Beth-El: Learning for Jewish Life
Enduring Understandings of the Curriculum Core
We at Beth El Religious School are thrilled to be joining over 400 other congregations in the Reform Movement in using the CHAI Curriculum. The CHAI curriculum engages students about big questions that are relevant to their lives, exploring the richness and depth of Jewish tradition. It is our hope that you, as parents will enjoy learning along with your children as they explore this new curriculum. As members of the Reform Movement we will receive on-going training and support to ensure the successful implementation of this curriculum as well as its continued success within our congregation.
Our ancient texts tell us that the world stands on three things, Torah, Avodah and G'milut Chasadim. Our new curriculum focuses on these three areas and engages students on all levels in deep understanding of these core Jewish concepts. Throughout the seven years of the curriculum students focus on developing a personal understanding of in each of the three areas.
- Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its students.
- Torah is real in our daily lives; it is with us wherever we are.
- Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives.
- Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self
- Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning and insight to our lives.
- We have a responsibility to perform acts of g'milut chasadim to make the world a better, holier place.
Each week parents will receive a letter which informs you of what your children learned in class. We encourage you to be active learners with your children and to engage them in conversations about their learning in religious school.If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Education Director, Ilana Knust.
Students age 4 by Sept. 1
|The Topic for their curriculum will be holidays, T’fillah (prayers), Bible stories, and Hebrew. |
Holidays: Children will discover the joy of our holiday traditions through art, movement, cooking, music and drama. Learning by using the five senses.
Students age 5 by Sept. 1
The Topic for their curriculum will be holidays, Bible stories and Hebrew.
Holidays, Tzedaka, Havdala and Tikun Olam: Children will discover the joy of our holiday traditions through a series ofbookletscalled Jewish and Me, crafts and folktales.
|New Curriculum for Grades 1-7|
Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its sudents. Torah is real in our daily lives; it is with us whereever we are. Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives
Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self. Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning, and insight to our lives.
We have a responsibility to perform personal acts of g'milut chasadim in order to make the world a better and holier place.
Students age 6 by Sept. 1
|Theme: Discovering myself in the Jewish Story|
I am part of the ongoing story of Torah and the Jewish people.
What is Torah? Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah, Women of Kindness and Courage, Jacob and Esau, Joseph (lesson Alef), Trouble among brothers, Joseph (lesson Bet), Personal change and reconciliation, the Genesis, journey map.
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, What is a Blessing?, Havdalah, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Shehecheyanu, Being a Jewish hero.
|G'milut Chasadim means "deeds of loving-kindness." We will study: Being kind with derech eretz, "do not do to others...", repentance:is sorry saying enough?, welcoming guests, hachnasat orchim, helping our synagogue community, taking care of the earth, tzedakah, and a different way of helping.|
Students age 7 by Sept. 1 coordinating with secular school grade.
|Theme: The personal relevance and and power of Torah, Avodah, and G'milut Chasadim|
Studying Torah can teach me important lessons about how God wants me to live.
Intro to Torah, Intro to the book of "Sh'mot, Parashat Sh'mot"--finding God in small places, Parashat Bo:Making our freedom (session Alef), Parashat B'shalach:Nachston comes to vist, Parashat Yitra:Helping hands, Parashat Ki Tisa:Hold on to your hat, God!, Parashat Mishpatim:Reaching out to strangers.
Jewish stories, celebrations, and rituals help me to understand and express my relationship with God.
Why can't Isee God? Shabbat blessings, morning blessings, Sh'ma, evening blessings, How do Italk to God?, Why does God want me to grow?, How does God talk to us?, Does God know me?
We make the world a better place by performing acts of g'milut chasadim in our everyday lives.
Making a difference, opportunities to do G'mlut Chasadim, Torah teaches us, In God's image, Being God's partner, Welcoming guests, Taking action, reflections on doing G'milut Chasadim, G'milut Chasadim celebration.
Students age 8 by Sept. 1 coordinating with secular school grade.
|Theme: Kedushah (holiness)|
The laws and rules found in the Torah can help us to live a life filled with holy moments.
Introduction ot Vayakria/Leviticus; Parashat K'doshim:Holiness, Parashat Vayikra:Sacrifice, gifts, drawing near; Parashat Sh'mini:kashrut - holy eating; Parashat K'doshim (session Alef): stumbling block; Parashat Emor: Shabbat, holy time; Parashat B'har: The sabbatical year, holiness of the earth; Parashat K'doshim: love your neighbor; Parashat B'chukotai: rules, laws, and teachings--passing it on.
Through advodah, we can make our lives and the world more holy (kadosh).
Synagogue Helps us Make Room for God; Road Signs to God; How Do We Relate to God?; Getting Connected; Acting Holy; Everything's B'seder; All Is In Order; Our Bodies Are a Gift From God; Ordinary Moments Can be Kadosh; Taking God Home
Each individual act of g'milut chasadim can make the world more holy (kadosh).
