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 Temple Beth David’s Religious School

Mission, Goals, and Objectives

 

Temple Beth David’s Religious School is a caring community where students develop a love of Judaism in its many forms. Guided by the values of Hesed (kindness), K’dushah (holiness), Limmud (learning), Tsedakah (justice/charity), L’dor Vador (Jewish continuity), respect for religious diversity, creativity, self-expression, leadership, and Tikkun Olam (repairing of the world), our purpose is to nourish the hearts, souls, and minds of each student. Our educational programs and staff aspire to provide a foundation for students to comfortably participate in all aspects of Jewish life.

The following are among the ever-evolving goals and objectives that our Rabbi, Educational Director, and Religious School Education Committee have set forth:

  1. To provide all of our students with happy, interesting and inspiring experiences in the practice of Jewish ceremonies and observances in the home, community, and synagogue with an appreciation of the varied customs and folkways within the Jewish tradition.

  2. To instill in our students the knowledge that Torah allows us to live vibrantly in the present as we plan for tomorrow with an eye on the past.

  3. To provide our students with meaningful Jewish communal and personal prayer experiences.

  4. To foster an environment where our youth feel free to explore and ask questions about their faith and their relationships with community, family, and God.

  5. To cultivate an appreciation of Jewish history, art, and culture.

  6. To imbue our students with the religious insights and ethical guidelines of Judaism so they may evolve as responsible, caring and committed members of society.

  7. To foster the growth of Jews who actively respond to our prophets’ call for justice, peace and freedom.

  8. To teach our students the Hebrew language in a way that allows them to comfortably participate in worship, appreciate its link to the past, and perceive its relevance for today.

  9. To instill a love of the peoples and land of the State of Israel, including gaining a knowledge and sensitivity to the challenges its existence presents.

  10. To educate our students about Reform Judaism’s legacy and continuing influence on the evolution of liberal Judaism.

  11. To cultivate and nurture kindness, creativity, open-mindedness, cooperation, leadership, and self-expression.

  12. To support the development of life-long friendships.

  13. To develop our students’ connection to the wider local and global Jewish community.

Curriculum Overview

While the curriculum for each grade level varies according to the skills and talents of each teacher- and the needs of a particular group of students- the following is a general overview and description of Temple Beth David’s religious school curriculum for the following grade levels:

Pre-K-K/1- Introducing the Magic of Judaism

  1. Introduction to synagogue and home ritual items and practices (e.g. Aron Hakodesh, Ner Tamid, Menorah)

  2. Torah: Jewish legends and ideas that inspire us and teach us how to live:

    1. Genesis legend,

    2. Noah and the Flood,

    3. The Patriarchs and Matriarchs

    4. Josef

  3. Jewish holidays and Shabbat: stories, symbol(s), words, food(s), game(s), blessing(s), and song(s)

  4. Hebrew, Prayer, and Values: SEE SEPARATE DOCUMENT

  5. Supporting family/home connections to Jewish rituals and practices

 

2-3- Discovery

  1. Review and expansion of home and synagogue ritual items and practices (e.g. Mezuzah, Chanukiah, Magein David)

  2. Torah: Jewish legends and ideas that inspire us and teach us how to live well:

    • Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Josef and his brothers, Moses and the Exodus legend, Revelation at Mt. Sinai, The Golden Calf, The 10 Commandments, Balak and Balaam, The Ten Spies, To the Promised Land

  3. Jewish Holidays and Shabbat: Deepened understanding and experience of home and temple rituals and practices: review of stories, symbol(s), words, food(s), game(s), blessing(s), and song(s)

  4. Hebrew, Prayer, and Jewish Values: SEE SEPARATE DOCUMENT

 

4-5- Jewish Covenant and Identity

  1. Jewish Lifecycle Events- joy and meaning through the practice and understanding of Jewish communal rituals

  2. Brit (covenant), L’dor Vador (Jewish continuity): Being part of the Jewish people includes responsibilities and commitments to Self and the community, practicing kindness, being creative, and being a leader

  3. The Book of Prophets: From Tribes to a Nation

    • Judges, Kings, Prophets, and Psalms through story and drama

  4. Hebrew, Prayer, and Jewish Values: SEE SEPARATE DOCUMENT

 

6-7: In and Out of Exile

  1. What does Jewish history and tradition teach us about survival and living lives of meaning and purpose? How does one transform adversity into blessing? What is “home”?

  2. History as a gateway to understanding who we are today:

    • Babylonian Exile; The Macabees; Golden Age of Spain and the Inquisition; The rise of Hassidism; The Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) and the emergence and development of Reform Judaism; The Holocaust; The birth of Modern Israel; The Jewish American Experience

  3. Hebrew, Prayer, and Jewish Values: SEE SEPARATE DOCUMENT

 

7/8-9: Expanding Jewish Horizons

  1. Curriculum is partially developed collaboratively with students

  2. What are our responsibilities as Jews? As human beings? How are the two different, how are they the same? Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li… If I Am Not for Myself, Who Am I? And If Not Now, When?

  3. The Other “Streams” of Judaism- Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal

  4. The Wider Jewish community: Local and Global: E.g. Our local Federation,; neighboring synagogues and Jewish communities, Israel, Around the World

  5. World Religions: How are we the same? How are we different? Universal vs. Particularism

  6. Contemporary Jewish Media, Culture, and Art

  7. Social action in practice (e.g. feeding the homeless at Union Station; visiting senior center)

  8. Hebrew: Modern conversational