A Message From Our Director of Education and Youth Engagement

Welcome back to what is going to be an exciting and fun year of experiencing Jewish learning for all of our students and parents at the Colman A. Zwitman Religious School this year.  Our theme throughout Temple Israel this year is “Tikkun HaOlam/Tikkun HaNefesh, Repairing the World/Repairing our Soul”  All of our programs will reflect this theme.  I have planned different types of Family Education, Adult Education, and of course curriculum for each grade to reflect the values, morals and ethics that we at Temple Israel Religious School continue to teach and model.

I am pleased to announce that all of our Religious School Staff will remain the same, although some teachers and assistants will be teaching different grades.  We are blessed here at Temple Israel to have a dedicated staff that not only teach your child what I discussed above, but are also wonderful role models to our children. They are here because they love and believe in what we teach.

The hours of Religious School are slightly different this year. At 9:00 a.m. our breakfast compliments of Henry Wolff will begin. All of the food will be cleaned up by 9:25 a.m.  T’filah will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. (see the Parent Handbook for more details).  The students will be brought down to the patio for pick-up at 12:10 p.m.

I would like to welcome Karen Weiss as the new Vice President of Education.  Karen is a familiar face around Temple Israel and has always volunteered to help me in any way needed.  I am looking forward to working hand in hand with her.  Karen is available by e-mail at karenwweiss@gmail.com.

I am looking forward to getting to know your children.  For your convenience you may enroll online.

Please call me if you have any questions.

B’Shalom,

Karen Susman

Director of Education & Youth Engagement

P.S. We are having our Spaghetti Dinner and Bingo evening on Saturday, December 11 starting at 5:00 p.m. Please see the event page for details, or RSVP here.

Philosophy and Goals

Philosophy

The goal of Jewish education at Temple Israel is the deepening of Jewish experience and knowledge for all Jews in order to strengthen faith in God, love of Torah and identification with the Jewish people through involvement in synagogue and participation in Jewish life.

At Temple Israel, we believe that Jewish education should foster within each child the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to participate comfortably in the Jewish Community.  We take great pride in our excellent teaching staff, who provides our students with a rich understanding and appreciation of Judaism.  We are excited about our curriculum, which focuses on the Jewish family, Jewish values, Hebrew, prayer, Torah and history, rituals, customs, Israel, Jewish ethics, tzedakah and social action, in addition to our wonderful Family Education Days.  The staff works in partnership with parents through our educational process, and provides materials for our students to take home and share with their families.  Also provided are many mitzvah opportunities for our classes and families.

Goals

• To nurture a positive Jewish identity

• To create an enriching and uplifting Jewish educational experience

• To provide many opportunities to enhance and encourage Jewish family life

• To provide an understanding of tikkun olam (repairing the world), and encourage student and family participation in mitzvot opportunities

• To provide an opportunity to enhance your child’s self-esteem through Jewish peer relationships at Temple Israel

• To develop an understanding of basic Jewish concepts in Torah, history, rituals, holidays, prayer and Hebrew

• To encourage our students’ understanding of the culture and people of Israel

• To encourage a lifetime commitment to Jewish life and Jewish communal involvement

• To create Lifelong Jews

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share in your child’s Jewish education.

