Curriculum & Course Descriptions

Education Programs at Congregation Beth Or

K-12th grade education at Congregation Beth Or develops Judaic and Hebrew knowledge, and we divide the school into three major categories:

Keren (K-3rd grades)

Eych (4th-6th grades)

Yedah (7th-12th grades)

Keren means a foundation, and our youngest students will study the WHAT of Judaism, the foundational knowledge that goes into being educated Jews.

Eych is Hebrew for HOW, and students put their knowledge into action to learn how we are Jewish, through topics like Torah, Israel, Jewish Values, Prayer/worship, and God.

Yedah means knowledge, and these students examine the WHY of Judaism in classes on Jewish living for maturing, young adult Jews.

 

Our classes at Congregation Beth Or focus on hands-on learning, where students discover the information they need with the guidance and expertise of their teachers. Each class culminates in a project of some kind, a durable representation that encompasses student learning. With this program, Congregation Beth Or becomes the KEY to your child’s Jewish education!

Keren (K-3rd grades)

By the end of Keren, students will be able to:

  • Retell basic Bible stories
  • Express a core Jewish vocabulary
  • Identify Jewish holidays and their related customs and ritual items
  • Describe Israel as a modern and an ancient land
  • Practice a range Jewish customs appropriate to their families
  • Demonstrate comfort in the synagogue

Kindergarten through 2nd Grade

Our youngest learners come to class only on Sunday mornings.

Register for Sunday by choosing between:

  • Sunday Early (9am - 10:45am) OR  Sunday Late (11:15am – 1pm)

Kindergarten | Yehudi (The Jewish Me): Our youngest learners begin their Jewish journey with how to use “all of themselves” in celebrating Jewish life. They focus on what it means to be Jewish using our senses, including taste, fragrance, movement, music, feeling, and joy.

1st Grade | Bayit (Home): Our 1st grade focuses on the idea of “home” and how it acts as the center of Jewish life. Students will explore the importance and influence of the Jewish home over time, from Jewish home and family life in the Bible to their own Jewish home of today. Additionally, these students will discover the synagogue as a spiritual home for Jews and Judaism.

2nd Grade | Kehillah (Community): Our 2nd graders focus on the important Jewish task of building a kehillah kedoshah (holy community) and the ways the Jewish community has anchored our people throughout the ages. They will uncover the key Jewish values that support efforts to create and strengthen our connections to and responsibility for one another.

3rd Grade

Hebrew education begins in earnest in 3rd grade, so an extra learning day a week is added.

CHOOSE: Register for Sunday School

  • Sunday Early (9am - 10:45am) OR Sunday Late (11:15am - 1pm)

AND: Register for Mid-Week Hebrew

  • Monday (4:30pm - 6pm) OR Tuesday (4:30pm - 6pm)

Sippurim (Stories): 3rd graders discover the stories of our people. Using key foundational moments found in the Bible, these students will work to begin uncovering the messages found in Torah, how they have changed over time, and the role they play in shaping contemporary Jewish life.

Hebrew: Our Hebrew program incorporates both a phonics and a whole-language approach toward Hebrew literacy. By teaching sound decoding and word recognition in context, students gain important skills for reading Hebrew. 3rd grade focuses on basic Hebrew literacy. Students use the Siddur, technology, and primary sources to build a prayer vocabulary, explore prayer meaning, and work towards prayer fluency.


Eych (4th-6th grades)

Students in Eych take trimester-long classes that focus on Torah, Israel, Jewish Values, Prayer/worship, and God. By the end of Eych, students will be able to:

  • Arrange Jewish sacred texts by timeframe and type
  • Experiment with difference approaches to understanding God
  • Differentiate between prayers within a prayer service
  • Relate key concepts about Israel with clarity
  • Outline Jewish values and beliefs

4th through 6th Grade

Students in 4th-6th grade continue to come two days a week.

CHOOSE: Register for Sunday School

  • Sunday Early (9am - 10:45am) OR Sunday Late (11:15 am - 1pm)

AND: Register for Mid-Week Hebrew

  • Monday (4:30pm – 6pm) OR Tuesday (4:30pm – 6pm)

4th Grade

4th grade makes learning personal by helping students explore where they come from as they explore themselves. Students learn how Judaism helps make them who they are. Students rotate through the following classes: Who Am I? An Exploration of Jewish Families and Values; Where Am I from? Understanding the American Jewish Immigrant Experience; and What Can I Do? Building Mensches through Jewish Values

5th Grade

5th grade puts learning into practice with practical applications of mitzvot in the world. Students learn how they can make the world a better place through Jewish values. In the first trimester, students study “Tzedek and Tzedakah: How to Start Making a Better World”; the next two trimesters, students put mitzvot into action, learning that “Repairing the World Begins with You.”

6th Grade

6th grade examines the holiness of bar/bat mitzvah, giving students the tools, language, and understanding that frame this next big lifecycle moment. Students learn how the bar/bat mitzvah process connects them to concepts larger than themselves—God, Israel, and Judaism.

4th through 6th Grade Hebrew

Continuing from their foundation in 3rd grade, 4th and 5th grade students work on prayer mastery and understanding. In 6th grade, students examine the meaning and structure of our liturgy, and they gain important service-leading and Torah-centric Hebrew skills. Students use the Siddur, technology, and primary sources to build a prayer vocabulary, explore prayer meaning, and work towards prayer fluency.


Yedah (7th-10th grades)

Yedah classes examine the Why of Judaism. This curriculum presents Jewish living for maturing, young adult Jews using the same categories explored in Eych: Torah, Israel, Jewish Values, Prayer/worship, and God. By the end of Yedah, students will be able to:

  • Participate meaningfully in Jewish worship
  • Assess different approaches to Jewish tradition
  • Extrapolate their own practice as adult Jews from the material they’ve studied
  • Measure the value sacred texts bring to their lives
  • Justify their Jewish choices from an informed perspective
  • Determine their relationship to Israel

7th Grade Academy

7th grade students return to a once-a-week study of Judaic topics.

