Grade 9 represents a time of great change for our students, as they begin their journey through high school. For most students, this means moving into a new school, which is very often a much bigger pond than the school in which they completed eighth grade. With this expanding community comes new friends, new experiences, and often exposure to more varied viewpoints and a sometimes overwhelming amount of new information from all directions. Chai School becomes a safe place for students to question, explore, and learn how to use centuries of Jewish teaching and tradition to help inform the decisions we make in our everyday lives. Ninth graders are also given the opportunity to spend time with each other socially, be it through sharing a dinner each week, delving into the hot topics of the day under the guidance of our clergy, working together on community service projects on and off campus, and creating memories together through special trips and experiences.
Highlights of our program for 2023-2024 include (but are not limited-to):
Hot Topic Tuesdays with Rabbi Musnitsky
Learn how to see current-day conflicts, events, politics, and history-in-the-making through a Jewish lens, guided by Rabbi Musnitsky. Includes dinner; 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM one Tuesday per month. (10/17, 11/14, 12/12, 1/9, 2/13, 3/12 and 4/9)
Who can get enough of our Jewish Holidays? Join Lynn Anne for project-based exploration of all sorts of Jewish holidays, from the most popular to the most obscure. We’ll cook, we’ll create beautiful and meaningful Judaica, we’ll put together part of this year’s THS Purim celebration(!) – and we’ll have fun doing it! You’ll also be introduced to surprising stories about some of our holidays that we do not share with the little ones. This course meets from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM one Thursday evening per month. (9/28, 10/26, 11/30, 12/21, 1/25, 2/29, 3/21 and 4/25)
THS Teen Travel
We are excited to be able to offer new off-campus opportunities to our teens this year! Day trips for grades 8-12 include events such as seeing a Broadway play together or visiting cultural events in our area or nearby cities.
Students in grades 9-12 can apply for a paid position as one of our JSchool madrichim (teaching aides) on Sunday mornings during the school year. Students who have never served as madrichim are encouraged to apply at this link: https://www.templeharshalom.org/learning/new-madrichim-application/ and returning madrichim should use the placement form here: https://www.templeharshalom.org/learning/returning-madrichim-placement-form/
Social Action Club with Sam Lynn
Learn about the needs of our community and take action to make a difference in the lives of others. Activities range from single-night projects to an evening cooking breakfast and then a morning bringing it into New York City to share with homeless people with our Lauren Rachel Zeitels Midnight Run program. All THS teens are invited to participate. Days/times vary each month depending on the project; calendar TBD.
Shul of Rock Teen Band with Nicole Drasin
Sing or play your favorite instrument in our Shul of Rock Teen Band! Band rehearses approximately two Thursday nights a month, and performs at select services and events throughout the year.
Over the course of the year, Temple Har Shalom hosts special events or guest speakers that will be meaningful for our teens to attend. Last year, THS teens and their families attended our gallery exhibit of photography from the American Society for Yad Vashem, and got to hear from Fred Biermann, who survived the Holocaust as a child and went on to fight for Israel in the early days of its founding. Invitations to these events will go out as they are scheduled.
Chai School is open to Temple Har Shalom members in good standing. Our tuition fee, $595 per student, reflects the support needed, but we never want finances to prevent anyone from joining our community.
Should you want any further details about school, programs, or enrollment information, please reach out to our Director of Congregational Education, Lynn Anne Cutler, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy Greenbaum, Education Administrator, at email@example.com or give us a call at (732) 356-8777.
What are our students saying?
“My closest friends are from Har Shalom, my mentors and teachers of morality and humanity are from Har Shalom. My religious and cultural guides are here. My heart is here. I belong here. And it’s a wonderful thing to know where I belong, and who I am.” – M.C.