North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
Tefillah – Prayer

Tefillah – Prayer

Dear Parents,

I am so much looking forward to praying, singing, and studying with your children this year in the CRS’s tefilah program. Tefilah is not just the learning of prayer words, and saying them rote, by memory. Of course the CRS students will learn to sing, chant and/or say all the tefilot for their grade. But just as important, they will understand the prayers, the core concepts, and vocabulary as we explore each prayer through song, art, writing, games, dance and other experiential activities, using all their senses. They may not understand every word of every prayer, but they will “get” the idea, they will be able to identify the key Hebrew words that define the prayer, and they will have both an enjoyable and meaningful experience in our warm “Makom Tefilah” (a special praying place).

Gan, Ganon, and Alef (Pre-K, K and 1st grade) students will learn the ritual blessings (candles, wine, challah, etc.) as well as the prayers and songs of the NSS Beth El B’yachad service.

Bet and Gimmel (2nd and 3rd grade) students will learn the prayers of the Friday night service and the Shabbat morning service.

Dalet (4th grade) students focus first on the Havdalah service, and then the Shabbat morning service.

Hey and Vav (5th and 6th grade) students will continue to expand their mastery of Shabbat morning prayers, leading family worship service six times beginning in January. They will  also all chant Torah, gaining an important synagogue skill that will launch them comfortably into their b’nai mitzvah preparation. New this year, Hey and Vav students will study cantillation (Torah in 5th grade, Haftarah in 6th).

All grades from 2-6 will be using the new Siddur Lev Shalem prayer book both in the Makom Tefilah, and in their services.

All prayer study will be enhanced with a multi-media approach, using the iRover Smart Board, videos, music with guitar and experiential projects to enhance mastery and comprehension.

This year we’re “Unlocking Shabbat.”

All students grades 2-6 are invited to participate in the Unlock Shabbat Saturday Morning service (parents are invited to stay and pray along with their children or attend services in the main sanctuary). Using the new Siddur Lev Shalem, we explore the prayers, discuss and chant the week’s Torah portion. Students grades 3-6 are invited to sign up for very short readings in the Makom Tefila or by emailing In January, second graders will also be able to sign up for a 1-sentence Torah reading. At the end of the year, all Unlock Shabbat Torah readers will be recognized from the Bima in the main sanctuary.

While participating in a special, interactive Shabbat community and enjoying the experience of service, participants can earn prizes for their attendance:

  • 5 Shabbatot = A bicycle lock
  • 8 Shabbatot = A very cool flashlight to “unlock” the dark
  • 12 Shabbatot = iTunes Gift Card
  • 16 Shabbatot = Invitation to the Mobile Escape Room


Hazzan Barbara Barnett
CRS Tefilah Coordinator