Policies and Procedures

The hours of the Religious School on Sundays will be 9:00 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. for all students.
A light breakfast compliments of Henry Wolff will be served at Religious School on Sundays until 9:25 a.m. at which time all the food and drinks will be removed. Coffee will be provided for adults before and after T’filah.
T’filah in the Gumenick Chapel will begin promptly at 9:30. We strongly encourage all parents to participate in T’filah as a family whenever possible. It is a meaningful way for you to enhance your child’s Jewish experience.
All students are expected to attend all class sessions. If your child is absent, we ask that you leave a message in our School Office at (305) 573-5900 ext 409, so that we can inform their teacher. If your child is absent more than two sessions in a row, the teacher will contact you regarding the assignments that your child has missed. We expect that your child will arrive on-time to school.
No student will be allowed to meet their parent early without that parent signing their child out with the Director of Education and Youth Engagement or her representative in the Religious School office at Temple Israel. No student may leave the building during school hours without being signed out by the parent or an appointed person. (Written permission for this person from the parent must accompany the child).
All students must be dropped off in the courtyard of Temple Israel and/or walked in by their parent no later than 9:25 a.m. without prior notification. The student must report directly to the Gumenick Chapel.
Students must dress appropriately for Religious School. Students should be dressed in a way that shows respect to the Synagogue. We suggest that students refrain from wearing tank tops without proper covering, having their stomachs showing, or wearing inappropriate t-shirts. Students should also dress respectfully when attending Friday Night and Saturday Morning Worship (nice pants or a dress for girls, long pants with a nice shirt for boys).
All staff, students and parents will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with derech eretz (proper behavior) at all times. The staff is responsible for implementing all discipline procedures conducive with an orderly, safe and productive learning environment. When it is recognized by any staff member that a student is behaving in an inappropriate way, one or more of the following will be implemented: 1. The teacher will talk to the student in a private conversation, 2. The teacher will refer this student to the Director of Education and Youth Engagement for a further discussion, 3. The parent(s) will be contacted for a private meeting with the Director to discuss the behavior and talk about expectations of the student, 4. Additional steps may be taken if disruptive behavior continues.
A fundamental principle in our Religious School is the intent to do Ma’asim Tovim (good deeds) and that includes tzedakah (righteous behavior). One way we are committed to living out this value is by contributing to our weekly tzedakah collection in the each classroom. An appropriate weekly amount to be sent with your child is between 50 cents and one dollar each week.
All of our students Pre-Kindergarten through Sixth Grades are asked to attend their grade level Shabbat Service once a year. In addition, it is essential to the Jewish Experience that we are creating here at Temple Israel, that families attend three Shabbat Worship Experiences (which include Shababa) throughout the year. Upcoming B’nai Mitzvah Students should refer to the B’nai Mitzvah Handbook.
Students are welcome to bring a friend or relative to our school on a Sunday, with prior permission from the Director of Education and Youth Engagement.
The students will be provided with a healthy snack which parents will be asked to provide on a rotating basis. You will be contacted by your child’s teacher with the date that you are assigned. Please see the healthy snack list for suggestions.
We are looking for some parents to become involved as room parents for their child’s classroom. If you would like to volunteer for this, please contact our Director of Education and Youth Engagement.
The Religious School has a commitment to empower and enable the entire family to comfortably participate in our Jewish community. Please note on your bi-monthly calendars that you will receive throughout the school year, the days that have been devoted to Family Education. On those days please plan to stay with your child for the entire morning. There will be other special days offered during the school year which will be open to the entire Temple Israel community. The staff of Temple Israel is always available for your individual questions.
Throughout the School year, our Religious School will offer opportunities to come and celebrate Shabbat with other families from our Temple Israel Community. Shababa, which takes place on many Friday evenings throughout the school year, begins with a brief Shabbat Service geared for the tots and children in the Religious School, in the Gumenick Chapel, followed by a catered dinner. After dinner the parents have a chance to schmooze over their bottle of wine, while the children are working on a themed art project. Havdallah & Dinner opportunities will take place on several Saturday evenings. We will have dinner, programming for the children and a brief Havdallah ceremony that ends our Shabbat, and celebrates the beginning of a new week. These will take place either at Temple Israel or member’s homes. Check your calendar and read your weekly e-mails for the place and times of these experiences.
Our Education Committee is under the leadership of the Chairperson, Karen Weiss. This committee is the support group for the Director of Education and Youth Engagement, and our entire Religious School. This committee will set goals, review policy and curriculum and act as a liaison for the school. If you would like further information about this committee, please contact Karen Weiss at karenwweiss@gmail.com or by cell phone at 305.482.1189.
Parents as a group, will be invited throughout the year to participate during Religious School hours for a variety of discussions led by Professionals, Religious School Committee meetings, and/or social activities. Please consult your bi-monthly calendar, announcements during T’filah, or paper flyers that come home. Please contact the Education Committee if you have any suggestions.

