Curriculum

Purpose

The primary purpose of Temple Sinai Religious School is to develop a deep and lasting sense of Jewish identity within our students.

Overarching Curricular Strands

Our curriculum is based on three strands: Torah, Jewish Living (Avodah/G’milut Chasadim), and Israel. By studying Torah, learning to make our own choices about living Jewishly, and learning about our Jewish homeland in Israel (including age appropriate Holocaust studies for students in grades 5 and up), we affirm our Jewish identity for ourselves and future generations.

Monthly Curricular Themes

Our monthly curricular themes are designed to use the Jewish year and holidays to guide lessons on major Jewish values that every student can simultaneously participate in at age appropriate levels.

August/September – New Beginnings. This theme stems from the High Holy Days and includes forgiveness, self-reflection, growth, and fresh starts.

October/November – Harvest Bounty. This theme incorporates the fall holidays of Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and the American Thanksgiving and explores the bounty of wisdom offered by the Torah and the bounty in our lives as represented by nature.

December – Miracles. This theme uses the concept of the miracle, as depicted in Hanukkah legend, to help us explore the many miracles in our own lives.

January – Ecology. This theme expands upon the Tu B’shvat holiday. Lessons focus on how we must be stewards of the earth, both nurtured by and nurturing of the planet and all living creatures.

February – Friends & Neighbors. This theme helps students develop a sense of respect for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an understanding of the complex nature of our world and how Judaism helps us to create pathways to peace for all peoples. The story of Purim is an allegory for the challenges Jews have faced again and again throughout our history and how we have met those challenges with wisdom, grace, and pride.

March/April – Tradition. This theme uses the traditions of Purim and Pesach to anchor the exploration of the wide variety of Jewish traditions: family-based and personal, Ashkenazi and Sephardic, ancient and contemporary, spiritual and material.

May – Israel. This theme is a capstone to the year-long curricular strand focused on Israel. Students will celebrate Yom Haatzmaut in the Sanctuary, during our Israel Day celebration, and out in the community as we participate in our own Israel Day, Israel Under the Stars and/or other community events.

 

Prayer Hebrew Instruction

All students are formatively assessed in the beginning, middle, and end of our school year for the purpose of instructional adjustment regarding their Hebrew reading studies. Assessments are not graded and students are not expected to study or otherwise prepare.

Beginner Hebrew for Upper Division Students

Pull-out Hebrew for beginners may begin in any grade level, with the expectation that students will return to the classroom once they have gained enough reading fluency to piece together short words. Pull-out instruction is provided by classroom teachers, volunteer instructors, and upper-division student tutors in group and one-on-one settings based on student needs. New students will also be taught to recite the lower division prayers and blessings to help them “catch-up” to their peers for the purpose of holiday and service participation outside of the classroom.

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