We aim to offer a rich and meaningful Jewish education that will foster a love of Judaism in our students. We believe passionately that what we teach must be relevant their daily lives and a source of ethics and spiritual fulfillment. To best achieve these goals, we’ve adopted the web-based Shalom Learning Curriculum. It is an integrated pluralistic curriculum based on seven core Jewish values. These values are the essential understandings that we want our students to carry with them throughout their lives and integrate into their own systems of ethics:
The Seven Core Values:
1. Teshuvah – Learning to take responsibility for our actions.
2. Be-Tzelem Elohim – Honoring the image of God in ourselves and in others.
3. Gevurah – Using our inner strength to do what’s right.
4. Achrayut – Understanding our responsibility to make the world a better place.
5. Hakarat Ha-Tov – Recognizing the goodness in our lives and learning to express gratitude for it.
6. Koach Ha-Dibbur – Understanding the power of our words.
7. Shalom – Seeking constructive conflict and mutual understanding in our quest to make the world a more peaceful place.
About the Curriculum
The Shalom Learning Curriculum spirals around these core values each year, with a different focus for each grade. Beginning in the third grade, students will learn about each value from the perspective of family, while fourth graders will approach the value through introspection. Students in the fifth grade will discuss the relevance of these values to their interpersonal relationships and sixth graders will look at these values through the lens of community.
Each month, the entire school will focus on the same value, and that value will be reinforced by Sunday morning Tefillot (prayers) as well as the holidays of the Jewish calendar. The curriculum also aims to engage parents who will receive “Table Talk” prompts by email and then have the opportunity to discuss the values under discussion with their child in depth.
This curriculum is comprehensive in its content, covering all the “expected” topics of a religious school curriculum – including holidays and Jewish history – but through the lens of the seven core values. Our very experienced staff of teachers supplement lessons with best practice teaching methods and additional time tested content where appropriate.
For a basic plan of the Shalom Learning Curriculum, which shows its spiraling structure and the seven values, click here.
Our school does not regard Hebrew and Judaic Studies to be separate subjects. Rather they are part of one indivisible whole that has defined most of Jewish culture since biblical times. Our aim is to integrate the study of both as much as possible. However, we also recognize that students have different levels of comfort with Hebrew. Our religious school always welcomes new students and is highly experienced in working with students who have studied very little Hebrew before. Our state-of-the-art language lab allows students to learn Hebrew at their own pace and at their own level, while keeping them in lock-step with their peer-group.
Our custom designed app for mobile devices, Tefillah (“Prayer”) Tools, is a unique video-based self-teaching tool that helps students learn how to chant traditional Jewish prayers and understand their relevance for their everyday lives. It allows them to study using their mobile device or PC at home or on the go. For more information visit www.tefillahtools.com.
For more information about the Shalom learning curriculum, please view the videos below. Please bear in mind that parts of these videos depict an online “virtual” classroom, whereas our school – while providing some online “homework” – offers a genuine social classroom experience using the same materials. Genuine experiential learning of the sort we aim for can only be achieved in a real physical and social setting – in class with classmates:
Video One: Material that Can be Used Before Class
Video Two: The Physical Classroom Lesson
Confirmation Curriculum (8th-9th Grade)
Our two-year Confirmation curriculum focusses on comparing Judaism with the other religious traditions of the world, with a focus on similarities and differences in theology and ethics. We also spend class time talking about the everyday issues that our students confront, what is important to them, and how they each relate to their own Jewish identity.