With our students’ Jewish identities and values at the forefront, we are thrilled to introduce new curricular components to the CRS learning experience.
We believe the curricular changes will provide our students with opportunities to explore and deepen their Jewish identity while supporting their social and emotional needs. The curricular changes will focus on building 21st century skills, Tefillah-based Hebrew, and Middot (value)-based curricular units that weave together the holidays, Jewish text, history, customs and traditions. These ingredients blend together for a rich and vibrant religious school experience that take into account our curricular capacity as a 5-hour a week program.
Tefillah-based Hebrew will focus on synagogue and prayer skills, incorporating Friday night rituals as well as familiarity with the Shabbat morning service. A spiral curriculum has been developed that will introduce age-appropriate Shabbat Tefillot (prayers) and important synagogue skills. Students will work not only on mastering the reading and chanting of specific Tefillot (prayers), but also to gain an understanding of the main ideas of each tefillah, its origins and the order of tefillot in the Siddur (prayer book). The skills gained with tefillot and davening allow for greater participation beyond NSS Beth El; these skills will be with our students through their lives, providing fluency in any synagogue they choose to attend. Modern Hebrew will continue to be used when possible as Hebrew is a living, breathing language, one that connects us to one another and to Israel.
Shabbat Component: While we encourage you to join us anytime for Shabbat services, students are expected to attend several Shabbat services during the year as a natural connection to their classroom learning, either in Junior Congregation or the main service. This allows for families to build comfort and familiarity with the Shabbat morning experience. Each grade will also have an opportunity to showcase mastery of skills learned. The students will participate in leading a Shabbat service during the school year.
In addition to the grade-level service CRS students will lead, all students are expected to attend several Shabbat services during the year. Families can choose which days to attend Shabbat Services. Attendance at the grade-level service will count towards the Shabbat service requirement.
Another aspect of the new curriculum is the integration of ShalomLearning for Judaic studies. ShalomLearning is an interactive, Jewish values-based curriculum that helps children develop a positive Jewish identity by creating relevancy between a student’s secular life and Jewish tradition. Rather than being a linear, content-focused curriculum, ShalomLearning has a modern, integrated, and holistic approach that is appealing to 21st century learners. The curriculum is based on seven Jewish values we all share, like Gevurah “Using your inner strength to do what’s right,” and Teshuvah “Taking responsibilities for your actions.” Throughout each value unit Torah stories, Jewish history, Israel, and holidays are weaved and integrated so that each student explores his or her personal connection to our heritage.
Pre-Kindergarten: Through hands-on activities relating to Holiday and Shabbat observances, Jewish symbols, Torah, Israel and Mitzvot, students learn what it means to be a Jew through the lens of the home, the family and the synagogue. Age-appropriate middot are integrated in everyday lessons, with a focus on gratitude.
Grades K-2: Students in Kindergarten and first grade experience each lesson using the five senses. In second grade, students learn and emulate a Jewish author or artist whose work relates to the lesson. Curriculum Overview
Grades 3-7: In grades 3-7, each of the seven values (or units) incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills that enable students to build positive relationships and make responsible decisions. Through the values, students explore Jewish text, history, tefillah, and holidays. Curriculum Overview
Moving Traditions B’nai Mitzvah program is a new model of Jewish education for students and parents that speaks directly to the psychological, spiritual, social and developmental issues that pre-teens face as they prepare for and celebrate their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The 6th and 7th grade program consists of family sessions as well as student-only sessions. The interactive family sessions are designed for pre-teens and their parents (or other guardians) to learn together with Rabbi Freedman, Rabbi Schwab, Hazzan Sandler, Hazzan Greenberg and Anna Besser. During these sessions, families will listen to one another’s perspectives to enrich the meaning of the b’nai mitzvah as a lifecycle ritual.