Taking Responsibility; Doing G'milut Chasadim; K'lal Yisrael: Helping Jews Around the World; Helping Others and Helping Ourselves; Our Actions Make a Differenc:Caring is Contagious; G'miliut Chasadim Everyday; A G'milut Chasadim Road Map, The G'milut Chasadim Holiday Connection (session Alef); The G'milut Chasadim Holiday Connection (session Bet); Review and Taking Action
Students age 9 by Sept. 1 coordinating with secular school grade.
|Theme: Me in my community|
With the promise of a holdy land (Eretz Yisrael), we as a holy people (Am Yisrael) have a responsibility to strive toward holiness by observing the brit (covenant).
Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and the B'rit; Am Yisrael (session Alef): All Jews are Members of Am Yisrael; I am a Member of Am Yisrael; Am Yisrael (session Bet): The Land for Our Souls; B'rit (session Alef): Parashat Sh'lach L'cha--Becoming Like Joshua and Caleb; B'rit (session Bet):Parashat Sh'lach L'cha:Becoming Like Joshua and Caleb; Brit (session Gimmel): Keeping the B'rit; Wrap-up:We Are About the Enter the Land
Keva and kavannah, the fixed order of worship and the personal intention we bring to prayer, are complementary aspects of Jewish worship, combining to help us make sacred connections.
Kavanah, Keva:Why We Pray; Siddur Geography:Our Journey Through the Prayerbook; The Sh'ma and Its Blessings:Finding Kavanah in Keva (session Alef: Sh'ma and V'ahavta); The Sh'ma and Its Blessings:Finding Kavanah in Keva (session Bet: Creation, Revelation, Redemption); Kiddush:Sanctifying Our Lives Through Fixed Prayer and Personal Feelings of Holiness; Communal and Individual Prayers; Blessings of Wonder; Silent Prayer:Creating a Moment for Ourselves with Our Own Words
We have a responsibility to perform acts of g'milut chasadim for the people we encounter in our daily lives.
Making Peace Among Friends, Sh'lom Bayit: Peace and Harmony at Home; Accepting Differences: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (V'ahavta L'rei-acha Kamocha); Show Honor with Action; Honor Your Parents (Kibud Av Va-em); Befriending the Lonely; The Danger of Gossip: L'shon Hara; Understanding the Elderly; Honoring the Elderly (Kibud Z'keinim) session Alef; Honoring the Elderly (Kibud Z'keinim) session Bet:Intergenerational Program
Students age 10 by Sept. 1 coordinating with secular school grade.
|Theme: Reform Judaism and the power of community|
The words and messages of the prophets are at the heart of Reform Judaism.
Tanach: Getting to Know You; Meet the Prophets; Joshua:Warrior Prophet; Deborah:Bringing Light To Her World; Jonah and Jeremiah:The Reluctant Prophets; Amos and Isaiah:The Intolerant Prophets; Elijah:Who Was He? Who Is He?; Reform Judaism:Response to Prophecy; Your Sons and Daughters Shall Prophesy
The practice of prayer can help me to grow through personal reflection, can increase my connection to the Jewish people, and can strengthen my relationship with God.
The Prayer-to-Action Connection; Introduction to the Amidah; Amidah, section 1:Brachot of Praise, Amiday, section 2:Brachot of Petition; Amidah, section 3:Brachot of Thanksgiving; The Aleinu Prayer:Choosing God; The Kaddish Prayer:Remembering and Affirming God; Israel in Our Prayers; the Prayer-to-Action Wrap-Up
We are all part of klal yisrael and have a responsibility to actively support and sustain the Jewish community through acts of g'milut chasadim.
K'hiliah:The Jewish Community; Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur:Don Not Separate Yourself fromt he Jewish COmmunity; K'vod HalViet:Showing Honor to the Dead; Conversion, Becomign Part of the Jewish Community; Justice in the Community; Tzedakah, session 1: How to Choose Where to Give; Tzedakah, session 2:Avoiding Embarrassment; Speaking Ou
Students age 11 by Sept. 1 coordinating with secular school grade.
Theme: Revelation - What does it mean in our lives today?
Bar/Bat Mitzvah:becoming not only an adult, but becoming a responsible Jew, validating the uniqueness of Judaism and maing a personal commitment to Judaism.
Studying Jewish texts allows us to explore our relationship with God and reflect on the ways God is continually revealed to others and to ourselves.
