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. Eleventh & twelfth 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 4:30-6:00 p.m. 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.

 

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The curriculum of the Rabbi Sidney and Shirley Steiman Religious School has been designed to help our children embrace their Jewish identity, become familiar with the language, ritual, history and core narratives that inform Jewish life and engage in questions of personal and communal meaning.  Each grade enables our students to encounter, at a developmentally appropriate age level, what it means to believe, behave and belong as a Jew.

Kindergarten

Students will be introduced to Jewish values, prayers and stories. They will learn about Israel, the synagogue and the role of the Rabbis and Cantor. Through song, art, and ritual, they will celebrate the seasons of the Jewish calendar.

First Grade

Students will be introduced to Bible stories from Creation through Abraham and Sarah. They will become familiar with the major prayers of Shabbat services and special Holy Day blessings. They will learn about Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and explore the Holy Days through children’s literature. Additionally, students will begin Hebrew Enrichment studies before their formal Hebrew instruction begins.

Second Grade

Students will be introduced to Bible stories from Abraham and Sarah through Moses and the Exodus. We begin conversations about God, the meaning behind familiar prayers, and study the values central to each holiday. Second graders continue to become familiar with our connection to the state of Israel.

Third Grade

Bible instruction will include the Prophets; exploring the concepts of justice and community. Students will explore the concept of holiness as expressed in the rituals and symbols of Jewish tradition and learn the customs associated with particular holy days. Through the use of a special program called Godly Play, third graders will learn to encounter the Biblical story as a way of understanding its connection to their own lives. We continue the study of Israel focusing on the building of the modern state.

Fourth Grade

The class focuses on our Biblical values and how they connect to our contemporary lives.  In addition to exploring such questions as:  Why pray?  To whom do we pray?  What happens when our prayers aren’t answered?   The class will learn about the structure of the Jewish calendar.  They will also have an opportunity to discover the diversity of communities of Jews throughout the world.

Fifth Grade

Students will learn how the rabbis came to understand the Torah and study the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism.  They will discover how the holy days we observe today have evolved over time.  As they explore the Jewish life cycle, they will participate in a mock Jewish wedding and have an opportunity to visit the Jewish mortuary to learn about traditional mourning practices.

Sixth and Seventh Grade (Dor L’dor) 

Students in Dor l’or  will learn in detail the structure and meaning of our synagogues services, skills that will prepare them for Bar and Bat Mitzvah and beyond. This experience will include a Tefillah laboratory where they will have an opportunity practice the prayers they will chant during services in a fun and interesting way.

In sixth grade, students will explore the Shabbat morning service, learning how to lead and comprehend the Hebrew prayers and understanding this part of our tradition in historical context and how they developed.  Students will also explore personal family histories and the history of Beth-El Zedeck.

In seventh grade, students will continue their Hebrew instruction with reviews of the Shabbat service while learning prayers and rituals that we encounter in other services, our daily lives and throughout the Jewish calendar.  During this year the class will also delve into understanding the weekly Torah portion in a discussion each week.  Jewish ethical dilemmas will also be explored and argued out in class to understand the development of justice in the Jewish tradition.

 

CONFIRMATION ACADEMY

Our new approach to post-B’nai Mitzvah education includes moving the time of classes from Sunday mornings to Sunday afternoon from 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. During this time we will blend classroom learning, social activities and fun experiences.

Eighth Grade and Ninth Grade:  

Eighth Grade will have a core-curriculum that will explore the Shoah (the Holocaust) and the Modern State of Israel.  In the first semester, the class will look into the rise of Nazi Germany through the end of World War II and liberation.  In the second semester students will look at the establishment of the Modern State of Israel, its meaning to Jews in the diaspora and its place in the world.

Ninth Grade will have a core-curriculum exploring the vast diversity of the movements of Judaism and the diversity of religions in our community.  The first semester will look at the history of Jewish religious practice leading to the major movements in contemporary times.  The second semester will explore the basic tenets of the religions of our neighbors including visits to other houses of worship.

We also include programs designed for this age group called Shevet Achim for boys, and Rosh Hodesh for girls.   Both of these programs are once-a-month opportunities to explore topics of interest in a way that challenges students while building life-skills and self-esteem.  The programs, based on research, engage students through issues that may be gender-specific or easier to deal with in single gender seminars.

Tenth Grade

The Confirmation year is dedicated to helping our youth see the world through adult Jewish eyes.  Each session will focus on further developing their individual connection to Judaism through text, commentary, and debate.  As they explore the numerous voices from Jewish history on big ideas such as “God,” “Torah,” and “Israel,” students will be encouraged to define their own voices and understandings on these central concepts.  This seminar style will give the students an opportunity to develop an adult Jewish identity, adding their thoughts to the continuing tradition of our people as they struggle with issues relevant to their lives.  The class will also allow for an opportunity to see topics important to the students today through a Jewish lens.

In the Confirmation year, the class will travel to New York City with the Rabbis to explore its rich Jewish history, as we explore the immigration and migration of Jews through the city and experience the diversity of Judaism prominent there today.