Curriculum Overview and Guidelines

Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten

Students are introduced to basic Jewish symbols, tzedekah and mitzvot, holidays, Jewish values and Bible characters. They are exposed to the Hebrew letters. This class provides opportunities for the child to enrich his or her Jewish experience through in-class activities that may be continued at home as part of ongoing Jewish living and expression. Parents are an important part of this course and are encouraged to extend course work to the home environment through stories, rituals and activities.

First Grade/Second Grade

Students will be introduced to the Torah through an exploration of the personalities and stories in Genesis and Exodus. They will examine more closely the Jewish values. They will also be introduced to Jewish ritual, practices and religious objects. This curriculum takes an in-depth look at the Jewish calendar: its months, seasons, holidays and events. Art, music, cooking and stories will help explore each holiday, and investigate its meaning and practice within Jewish tradition. Our students will also be reinforcing the Hebrew letters and their sounds, and putting these sounds together to form simple words.

Third Grade

The class will discover important values that enhance their religious and secular lives. Students will also learn about Israel, its past and its present. They will explore God and the question of “how we live as God’s partner”. Our students will also discuss the significance of Jewish values and how they relate to growing up Jewish today. Our Hebrew program teaches additional prayers, and students will learn modern Hebrew words such as colors and family members. The Hebrew component will build on the prior year with emphasis on reading words and prayers.

Fourth Grade/Fifth Grade

Students will study and experience the Jewish life cycle, with its emphasis on making all of life’s moments holy and meaningful. Students will begin at birth, and continue through Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Jewish weddings and discussions through death and mourning practices. Parents will play an integral part of this experience. Our Hebrew program expands, teaching additional prayers necessary for B’nai Mitzvah, as well as further modern Hebrew.

Sixth Grade/Seventh Grade

We will explore their family history, study Israel’s role in the world, and learn about and discuss various aspects of the Holocaust. We will discuss what it means to be a Jew today living in America, and how it differs from what their ancestors experienced. Students will return to the study of Torah in preparation for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The students will have the opportunity to discuss and analyze various Torah portions and will be introduced to their Haftarah. The curriculum includes Jewish philosophy, moral and ethical issues, Synagogue skills and continued Hebrew.

Eighth Grade through Twelfth Grade

We encourage all Eighth Grade through Twelfth Grade students to get involved in our Youth Group experience. Our Youth Group, TIFTY (Temple Israel Federation of Temple Youth) is part of the National Organization through the Reform Movement. A separate mailing will be sent to you.

Teen Volunteer Program

Our Teen Volunteers are those post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah students who wish to become a Madrich, a Teacher Assistant in our School. Our Teens support our teachers in the classroom and tutor and mentor our students, while earning money towards NFTY in Israel or our Temple’s trip (to be determined), as well as service credit hours for school. Please contact the Director of Education and Youth Engagement if you would like to volunteer.

Healthy Snack Guidelines

The following guidelines are presented to assure a school environment that promotes and protects student’s health and well-being. We rely on parents to supply a mid-morning snack. We thank you in advance for planning ahead and following these guidelines. Your teacher will contact you when it is your turn to provide snack for the classroom. Healthy snacks supply an energy boost! Fruits and vegetables, low-fat, whole grain breads or muffins are good choices. Suggested Snacks:
    Challah
    Fresh fruit in season cut in slices or halves, such as apples, oranges, bananas, peaches
    Low fat Breads and Muffins such as banana, blueberry, pumpkin or zucchini
    Mini bagels (with cream cheese or margarine on the side)
    Cheeze-Its or Goldfish crackers
    Pretzels
    Graham or animal crackers
    Low-fat string cheese or cubed cheese
    Applesauce cups
    Baked chips
    Other snack that adhere to our policies
      Juice boxes or water bottles

    Snacks to Avoid: Please avoid snacks that are high in sugar, salty, high in fat: candy, donuts, cake, brownies, anything with nuts, etc. If it is your child’s birthday or a family celebration, you are welcome to bring something sweet but please let us know in advance.