“Educate children in the way they learn best, and even in old age they will not depart from your teaching.” Proverbs 22:6
The overall mission of the FJCC Hebrew School is to instill a love of Judaism in our students. Our goals for them are to learn to lead services in Hebrew, appreciate and value their Jewish heritage, identify as Jews, and contribute to Jewish life through positive and active participation in an enjoyable and engaging curriculum.
The FJCC stands committed to providing the best education possible for its children. A considerable share of its resources is directed to the Hebrew school and the Rabbi is personally involved on all grade levels. The adult congregation supports wholeheartedly the participation of its youngsters in services and all facets of synagogue life.
From age three to eighteen, the FJCC tries to provide our students with a solid foundation on which they can build throughout their lives. The following statements best describe the principles by which the school is guided and the objectives it hopes to achieve:
- The FJCC Hebrew School tries to instill in its students a strong sense of Jewish identity, a pride in, and love for, our tradition
- We believe that Hebrew School can, in fact, be an enjoyable experience and the material to be learned can be presented in an exciting and interesting way
- The interaction of the students among themselves, including the friends they make and other social aspects of Hebrew School, is an integral part of the educational experience, and these are encouraged and valued
- Both the ritual and ethical components of Judaism are important, and should be taught, not only in the classroom, but also experienced first hand
- Every student, regardless of his/her background, intellectual ability, or level of family observance, should be afforded the opportunity to acquire the requisite knowledge and skills to participate fully in the synagogue and the life of the Jewish community
Students are taught to read the Hebrew of the prayer book and the Bible with proficiency, and are encouraged to conduct all, or part, of our adult religious services at an early age. They are taught the meanings of the major holidays and the proper performance of the rituals associated with them. They gain a good working knowledge of the first five books of Moses and of the key events in Jewish history. If students continue beyond the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they become acquainted with later books of the Bible, the classic Rabbinic texts and the way in which Judaism looks at different social and political issues.
Areas of Focus
Alef and Bet – First and second graders meet on Sunday mornings
Students start on their journey to learning Hebrew, mastering the Shabbat blessings, and recognizing the symbols and stories for Jewish Holidays. They are introduced to key figures and stories in the Torah. They begin to learn about Eretz Yisrael, Jewish values and Mitzvot.
Gimel and Dalet – Third and fourth graders meet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Hebrew lessons focus on reading brachot (blessings), and learning Kabbalat Shabbat. Students also learn about Jewish Holidays including the brachot for specific rituals, and the deeper meanings of holiday traditions. Students embark on a two-year study of the Torah, Prophets (Nevi’im) and Writings (Ketuvim). Mitzvot and Values are explored through stories and midrashim.
Hay and Vav – Fifth and sixth graders meet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Building on the previous years, Hebrew lessons focus on mastering the Friday evening service and the Saturday morning Torah service. Students study Jewish Holidays from their historical perspective, as well as from the perspective of their place and significance within the annual cycle. Fifth graders explore Israel, and sixth graders investigate Jewish environmental values, and the contributions of Jewish American role models.
The FJCC Hebrew School provides individual learning plans and classroom support to students of all learning abilities. The resource room is run by a special education teacher and trained teens and provides pull-out programs and in-class teacher assistants to enhance the learning experience, and provide low student-teacher ratios.
Zayin – Bnai Mitzvah
In 7th grade, students hone their davvening (services) leadership skills, and study their Torah and/or Haftorah portions. Peers discuss each other’s Torah readings, sharing ideas and insights for the Dvar Torah (Bar/Bat Mitzvah sermon) that each will deliver. Through strengthening social connections and polishing skill sets, 7th grade is a bridge to building a strong Hebrew High School and Youth Group.
Students who continue on to Hebrew High, have completed a Bnai Mitzvah project, and have attended services regularly, are offered the opportunity work in the Hebrew School as assistants and Bnai Mitzvah tutors. As mentors, they act as role models, build relationships with younger students, and become an integral part of the Hebrew School.
…feed the hungry, shelter the wanderer, clothe the naked…Isaiah 58:7
The FJCC Hebrew Schools Tzedakah curriculum is taught through every grade. Children bring tzedakah to class to purchase winter coats for local children in need, collect hundreds of pounds of food for the local food pantry, and collect money to buy essential items for Family Promise clients Additionally, all Bnai Mitzvah students are required to create a personal and meaningful charitable project.
Given the limited amount of time our families have to commit to classroom learning, we require families to attend Friday night and Saturday morning services, so that we may support and reinforce classroom learning.