Register for an Academy Class by choosing between:

  • Sunday Morning (11:15am - 1pm) OR Monday Night (7pm - 8:30pm)

Living & Celebrating a Jewish Life: Our 7th grade students explore Jewish life through lifecycle events, prayer, and areas of Jewish study. By examining our traditions as well as different aspects of Judaism, students come away with a clearer understanding of what it means to be Jewish.

8th and 9th Grade Academy

In 8th and 9th grades students can choose among a number of class options.

CHOOSE: Register for an Academy Class

  • Sunday Morning (11:15am - 1pm) OR Monday Night (7pm - 8:30pm)

AND/OR: Register for an alternative class

  • Generally meet offsite during different hours. See below.

8th/9th grade students can select any OR all of the classes listed below, all for one single program fee. Once 8th/9th grade tuition has been paid, students can sign up for all of the classes offered.

Traditional 8th/9th Grade

Our traditional-style classes are designed to appeal to the intellectual needs of the learners and allow students to explore Judaism on a personal level. 8th and 9th grades are combined into one cluster on Sundays and Mondays, taught by clergy and professional staff, on a rotating two-year curriculum.

Alternative 8th/9th Grade Class Options

Rosh Chodesh & Rosh Brodesh (One to two Sundays a month, 5pm -7pm)

These home-grown classes split our 8th/9th graders by gender (Rosh Chodesh – girls, Rosh Brodesh – boys). The classes focus on Jewish values and sacred texts through experiential learning and the relationships built in class. Classes will be taught by our Assistant Rabbi (Rosh Brodesh) and our Director of Youth and Camp Engagement, Jillian Glick (Rosh Chodesh). Classes meet every 3-4 weeks on Sunday evenings from 5-7 pm, and participants host the classes in their homes. This class also requires two day-long or overnight intensives during the year.

Team Tzedek (various meeting times and places)

This class is a hands-on mitzvah class. Students go to various off-site locations to put Jewish values into action by supporting people in need, working with seniors, repairing the world, caring for others, or raising awareness for a cause. Students may also be eligible to collect community service hours for secular requirements in their local schools. This class meets every 3-4 weeks on Sundays, and a certain degree of flexibility is required.

Madrichim (Sundays, 9am - 1pm)

This Academy class places students in Sunday school classrooms as assistant teachers, or madrichim. Madrichim report to their assigned class every Sunday during the year for their classroom duties (with the exception of the first two Sundays of Sunday school, where they come at 11:15 for training). They may also receive further training and development in our monthly Madrichim workshop sessions from 1 pm to 2:30 pm. These workshops provide teens with information on organization, classroom management, teaching responsibilities, and leadership. During this class, students will create a portfolio that demonstrates what they have learned. This class meets on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm when school is in session.

Songleading Lab (Sundays, 9am - 1pm)

If you have always dreamed of being a Songleader, this is your chance to learn how to do it! Students will meet with Cantor Murley to learn songleading skills and then they will assist in teaching music classes to grades K-6th. Each session will end with the students getting the chance to lead music classes ON THEIR OWN to practice what they've learned. This class will give students the confidence and skills to stand up in front of a group in any situation. It will also increase their knowledge of Jewish music. Note: This will NOT be a music instruction class, so students must already play an instrument from which they can lead a group (guitar, ukelele, piano, etc).

Moving Traditions

8th grade girls will have an opportunity to sign up for this class after a taste-of experience in the spring of 2017.

10th Grade: Confirmation

Students in 10th grade spend the year learning about Judaism—history, culture, and theology—and discussing what Judaism means to them.

Register for Confirmation Class

  • Sunday Night (5pm - 7pm)

Confirmation is for our 10th grade students and meets 3 times a month on Sundays from 5pm - 7pm. Taught by Rabbi Marx and the Director of Religious School, Aaron Nielsenshultz, the class focuses on big events in Jewish history and Jewish theology. It includes several optional experiential learning trips: a social justice lobbying program to Washington, D.C., a trip to the lower East Side of New York City, and a once-in-a lifetime trip to Israel. The class culminates in the Confirmation service during Shavuot.


11th and 12th Grade Academy

Our 11th and 12th grade classes are designed to keep students engaged in meaningful ways. There is no tuition for 11th and 12th grade.

Team Tzedek (various meeting times and places)

This class is a hands-on mitzvah class. Students go to various off-site locations to put Jewish values into action by supporting people in need, working with seniors, repairing the world, caring for others, or raising awareness for a cause. Students may also be eligible to collect community service hours for secular requirements in their local schools. This class meets every 3-4 weeks on Sundays, and a certain degree of flexibility is required.

Madrichim (Sundays, 9am - 1pm)

This program offers 11th and 12th grade students paid Sunday teaching assistant/mid-week Hebrew tutoring positions at Congregation Beth Or through an application and selection process. Applications are available in the Education Center Office.

Songleading Lab (Sundays, 9am - 1pm)

If you have always dreamed of being a Songleader, this is your chance to learn how to do it! Students will meet with Cantor Murley to learn songleading skills and then they will assist in teaching music classes to grades K-6th. Each session will end with the students getting the chance to lead music classes ON THEIR OWN to practice what they've learned. This class will give students the confidence and skills to stand up in front of a group in any situation. It will also increase their knowledge of Jewish music. Note: This will NOT be a music instruction class, so students must already play an instrument from which they can lead a group (guitar, ukelele, piano, etc).

Download a printable version of the Education Programs Descriptions