Welcome to the Jewish Learning area of our website!
The educational programming that is in place for the youth of Congregation Shaarai Shomayim has a goal of educating and engaging the whole child. We are interested in teaching, learning and interacting with our students through Jewish experiences that enrich them, while they form relationships within and among the classes, with their peers and with their mentors. We want to produce socially and environmentally conscious Reform Jewish individuals, who will go out into the world with the intent to make it a better place to live.
Our Religious School program meets on Sunday mornings from 9:15 a.m.-noon. We serve children from ages 18 months to grade 12. Our Early Childhood program serves children from the age of 18 months to three years. This is a program in which parents are invited to attend along with their children, if they so choose. This often depends on the age of the child, and their individual level of comfort. The children are Jewishly engaged while having fun. They can be found doing art projects, digging in the rice table, looking at Jewish books, and doing cooking projects.
Grades Kindergarten through 10 meet every week. We are completely staffed by congregants, which is a testament to the dedication of our families, and the level to which they care about Jewish education for our children. Our morning includes a bi-weekly music session during which students learn about different genres of Jewish music related to the curriculum of each grade level, as well as learning traditional Jewish songs and prayers. Students also visit our congregational library. Our younger students are treated to stories in the library, and then encouraged to sign out books to take home to share with their families. We hope that this helps to foster and grow Jewish libraries in their homes. Our older students are encouraged to check out books for personal reading and learning, as well as to use the library for research and classwork. Grade levels 3-7 enjoy an interactive Torah study session every week, which includes readings, reenactments, and in-depth discussions. Every Sunday session ends with a brief family service, which is considered part of our morning of class time. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend and to spend this time with their children.
Rabbi Paskoff is the leader and teacher in our high school program. 9th and 10th graders meet each week, while 11th and 12th graders meet once a month. Grades 11 and 12 meet the class requirements in many different ways, including supervised social activities, mitzvah projects, field trips, and classroom units of study. Confirmation is at the end of the 12th grade year.
We are proud to share that many of our students choose to enrich their Religious School experiences by attending URJ’s Camp Harlam, by taking part in Junior Youth Group activities, and by becoming active members in our regional youth organization, NFTY/PAR, as well as spending time in Israel through NFTY and camp opportunities.
Our Hebrew School program meets on Wednesday afternoons from 4:15 p.m.-6 p.m., for grades 3-7. Students spend time learning letters and sounds, reading words and prayers, translation, and general Hebrew proficiency. All of this leads up to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah upon turning 13, during which our students will not only chant from the Torah and Haftarah, but will lead the Hebrew and English parts of the service. They generally train for one year to accomplish this goal.
It is our hope that we are helping to educate and mold our intelligent and inquisitive young Jewish people. We feel that is it our responsibility to help to perpetuate Jewish living and Jewish families.