The Religious School is divided into three departments: the Primary Department, the Hebrew Department and the Etz Chaim Department.
Connections to Judaism are formed early, so the Primary Department includes classes for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades and is intended to help children acquire a basic familiarity with the many aspects of Judaism and Jewish life.
Our Primary Department students participate in various Friday night services, enabling them to become familiar with the rituals of Shabbat. Because Jewish experiences are of crucial importance to the healthy development of the Jewish child, parents are strongly urged to enroll their children in the Primary Department as soon as they enter kindergarten. The knowledge gained during these initial years provides an essential background for the Hebrew Department.
The Hebrew Department is a full five-year program, culminating in Religious School graduation. It is designed to build upon the experiences and knowledge acquired in the Primary Department and to expand children’s Jewish knowledge. Students learn to read and write in Hebrew, understand Hebrew prayers, gain an introduction to modern Hebrew vocabulary, and forge a connection to the language of our people.
Etz Chaim Department
Geared toward students in grades 8-12, our Etz Chaim program is designed for teens by the teens themselves. Facilitated by a talented educator, this student-driven program allows students to explore topics that are most relevant to them, including Jewish values, ethics, debatable issues, and popular culture, through meaningful conversations with the guidance and wisdom of the Jewish textual tradition.
The new curriculum overview for the Religious School highlights the skills and learning goals that each grade level will master, allowing parents to gain familiarity with the themes and concepts their children will explore over the course of the year. Additionally, the curriculum overview includes “Life Questions” – questions that students will ask together with their teachers and classmates and at home with their parents that get to a broader understanding of what it means to be a Jewish child today.
These Life Questions arise out of an educational philosophy that is focused on creative thinking and encouraging students to engage in new experiences to explore the culture, history, religion, values and language of Judaism.