Jewish Learning at Congregation Beth El
Congregation Beth El creates a positive and interactive learning environment for all children and teens that nurtures and develops Jewish identity and community, and builds a foundation of Jewish ideals based on values, history, and prayerful experiences.
We belong to The Goldring / Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) that promotes Judaism and our heritage through innovative programs and shared resources. We take part in their education program that consists of a summer conference, the curriculum, and community visits.
The ISJL Curriculum
The ISJL Education Curriculum is a spiraled curriculum from preschool – 12th grade, in which learnersrevisit key content areas with increased sophistication as they progress through the curriculum. The ten key content areas are: Community, Culture and Symbols, God, Hebrew and Prayer, Israel, Jewish History, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Lifecycle Events, Mitzvotand Jewish Values, and TaNaKh(Torah, Prophets, and Writings).
The ISJL curriculum recognizes and nurtures the fact that children learn in different ways, V.A.K. - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Whenever possible, learning is experiential, and teaching methods are varied to include: reading, journaling, drawing, music, stories, art, games, discussions, and drama.Our teachers also enrich the curriculum and the teaching methods through the following:
Teachers have the ability to utilize technology in our Hebrew and Judaic classes to reinforce learning and evaluate comprehension. Hebrew games and apps, PowerPoint creations, and video clips are some of the ways technology is used in the classrooms.
Fine Arts :-
Our arts and crafts focus on the Jewish Holidays and ritual items. Our music reinforces the Jewish holidays, Hebrew and prayer.
Depending on the grade level, cooking, games, and dramatic play are also offered.
ISJL Curriculum Overview of Content Areas
Community -By being part of the religious school experience, students will feel a particular pride for their heritage as Jews and identify with the larger American and global Jewish community.
Culture and Symbols- The ISJL curriculum provides students with the opportunity to experience the colorful culture of Judaism and the symbols that are representative of the culture. The students will develop a deeper understanding of Jewish culture as their religious school education builds.
God -Religious school is a place where students can openly discuss their thoughts and feelings about God. Students will learn that throughout history Jews have had an important relationship with God.
Hebrew and Prayer -During religious school, students will have the ability to participate in synagogue prayer services and find personal meaning in them, recognizing Jewish worship as an essential facet of Jewish life and as an opportunity for self-discovery, self-assessment, and self-development.
Israel -Throughout the curriculum, students learn to identify with Israel as the Jewish homeland, understand its history, recognize our obligation to visit and support the State of Israel, and consider participating in an educational program there.
Jewish History -Students will develop a meaningful identification with Jews past and present through the study of Jewish history, culture, Hebrew language, liturgy, music, literature, arts, and texts.
Jewish Holidays -Whether it is with the entire religious school at an all-school program or in each grade, students will familiarize themselves with the many rituals and traditions that are celebrated during Jewish holidays.
Jewish Lifecycle Events -The spiraled curriculum allows students to mark the passages of time and seasons through Jewish lifecycle ceremonies using the symbols, rituals, prayers, and traditions of their Jewish heritage.
Mitz’votand Jewish Values-The ISJL curriculum provides students with a chance to view mitz’vot – both ritual and ethical – as opportunities to build a relationship with God.
Tanach(Torah, Prophets, and Writings)- Students will recognize that Jewish education is a lifelong endeavor. It is one that involves a critical and inquiring approach whereby the process of questioning is as valued and important as the quest for answers.
For more information about ISJL go to http://www.isjl.org
Hebrew at Congregation Beth El focuses on learning traditional prayers and ceremonies. Our learners focus on blessings, the Friday night and Shabbat morning worship services. The study of the Torah Service and the meaning and relationship we have to Torah are another integral part to this curriculum. Every effort is made to individualize instructions.
Hebrew learning is incorporated into the Sunday daily lessons for grades K – 6. There’s also weekly T’fillah (prayer) on Sunday mornings.
In addition to Sunday classes, children in grades 4 through 7 have Hebrew instruction for 1 ½ hours on Wednesday evenings. The learning is also enriched with music twice a month and Jewish holiday celebrations.
Classes learn the Judaic concepts and values for each mitzvah and choose activities focusing on their particular mitzvah on our Mitzvah Day in the spring.
Special Jewish Holiday Celebrations
In honor of our Jewish holidays, festive, interactive, and learning activities will take place for our students, faculty and families during learning time on Sundays and or Wednesdays.
Grade level Shabbat services, Sunday morning pancake breakfasts, and family learning provide opportunities to connect to our Jewish community. ISJL also sends an Education Fellow who visits three times a year for a weekend full of engaging, original programs