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!
Temple Shalom Religious School Curriculum
Our 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.
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 including fun age-appropriate texts include– and lots of art projects!
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 .
The rich Jewish values of holiness, kashrut and connection to the Jewish people is taught in the 3rd grade. Special projects of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) where the students learn to take care of others is one important element of this year. Throughout the year, the holidays are explored through projects and hands-on experiences. The Hebrew component uses Torah Aura reading primer. The mid-week class is taught in virtual format.
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 (prayer books) 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.
The 5th grade’s focus is learning about Israel: it’s geography, cultural similarities to Jews in America and core Jewish values such as: Teshuvah and B’ ztelem Elohim. In addition, we begin an understanding of a few Jewish prophets. Hebrew studies in 5th grade involve using the siddurim, to delve deep into the Shabbat Morning Service and have children master these prayers.
In the 6th grade, students learn about social action 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.
In this pivotal year, the students delve into the beginning of Jewish adulthood. Torah portions of the week are discussed, as well as the deeper meanings of the prayers they will be reciting at their services. The focus is a deeper understanding of reading between the lines of meaning and how these topics relate to current Jewish teenage life. The Hebrew studies focus on tying together the Hebrew prayers of the Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah service during the year and focusing on creating their own “Prayer Pillow Case” as an end of the year project.
Prayers we sing can be found here.
Learning Center/Special Needs
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.
Special Components of our Program
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.
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.
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. Topics of most interest are: Israel, Civil Sights and Who am I as a Jew. The program is designed to complement our wildly popular Madrichim program. Our 10th grade Confirmation students study with Rabbi Serebro-Litvak 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. Alissa Okrent, our Religious School Principal, 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.
The Madrichim Program
In this program which is open to our Confirmation 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.
For more information about Temple Shalom Religious School, or if you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.