Today is September 20, 2017 -
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!
Our Sunday/Wednesday combined curriculum is designed to give our students a broad understanding of the various facets of their heritage. We include in this the following: Torah, life cycle celebrations, history, literature, prayer and Hebrew language and God topics. Jewish holidays are celebrated in the school through Kahal (assemblies), Tefilah (worship services) and classroom activities.
Kindergarten/1st Grade – This is a time for the children to start learning about Torah stories and Jewish holidays. In addition to regular classroom activities, the students visit the Goldberg Judaic Studies Center. Fun age-appropriate texts include CHAI Level 1 Torah Workbook, Behrman House’s Jewish and Me holiday curriculum – and lots of art projects! Hebrew Through Movement adds basic Hebrew vocabulary
2nd Grade – Visual, experiential and hands-on learning are featured in Temple Shalom Religious School’s 2nd Grade. Focusing on synagogue objects, the Jewish community and the holidays, the students will be guided through their Jewish journey a variety of media. Visits to the Goldberg Judaic Studies Center will complete their curriculum. Hebrew pre-reading skills are developed using Basic Hebrew Aleph-Bet and Hebrew Through Movement.
3rd Grade – The rich curriculum of CHAI Level 3, which include holiness, kashrut and connection to the Jewish people is taught in the 3rd grade. Special projects include making a class quilt, a Havdalah set, and an ongoing project of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) where the students make activity bags for hospitalized kids. The Planetarium Trip and Havdalah is a highlight of 3rd grade. Throughout the year, the holidays are explored through projects and hands-on experiences. They make seder plates with Color Me Mine, followed by a Bring a Guest Seder.
The Hebrew component uses Alef Bet Quest, a reading primer with interactive computer games and continued involvement in Hebrew Through Movement.
4th Grade – The Life Cycle is the focal point of this grade. Students learn about the Jewish Life Cycle moments from birth and welcoming rituals to death and mourning rituals and everything in between. Holidays are reviewed and explored using the Whole School Holiday packets in Hebrew class.
The Hebrew component focuses on reinforcing reading skills and learning to read or chant the prayers and blessings specific to a Friday evening service. Students receive their own siddurim (prayerbooks) at Erev Sukkot services. Appropriately, the child’s siddur becomes the text for the 4th grade class, along with games designed to reinforce the text.
5th Grade – The 5th grade’s Israel component is taught traditionally by a Rishon/Rishona from the Jewish Federation – a young adult who is an emissary from Israel, in the United States for the year. Additionally, the students engage in the CHAI Level 5 curriculum, learning about the prophets.
Hebrew studies in 5th grade involve using the siddurim, to delve deep into the Shabbat Morning Service.
6th Grade – In the 6th grade, students learn about Jewish values and ethics through the lives of real heroes who live them. Traditional Jewish heroes like Hannah Szenes and Albert Einstein join new heroes like Debbie Friedman, Natalie Portman, and Rabbi Harold Schulweis. Students are challenged to apply Jewish values in their own lives. There is also a focus on gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness). Special aspects of the 6th grade include the creation of a class wimple, researching and developing a Making a Difference Day exhibit, and presentations on their particular Bar/Bat Mitzvah portions for the annual Parshiot on Parade service.
With Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations approaching, the Torah Service is the focus of the Hebrew curriculum. Torah portions of the week are discussed, as well as the deeper meanings of the prayers they will be reciting at their services.
7th Grade – In this pivotal year, the students delve into the beginning of Jewish adulthood. The 10 Commandments are taught, as well as a semester on money and ethics. The liturgy of the prayerbook is studied from another angle – that of spirituality – where the students use blank journals to record thoughts, feelings and their own prayers. Current events in Israel are also discussed.
The Hebrew studies focus on tying together the Hebrew prayers of the Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah service during the first half of the year and focusing on some basic Modern Hebrew during the second half.
We offer the opportunity during Sunday and Wednesday class sessions to assist Hebrew students on a one-to-one basis in their proficiency of the language. Parents are requested upon notification from their child’s teacher to allow their child to be enrolled for the school year. Through different methods and modalities, including computer-based activities, each child’s learning style is addressed and progress is recorded.
Kahal (community) – What has kept the Jewish people alive for five thousand years? You guessed it – coming together and experiencing Judaism in a community of learners. Every other Sunday will feature a Kahal experience, where the children come together and experience community celebrations of Holidays, Prayers and Singing.
Hebrew Through Movement – As one of the pilot schools when this program emerged several years ago, Temple Shalom has been using this program as a language acquisition strategy in which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands. This program has been been used in Jewish day schools, camps and supplementary schools, and generally with the goal of introducing Hebrew as a modern, spoken language.
Making a Difference Day – This wonderful experience is a congregation-wide day of community service, with a special presentation by the 6th graders. Everyone learns first-hand about the Jewish value of gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness) through a wide variety of fun on-site and off-site activities.
B’Yachad Family Programming – The Hebrew word, b’yachad, means “together,” which is the hallmark of family programming at Temple Shalom. There are opportunities in every grade to learn with your child. Some of the popular and continuous programs are the 3rd Grade Planetarium Trip, the 4th Grade Wedding and the 6th Grade Tallit Making Workshop. These take place during the school day and coordinate specifically with the curriculum.
Prayer Boot Camp – On Sunday mornings following Religious School, students who are in the midst of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah studies with Cantor Rebekah are invited to take part in Prayer Boot Camp where they work as a group with Alissa Okrent, one of our Hebrew teachers, to strengthen their ability to lead Hebrew prayers from the bimah. The goal is to give our students a sense of confidence before they lead their special service.
Our School Library – All classes are invited to browse and check out books from our school library in the Goldberg Judaic Study Center.
The post B’nai Mitzvah program at Temple Shalom for grades 8-10 is one of Temple Shalom’s sources of pride. Students continue their Jewish learning in this informal setting with teachers who are committed to the needs of our teens. Each Sunday from 12 noon – 1:30 pm, our students have time to socialize over lunch and then pursue experiential Jewish learning in areas of interest to teens. The program is designed to complement our wildly popular Madrichim program.
Over the course of three trimesters, our 8th and 9th grade students have a chance to study three different subjects with each our teachers ranging from arts & literature, to Jewish social justice, to understanding the politics of Israel and America. 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. Rabbi Levy helps the students design a course of study for the year and then serves as their instructor as they explore 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.
In this program which is open to our TSA and Gesher students, teens volunteer as Madrichim (aides or guides) 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. (Enrollment in our TSA program through Confirmation is required of those who wish to be Madrichim.)
For more information about Temple Shalom Religious School, or if you have any questions, please be sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 973-584-5666 ext 7.