July/August Message From Our Rabbi Educator — Developing Strong Jewish Identities

Religious School returns on Sunday, September 10 with an Open House program for Kindergarten through grade 5 and on Tuesday, September 12 and Wednesday, September 13 for students in grade six. Our Chai School programs for students in grades 7–12 begins on Tuesday, September 26. Our two-year curriculum enables our students’ entrée into the continuing study of Jewish texts, history, holidays, life cycle, culture, and values. Engaging our children and families through hands-on, experiential learning is a fundamental tenet of our Eitz Chayim philosophy. In this, our third year, our learners will be involved in a curriculum which emphasizes Torah, Avodah (worship), G’milut Hasadim (good deeds), Israel, and Hebrew, and which will empower them to lovingly embrace Judaism.
The school year will be divided into trimesters and each trimester will be framed by a big topic of Torah, God & Spirituality, or Am Yisrael (nation of Israel). This year we will have one kindergarten class and at least two first grade classes in our Shoresh (root) division. Children in grades two through five will be grouped in mixed-aged classes; however, students will be separated into grade levels for certain portions of our Sunday morning program. A team of Jewish Learning Guides (teachers) and three or four madrichim (teen aides) will populate our thirteen classrooms meeting on Sunday morning. Students and parents in grades kindergarten through six will also participate in family education programs, Shabbat Rishon, Havdalah programming, youth group events, and other special occasions during the year.
It is our hope that our students will:
Establish COMMUNITY amongst themselves and the synagogue. This will enable our students to feel comfortable with each other whenever they are together and to create a sense of belonging to the group and to the synagogue.
Build a strong JEWISH IDENTITY which compliments their identities as Reform Jewish Americans and has relevance in their lives today.
Construct a common foundation of JEWISH KNOWLEDGE.
Develop meaningful 21st CENTURY SKILLS which are integrated into their lives.