Hebrew and Shabbat School
Dear Temple Hesed families,
The biggest changes are due to our efforts to combine programs with Temple Israel. Temple Israel’s program has been very different from ours in the past — they do not meet on Saturdays or Sundays, and their “Hebrew School” teaches both Hebrew (which we’ve previously taught ONLY in our Hebrew School) and Judaica (holidays, rituals, ethics, etc. — all of which we focus on during our Shabbat School on Saturdays). Their students start in second or third grade, and they do not continue after becoming bar or bat mitzvah, while ours goes from K through Confirmation in 10th grade, including some activities for preschoolers and even post-Confirmation students. On the other hand, we typically have only 4-6th graders in our Hebrew School, with an additional 9-12 months of private tutoring by me in the year prior to becoming bar or bat mitzvah. So how do we combine these different programs.
For this year — and we admit this is an experiment and that we may need to re-evalute and shift course as we go along — we are going to try to do some things with Temple Israel and some on our own. As you can see from the Hebrew School calendar pages, we will be meeting on Thursdays with Temple Israel to study Hebrew along with this year’s Hebrew School Theme: Green Judaism in a Holy Community. The non-Hebrew lesson for each day is listed. Hebrew school will be open to children in 2nd grade through 7th grade. About half the time will be spent learning Hebrew, with students split into three groups according to ability, as well as some chances for individual instruction on occasion. The rest of the time students will be split into a younger group and an older group for lessons on Green Judaism as well as music from their Cantor. For Thursdays, Emily Trunzo and I will be joined by two Temple Israel teachers. Their principal, Hilary Greenberg, and I have put together the curriculum. For this year, and this is definitely one that we will have to review at the year’s end, Hebrew School will be optional for our students in 2nd and 3rd grades, with that decision left to parents, but required for 4th to 6th graders, as it has been in the past.
On weekends, we are mostly going to be separate from Temple Israel. These dates and programs are listed on the Shabbat School Calendar page. Given the number of Thursdays class will be meeting and the additional length of each Thursday session (2 hours instead of 1 1/2), we are reducing by several weeks the number of weekends we will meet. We also will be varying what type of programs will occur each weekend and which day we will meet. Programs and classes that do NOT occur on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. are listed in bold. 3 are Friday night services, 5 are Sunday programs with Temple Israel, and 2 (Purim and the Temple Seder) will be on Saturday afternoons and evenings. 16 sessions will be on Saturdays from 9 to 11:30; these are the ones that are not in bold. 8 will be regular classes, and 8 will be programs with the whole school working together. This will help reduce the number of times that our students will be in classes so small that learning becomes less fun. Confirmation class will meet separately for 10 sessions plus our DC trip — I’ll discuss that separately with Confirmation year parents.
None of this can work without your support. We are a small community, so we depend on each family a bit more. Consistent attendance, parents actively taking part in family-based activities, help with logistics, giving me constructive feedback, and helping make connections with new potential families — all of these are ways that you can make a big difference not only to your own children’s experience and connection with Judaism, but to all our children. Together, we can make this a fabulous, fun, learning, growing and social experience for all our families.
I’ve attached two documents, one file with the calendar and one with registration form. Please look over the calendar, and please fill out the registration form and either bring it to the first day of Hebrew or Shabbat School or mail it to the office. No one will be turned away for financial reasons — if you need help, please just ask. All scholarships will be kept confidential, but we can’t help if we aren’t asked.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon,