Temple Beth David’s Jewish Religious School is a diverse and caring community where students are inspired to develop a love of Judaism in its many forms. Guided by the values of Hesed (kindness), K’dushah (holiness), Tsedakah (justice/charity), and Limmud (learning), our purpose is to nourish the hearts, souls, and minds of our students. Our educational programs and staff aspire to provide a foundation for students to comfortably participate in all aspects of Jewish life.
Sessions for Preschool – post Confirmation are held on Sunday mornings, September-May, from 9:15am-12:00pm.
Students enrolled in our B’nai Mitzvah program (generally corresponding to the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades) attend an additional tutoring time to be determined with an individual tutor. Students also meet with our Rabbi and Cantor throught the process of learning, and especially prior to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
In addition to classroom time, sessions on Sunday’s often include: Tfillah (communal worship); visits of guest specialists (e.g. music, Israeli dancing, storytelling); field trips; visits to our award-winning library; class visits with Rabbi Lachtman; family learning days; Hanukah party; a Hanukah Boutique; and a Model Seder.
Multiple Friday evening community dinners and Shabbat and Holiday family-friendly services occur throughout the year, often with religious school students participating. On select Friday evenings Rabbi and Cantor lead a Young Family Shabbat Service, generally held at 5:30pm. Family Fun Night is our school’s main fund-raising event, and a great community event.
Our students are further encouraged to participate and make a difference in our wider community through some of the following activities: seasonal “Mitzvah” outings to a local Senior center; preparing meals for the homeless at Union Station; Shabbaton- the Jewish Federation of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley’s winter weekend youth camp; L’takein- a three-day educational and social action teen expedition to Washington, D.C.; participation in Jewish World Watch’s “March to End Genocide”; organizing food drives; and volunteering at animal shelters.
Temple Beth David’s youth group provides yet another opportunity for our students to deepen friendships, develop leadership skills, and participate in activities that strengthen their commitment to Judaism. Students in the 7th-12th grade meet on the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm.
Our school affirms the value of friendship and life-long learning by offering a robust array of classes and events for parents of our religious school students and congregants, normally held on Sunday mornings. These have included: Jewish holiday workshops; Bringing Judaism into the Home classes; “Lox and Bagel Breakfasts” which engage guest speakers from the Jewish, inter-faith, and secular community; an “Un-orthodox” Torah class; adult Hebrew classes; film presentations; Jewish cooking classes; and a Jewish book club.
The 12 Educational Program Goals
The goals of the Temple Beth David educational and religious programs are to encompass learning and discovery through communal activities, the study of texts, stories, folklore, music, song, dancing, crafts and drama. The following are among the ever-evolving goals our Rabbi has outlined:
- We want to provide all our children with happy, interesting and inspiring experiences in the practice of Judaic ceremonies and observances in the home, community and synagogue.
- We want to cultivate in our children a knowledge and appreciation of Jewish art, dance, literature, culture, and music.
- We want to imbue our children with the religious insights and ethical standards of Judaism so they may evolve as responsible, caring and committed members of society.
- We want to foster an environment where our youth feel free to explore and ask questions about their faith and their relationships with community, family and Gd.
- We want to foster the growth of Jews who further the causes of justice, freedom and peace by pursuing the paths of righteousness, justice and performing acts of loving kindness (tzedek, mishpat and chesed).
- We want to encourage the observance and celebration of ceremonies, holidays, festivals and Shabbat. By exposing our children to the different ways other Jews practive their faith, we also provide them with an appreciation of the varied customs and folkways within the Jewish tradition.
- We want to prepare our children to take part in personal and synagogue worship and to feel comfortable with their Judaism.
- We want to introduce our children to the Hebrew language so that they will appreciate its link from the past, and its relevance for today.
- We want to instill in our children the knowledge that Torah allows us to live vibrantly for the present as we plan for tomorrow with an eye on the past.
- We want our students to examine their roots with both the ancient land of Israel and the modern miracle, the State of Israel.
- We want our young people to know early Reform Judaism’s history and how it shaped the American Jewish landscape. We want them to be proud of those who have laid the foundations upon which our liberal community has flourished.
- We want all children who enter our school to grow in wisdom and love of Judaism.