Curriculum: Guiding Principles

Goal #1: To create a sense of positive, strong Jewish self-identity based upon the following guiding questions:

  • What is the historical relationship between God and the Jewish people and how does that relationship continue today?
  • What are the values set forth through the teachings of our tradition and how do these values guide us in our relationship with others and with our world?
  • What tools are essential for living a Jewish life?
  • What was the role of the land of Israel in our history and what role does it play in our lives?

Goal #2:  To assist students and their families in grappling with the guiding questions in a way that is accessible, relevant, meaningful, and modern.

Goal #3: To foster a connection to “community” that includes their class, the congregation, the Jewish people.

Curriculum Overview


Positive Identity  Building a love for and celebration of learning.

Values Through Stories — Judaism has always valued our written tradition. Age-appropriate Jewish stories are the vehicle used to convey our values.

Community Building   Parents and students come together at crossroad moments including holiday celebrations and inter-generational experiences.

Holidays  An introduction to Jewish holidays on an elementary level.

Torah Godly Play” — Play, the senses and stories are the way that Pre-K students learn best. We provide the framework and guidance for families and students to access content. This teaching modality was developed by Hebrew College.

Tot Shabbat — Our most important weekly holiday celebrating the works of creation and our day of rest. Check the calendar for dates of our family Tot Shabbat.


Values Through Stories  Judaism has always valued our written tradition. Age-appropriate stories are the vehicle used to enhance understanding of Jewish values.

Community Building — By connecting to one another we understand who we are and from where we come.

Holidays — The focus is on the cycle of the Jewish year and its joyous celebrations through stories and practice. With the passing of each new year we gain new insights as we celebrate the holiday.

Torah Godly Play”  Learning the kid-friendly stories of our tradition through words, props and interaction with the narrative

Hebrew  The significance of our names, the Alef-Bet and key vocabulary are used as building blocks for future Hebrew learning.

Torah   Key teachings through the stories of Genesis (Bereshit), the first book of the Torah

Rites of Passage  Hanukat Banim (the celebration of the commencement of Jewish learning)

1st and 2nd Grade:

A two-year revolving curriculum

Positive Identity: Exploring age-appropriate ways of being “a good person,” or in Yiddish, a mensch

Community Building: Connecting to one another as a way of understanding who we are through our heritage and in our larger and varied communities.


Year 1: Beginning to decode the Alef-Bet. Learn simple rote prayers (Barchu, Shema, etc.)

Year 2: Family Hebrew where parents/caregivers learn together with the students.

Torah: Key teachings through the stories of Exodus (Shemot), the second book of the Torah

Holidays: An introduction to the rituals and ritual objects of the holidays in an age- appropriate way. The focus on ritual will be a different in the 2nd year.

Rites of Passage: Siyyum HaSefer (Ceremony celebrating students learning of the Alef-Bet)

3rd and 4th Grade:

A two-year revolving curriculum

Positive Identity and Torah  Exploring our relationship with God in the stories of Genesis (Bereshit) using music, song, video and drama.

Community Building Through Family Shabbat Experiences — Three Shabbat experiences over the year: Kabbalat (welcoming) Shabbat, Shabbat morning and Havdalah (separation from Shabbat)

Hebrew and Prayer (Tefilah)— Age-appropriate liturgy (prayers) with emphasis on decoding and understanding the overall meaning and relevance and how they enhance our relationship with God.

5th and 6th Grade:

A two-year revolving curriculum

Positive Identity and Torah — What does Judaism expect of me? The Meaning of Holiness.

Community Building — Family retreat

Hebrew and Prayer (Tefilah)  Familiarity with the order, melodies and purpose of the liturgy found in our prayerbook.

7th and 8th Grade:

A two-year revolving curriculum

Year 1 — Eilu D’varim (“These are the things…”): Honoring Parents, Engaging in Compassion, Studying Enthusiastically, Welcoming the Stranger, Visiting the Sick, Rejoicing with the Wedding Couple, Comforting Mourners, Speaking and Praying with Sincerity, Making Peace Among People

Year 2  How we treat each other using the ancient wisdom of our scholars

High School Program

9th and 10th Grade:

Taught by Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler and Youth Educator Shoni Aronovich

Underpinnings of Judaism and Importance of Israel – Then, Now, Always

The desire for true and personal meaning in our lives can give each of us the motivation to study and search for answers. Judaism is a vital system that encourages us to filter our “big” questions through the focus on everyday relationships: how we express our individuality within ourselves and in connection to God, how we understand our place in the larger community and world, and how we explore the critical issues of life and death.

This core class will examine the resources of our classical and contemporary Jewish texts. The teachers of our tradition and our own teachers around the table will guide and challenge us to come closer to whom we really can be as modern Jews.

11th and 12th Grade:

Taught by Rabbi 

Contemporary Issues in Modern Jewish Thought

In our 11th- and 12th-grade (Siyyum) class, we explore in depth a range of ideas about Judaism and Jewish thought – how our views on life’s issues have evolved, and what it means to be a liberal Jew in the modern world. Together we seek meaning as we address ultimate questions: “Who am I?” and “What is my unique purpose in the world?”

Over the course of the year, 12th-grade students write their siyyum paper, a thoughtful expression of where they stand on a Jewish topic of personal interest. At the end of the year on Siyyum night, congregants, parents and friends gather for a Shabbat service and graduation ceremony, and the students read excerpt from the papers they’ve written.

Elective Classes

Electives are offered each semester to give students a chance to choose their own journeys. BE InSpirEd electives are relevant, engaging, fun and educational. Offerings change frequently so we can make sure to engage everyone in meaningful ways.