SUNDAY SCHOOL (Grades K-7)
Early Session 8:30-11:00, Late Session 11:15-1:45
This weekly program, for students from kindergarten through grade seven, provides the skills, knowledge and experiences which are the basis of a strong Jewish identity. Jewish holidays, ethics, history, Torah, the land of Israel, the American Jewish experience, and spirituality/theology are among the major foci of the curriculum. Our approach is predominantly interactive and experiential with many opportunities for cooperative learning and socialization. Our Sunday School sessions for grades 3-7 also include a ½ hour of Hebrew Review time to reinforce Hebrew learned in our weekday Hebrew School Program. This Hebrew Review occurs during the last ½ hour of Early Session and first ½ hour of Late Session.
HEBREW SCHOOL (Grades 3-7)
Wednesday 4:00-6:00 p.m.
This weekday program for students in grades three through seven, introduces our students to the language of the Jewish people. The completion of a five year course of study in Hebrew is a prerequisite for becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah at BETC.
Hebrew, reading, writing and prayer are introduced in 3rd grade using an interactive lively approach. The 3rd – 6th grade Hebrew curriculum places an emphasis on learning prayer-based Hebrew, with a secondary Modern Hebrew component. The 7th grade curriculum is primarily Modern Hebrew with emphasis placed on the joy of learning a vibrant, living language.
As a part of our Hebrew program, we also prepare students for meaningful and confident participation in congregational and home worship experiences. While mastering the Hebrew language skills required to participate in services, students will also study the structure, themes and inherent values of major prayers for Shabbat and the festivals. Throughout the program, students are also exposed to elements of Modern Hebrew through stories, dialogues, and conversation.
Snacks and Break
Due to the two hour length of the Hebrew School session, a short snack and break time will be incorporated into each day of Hebrew School. Parents are responsible for packing snacks with students on Wednesdays. For the safety of our students, snacks must not contain peanuts or tree nuts or peanut/tree nut oil ingredients. Healthy snacks are strongly encouraged.
Weekday Services: As a means of putting learning into practice, Bet through Hey (4th – 7th) Hebrew School students attend services every Wednesday from 5:25-6:00. All classes take turns presenting a d’var Torah (commentary on the Torah portion for the week). Classes will also take turns leading particular prayers during the service. Parents are very welcome to attend these services and tutored students are strongly encouraged to attend whenever possible.
The mitzvah (commandment) of tzedakah (righteous giving) is an important part of understanding Jewish values and putting them into action. Tzedakah is financial support for those in need. The students learn about reasons for giving tzedakah and are encouraged to participate to the extent that they are able. Students in each class will select the type of agency they want to support (children, health, animals, feeding the hungry etc.). They will then be given the names of one or two specific agencies and will research the agencies. Individual classes will collect tzedakah on a weekly basis. At the end of the year classes will donate their money to their agencies.
As well as tzedakah at school, families are encouraged to give tzedakah together (just prior to Shabbat or holidays are traditional times). We encourage every family to keep a home tzedakah box. A fun family craft project could be turning a coffee can into a tzedakah container. In the winter, the school has a family Tzedakah Fair. All of our classes give presentations about the tzedakah agencies they are supporting. Families bring their tzedakah from home, hear these student presentations, and donate to the organizations of their choice. Parents are required to accompany children for this event. The Tzedakah Fair replaces Sunday school classes for that day.
It is not enough to contribute money alone. Students will also explore the concept of g’milut chasidim – acts of loving kindness, and are encouraged to use their skills, interests and time to help others as a class or in individual projects. Students will also be involved in the temple’s annual Mitzvah Day, when the entire Beth El Temple Center community comes together to participate in social action projects.
Grades K - 7 are taught traditional and contemporary Jewish music as enrichment for the Sunday school curriculum. Students in grade 5 through 7 are eligible to participate in Junior Choir which takes place on Sundays from 10:45-11:15 am (during Religious School between the two sessions). Students who participate in Junior Choir are expected to keep up with class work. The student group performs in the Zimriah music festival sponsored by area Reform congregations and in selected worship services throughout the year.
We are known as Am Ha'sefer (the People of the Book) and it's difficult to imagine a place of Jewish learning and living not centered on books. Our library is a precious resource both for the school and the congregation. Teachers may provide specific learning opportunities in the library, and we hope your family will utilize the wonderful resources available and specifically borrow from our children’s collection.