Religious School

 

Jessica Wadler,
Interim Director of Education & Youth Activities
 

School Hours:

**Currently all classes are virtual until further notice.**
School Office Phone: 703-737-0686

 

 

 


- To instill a knowledge of Torah as the foundation upon which Judaism is built and the key to understanding the contributions of the Jews and Judaism to world civilization

- To provide sufficient knowledge of the Hebrew language to be able to effectively use the prayer book and to participate comfortably in Jewish rituals

- To develop Jewish values, morals and ethics, and to instill in our students a sense of belonging to the local national and world Jewish life

- To foster the concept of mitzvot as an every day part of our lives

- To develop a connection to Israel, to understand that Israel is the Jewish homeland and to spark an interest in visiting or studying in Israel

- To provide an understanding of the Jewish calendar and to instill a knowledge of the meanings of Jewish holidays and a familiarity with customs, rituals and observances

- To instill in our students a feeling of pride in their Jewish identity and heritage
 

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The Congregation Sha'are Shalom Religious School strives to provide a meaningful, comprehensive Jewish education to all of our students in a warm and positive environment with anemphasis on experiential learning. We espouse these set of goals in accordance with our philosophy:

Congregation Sha’are Shalom’s Religious School curriculum is based on the concept of a spiral curriculum, which builds upon what students have learned in the past and introduces new concepts and ideas appropriate to the students’ cognitive development. Our program emphasizes small classes and warm relationships, where our students will develop a positive Jewish identity through a comprehensive exploration of Judaism. Our goal is to create a positive, supportive environment which reflects the Jewish values we want our students to incorporate. We are proud to be recognized by the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning as a Commended School.

Students in kindergarten through grade two attend school weekly on Sunday morning. Our students learn about the Jewish holidays, read Torah stories, explore Jewish values, and learn about Israel. Synagogue concepts such as why we pray, the role of the rabbi, and the many functions of a synagogue are introduced. Simple worship activities will familiarize the student with basic prayers and blessings. Learning is achieved through a variety of methods including art activities, drama, music and stories. The emphasis is on experience and activity, not mastery of factual material. Students are taught to recognize the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, with vowel sounds introduced in the second grade.

Students in grades three through seven attend twice each week on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. The overall goal of the Hebrew program is to master the language as it is written in the siddur (prayerbook), and used in the synagogue and in home rituals, thereby enabling enjoyment and understanding of services and home celebrations. Tefillah (prayer) is taught throughout the Judaics and Hebrew curriculum. At the same time, we also encourage students to examine their feelings about worship and God. The Judaics curriculum emphasizes study of Torah, Jewish values and ethics, Jewish holidays, the Jewish life cycle, Israel and American Jewish history.

Our seventh grade program enables students to focus on preparation for bar and bat mitzvah. Students work individually with the b’nai mitzvah tutor on a weekly basis and engage in our Thirteen Mitzvot program.

Students in grades eight through ten enroll in our N’tivot (Pathways) program.  N’tivot allows students to choose from three different tracks based on the three pillars of Judaism:  Torah (Study), Avodah (Worship) and Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). Students completing the tenth grade participate in a confirmation ceremony.

The regular school curriculum is enhanced by field trips, Family Learning programs, a youth group program and special celebrations of Jewish holidays.