Our Religious School program is based on the idea of whole child education. We engage learners in various modalities, ensuring that we meet each learner according to their abilities. Based in tradition and reflective of modern Reform beliefs, our curriculum helps inspire learners to build a lifelong connection with Judaism and a strong Jewish identity. Learners who attend from Pre-K through 12th grade go out into the world as knowledgeable Jewish adults, with a strong sense of their Jewish identity and eager to continue their Jewish learning.
To enhance our curriculum, students in Pre-K to 6th grade will participate in various enrichment activities during their Sunday morning classes. These include music, Hebrew Through Movement, and visits to our library. These students will also have a weekly T’filah (worship) session each Sunday morning.
Students in 7th grade and beyond will have various opportunities for travel experiences as part of our program. Trips include the L’Taken Seminar from the Religious Action Center, overnight retreats, and tours of Jewish Philadelphia.
We believe that we are partners with families in helping form a child’s Jewish identity. Each year includes opportunities for children and parents to learn together.
Our Religious School schedule is as follows:
- Pre-K – 3rd Grade students attend classes on Sunday mornings from 8:30-11:00am. Our 3rd Grade students split their morning between Judaic Studies and Hebrew.
- 4th – 6th Grade students attend classes on Sunday mornings from 8:30-11:00am. They also attend an online Small Group Hebrew session on either Tuesday or Wednesday evening.
- 7th Grade students attend classes on Sunday from 11:15am-1:00pm. They also attend an online Small Group Hebrew session on either Tuesday or Wednesday evening.
- 8th – 10th Grade students attend classes on Sunday from 11:15am-1:00pm.
- 11th & 12th Grade students attend classes once a month on Sunday evenings.
This program runs on a two-year cycle so students can learn new material each year. One year focuses on God, all the ways we can see God, and how different people see God in different ways. The other year we focus on being Shomrei HaAdamah, guardians of the Earth. Through stories, Jewish values, and holidays students learn what it means to take care of animals, trees, and the world as a whole.
First graders focus on al shlosha devarim: The world is sustained by three things: Torah, avodah (prayer), and gimilut chasadim (acts of loving-kindness). Students begin to learn Torah stories, and having learned about God in PreK/Kindergarten, they learn how to talk to God through prayer. They also learn how they can repair the world through acts of gimilut chasadim and tzedakah.
The second-grade curriculum focuses on Am Yisrael (the People of Israel) and Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel). Second graders study their link to the Jewish people and their connection to the Land of Israel.
The focus of the third-grade curriculum is Torah. Students study the Torah from creation through the crossing of the Red Sea and make connections among the Torah, Jewish holidays, and our values. They begin to learn the Aleph-Bet (the Hebrew alphabet), a letter or two each week.
Fourth graders study Jewish holidays through the lens of Jewish values. They also learn about Jewish life cycle events. The year culminates in a festive wedding led by the fourth graders and the rabbi.
Having matured three years since second grade, our fifth graders have another opportunity to study Israel. They also look at what it means to be created B’tzelem Elohim—in the Image of God—and how it impacts the way we see ourselves and the way we treat others.
Sixth graders learn how Jews have been an integral part of United States history since long before we became founded as a nation. Students learn how Jews played a role in American History concurrently with their studies in American History at weekday/secular school. A highlight of the year is a field trip to D.C. and a tour of the early Jewish sites of the city. The students learn that one can absolutely be a proud Jew and a proud American.
Seventh graders focus on two topics: the how to’s of the Jewish holidays and a comparison between traditional and liberal Judaism. They study each holiday and learn about both home and synagogue observance. In addition, they look at the differences between traditional and liberal Jews in both holiday and general Jewish observance. Finally, they are asked to consider how they would like personally to practice Judaism.
Eighth and Ninth Grade — YES (Youth Enrichment Studies)
During these two years students attend eight different classes. They are:
Eighth Grade: Jewish Cooking, Teen Issues–Part One, Judaism and Christianity, and Judaism and the Environment.
Ninth Grade: Israel, Reform Jewish History, Jewish Life-Cycles and Teen Issues–Part Two.
Hebrew Through Movement
Our Pre-Kindergarten through third graders spend time each week with our Hebrew Through Movement specialist. She helps the children learn Hebrew through fun, participatory activities.
Our TBS students from Pre-Kindergarten through seventh grade sing Jewish songs with our music specialist every week. TBS is a “singing congregation” and we emphasize the importance of being able to sing Jewish music as a community.
All Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarden through 2nd grade students have Library every six weeks. They go to the library, listen to a Jewish story, and are then permitted to check out a Jewish book, which they can keep until their next library visit.