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Religious School

06/06/2016 12:00:27 PM


From Email sent June 6th 2016

Shalom Families,

Hard to believe that the Religious School year has ended, but we are already in full gear getting ready for next year!! We have much to look forward to in the 2016-2017 school year.  We wanted to let you know about what the year will look like in general.  The Religious School Committee, in consultation with members of the teaching faculty and with a lot of input from families and students, worked hard to come up with an exciting plan, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.  We are now glad to be able to share it with you.

While registration won’t be out until later in the summer, we think that it’s important for you to be informed about this coming year.  In summary:

  • Grades K through 7 will meet from 9 am to 12 pm
  • The day will consist of 5 parts: T’fillah (worship), Hebrew (separate for older grades and integrated into the class day for younger), Hafsakah (Snack Break), Chugim (specialties), and Judaics
  • There will be new curricula in both Judaics and Hebrew
  • We are adding a pre-K class on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10:30, as well as a monthly post-Confirmation class

Here are some important details about these plans:

  • We will have a brand new schedule for all students in Kindergarten through 7th grade, which will run from 9 am to 12 pm on Sunday mornings for all of these grades (whether or not that grade includes Hebrew).
    • The longer day for our Consecration and 2nd Grade classes will include more opportunity for a variety of activities and varied learning, as well as more of a chance to develop relationships with their teachers and peers.
    • The slightly shortened day will allow our 3rd through 6th graders to participate in other events and programs, presenting less of a conflict for many families with other Sunday afternoon commitments.
    • Our new 7th Grade curriculum will be leadership based, and will formally include time during their day to serve as madrichim, leaders, in the religious school classrooms of younger grades or in other leadership positions within the Religious School community. 
    • Because of the increase in costs associated with the younger students being here for an hour and a half longer, the tuition for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade will move to $560 for the year.  This increase of $135 from last year (approximately $5 per session) will enable us to have additional teacher hours, as well as more in depth and varied activities for the children during the time that they are with us.
      • We recognize that families may have already budgeted for next year, based on prior tuition; please know that we have scholarship money available in the synagogue for this purpose (as there is always for children of all grades).  We do not want this increase to prevent any children from participating in a Jewish education with us.
  •  The daily schedule, which will be standardized (outside of special programs), will be divided into 5 parts:  T’fillah (prayer), Hebrew (for grades 3 through 6, although younger grades will also have a Hebrew component built into their learning), Hafsakah (snack recess), Chugim (specialties), and Judaics.
    • We will all continue to begin our day together with T’fillah (prayer) as a community.
    • Chugim (Specialties) will include a variety of activities and ways to learn about Judaism and Jewish living through different modes of engagement.  These will include: cooking, gardening, dance, music, creative writing, improv, drama, art, etc.  By making this a dedicated part of the day, students will have a better sense of their regular schedule, and their learning in Judaics and Hebrew will not be disrupted.
    • Snack will be provided to students as a group during Hafsakah (snack recess).  At the beginning of the year, payable at the time of registration, families will be charged $30 (which is approximately what most families spend over the course of the year currently), so students will not have to bring snack money with them each week (although tzedakah will still be collected in class).   There will be no more individual purchases on Sundays and we are excited for the addition of semi-structured social time for the kids
      • This system allows us to have time to build community, as well as enabling us to better supervise the children between activities.  By having the snack inside the building, it also increases the safety and security of our school community.
      • During the Hafsakah, we will provide snack to all students.  There will always be a snack available to meet all dietary restrictions, even if the main snack on a given week contains allergens—teachers will accompany children to Hafsakah, and will make sure that kids get the right snack. 
      • During this time, in addition to enjoying their snack, the students can socialize and be a little active.  There will be some games and activities available, but students will be able to choose how they spend this time, within the space where Hafsakah is held. 
  • Approximate Schedule for Consecration (K and 1):
    • 9:00       T’fillah
    • 9:25       Class Time
    • 9:55       Chugim
    • 10:25    Class Time
    • 10:40    Hafsakah
    • 10:55    Class Time
  • Approximate Schedule for 2nd Grade:
    • 9:00       T’fillah
    • 9:25       Chugim
    • 9:55       Class Time
    • 10:40    Hafsakah
    • 10:55    Class Time
  • Approximate Schedule for 3rd through 6th Grade:
    • 9:00       T’fillah
    • 9:25       Hebrew
    • 10:20    Hafsakah
    • 10:35    Chugim               OR                       10:35    Judaics
    • 11:05    Judaics                OR                       11:30    Chugim
  • New Judaics curricula are being explored and developed, in a values and identity based spiraled curriculum—building on prior knowledge, allowing students to enter in different grades, and appropriately advancing the exploration of these ideas at each level.   Each grade’s curriculum will include interactive learning on Judaism’s important concepts.  For example:
    • Our youngest grades will include learning Hebrew through Movement to start becoming familiar with Hebrew language and build their readiness to learn the prayers in older grades.
    • The 4th grade will explore different examples in Jewish history of people who had to stand up for ideals and take risks in order to meet challenges, and will create interactive multimedia posters to share aspects their learning.
    • The 6th grade will learn about Jewish history through hearing and exploring the stories of real people who lived at different historical periods, examining actual documents from those periods, and figuring out how to tell their own story as they create a living museum.
    • More details will come soon about the specific learning plans for all grades.
  • A new Hebrew curriculum is being adopted, in addition to moving Hebrew to the start of the day, when young brains are most open to cognitive learning.
    • Our Hebrew program will move towards an individualized learning program, in which the prayers are learned by students in a self-paced model.  Once a student masters one prayer, having completed the learning activities and read the prayer to the Director of Lifelong Learning, they will move on to the next prayer in the series.  Each student’s learning will build throughout their time in Hebrew school.
    • Because the reading work will be individualized, classes will be divided by grade, for group learning about the ideas and meaning of the prayers and to play games as a group, even though the group of learners will be made up of students mixed at different levels.
    • The Mitkadem curriculum (created by the URJ, now produced by Behrman House) will be used by grades 4 through 6.  Grade 3’s curriculum will be determined, in consultation with the 3rd grade Hebrew teachers.
    • This program includes an online learning component for supplemental learning.  The online system is identical to the on paper version of the material and will allow us to truly monitor the students’ learning, even when they are not physically present in the building. 
      • The online component will be required for students who do not come during the week; the teachers and/or Director of Lifelong Learning will monitor the students’ progress online and will keep track of participation on weeks that there is school, including tracking absences.
      • The online component will also be made available for those families that want to further supplement their child’s at home learning and practice of the prayers.
    • Students who come to temple for Hebrew on Wednesdays will meet as a whole school (a one-room schoolhouse model), with each student working on the prayer that they are currently working on, either individually or grouped with another student or students also working on the same prayer (regardless of grade level).  Teachers will help keep the students on track, monitor their learning, guiding students’ learning, and helping to facilitate different learning activities.  Students will be able to work in the way that works best for them as individuals.
    • The teachers approved this new curriculum, and have begun to learn more about it.  They will receive training before school starts about how to implement this new kind of learning.
    • There will be meetings at the start of the year to orient families to the new curriculum, answer questions about it, and to help guide the students and their families in successfully navigating the program. 
  • We will be adding a Pre-K class for temple members aged 3 and 4.  This class will meet weekly from 9:00 am to 10:30 am and will serve as an introduction to our youngest members about what it means to be Jewish.  The class will be taught by Debbie Levin (who has been one of our third grade teachers) and we are all very excited to expand the ages that we teach.
  • We are in process of restructuring the 8th through 10th Grade Confirmation Program.  Details to come soon.
  • We will also be adding a monthly post-Confirmation opportunity for 11th and 12th graders to continue their learning and connection to the synagogue.
  • Additional information about other post-B’nai Mitzvah education will be coming soon.

