Grades 8-10 ("Chai School")

Creating Our Judaism


8th-10th grade students study together primarily through discussion-based learning. Through media, social action projects, Jewish texts, and opportunities to meet with community leaders, our 8th-10th graders develop leadership skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. Each student will have input into the topics that the class will study throughout the year. We will offer experiential learning opportunities and some travel to DC if the students are interested. There will be many times when 8th and 9th grades will learn together.

8th graders study comparative religion through Jewish eyes. Students discuss and learn about each of the world's major religions and debate how Judaism is both similar and different from other global religious. Topics include: why humans engage in religion cross-culturally, basic understandings of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, understanding the role of ritual in religion, and the past and future of religion in America. 

9th graders study global Judaism through American eyes. With a focus on Israel and the middle east, 9th graders will learn about Jewish communities all around the world, including the FSU (former Soviet Union), India, western Europe, and Australia. They will discuss what is different about Jewish life in these countries from American Judaism. And students will learn the lifestyle, challenges, foods, and education practices for Jews living in these varied countries.

10th grade reaches the “milestone” of Confirmation. Rabbi Mina teaches 10th graders, with a curriculum that focuses on text study. Students become confirmed in a ceremony at the end of their 10th grade year. They lead a Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service together as a class and write essays about various Jewish topics, which they submit to be chosen to read at the Confirmation service. This is also the year when students can participate in Megan’s Muse, which is a creative arts contest designed to honor the memory of Megan Berman. There is a cash prize for the 1st and 2nd place winners of Megan’s Muse. 

Chai School students are also eligible to become madrichim (assistant teachers), in the Religious School. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Ellie Klein, Religious School Director. An application is available online or from the office.