Starting in pre-school and continuing through tenth grade, our progressive spiral curriculum builds from year to year with lessons and activities focused on core topics: Torah, life-cycle events, holidays, Jewish history, rabbinic literature, worship, Hebrew, American Jewish history, comparative religion, comparative Judaism, Jewish values and Jewish culture. As part of the curriculum children enjoy specialty classes in Jewish music, dance, literature and art, as well as weekly worship services led by our rabbis. The integrated curriculum we use was shaped by our congregation to reflect and reinforce our values.
In addition to ongoing use of Hebrew in Judaica classes, students in third through sixth grade also study Hebrew using the Union for Reform Judaism’s Mitkadem program, which is a liturgy based Hebrew learning program that is self paced. The goal of our program is to teach the skills and knowledge our students will need in order to feel comfortable praying in a Reform Jewish setting. Hebrew classes are held on Sundays following morning classes.
Our teachers have years of experience in Jewish and secular education and our faculty often includes rabbinic students from Hebrew Union College and Israelis. Enthusiastic madrichim (assistants of high school age) add to the classroom dynamic. Regional seminars and training programs enable our faculty to build their knowledge of teaching and Judaics. For students who need a slower approach or more personalized attention to understand the very basics of Judaism, specialists are available.
Temple Israel offers a full library and Learning Resource Center, complete with literary, audio, video and computer educational tools. Our card catalog is available online and wireless internet throughout the building and mobile computer stations add to our teaching capabilities.
An Emphasis On Family
Parents and grandparents are encouraged to join in our festive holiday celebrations, participate in our family Day of Learning, attend our annual picnics and parties, volunteer in the classroom or on our Religious School committee, or worship with our students during Sunday morning services. During the morning class sessions, adults can enjoy a schmooze and a schmear at our volunteer-run Kibbitz Café; participate in a variety of adult education classes to learn Torah or study modern and ancient Hebrew; or attend the Brotherhood’s Ryterband Brunch Series, featuring presenters from the regional Jewish community. Our free, professionally-staffed child care program is the perfect play place for infants and toddlers on Sunday mornings.
Social Justice in Action
Social Justice is central to our identity as Reform Jews and plays a significant role in our religious school. Beginning in pre-school our children attend Petach, Open Doors, a powerful sensitivity program in which they experience hands-on what it means to live with a disability. Beginning in third grade students learn about Daybreak, Dayton’s only youth shelter, and write letters and prepare lunches for those living at Daybreak. Students hear directly from congregants who are actively engaged in community work as they decide upon their own individual social action projects. For our older students, in advance of confirmation during tenth grade, students travel to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC with our rabbi.