Temple Shalom Religious School provides our students and their families many opportunities to explore Judaism, connect to a vibrant Jewish community and become engaged Jewish learners for life. The faculty and staff of Temple Shalom Religious School are committed to the excellence of our program and building warm and caring relationships with our students and families. Welcome to Temple Shalom Religious School!
Special Components of our program:
Every other Sunday multiple grades gather together for Kahal (assembly) led by Rabbi Laura. Through video clips, power points, song sessions and student-led skits, our youth learn Jewish values and concepts, songs and blessings central to personal and communal Jewish life and how to identify where we are in the Jewish calendar through the cycles of the moon.
Yom Shemot (Day of Names) is a congregation-wide celebration of Jewish names where we learn through interactive stations about the power of names in Jewish texts and traditions and everyone learns to read and write his/her own Jewish/Hebrew name.
Making a Difference Day is a congregation-wide day of community service. Everyone learns first-hand about the Jewish value of gemilut chasadim (deeds of lovingkindness) through a wide variety of fun on-site and off-site activities that better our larger community.
Primary Grades Pre-K-2
Our primary grades, starting with Pre-K, introduce students to the synagogue and Jewish life. This is the beginning of students building Jewish community outside of their homes. Holiday celebrations, crafts, music and more, set the foundation for a lifetime of Jewish learning and living. Activities are age appropriate and meaningful. Teachers focus on making the experiences positive and memorable.
The Hebrew word, b’yachad, means “together.” This is the name of our parent and student learning sessions at Temple Shalom. Pre-K-3 students have 2 or 3 B’yachad programs each year specifically designed to coordinate with the curriculum. B’yachad provides opportunities for families to learn together and build positive Jewish memories. B’yachad programs take place during the students’ normal session of school.
A core component of the curriculum for grades 1-7 is the Chai Curriculum: Learning for Jewish Life. This curriculum, produced by the Union for Reform Judaism, is based on the most important concepts and values of Jewish life, helping students grow into committed and thoughtful Jewish adults. For more information about this curriculum, please use the following link: www.chai.urj.org/about/core/ .
Students begin learning Hebrew in kindergarten through an innovative, research-based program called Hebrew through Movement. Through this active, physical program, our Pre-K through 3rd graders learn the meanings of many Hebrew words that are central to Jewish life. You can find out more about this program here: http://www.hebrewthroughmovement.org/
After our students receive the vital Hebrew foundation in the early grades, they begin to learn Hebrew letters and reading skills in our twice-weekly 3rd grade program. Our twice-weekly Hebrew program for grades 4-7 is worship-based. Students learn to read and chant prayers and b’rachot (Jewish blessings) used in congregational and home Jewish life. They explore the meaning of these prayers to help provide for thoughtful and fulfilling worship and Jewish practice.
In addition to continuing to learn Hebrew prayers, our 6th graders create an individual project each semester. One project is to create a presentation about a social justice organization of personal significance to the student. This is the culmination of their studies in Tikkun Olam (the healing of our world). The other project is to create a presentation that delves into their Bar/Bat Mitzvah portion. A parent-child meeting held during this year is an opportunity to explore Jewish identity and family expectations of how Bar/Bat Mitzvah fits meaningfully into a Jewish life. Our 6th graders have the option of creating, with the help of their parents, a handmade tallit at a Spring workshop.
Temple Shalom offers Hebrew classes for grades 3-6 at Center Grove Elementary School in Randolph on Thursday afternoons. This is an alternative to the Monday and Wednesday classes held at the synagogue. The Hebrew curriculum on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays is identical.
At Temple Shalom, Jewish education is accessible to all. We work with students and parents to meet the needs of all who are a part of our community. Our Hebrew Learning Center, available on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, provides extra support for those who need it for Hebrew. In addition, we provide specialized tutoring for those students whose challenges are most severe.
Grade 7 and beyond
Seventh grade is a year of great transition for many of our students. Our curriculum incorporates trips, experiential programs and electives to help our students strengthen their relationships with fellow students and their Jewish identities. Most of our students who complete 7th grade continue on to our post B’nai Mitzvah program.
Temple Shalom Academy (TSA) is the post B’nai Mitzvah program at Temple Shalom for grades 8-10. Students continue their Jewish learning in this informal setting with teachers who are committed to the needs of our teens. Students have time to socialize over a pizza dinner and then pursue experiential Jewish learning in areas of interest to middle- and high-schoolers. In addition, students choose electives that may involve discussion, yoga, art, cooking, video segments and more. Our 10th grade Confirmation students study with Rabbi Levy and, as a highlight of the year, participate in the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar in Washington, D.C.
Gesher, the Hebrew word meaning “bridge”, is our post-Confirmation program for grades 11 & 12. The focus of this program is Jewish life in high school and beyond. Students explore, with Rabbi Laura, the role Judaism plays in college choices and Jewish values that guide decision making in the real adult world. Gesher culminates with a formal graduation at the end of 12th grade.
Many of our students in TSA and Gesher volunteer as Madrichim (counselors) in our lower school. These teens are important role models for our younger students and bring a beautiful vibrancy to the school environment. Madrichim are provided with training to work with our teachers in classrooms, serve as shadows to those with special needs, or tutor in our Hebrew Learning Center.