Under the leadership of Director of Congregational Learning, Me'ir Sherer, Temple Emunah's Kindergarten through Seventh Grade program strives to create a nurturing atmosphere where children and their families deepen their commitment to Jewish learning and living. Through rich experiences in formal and informal settings our students develop confident Jewish identities and build a foundation for life-long learning and dedication to the Jewish community locally, in Israel and around the world.
Our focus is on the whole Jewish child and teen, preparing him/her to be engaged participants in Jewish life. To this end, we provide opportunities to: learn Hebrew, which will be used to participate in and lead services; learn about Jewish Culture, including Israeli Folk Dancing and Jewish and Israeli Song, study Jewish history, learn about and engage with the modern State of Israel, study Jewish text (including Torah) and learn about and celebrate Jewish holidays. All of this through the lens of Conservative Movement ideology.
Theologian and philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel stated, "What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but textpeople. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read; the text that they will never forget." According to educator, Joseph Schwab, "robust learning necessarily involves teachers thinking about how they might draw their students into an interpersonal connection, for that connection builds the foundation of a learning relationship. The moment I realized my students were more interested in me than the subject, I discovered the way in which I could make this fact a stepping stone, rather than a stumbling block."
Temple Emunah takes great pride in the educators who make up their Kindergarten through Seventh Grade program faculty. These individuals come to us with backgrounds in education, experience, a passion for Judaism and a willingness to share themselves with their students. For information on our current faculty, click here.
All children in kindergarten through seventh grade participate in our Sunday morning program. Mornings include time for shira (song) or rikud (israeli folk dancing).
In addition to Sunday mornings, children in third through seventh grade participate in our program on either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon/evening. These times include a t'fillah (prayer) experience.
We are also fortunate to be the recipient of a ShinShin. ShinShin stands for Shnat Sheirut - Year of Service. The program is a joint project between the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) that links Boston with our sister city of Haifa in Israel. ShinShin Fellows are 18-year-old Israeli emissaries sent by the Israeli government and JAFI to communities abroad with the goal of educating people of all ages about Israel and Israeli culture. This is our second year participating in the program. This year we will Dor Yohai. You can learn more about Dor, here. Dor will bring a variety of programs to the children of our religious school, as well as YAD.
For a copy of this year's calendar, please click here.
Temple Emunah's Religious School Curriculum is organized around five strands: Torah (including Books of the Prophets and Jewish Text), T'fillah (prayer), and Ivrit (Hebrew), Israel, Jewish Holidays and Life and Klal Yisrael (Jewish People/Jewish History). In every grade, these strands emerge in varying degrees of emphasis throughout the year. They reflect the learning goals, values and behaviors that are prized by our community and serve as the basis for each student's journey toward Jewish literacy.
In Gan (kindergarten), using Torah Alive!, children learn central Torah stories. They learn the major symbols for the Jewish holidays. They also learn the letters of the Alef Bet and play Israeli games.
Children in Kitah Alef (1st grade) continue learning the Alef Bet. They learn to write the letters and distinguish them from one another. They learn more about the Jewish holidays and Israel. And they continue learning central Torah stories.
In Kitah Bet (2nd grade) using Behrman House's The Great Israel Scavenger Hunt, children learn about the cities and sites of Israel. They learn about the Jewish holidays using Behrman House's The Jewish Holiday Treasure Trail. They are introduced the Hebrew vowels and learn to pronounce letters combined with them. They examine the central stories of the first half of Beresheet (Genesis).
Children in Kitah Gimel (3rd grade) spend the first half of the year reinforcing their knowledge of the Hebrew Alef Bet. They learn to read two, three and four syllable words. In the second half of the year they learn sections of the Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday night) service. In the later spring they help lead this service, at which time they receive their own siddur (prayerbook). They also examine the central stories of the second half of Beresheet (Genesis).
In Kitah Dalet (4th grade) student devote their year to Shemot (Exodus), exploring the main narratives of the book. They learn about the Passover Seder, familiarizing themselves with the contents of the Haggadah and learning the tunes to many of the songs and prayers. Their Hebrew is devoted to learning these songs and prayers, including sections of Hallel and Birkat HaMazon.
Children in Kitah Hey (5th grade) students learn the Torah and Haftarah services. They also study books of the Prophets. They learn about tefllin and with their parents "build their own".
In Kitah Vav (6th grade) children participate in our Beit Sefer Ilanot partnership. We are fortunate to be part of CJP's Boston-Haifa Partnership's School-to-School project. Our students, together with those of Beit Sefer Ilanot's Kitah Vav, explore issues of Jewish Peoplehood and our relationship to one another. They also learn Jewish history from Ancient Israel through the mid-1800s. They learn sections of both the Shaharit and Musaf Services. Towrad the end of the year, along with the students of Kitah Hey, they lead a Shabbat Morning Service.
The first half the Kitah Zayin (7th grade) year engages parents in their children's learning. Together, seventh graders and their parents take part in a special thirteen session program facilitated by Rabbis Lerner and Fel. The program includes a participatory weekly learner’s service, time for breakfast and schmoozing and a one hour class, The Rhythms of Jewish Living: Texts and Traditions of our People. Parents and children look to the classical texts of our tradition and see what they can teach us about our history, our rituals, and building a personal sense of spirituality. In the second half of the year seventh graders learn Jewish history from the 1880's to the present, including the establishment of the State of Israel and the Holocaust. They hear the personal journeys of a number of Temple Emunah congregants, as they relate to this history.
Temple Emunah's Religious School is guided by an active School Committee. Current co-Chairs are Kristi Pourmousa and Shaina LaFlamme. The school is governed by the synagogue Board of Trustees.
*Temple Emunah's Religious School is supported by generous program funding from the synagogue's Sisterhood and Brotherhood.