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Kesher

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Kesher Calendar

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 good 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.

Kesher @EBJC provides students with Hebrew reading and tefillah skills while instilling a love of learning about our culture, our heritage, our values, Torah, and Israel. Our program is led by dedicated professionals who engage learners in projects that create meaningful, personal connections to Judaism. Classrooms are active learning spaces, where we use both traditional and hands-on experiences to bring Judaism to life! Hebrew fluency and prayers are taught in small groups based on ability. All learners in kindergarten through 7th grade participate in experiential programs around our holidays. Teens are invited to volunteer as madrichim with the K-7 program (community service hours!). They also have their own program on Monday evenings with Rabbi Larry! Children are encouraged to participate in Shabbat services, and we welcome everyone to weekday services to experience prayer with the community.

EBJC welcomes unaffiliated families to our innovative Jewish learning program!

 

Kitah Gan-Bet (Kindergarten-2nd Grade) 

Meets Sundays, 9:00 – 11:30 am

Learners in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd 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-Bet 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 experience a "Shabbat time" with candles, challah, and grape juice every week.  Introductions to Israel as the Jewish homeland and the synagogue as our spiritual home occur through interactive, experiential, and project-based learning.

 

Kitah Gimel (Third Grade) & Kitah Dalet (Fourth 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, learners answer challenging analytical questions to personalize the meaning of each prayer.

Bible/Tanakh stories from Creation through the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 400 CE  are explored through relatable stories and student-created commentary.

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 & Dalet 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. 

 

Kitah Hei (Fifth Grade)

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/Tanakh stories and midrashim/stories illuminate the meaning and core Jewish values of each holiday.

Tefillah study becomes more in depth as well. Learners explore the prayers in the siddur as they will when attending services at EBJC. They practice the order of the services, begin to learn how to lead, and practice how to be a congregation. 

 

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. They also look at Jewish heroism and influence in other historical periods.

Kitan Zayin’s core curriculum focuses on Life Cycle Events and how Judaism recognizes 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.

In addition to history and Jewish life, prayer and Torah studies continue as learners unite their bar/bat mitzvah Torah study with their class time. They learn the stories directly from the chumash as we can now differentiate between the original text and the midrashim to decipher how they build on each other.
 

Daily Tefillah (Prayers)

Each Sunday, learners in Gan-Zayin (Kindergarten through 7th grades) gather for Tefillah/Prayer with Moreh Justin and the Rabbi from 4:15 to 4:45 pm.

Each Wednesday, learners in Gimel through Zayin (3rd through 7th grades) gather for Tefillah/Prayer with Moreh Justin and the Rabbi from 9:00 to 9:30 am.

 

An opportunity for adults to volunteer! We would love to bring back the program below. If you would like to teach one of the topics below (or something new), please reach out to JustinH@ebjc.org.

Chugim are electives for learners in Vav and Zayin (6th and 7th grades). Each semester, learners will choose classes of interest to them. 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
For more information, please reach out to our Education Director, Justin Hirsch: JustinH@ebjc.org
Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784