At Temple Beth-El, our religious school curriculum has three components: Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and T’fillah.
Our Jewish Studies curriculum provides students with a strong foundation for living a meaningful Jewish life. In our youngest grades, children learn about the Jewish holidays, rituals, and mitzvot (commandments). Throughout the grade school years, they learn about the beauty of Shabbat, are exposed to the rich teachings of the Torah, and explore the rhythms of Jewish life, different concepts of God, and the complex history, traditions, and culture of Israel.
As students prepare to become bar/bat mitzvah, they explore Jewish values, with an emphasis on making wise choices and a positive difference in the world.
After bar/bat mitzvah, topics for discussion emphasize the concept of seeing the world through Jewish eyes. As our students prepare to take their first steps as independent Jewish adults, they explore topics of particular interest to Jewish teens.
Hebrew is the common language of all Jews and an integral part of any Jewish educational program. Formal Hebrew learning begins with our youngest students in Pre-K and continues through Grade 7. We encourage high school students to work with us to design a program of independent study or participate in an adult Hebrew class.
Our Hebrew curriculum focuses primarily on the language of the prayer book to enable our students to have a meaningful worship experience. With regular effort, most of our students are able to read Hebrew accurately and fluently.
One of the most special components of Temple Beth-El’s religious school program is our midweek t’fillah experience, which integrates age-appropriate worship, lively music, conversation about prayer, and ongoing spiritual exploration. We aim to help students grow as “pray-ers,” strengthen their Jewish identity, and guide them to understand that they are valued members of the Jewish community. Our t’fillah experience takes place Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 6:30 in the sanctuary. We encourage parents to join us.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten – Students explore Jewish learning through play and hands-on interactive experiences. They learn about Jewish holidays and Torah stories, and are exposed to the alef-bet and Jewish heritage words.
Grade 1 – Students continue to learn about the Jewish holidays and begin to learn about the place of mitzvot (commandments) in their lives.
Grade 2 – Students explore stories from the Torah as a basis for understanding key Jewish values. They learn Shabbat traditions, rituals, and blessings, and become more acquainted with the Hebrew letters.
Grade 3 – Students develop a deeper understanding of the Torah as a guidebook for Jewish living. Their learning is enhanced through music and a variety of hands-on activities. Students also begin to recognize and write Hebrew.
Grade 4 – Students explore ideas of holiness and spirituality through their role in the world, their connection to others, and their connection to God. They also explore the Jewish life cycle—its rituals, symbols, and customs. With their parents and Rabbi Gluck, students take a field trip to a cemetery to demystify the space, while exploring Jewish rituals around death and dying. In grades 4-6, our students begin to learn the content and meaning of Shabbat, weekday, and festival services through studying key blessings and prayers.
Grade 5 – Students explore Jewish immigration to the United States and learn about Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People—its history, geography, culture, and politics. They and their parents take a field trip to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City. Students continue to study key blessings and prayers.
Grade 6 – Students explore Jewish values and learn about our prophets through discussion and activities. A highlight of the year is a field trip, with their parents, to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The opportunity to explore history through artifacts prepares students to identify an artifact from their own family’s history to be displayed in a Heritage Museum the class will create. Students also join seventh graders for an overnight Shabbat experience at URJ Camp Harlam in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania. Students learn trope (the melodies for chanting Torah), in preparation for chanting Torah.
Grade 7 – Students engage in meaningful conversation about Jewish values and ethical behavior. In essence, they work on becoming good, kind, and loving Jewish people. They join the sixth graders in an overnight Shabbat experience at URJ Camp Harlam in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania. Students also practice, review, and build on their Hebrew and synagogue skills as part of their preparation for becoming bar/bat mitzvah, and engage topics of discussion that will help them achieve a smooth and successful transition to Confirmation Academy and young adulthood.
Our program continues with Confirmation Academy for Grades 8 to 10.