Temple B’nai Or Joel and Helen Jacobs
Religious School Curriculum
Our goal is to provide engaging Jewish life through five core areas of study
1. Judaic Studies- religious practices, customs, culture, and writings of the Jewish people
2. Holidays- the who, what, and why of celebrating Jewish holidays
3. Hebrew- reading competency and fluency for Torah and prayer book liturgy and literacy
4. Torah- Biblical accounting of our history and people
5. Israel- Connection to our historical homeland
• Joyful celebration of holidays and identity through hands on projects, music, art, movement, and camaraderie
• Beginning Bible stories, Jewish Values, and mitzvot (charity, tikkun olam, caring for the earth) are highlighted.
• Involvement with ritual objects
• Holiday learning through hands on engagement
• Begin Torah studies with early Genesis stories including creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, and Tower of Babel
• Introduction to Alef Bet with weekly letters
• Initial study of Israel with a multi-sensory approach
• Learning Hebrew through learning about the origin of our children’s Hebrew name
• Continuing Genesis narration on Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and Joseph as major biblical characters
• Mechanics of how Torah is written and put together
• Importance of living Jewish values through mitzvoth highlighting tzedakah
• Emphasis on basic Hebrew phonetics and reading print and script writing initiated.
• Torah will emphasize Genesis especially Matriarchs and Patriarchs through the story of Joseph
• Holidays studies to include blessings used for Shabbat and festivals
• Torah continues with Book of Exodus
• Reinforcing Hebrew prayer and reading, emphasizing Shabbat service ritual and culminating with students leading services
• Jewish Holidays and life cycle events are highlighted with age appropriate hands on activities
• Prayer for Saturday morning service are focused with emphasis on reading fluency
• All holidays are taught through study in the Tanach
• Study of Israel- past, present, and future- is taught, bridging our history to this generation
• Hebrew class prepares students with B’nai Mitzvah service from a reading fluency vantage as well as gaining an understanding of origins and meanings of essential prayers
• Students will be scheduled throughout the year to receive 15 half-hour one-on-one B’nai Mitzvah coaching sessions to prepare their blessings, Torah and Haftarah readings.
• Living museum presentation is a centerpiece whereby students bring in Jewish rituals from their homes and explain their history and significance
• Shabbaton weekend to Camp Harlam begins building grade wide community for the children
• Continuation of the one-on-one B’nai Mitzvah coaching. They will receive four sessions with each the Rabbi and Cantor in preparation for the B’nai Mitzvah service.
• Students are provided with an informal grade-wide educational setting aimed at encouraging them to continue in the school and stay connected to Judaism, Jewish life and Jewish studies.
• Weekly dinner, open classrooms, numerous trips, and seamless melding into the high school program deepens their identity with one another and the Temple Community.
High School (8-12)
• An alternative curriculum with a mixture of formal and informal settings led by Rabbi, Cantor, teachers, guest presenters, special programs, visitations to churches, mosques, community institutions and more.
• Students have ongoing discussions on concerns and issues that affect young Jewish adults.
• Classes are offered that foster creativity through art, music, drama, photography and movie making.
• Tenth graders will have a confirmation trip with the clergy and educators as a step towards class bonding and preparation for the Confirmation Service.
• ORIM (11th and 12 grade) meet bimonthly with Rabbi and guests to prepare them for their Jewish journey into adulthood.