judges, Samuel and Kings.
God /Belief: The meaning of holiness as expressed in the rituals and symbols of Jewish tradition
Israel/ Peoplehood: History of the building of the modern state and its geography
Lifecycle/Calendar: Holidays are explored through family traditions and meanings while teaching about their historical context.
Third Grade also participates in Godly Play a curriculum that brings Biblical and Rabbinic stories to life through manipulatives and student response.  This allows students to more deeply explore the stories of our people making them their own.

Beginning in Third Grade students will also begin formal Hebrew Education either at the Bureau of Jewish Education or the Hasten Hebrew Academy.  All Students are required to have 4 years of Hebrew Education prior to Bar or Bat Mitzvah.


Fourth Grade
Torah: Exploring the foundations of our everyday values through their Biblical source.
God /Belief: The meaning of prayer. Why pray? To whom do we pray? As expressed in the rituals and symbols of Jewish tradition.
Israel/ Peoplehood: Jews around the world—how we are connected
Lifecycle/Calendar: We revisit the values that are the focus of each holiday looking deeper into the meaning.


Fifth Grade
Torah: We begin to explore the importance of Torah commentary in the development of post-Biblical Judaism.
God /Belief: The Jewish lifecycle from birth to death—rituals and ceremonies are taught.
Israel/ Peoplehood: Jewish history – the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism (2nd Century B.C.E. – 6th Century C.E.)
Lifecycle/Calendar: How the Holy Days evolved from the Bible to the present.  Also explore the non-Biblical holidays and their meaning


Sixth Grade and Seventh Grades
Our sixth and seventh class curriculum are connected and called Dor L’dor.  The main focus of the classes is learning T’fillah in an experiential and hands-on approach.  Students will discover their meaning of prayers in class as they practice the Hebrew and also participate in a T’fillah laboratory each week on the bemah as well as join classmates to help lead services on Shabbat morning throughout the year.   Each grade level has their own specific curriculum that builds and complements each other.

Sixth Grade:  Explores family and American Jewish history as a framework for talking about the changes in Judaism over the last 100 years.

Seventh Grade:  In seminar style these students debate Jewish ethics by debating situations that might be faced in modern times and exploring the historical arguments of Jewish thinkers.

Using Gdcast on other means students practice writing and understanding D’vrei Torah or commentary on the weekly Torah portions.

In the sixth or seventh grade year students, along with their parents will participate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Seminar.  A series of classes that explores the meaning of the life cycle event as well as some of the logistical aspects.

Religious School


Students in these grades meet Sunday evening beginning with a light meal and social time at 5:30 p.m.  Each class then attends formal education in content areas.  Grades 8 and 9 have one hour of content and one hour of electives.  In electives they explore Judaism through art, music, cooking, theater and tikkun olam.

The 10th grade year stays in class during the entire session but will spend time writing the Confirmation service to take place on Shavuot in the spring.  The Confirmation service consists of a student created original cantata around a class chosen theme.


Eighth Grade
First semester:  Students explore themes around the Shoah (Holocaust) and how it changed the way Jews and Judaism are seen by the world and by Jews themselves.
Second semester:  Students will learn about the history and development of the modern State of Israel including current events and look at the role of Israel in the world today.


Ninth Grade
First semester:  Students will explore the diversity of Jewish practice and cultural expression from Biblical times to today.  Included will be a view of the movements as well as the distinct traditions of major Jewish cultural groups (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yemini etc.)
Second semester:  We dedicate time exploring the faith traditions of our neighbors looking at common ground and differences.   This will include field trips and discussions with people of other faiths.


Tenth Grade
This year focuses on the development of an emerging Jewish Identity and personal theology.  Exploring great Jewish thinkers throughout history and reflection on their own views the students will be challenged to discover how they see themselves as Jews today and into their future.  In the 10th grade students have a trip to New York with the Rabbis to explore the diversity of Judaism and its history in the United States.  In the spring students also work on the development of their Shavuot services through their own writing.