3rd – 7th Grade

3rd – 7th Hebrew Pods

Beginning in 3rd Grade, our students take off on a journey of learning to read and understand Hebrew prayer. Although they are given a solid foundation is recognizing Hebrew letters in the year before, at this point we start with separate direct Hebrew learning time.

Students will be grouped in Hebrew Pods, small groups based on student ability and needs. These groups will consist of up to only 6 students per pod. Our curriculum for Hebrew is based on a progression of goals that each pod will move through at their own pace lead by a teacher.

Pods will meet virtually on Zoom for at least the fall semester. Pods will meet for 50 minutes per week. Most pods will take place on Tuesday afternoons between 3:30 – 6:30 PM. We are looking into options for Hebrew pods on other days of week. Please fill out your Hebrew pod preferences on the CAARS Registration form.

3rd Grade

Learners further explore the Torah and its value in a more insightful way. This year takes a deep dive into the Torah stories that permeate our tradition, specifically focusing on how these Torah stories teach values and ethics, us how to be mensches, better people. Through art, drama, and other creative avenues, students explore the Torah, focused on Genesis and Exodus. Through learning about the concept of God, and their relationship with God, students develop their spirituality while deepening their connection to the holidays. This curriculum ensures that God becomes taught explicitly, interweaving Torah and other Jewish sources with personal discovery to help elicit individual connections to God.

Hebrew is an integral part of the year, the focus of our first year of Hebrew is learning how to decode the Hebrew language, starting with learning each letter and vowel and then moving to reading words! As students move through learning the letters, they begin to read longer word and even start to read multiple words together. By the time they finish the Golden Aleph, students should be comfortable reading (sounding out) new words that are put in front of them and be able to read short sentences. Our goal for this year will be learning the Shabbat evening blessings as well as other blessing by ear.

Sundays 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesdays, 50 minute class (3:30 – 6:30 PM)

4th Grade

Learners begin to think critically about their concept of God and Jewish holidays. Throughout the year, students will explore God through different kinds of relationships, developing outward from a relationship to self (through discovery of God’s “identity” – as humans understand it) to a direct, personal relationship to God through an exploration of God’s expectations of and relationship with the greater world. Especially in a tradition steeped in questioning, God as a concept necessitates activity, conversation and interaction. The combination of God through self, a continual journey for each Jew, in connection with God through text, invites the Jewish learner to engage in the constant process of tikkun etzmi – self-growth – in terms of theological connection to Judaism. This year also focuses on the prophets found throughout the תַּנַּ”ךְ (TaNaKh, Torah, Prophets and Writings/Hebrew Bible). 

The focus of our second year of Hebrew is learning the basics of prayer language through easy brachot, blessings. Students will move out of reading individual words to reading sentences. Through each lesson the students will gain confidence in reading the bracha formula and also learn specific roots that coordinate with brachot in general or with specific brachot. After mastering brachot, we will move onto easier and more well-known tefillot, prayers, that the students will learn to decode and read (and not just chant from memory). Some students will learn the Shema, Barchu, and even V’ahavta.

Sundays 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesdays, 50 minute class (3:30 – 6:30 PM)

5th Grade

Learners take a “Jewish Journey” through the lens of eight Jewish values. These values are associated with different lifecycle events.  Jews believe wholeheartedly in the value of participation in lifecycle events throughout our lives: Birth, B’nai mitzvah, Confirmation, Marriage and Death. These five moments in our lives form the foundation of this experiential curriculum, and students will bring them to life for themselves. Students will explore their own connection to different life cycles and have the opportunity to question what they can personally take out of each one. These “Jewish Journey” values are also associated with cities in Israel throughout the year for students to gain a deeper understanding of Israel. We guide learners to discover what it means to have a uniquely Jewish love for Israel as an idea and a physical reality in the world.

The focus of our third year of Hebrew is the building blocks of a typical tefillah (prayer) service, students will be able to read and chant the major prayers of a service. These prayers are at an intermediate level of difficulty. Many with be familiar with the prayers from saying them in our weekly tefillah sessions, but we will be focusing on reading each word correctly and learning to understand the meaning of the prayer. Learners will discover specific roots and important words in each prayer. They will review the prayers learned in previous years and will learn the V’ahavta and Amidah, specifically the Avot V’Imahot, G’vurot and Kedusha.

Sundays 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesdays, 50 minute class (3:30 – 6:30 PM)

6th Grade

Learners explore various portions of the Torah and identify five main themes found throughout each portion as they prepare to become b’nei mitzvah. Through this they will further develop their concept of God. They also learn about the Prophets found throughout the תַּנַּ”ךְ (TaNaKh, Torah, Prophets and Writings/Hebrew Bible) in relation to various social justice issues. This enables learners to visualize their role—and Judaism’s role—in the greater community. 

The focus of our fourth year of Hebrew is the Torah service, Musaf service, concluding prayers, and the most complicated prayers. Many of these prayers will be ones students are less familiar with from our weekly tefillah sessions, but are tefillot of Shabbat morning that they will be leading at their B’nai Mitzvah. Those approaching B’nai Mitzvah will also begin to learn chanting Torah trope.

Sundays 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesdays, 50 minute class (3:30 – 6:30 PM)

7th Grade

On Tuesday afternoons, our 7th graders are taught by Rabbi Gail Swedroe (and sought-after educator/beloved CAA Member Dana Baruch). We begin by taking seriously pre-teens’ questions about B’nei Mitzvah. We’ll explore what it means to become a B’nei Mitzvah, using a new curriculum from Moving Traditions. Learners will explore their personal relationships with both Judaism and themselves.  Together we will discover how we form relationships as emerging Jewish adults. Later in the fall, we’ll have a chance to articulate a personal theology, understanding the meaning of prayers. In the second semester, we’ll focus on text study as an introduction to Rabbinic Literature. Our learners will be exposed to the world of Mishnah (oral torah) and Midrash (rabbinic commentary) as a way to discuss Jewish values, notions of leadership, themes of holidays and how they are relevant to our lives today, and how to continue to add our voice to our long-standing tradition of engaging with our sacred texts.We’ll use holidays and texts about leadership as ways for students to add their perspectives, learn from one another, and see their voice as part of the long chain of tradition.

On Sunday mornings, 7th graders will be able to choose an elective. Those who are still preparing for B’nai Mitzvah can choose to continue working on Hebrew and Trope chanting. Those who already completed B’nai Mitzvah have the opportunity to choose an elective. Options may include: Modern Hebrew and Current Events.

Sundays 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesdays, 4:45 – 5:45 PM

Did you know that in order to make our religious school more exciting, connected, and enriched, we partner with a regional organization? It’s true! We’re proud to partner with the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) to ensure our children an excellent Jewish education. The ISJL is a regional, trans-denominational Jewish organization serving a thirteen-state southern territory. Our school is one of 70 religious schools across this region sharing in the ISJL’s Curriculum, coming together each summer for the ISJL Education Conference, and getting visits from our ISJL Education Fellow.