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 children in Second Grade focus on the mitzvah of Kashrut. They learn about the different categories of kosher food and the different symbols used to indicate kosher food items.
Among the mitzvot lived in Second Grade are:
- • Identifying Ma’asim Tovim – Good Deeds
- • Identify Gemilut Chasadim – Acts of Kindness toward our friends
- • Hachnasat Orchim – Welcoming Guests
- • Bikur Cholim – Sending cards and calling others when they are sick
- • V’ahavta l’rayecha kamocha – Loving our neighbor as ourselves
- • Applying the Birchot Ha’Shachar to identifying needs in other people
- • Tzedakah
- • Shabbat – Candles, Kiddush & Challah
- • Food – Kashrut & Brachot
- • Tefillah
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.
Tefillah is a daily experience. On Monday, the children celebrate Havdalah. On Friday, the children anticipate the beginning of Shabbat through the Kabbalat Shabbat. An overt connection is made between our school celebration and home observances and celebrations. For example, families are welcome to join us on Friday afternoons for Kabbalat Shabbat. Because Hebrew reading and writing is a central part of the Second Grade program, the children use a written text for learning the tefillot, usually a Conservative siddur (prayer book). The children receive their own siddur at the end of First Grade. They learn how to use the siddur as part of the tefillot. They study the organization and structure of the siddur. Second Grade always does the Shacharit (morning) tefillot. By the end of the Second Grade, the expectation is that our students will be familiar with the following tefillot:
Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Reyshet Chochmah; Birchot haShachar;
Baruch Sheamar; Ashrei; Haleluyah; Barcho...Yotzer Or; Shema v’ahavtah; Amidah – Avot Bracha; Oseh Shalom; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; Aleino; Ayn Keloheino; Adon Olam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat.
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.
Since the holidays are annual celebrations, the classes review and include the learning from previous years. The children continue to celebrate the basic elements of all holiday observance. In Grade Two, holiday study and celebrations focus on the holidays of Tu B’Shevat, Passover, and the Counting of the Omer (the period of time between Passover and Shavuot).
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.
As the children enter Second Grade, they have acquired basic familiarity with the outline of the major Torah stories. They are able, therefore, to begin to inquire into the stories in a more sophisticated fashion. Through class discussion about important episodes or verses of the Torah, the children continue to study the weekly Torah reading. The children begin applying critical reading skills to the Torah stories.
In Second Grade, students study the Torah from a humash. They learn how to navigate through the humash, learning the terms perek (chapter) and pasook (verse). By the end of the year, the children will have encountered each parsha for the third time since entering Kindergarten. Each year emphasizes the lifelong mitzvah of Talmud Torah. The Torah and Hebrew curricula become even more integrated as their studies of Torah require basic mastery of Biblical Hebrew. Special focus is paid to the first two parshiot of the Torah – Bereisheet and Noach – which cover the creation stories and the story of Noah.
The children continue to build on the foundation that was set in First Grade. They continue to enhance their ability to actively use their Hebrew skills. The language of instruction is Hebrew. Most children make the transition from a passive understanding of Hebrew to an active use of Hebrew. For example, the children use the teacher’s question in providing an answer. In Second Grade, however, the children actively ask their own questions and
write their own stories.
The children read simple Hebrew library books. They then write Hebrew book reports based on the stories. The children are also encouraged to grow more and more sophisticated in their language ability.
All children in the school learn about the State of Israel. Focusing primarily on modern-day Israel, the children daily express our 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. In Second Grade, special emphasis is paid to familiarizing the children with the map of Israel and creating a timeline of important historical events in Israel’s history – from Biblical times through the modern era. Students are encouraged to be familiar with important dates and places in the Jewish People’s journey from antiquity through the 21st century.