In addition to our curricular themes that each class covers, and integrates within the mission of our temple, six learning pillars that characterize our Jewish Religious School:
Social Action– “We take great pride in our social action programs” says Rabbi Lachtman. Be it through the mitzvah projects of our teens, or the temple’s endeavors, we partner with a myriad of non profit charitable organizations to support those in need. We have a food bank where families can donate or buy food stamps for our students to shop, we have plush toy donation hampers in our lobby, a food collection bin, and simple tzeddakah boxes. Our students carry the mission of their mitzvah projects also beyond their B’nai Mitzvah years, as they mentor both our congregation, and their fellow students, to fulfill the notion of Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah (one mitzvah leads to another).
Inter-generational experiences- We partner with both the Fair Oaks senior living and the Kensington at Sierre Madre to support those who are elderly and need companion. We strive to embrace our own older congregants, like our beloved 65 year member Mr. Frazin, and Dr. Shapiro. Holocaust survivors often visit our school, both in order to tell their stories of resilience through the Shoah, or as visitors in our school.
Parental involvement- Our parents contribute an array of talents to our school, the options are endless, and the sky is the limit! Here is a testimony from Cc DeGraff about the options there are out there. We are grateful to our room moms, our snack helpers, advisors, music enhancers, arts and crafts donations, greeters, channukah latkes fryers, cookie bakers for charity sales, teen programming enrichment, flyer designers and more. If you have a budding talent that would make a difference to the fulfillment of our students, please reach out to us!
Engaged Faculty- Our teachers are friends! Our aides socialize together, and together, we lunch, brunch and chit chat, yes, also during the week! We rely on each other, we hear each other, and we tie not only our curriculum together, but also each other’s love for one another into our school!
Buddy System- Our older teens and youngest of our students are a team! In the beginning of each religious school year, older students are assigned a young “buddy” to mentor, to hold hands with, to collaborate with, and to be a “go to” person. This works both ways in that our older students learn leadership, and assume responsibilities, while our younger students seek that comfort in their point person they are familiar with. Though this is assumed in our religious school, it is not uncommon for our older students to carry on their responsibilities outside of TBD in the form of babysitting or otherwise. Here is a sweet video of our buddies during the holiday of Sukkot.
Hands-on learning- Hands-on learning is a form of education that is typical in our school, in which children learn by doing. Instead of simply listening to a teacher or instructor lecture about a given subject, the student engages with the subject matter to solve a problem or create something. Our students make beds and toys for homeless pets, collect trick or treat money for animals, produce songs for the elderly, sort out food for the food pantry of Union Station, package zip lock bags of toiletries, and more. Our promotional flyer shows the hands of our teens covered in matzah ball mixture, because what is Judaic learning without food?