Elementary school-aged children enjoy a rich learning experience at Beth Emeth. Each year is carefully designed to introduce various topics including prayer, Hebrew language, holidays, Israel and Jewish values and traditions. Our K-1st grade students attend one day a week on Sunday mornings. Our 2nd-7th graders attend once during the week, either Wednesday or Thursday afternoons, and again on Sunday mornings. The student curriculum is enhanced with several distinct learning experiences that are held throughout the year in lieu of regular class time. These programs include a twice-yearly B'Yachad program during Shabbat, parent-child Mifgash programs, field trips and worship services for children. Our children also look forward each week to our award-winning Caleb's Challenge where the kids take on a question from the rabbi about the week's parsha."
(Download the detailed 2016-17-Religious School Curriculum)
Students are eager to learn about their Jewish identity. They explore the holiday cycle, bible stories, Israel and Hebrew readiness through texts, music, tefillah, arts and crafts and stories. Our goal is to provide child and parents the opportunity to engage in community building, experiential learning and family education.
Students will focus on specific Jewish values, Jewish holidays, bible stories, Israel, prayer and are introduced to basic Hebrew words. Students will participate and lead Sunday morning tefilah with the Kindergarten students.
Students are formally introduced to the Hebrew alphabets letters and vowels and begin reading and chanting prayers. They learn that mitzvoth are more than just good deeds and that they have a responsibility to use Jewish values to help be better people and to help friends. They continue their exploration of Jewish holidays, Israel and bible stories. Our goal is to continue to develop an understanding that the student is part of the jewish people through community and family programming.
Our students explore the holidays within the bigger context of how they connect us to tradition, community and the world. The students continue their Hebrew and prayer studies. Through the study of bible stories, students will learn about major events and personalities, as well as moral and spiritual truths. Students will learn about modern day Israel and continue their Jewish identity journeys with an emphasis on tzedakah and community involvement. Our families will continue to take active roles in Mifgash and B’Yahad programming.
Students will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be G-d’s partner. They will focus on what it means to be a mensch. Bible learning will be reinforced with connections to weekly parsha and selections from writings and prophets. Students will be introduced to the Shabbat Torah service and will become more proficient at reading prayer. Students will continue to study holidays and identify symbols, rituals, and vocabulary. Our goal is to continue bringing together families to enrich classroom learning and to incorporate Jewish values into our everyday lives.
Students will gain a richer understanding of holidays through the study of prayer, use of storytelling, art, and music. Students will become more proficient in Shabbat morning services and be introduced to Havdallah blessings. They will join in the weekly Caleb Challenge discussions and study parsha with Rabbi Goldsmith. The class will focus on three foundational areas of Judaism: G-D, Torah and Life-cycles. Families will continue participating in age-appropriate Shabbat programming.
Students look at the historical journey of the Jewish people from Biblical times. They explore various events and people throughout Jewish history that have helped them and their families gain their own unique Jewish identity. Shabbat learning will include the Torah service, the Shabbat Musaf service, the structure of the Shabbat service and additional prayers for the holidays. The students will lead the congregation in Shabbat services Friday night and Saturday morning. They will participate in Caleb’s Challenge and study weekly parsha. Our families will participate in Bar/Bat Mitzvah workshops led by Rabbi Goldsmith, as well as continue to our ongoing family Shabbat programming.
Students continue their historical journey with the arrival of Jews in America and the impact that we have had here and in the diaspora. Israel: people, land, history, religion, and culture is viewed through the eyes of the student. The students will discuss ethical dilemmas and explore the Jewish response to ethical questions using examples from the Bible and rabbinic literature. Our students will actively lead Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat services, Torah service and Havdallah services throughout the year. They will continue participating in Caleb’s Challenge with Rabbi Goldsmith reinforcing the importance of learning from the Torah. Students and their families will actively participate in Shabbat family programming and will be attending B’Nai Mitzvah workshops with Rabbi.
Additional Learning Experiences
The Religious School and Youth Department join together to host several B'Yachad programs for our Relgious School families to celebrate Shabbat or Havdalah. Each program is family oriented and full of fun rewarding experiences including Shabbat dinner, special participatory services, entertainment and informal activities.
One Sunday in the year, each grade meets to hold a unique program for parents and student together that we call Mifgash, which can be translated from the Hebrew as an encounter. Mifgash provides quality time for parents and students to interact Jewishly, through enjoyable hands-on activities and discussion: parent-student and parent-parent. Our goal is to build understanding that Judaism is not merely a set of laws about religious aspects of life, but a way of living and thinking that influences all aspects of life. We celebrate the fact that modern Jewish families are members of numerous communities (school, work, sports, etc.) and we seek to find connections between our Jewish and secular lives.
Caleb’s Challenge is CBE’s award-winning program in which the Rabbi meets with our 5th, 6th and 7th graders to summarize the weekly parsha (Torah portion). The Rabbi then asks a provocative, open-ended question to which the students respond with an “off-the-top-of their-head” written answer. A winner is selected from the written responses and that student is invited to read his or her answer during Shabbat morning services and also receives a gift certificate to the CBE Gift Shop.
While this experience typically involves writing, on occasion, students have the opportunity to respond with artwork—drawing, photography, even poetry. Students’ critical-thinking skills are enhanced during this experience since Caleb Challenge was introduced 15 years ago, and we expect to continue this tradition of expanding our students’ imagination. (See recent winning entries.)
Contact Ita Mandel, Religious School Director