Our PreK class discovers the joys of Jewish life at home, and also of living in a worldwide Jewish community. Through music, art, ritual, story and movement, we celebrate holidays throughout the year, and become familiar with universal Jewish values such as welcoming guests, honoring parents, and standing up for what is right. We also explore connections to Jews of all different backgrounds, and in communities around the world.
Students in our kindergarten class experience the sights, sounds, tastes and feels that connect us to Jewish tradition and learning. The children enjoy a variety of STEAM activities exploring twelve different Jewish values and holidays, while developing a positive Jewish identity and a sense of belonging in Jewish community.
Students in our first grade class experience the sights, sounds, tastes and feels that connect us to Jewish tradition and learning. The children enjoy a variety of STEAM activities exploring twelve different Jewish values and holidays, while developing a positive Jewish identity and a sense of belonging in Jewish community.
Second graders explore Jewish holidays and values through literature and art. Each lesson includes an introduction to an artist, author or musician (including people like Shel Silverstein, Rae Antonoff, and Dan Nichols!) Children then create a piece of work connected to the theme of each lesson in the style of the featured artist. Second grade also includes “fun with Hebrew,” a relaxed introduction to Hebrew letters and words that builds comfort and familiarity with Hebrew in preparation for their introduction to prayer learning next year.
Third grade is truly a year of blessings, as our students officially begin their adventure into the exciting journey towards becoming b’nai mitzvah. Students become familiar with some of our foundational Bible stories, explore the ten commandments, celebrate holidays together, and begin in earnest the process of learning the 32 letters and vowels of the alef-bet. By the end of the year, students will be able to chant holiday blessings for Hanukkah and Shabbat [including candle lighting, kiddush (for wine/grape juice), and motzi (over challah), as well as Passover’s Four Questions (Mah Nishtanah). The third grade year includes a special Friday night service where third graders lead Shabbat blessings for the congregation, and receive their b’nai mitzvah dates as part of a special ceremony on our bima.
Fourth graders continue to build on their Hebrew skills, and add new songs, prayers and blessings to their Hebrew repertoire. The class learns about our Biblical prophets, as well as the modern land of Israel. Israel studies include history, language geography, and culture, as well as exploring Israel’s connection to Judaism and Jews throughout the world. This is also the year that our students receive the gift of their Mishkan T’fillah siddur, the prayer book that they will use when leading their b’nai mitzvah services in just a few short years.
Fifth graders connect with their personal Jewish identities as they explore the milestones of Jewish life, from birth until death. They also begin to work in earnest on the process of becoming b’nai mitzvah, learning about mitzvot with their parents at a special program with our clergy, and beginning work on their own mitzvah projects. In Hebrew, students continue to build their Hebrew confidence with skills practice and study of more of the prayers of our community.
Grade 6 workshop is where b’nai mitzvah study comes to life! Students learn about and connect with the history and heritage of Jews in America, while deepening their own connection to text in our workshop-style Hebrew program. Students spend part of the morning learning core Saturday morning prayer with their instructor, and Cantor Benrey joins the class to teach foundational Torah trope (also called “cantillation” – the tune to which we chant from the Torah scroll), in addition to leading t’fillah (prayer service) and music. The rest of the morning is spent in smaller peer workshop groups, with instructors and clergy assisting students as they review prior-year prayers and add to their individual prayer competencies at their own pace.
A word about preparations for your child becoming a b’nai mitzvah:
Through our Judaic and Hebrew educational programs, our students will be prepared to lead the congregation in Shabbat worship, chant their Torah and Haftorah portions, and to present the d’var Torah as part of their service to become a b’nai mitzvah. Every year of JSchool builds upon the foundational knowledge they will need as young Jewish adults. Their b’nai mitzvah service preparation, which includes regular sessions with Rabbi Musnitsky and Cantor Benrey, begins about six to seven months in advance of the service. A fee of $1620 is charged in advance of 4th, 5th, and 6th grades which includes all preparation, services, rehearsals, security, and the Friday night oneg. Families electing an afternoon (mincha) service will be charged an additional $2000.