We are very excited for next year, and can’t wait to share these experiences with all of you!

Please be in touch if you want to know more, have any questions or concerns, or to share your thoughts and suggestions.


Rabbi Elisa F. Koppel

Director of Lifelong Learning


Amanda Lewis

Religious School Committee Chair

Religious School

05/13/2016 03:50:15 PM


From Email sent May 11th 2016


As we come to the end of the year once again, please let me know how many Shabbat Services your child/children have attended between 9/1/15 & 5/7/16.  I need to hear from you no later than Monday, May 16th.  If your child has been to 10 services or more, they are on Rabbis Rolls and we recognize them on the last day of school.

We also hope that many of you will join us for our community Yom Ha’Atzmaut Israel Celebration on Sunday from 1:30 to 4 at the JCC.  At this annual event, the community will come together to learn more about different aspects of Israeli culture and celebrate as a community.  3rd and 5th Grade students, who have been studying Israel this year, are especially encouraged to attend.  If you and/or your child are interested in helping sit at the CBE table for a shift, please be in touch with Rabbi Koppel.  Here's the link to the flyer -- Ha'atzmaut final flyer.pdf

Also, volunteers are needed on Sunday from 9:30 to 10:45 to help out with cooking with several of the grades.  Please let us know if you are free for part or all of that time to come and help us with this activity.


Congregation Beth Emeth

Religious School

From Email sent May 4th, 2016

Shalom Families,

Hope you are enjoying the spring, even if the weather doesn’t quite feel that way.  It’s hard to believe that we’re already towards the end of the year!

I wanted to remind everyone about Yom Yisrael (Israel Day) this Sunday, May 8! School will be in session for all students from 9 to 10:30. This is a special day of Religious School to celebrate Israel as a school community, as we approach Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.  This day is designed for our children and their families to join together in order to learn about different aspects of Israeli culture, and engage in a variety of activities.

Activity stations will include Israeli Chocolate Balls (all will be nut free and there will be a gluten free section), Gaga, Israeli Dance, Israeli music, children’s games, and more! At each activity, students will earn Israeli Sheqels, which they will be able to exchange for items at the Shuk (market).

Families are encouraged to join their children for this special event.  Children under 9 should be accompanied by an adult, or they will be assigned an official teen buddy.  All are encouraged to wear blue and white as we celebrate Israel!!

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!


Rabbi Elisa Koppel

PS Looking ahead, May 15 is a regular day of Sunday School and May 22 is our last day of school, which will be from 9 to 10:30.  May 11 and 18 are our last 2 Wednesdays.

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784