Your journey starts with a once-a-month Friday evening service for toddlers and families, featuring singing, stories and a nosh with our clergy.
My Family and Me
This monthly session is for three-to-four-year-olds and the adults who love them. Each session features cooking and eating a treat related to a Jewish holiday or theme. Then, while the kids play, parents discuss issues related to raising Jewish children with the Rabbi.
Children start attending Sunday mornings, learning about Judaism through hands-on activities, and practicing basic prayers and blessings. This “official start” of a child’s Jewish education is marked with a beautiful Friday night Consecration ceremony for the whole family.
1st grade curriculum includes Bible stories and recognizing Hebrew letters. A special highlight is every family getting at least one visit from “Shabbat Spot”, a take-home stuffed animal who brings with him everything a family needs to celebrate a Friday night table service.
Students begin studying Israel, starting with a simulated airplane trip for which they pack, make passports, and learn about the sites they’ll be “visiting.” They also learn all about their synagogue by conducting interviews with clergy, staff, and lay leaders. And they commence a three-year Bible curriculum, starting with the main stories of the Torah.
A stronger emphasis on the Jewish calendar and all the festivals, including both the historical and the agricultural connections for each holiday. A highlight is Family Model Shabbat to emphasize the holiday we have every week. Third graders move on to the early prophets in their Bible studies and become proficient in the limited Hebrew commands and vocabulary taught in our Hebrew Through Movement (HTM) program.
As their formal study of Hebrew begins, students start attending Wednesday afternoons in addition to Sundays. They also study the distinctive Jewish customs for celebrating major life-cycle events. Each student will bring home a learning box for the family to explore during each major unit of this curriculum (the “Birth and Naming Box” is a favorite). Classes end the year with a special event around wedding customs – often a Mock Wedding featuring the whole class or a Wedding Museum project using family photos and souvenirs from parents’ weddings.
This year the curriculum refocuses on Israel, and also on the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (healing the world). One highlight comes on Mitzvah Day when the class prepares and serves a meal at Ascencia, the local homeless shelter supported by Temple Sinai for over 30 years. Get out your calendars – at the end of this school year, B’nei Mitzvah dates will be scheduled.
A deeper study of Jewish history, covering the first 3000 years or so (whew!). Students’ understanding of their history is enhanced by a wonderful field trip to the Skirball Museum. A unit about comparative Judaism helps them begin to learn how different schools of Jewish thought view the Torah and many other aspects of Jewish life.
B’nei Mitzvah Prep
In the winter of 6th grade, students and their parents attend an in-depth orientation with the Rabbi, Cantor, and Religious School director. This is also the start of the Monday afternoon B’nei Mitzvah preparation class for some 6th graders. The start date is according to age; all students will complete two semesters of this prep class by the end of 7th grade. Lastly, individualized tutoring begins 5 to 6 months before the Bat or Bar Mitzvah date.
Get ready for a busy year, one not only full of preparation and parties but also full of meaning. Becoming a Bat or Bar Mitzvah marks the moment your child becomes a Jewish adult, which means, among other things, that she or he will be able to lead and participate in a Jewish service anywhere in the world. During this important year, students are expected to strengthen their Hebrew skills considerably. Meanwhile, their Judaica curriculum focuses on American Jewish history and a mature exploration of important ethical issues.
8th, 9th, & 10th Grade
With their B’nei Mitzvahs behind them, students are ready to participate in our Sunday afternoon “Metivta” program. Named for an Aramaic word meaning “argument”, this program digs deep into thought-provoking subjects. Every quarter students sample courses such as “The Jewish Origins of Comic Book Superheroes” and “Cooking through Jewish History”. By completing an appropriate variety of Metivta classes over the course of 8th, 9th, & 10th grade, our young adults reach the pinnacle of young Jewish education…
Confirmation Celebrated in front of the congregation at the end of 10th grade, this is a powerful moment in which our young women and men publicly affirm their commitment to Judaism. During this special Shabbat service, our confirmands not only read from the Torah but also deliver individual speeches expressing what their religion means to them personally and how they intend to lead a Jewish life going forward.