As a school, we are creating a culture of community where we feel connected to each other and are compassionate to others’ needs. Our culture of community is built through Jewish learning, social action, and engagement.
Symbolic of our growth and the precious fruit it bears, we use Aitz Chayim--the tree of life--as the symbol of our school! For we are planting our Jewish roots in education to grow and bear fruits of meaning, purpose, and catalysts of positive change through text, song, and mitzvot.
Our Grade-Specific Curriculum
Students will discover the foundations of Jewish communal life at Temple Emanu-El. They will learn about important Jewish symbols like the Torah, mezuzah, and Tallit. They will also learn the basics of the Jewish holidays and the State of Israel. The goal in this year is to instill a sense of joy and belonging between our Kindergarteners and their synagogue.
Students will focus on the meaning of mitzvot (commandments) during this year. In addition, they will build on the knowledge they acquired from the previous year as they dive deeper into Jewish holidays. This is the year we begin to focus on how our personal decisions can create a loving Jewish community.
Students in this year devote more time to uncovering the foundational stories from the Torah. The year begins with the universal narrative of Creation. Then we move into the stories of our patriarchs and matriarchs. Finally, we conclude the curriculum with the Exodus from Egypt. Second grade is the year that we introduce notions of global Jewish peoplehood: that Jews are a global community with a millennia-old history.
Students begin learning applied Hebrew in addition to their Judaic studies in third grade. Applied Hebrew lessons help our students understand the connection between the Torah, the State of Israel, and the Hebrew we use at Temple Emanu-El. This year focuses on the Book of Genesis, Jewish holidays, Jewish names, and the calendar. In Judaics, students learn about Jewish heroes from the Tanach (Bible) through the 21st century. In addition to the key biblical heroes, we study those who have been influential in the fields of science, technology, the State of Israel, politics, philanthropy, and the arts.
Students in Fourth grade use their time in Applied Hebrew to learn about the foundational stories from the Tanach (Bible). They learn how to draw lessons from the biblical text to their daily lives.This pairs with their Judaics course which focuses on Mussar: the practice of intentional Jewish living. Mussar is made up of key character traits that each of us must embody in order to be mensches (good people). Students study these values and incorporate examples from Jewish holidays and stories, famous Jewish heroes, and key moments in Jewish history.
Students in Fifth grade use their time in Applied Hebrew to learn the origins of Jewish traditions, particularly the themes of the High Holy Days. In Judaics, students will study the stories of the weekly Parshah. Each week they will gain additional tools for drawing meaning and lessons from the text to their lives. This year we introduce critical thinking to encourage our students to learn the sources of our traditions so that they may make informed choices about their own Jewish lives when they become bar/bat mitzvah.
With Rabbi Rachael as their teacher, students study the histories of both the Holocaust and Israel on a timeline of lessons. Through this arrangement, students will understand the many factors that led to the Holocaust while simultaneously learning about the development of the State of Israel in those same years. Once the timelines separate and the Holocaust ends, the class finishes the year by taking a deep dive into Israel’s maps, political landscape, innovation, culture, and life today.
In Judaic studies, we will be learning how to apply the values taught in Judaism to real-life situations. Through this study, students will see the benefit of Jewish learning and how it can enable us to lead better lives. Guided by Jewish texts, we will attempt to define what is most important to us, our goals for the future, and the type of Jews we want to be. We will ask and answer questions about God, challenge and reaffirm our beliefs, and express how we want to be defined.
Taught by Rabbi Max, 8th grade at Temple Emanu-El is about putting our values into action. As bar and bat mitzvah, our students are ready to take their leadership to the next level. This will begin by teaching Hebrew to their younger peers. Then, in their 8th grade Judaic studies, time they will focus on the real-world application of seven core Jewish subjects: Money, health, Israel, antisemitism, spirituality, Holocaust, and the environment. In these multi-week units, the students will begin by studying the Jewish perspectives on each, they will have a discussion led by a community leader/expert in this field, and then they will put their knowledge into action through service projects. Our learning will take place in and outside of Temple Emanu-El. We will approach each topic through the Jewish lens, combining the ancient wisdom of our sacred texts with a pragmatic real-world approach.
Taught by Rabbi Spike in his study, your teenager will encounter a thinking, poignant, and charged Judaism. Rabbi Spike will help each teen build a Jewish lens through which they can navigate the hot topic issues of the day. The class also explores the existential while leaving space for teens to continue to develop in their personal theology. This sacred setting with other Jewish teens will set the tone for the rest of their young adult lives. Rabbi Spike speaks to them as adults - with a healthy dose of humor and fun. Please note: Field trips, treasure hunts, & social justice projects are a distinct possibility.
Our High School Juniors and Seniors are the role models and leaders of the religious school. We train this elite group to take agency and initiative in the classroom. We prepare these students to be life-long Jewish community leaders as those who will take on the job of teaching our traditions to the next generation.