We are a school proudly aligned with the Conservative Movement. We adopt the guiding principles of our Movement for our
school's curriculum and program. As such we provide learning and experiences that encourage: development of a personal relationship with God; centrality of Mitzvah and Torah Study; valuing and cherishing Jewish plurality and diversity, both within our school and the larger world around us; and identity with Jews in Israel and the world.
As a Conservative Day School, we teach, experience, and celebrate mitzvah. All of the mitzvot are both taught and observed
throughout our school program. Much of the Mitzvah curriculum is implicit in all phases of our school program. This applies
both to mitzvot we traditionally call “ritual” (mitzvot bein Adam l’Makom) and those we sometimes refer to as “ethical” (mitzvot bein Adam l’chavero). For example, all children give tzedakah each week. So too, Kashrut is strictly observed throughout the school. At the same time, we teach respect for teachers through an emphasis on proper behavior. Children observe the mitzvah of kavod ha Brit through recognition of the differences among our students and teachers.
While we recognize the wide range of observances among our families, the school remains committed to the observance of
mitzvot for our children and families. The First Grade children learn about the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, welcoming of guests.
Among the mitzvot lived in First Grade are:
- • Tzedakah
- • Shabbat – Candles
- • Kiddush
- • Challah
- • Food – Kashrut
- • Brachot
- • Tefillah
- • Bikur Cholim
- • Kavod – Mitzvot between people and their friends
- • Understanding and appreciating the differences among the people in our school and families
Tefillah is seen as the central way we express our thoughts, needs, and wishes as Jewish people. Tefillah teaches us the central categories of Jewish values and helps us communicate with God. Because the school sees Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people, tefillah is always done in Hebrew. Boys and girls participate equally in all aspects of the school‟s curriculum and Jewish experiences.
We teach tefillah to help children learn both the matbayah tefillah (the way the tefillot are recited in the synagogue services) and the ideas and aspirations the tefillah encompasses.
Tefillah is a sequential curriculum. Each year builds on the tefillot learned in the previous school years. By the end of their learning in the Elementary School, the children are capable of leading almost all of the daily and Shabbat tefillot.
By the end of the First Grade, the expectation is that our students will be familiar with the following tefillot:
Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Birchot haShachar; Ashrei; Haleluyah; Barchu...Yotzer Or; Shema; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; Ayn Keloheino; Adon Olam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat.
At the conclusion of the school year, the children have a Siddur Ceremony. Each child is given a siddur in recognition of the fact that he/she is able to read Hebrew well. A siddur is then used in all subsequent grades during tefillah.
Through the weekly and monthly life of the school, the children see Shabbat and the Jewish holidays as special moments for
Jewish celebration. Connections are made between the mitzvot of the Torah, our Jewish life in school, and our lives as Jews at home and in the wider world.
The children have a working book on each holiday. It is entirely in Hebrew and includes songs, games and other hands-on activities. In the First Grade in particular, the children learn about the months of the year and the annual holiday cycle. As the children’s
Hebrew ability improves, the children read stories about the holidays. They also expand their repertoire of Jeiwsh songs.
The goal of Torah study is to fulfill the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. We study the Torah as the central unifying story of our people's understanding of the world and our relationship with God. By studying the Torah, we come to identify with our Jewish history and fulfill God's covenant with the Jewish people. Finally, we begin to appreciate God's commands and wishes for us as responsible and committed Jewish people.
The study of Torah continues to build on the Kindergarten learning. In First Grade, the children learn the names of the Five Books of the Torah and the name of each weekly parsha. By the end of the school year, the children will be able to recount the major Torah story cycle, identify the main personalities of the Torah, and understand many of the mitzvot.
The following comes from curriculum materials of the Tal Am Hebrew Language First Grade program: The goal of Tal Am is expressed in the acronym LIMUD (learning): Lefateach - to develop Ieled Yehudi - a Jewish child Maskil - who is literate Umasaur Bechol – committed and Drachav – skilled to live Jewishly. Our goal is to develop the evolving learner in a gradual process with a holistic and spiral curriculum. We aim to develop the knowledge about
and commitment to: Am – People. Pride in being part of the Jewish people and understanding and accepting responsibility for Tikkun Olam (contributing towards
improving life on earth). Torah – Commitment to study, respect, and transmit the entrusted sources from generation to generation. Israel – The land we came from and we returned to. Recognizing the centrality of Israel in our lives. Lashon – Hebrew is our people’s communication, identity, and heritage language and is essential for authentic learning of our sources.
By the end of the year, the children are able to accurately read and write Hebrew. The children will greatly improve their passive understanding of the teacher’s spoken Hebrew and their Hebrew booklets. So too, the children increasingly use their active Hebrew skills by both answering questions and initiating Hebrew dialogue. Hebrew vocabulary and sentence structure become increasingly sophisticated. The children assimilate the elemental grammar structures of the Hebrew language.
All children in the school learn about the State of Israel. Focusing primarily on modern-day Israel, the children daily express their love of Medinat Yisrael by singing Hatikvah at the start of the school day. The children learn about the Flag of Israel.
Through our annual celebration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), the children learn about different aspects of
modern day life in Israel, ranging from Jerusalem to the Army, from the map of Israel to the joy of Israel's existence.
Finally, the children regularly engage in projects fostering their connection to the State of Israel and our responsibility
to Israeli Jews. These projects range from letter writing to tzedakah projects.