We believe that our school program should educate and equip our children to have a love of Judaism that will enrich their lives through adulthood. Our programs engender a proud Jewish identity, commitment to the Jewish community and Israel, enrichment of the Jewish home and dedication to Jewish ethical behaviors and values. Our school prepares and motivates students to experience Judaism from a basis of respect and love for its traditions as well as knowledge of its history and language.
Measure – Our lessons, activities and programs are based upon measurable educational objectives, using an array of assessment tools that gauge student learning. We strive to hold ourselves accountable for what we set out to teach.
Engage – Our students attend secular school all week long, so their supplementary school needs to stand out. We employ a breadth of exciting and engaging approaches to make learning experiential, and ensure that the knowledge our students receive and the skills that they acquire are meaningful and relevant.
Inspire – We can make our school and synagogue a place where students wish to be. The time they spend here should be both meaningful and enjoyable. We want to see smiles, hear laughter, and produce an atmosphere that encourages positive Jewish identities and creates fond, lasting memories of their Religious School experience
Our curriculum called, Koleinu (Our Voices), is a customizable program that evolves to reflect the values of our community, guiding students to find their voice through the lens of Reform Judaism. Our students experience incredible field trips; participate in outstanding Shabbat and family education programs; and take part in interactive learning experiences, such as our Hanukkah spectacular, American Dreidel Warrior, Biblical Celebrity Jeopardy, the Kol Ami Sleepover, and the Purim Bowl
Students in kindergarten, first and second grade begin to develop skills and awareness of the holiday cycle, synagogue ritual, Jewish values and ethics, and Torah study, and begin a parallel program of Hebrew as a modern language and t’filah (prayer).
Students in grades three through seven engage in an integrated Hebrew and Judaica curriculum. Hebrew and Judaic studies are taught in both Sunday and Wednesday sessions of Religious School.
Students develop functional literacy in modern Hebrew; become conversant in the order of the worship service and the meaning of prayer, leading to knowledgeable and joyful participation in worship; study life-cycle events, Jewish history and holy days; explore the weekly Torah portion; and grapple with ethical dilemmas in a Jewish context.
Many parents remember their own boredom at a religious school when they were growing up. However, Mr. Monblatt is convinced that our Religious School can be fun and has created programs to ensure it. Our clergy, teachers, parents and staff all have high expectations for what our children can achieve, and we all share the belief that learning can and should be exciting.
It begins with a personal connection with the teacher and extends to Jewish learning and team building using our version of school-wide Color War — a unique Jewish version of what many students enjoy at their summer camps — and Torah Bowl. The entire year is spent working toward winning this fun-filled competition, which includes active learning, singing, Q&A and even improvisation. Rabbi Holin and Rebecca Schwartz, our Cantorial Soloist, serve as judges and cheerleaders, and our Isaac Mayer Wise students serve as coaches. Parents are always invited to cheer on the teams.
The curriculum built by Mr. Monblatt develops the students’ knowledge base and sense of Jewish pride, as well as joyful expression in Jewish identity.
Our children build positive associations with Judaism, Jewish values and our community through school-wide and class-level mitzvah projects (such as trips to the Abramson Center and Jewish Relief Agency (JRA)), youth group activities and a fully integrated music program, and by engaging in learning programs with their parents.
Jewish education is a partnership. It is a unique and holy relationship between home and school, and between parents, children and teachers. We believe that the synagogue and school are both important aspects of a child’s Jewish learning experience. Learning should not be left only to the children. It is an obligation on our part as parents to continue Jewish education throughout our lives.
To that end, as well as to set a good example for our children and most importantly to create lasting and meaningful memories for the whole family, each grade has a specially designed age-appropriate activity. These days are planned to engage students as well as parents so that everyone leaves the session with something new learned and shared.
Our music program, led by Cantorial Soloist Rebecca Schwartz, features weekly music classes where students sing traditional Jewish music and learn the newest songs. Students participate in special class Shabbat services and weekly t’filah (prayer) services on Sunday mornings that feel like a Reform Jewish camp service, filled with ruach (spirit) and the joy of singing together. This service helps reinforce the prayer goals set in the curriculum, and also helps prepare students for prayers chanted during their Bat or Bat Mitzvah.
Many families find that their strongest friendships develop with other Religious School parents. These relationships are often built from 10 to noon on Sunday mornings, as parents linger and chat, attend meetings and family education programs together, or enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.