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Kesher

Kesher means Connection.

  • More than anything, we want our children to form a lasting connection to Judaism.
  • To have the knowledge and skills to be adult Jews.
  • To have the desire to be lifelong learners, continuing to engage with our texts and our traditions.

At Kesher @EBJC, we provide the tools and the motivation to inspire a life led Jewishly.

EBJC welcomes unaffiliated families to our innovative Jewish learning program!

 

Kitah Gan-Alef (Kindergarten-1st Grade) 

Meets Sundays, 9:00 – 11:30 am

Learners in kindergarten and 1st grade in secular school meet weekly to build the foundations of Jewish learning.

Hebrew Through Movement is a program that introduces Hebrew in a playful and meaningful way, creating a positive initial connection between children and Hebrew. Learners learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands in modern, spoken Hebrew with a goal of making the prayers in our siddur, as well as synagogue and Jewish vocabulary, more easily accessible.

Gan-Alef learners are introduced to Bible stories and the Jewish values expressed in the Torah. Learners explore the meaning of Shabbat and its associated blessings. Each child has the opportunity to bring Shabbat Bear home for several weekends throughout the year. Introductions to Israel as the Jewish homeland and the synagogue as our spiritual home occur through interactive, experiential learning.

 

Kitah Bet (Second Grade)

Meets Sundays, 9:00-11:30 am

Learners become proficient at Hebrew decoding, learning the consonants and vowels and how to sound out multi-syllable words. The class is taught “immersion-style,” with spoken Hebrew used for instructions and questions, building on previous knowledge from Gan-Alef. A formal study of prayer begins this year, with learners learning the melodies and choreography for prayers common to Shabbat and weekday services. Learners discuss the weekly Torah portion and keep journals to share with their families. Shabbat and holidays are a special focus with emphasis on the traditions and ritual objects for each.

Kitah Gimel (Third Grade), Kitah Dalet (Fourth Grade), & Kitah Hei (Fifth Grade)

Meets Sundays, 9:00-11:30 am & Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 pm

The Hebrew focus shifts to integration with prayers as learners begin a three-year series that examines the themes of the prayers as well as their links to Jewish values. In addition to learning the melodies and choreography of Shabbat and holiday prayers through the individualized Sulam Tefillah program, learners answer challenging analytical questions to personalize the meaning of each prayer.

Bible stories from Creation through the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 400 CE  are explored through original text translation as well as midrashim/stories from the ancient rabbis. Learners engage with the text by creating their own stories in written or art form to deepen their understanding.

Learners begin to build their Jewish identities and learn what unites Jews as a people throughout the world. The Jewish community shares a common language in Hebrew, a common calendar of holidays, and common life cycle events. Gimel learners examine a Jewish view of time through the lens of Jewish identity – our shared history and stories, language, symbols and rituals, and ethical teachings. Students explore how the Torah is our source for wisdom and justice and a guide for living an ethical life. Learners will explore how a Torah is made, meet the rabbis whose commentaries make up the Talmud, and learn how our sacred texts define and enrich Jewish life.

Learners learn the major cities of Israel – their geography, history, culture, and personalities. Learners learn our shared history and heritage as they examine the influence of Jewish history on North American life today. They will explore the themes of exile and return, and learn how the values and traditions that have defined our people help us to understand our world today. In Kitah Hei, Israel learning expands to cover the regions of Israel. Learners are introduced again to Israel’s history and geography, as well as its political, commercial, and cultural life. Israel’s struggle to coexist peacefully with its neighbors is presented in a thoughtful and age-appropriate way. Learners learn about Israelis their own age: what they do for fun, their favorite sports and foods, and what their schools are like.

Learners return to the study of the holidays in depth in Kitah Hei. Modern customs and celebrations are presented alongside each holiday’s history and ancient traditions. Bible stories and midrashim/stories illuminate the meaning and core Jewish values of each holiday.

Each Wednesday, learners in Gimel through Zayin (3rd through 7th grades) gather for Tefillah/Prayer with the Rabbi from 5:00 to 5:30 pm.

 

Kitah Vav (Sixth Grade) & Kitah Zayin (Seventh Grade)

Meets Sundays, 9:00-11:30 am & Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 pm

Kitah Vav’s core curriculum is Holocaust and Heroism. Learners learn about the Holocaust in an age-appropriate curriculum from the stories of young people who survived and the upstanders who helped them. Through online discussions and engaging activities, learners gain a personal connection to history and explore issues of ethics and personal responsibility.

Kitan Zayin’s core curriculum focuses on Life Cycle Events and how Judaism recognzies and celebrates them. In the year of bar/bat mitzvah, learners study what mitzvot are, as well as practical and creative suggestions on how to observe them. Learners explore the wisdom of Jewish sacred texts and examine through a Jewish lens the kind of adults they want to become and how the practice of mitzvot can help them achieve their goals.

Chugim are electives for learners in Vav and Zayin (6th and 7th grades). Each semester, learners will choose two classes of interest to them. Sessions meet on Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:00 pm and from 5:30 to 6:15 pm. Previous Chugim have included:

  • Portable Judaism: Investigate various Judaic items that have been transported by the Jewish people for many, many years and create portable Judaic memorabilia that you can bring home and share with your family
  • Jews & Food: Study the laws of kashrut and enjoy cooking foods from Jewish cultures around the world
  • American Jews/Jewish Americans: Learn about historic and contemporary famous Jewish Americans as well as your personal history to find similarities
  • Torah Reading: Learn the ancient trop cantillation and how to chant Torah, then put theory into practice reading Torah during youth services
  • Jews Around the World: Explore the art, music, cuisine, culture, and history of different diaspora Jewish communities from around the world
  • Israeli Dancing: Become part of a dance troupe, learn ancient and modern dances, and experience Judaism in a whole new way
  • Creative Writing: Through poetry, drama, short stories, memoirs, and so on, create a collection of personal explorations of Judaism in various genres
  • Book Club: Read and discuss books with Jewish themes, characters, or topics
  • You Be the Judge: Explore and debate ethical issues from a Jewish perspective
  • Jewish History: Understand the timeline of Jewish history by placing Torah stories, holidays, and historical events in chronological context
  • Beyond the Bible: Learn about the Prophets that make up the Haftarot read each Shabbat and holiday

Mon, November 11 2019 13 Cheshvan 5780