Introduction to K'tuvim/Writings; M'gillat Rut/The Book of Ruth: Mining the Text For Meaning; Megilat Rut/The Book of Ruth:Finding God in Moab and Canaan; Introduction to Wisdom Literature; Mishlei/Proverbs:Wise Words for All; Kohelet:Wise Man or Cynic?; T'hillim/Psalms, session Alef:Poetry and Liturgy; T'hillim/Psalms, session Bet:Images of God; God, How Are You Revealed in the World and What is My Relationship With You?
Avodah is the work we do, by exploring our personal and communal role in Revelation, to find sacred connections to God, to community, and to self.
Standing at Sinai:My Role in Revelation; The Torah Service as a Public Reading; The Torah Service and Community Building; Finding Our Way to Sinai:A Map of the Torah Service; Coreography and Etiquette of the Torah Service; The Blessings of the Torah, What is the Haftarah?; The Role of Sh'liach Tzibur; My Communal Role in Revelation:Entering the Covenant as a Jewish Adult
We can experience God in our world, in others, and within ourselves, by engaging in acts of g'milut chasadim.
Finding God in Our World Through Acts of G'milut Chasadim; Bal Tashchit:Protecting the Rainforests; Bal Tashchit:Recycling and Conserving Energy; Tzaar Baalei Chayim:Care and Protection of Animals; World Health Issures; Peace; World Hunger; Jews and the Struggle for Civil Rights; Hineini:Embracing Our People Around the World
Theme: Hineini - What does it mean to be a responisble Jewish adult?
Jewish History from biblical times until the Creation of Israel in 1948.
My life is reflected in and reflects Torah.
Lech L'cha; The Journeys We Take; Cain and Abel:Family Relationships; Akeidat Yitzchak; The Binding of Isaac: Honoring Parents; Rebekah:A Virtuous Woman?; Rebekah:Tough Coices; God and Abraham:A Relationship Like No Other; Jacob and the Ish/Being:Struggling to Change (lesson Alef); Jacob and the Ish/Being:Struggling to Change (lesson Bet), Wrap-Up: Our Lessons from Genesis/B'reishit
The message and power of Jewish prayer can help me to understand and define myself as an individual and as an authentic member of the Jewish community.
Introduction to the Jewish Life Cycle; B'nei Mitzvah and Marriage:Responsibility and Relationships; Birth and Death:Teach Us to Number Our Days; The High Holy Days:Focus on Repentance; Pesach Questions:Then and Now; Chanukah and Purim:Do You Believe in Miracles (and Boundaries)?; My Jewish Identity:Eilu D'varim--What Must I Do?; My Jewish Identity:Sh'ma--What Do IBelieve?; My Jewish Identity:Hineini
Our development as emerging Reform Jewish adults and authentic members of the Jewish community is closely linked to our ethical behavior (middot) and the performance of acts of g'milut chasadim.
Time for a Checkup; That's What Friends are For:Dibuk Chaverim; Truth As An Act of Kindness (Emet); Stop the Bullying NOW!: Not Standing Idly By (Lo Taamod Al Dam Rei-echa); Keep Your Cool:Being Slow to Anger (Erech Apayim); What's With the Attitude?:Having a Pleasant Demeanor (Seiver Panim Yafot); Courage! (Ometz Lev); Living Generously (N'divut); Hineini: Here IAm! I Am Ready to Act!
Eighth & Ninth Grade Midrasha
Midrasha will have the following:
This program is designed to develop critical thinking about Jewish topics, develop a sense of personal pride and commitment to Judaism based on the understanding of Jewish beliefs and concepts.Jewish identity. Why is Judaism special? What is the basis of Judaism? Who is considered a good Jew? Do we have to believe in God? Can a Jew be a Jew without worshiping? Is Judaism a nationality or a religion? Jewish vs. Christian ideas of the Messiah and Messianic age, body and soul, the world to come, Jewish mysticism, and more.
Theology with the Rabbi - Rabbi will analyze with the students selected biblical texts and rituals to see how they correlate with what we perceive Judaism to stand for, such as, Who are we Jews, God, What is Torah, Ethics, Human Nature, Jewish views of the world and of human dignity, What is confirmation, Sin and repentance. Rabbi will also prepare them for the Confirmation service.
Confirmation – Special project The confirmation students will create a special project related to the topic of their choice. Looking into non-fiction Jewish books such as the Torah, Talmud, the books by the sages and so on, they will be able to find (a) the importance of it in the Jewish tradition, (b) a Jewish way of looking at it, and (c) that they are not remote antiquities but are a real, vital force in the lives of Jews. The students will pick the book/topic or author and research and create a project in a multi- media way (slide show movie, play, creative writing and so on).
Confirmation – Mitzvah project The student will be involved in several projects throughout the year, such as,baking for the seniors, plan a Chanukah party for the seniors, visiting homebound seniors, making Purim mish loach manot, cleaning the cemetery before the holidays, and playing Bingo with a small gift certificate at a senior’s home.