The priority goal of Adat Chaverim Religious School is:
Learners will be on a life long journey of active engagement with the Jewish community; guided by the study of Torah, God and Tikkun Olam.
Adat Chaverim Religious School Overview:
Just as all students are different, so too are their educational needs. The Book of Proverbs recognizes that if you train a child according to his/her way, when the child is older, he/she will not depart from it. Adat Chaverim uses the Institute for Southern Jewish Living (ISJL) curriculum which is designed to meet the diverse needs of many types of learners. Whenever possible, learning is experiential, and teaching methods are varied for students who learn best through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic activities.
The curriculum of the ISJL uses a developmental approach; using the curricular guidelines and materials to meet the needs of each student, ensuring that all students have a positive educational experience. In this way we hope to spark and nurture every student’s Jewish identity and give him/her the foundation for a meaningful Jewish life.
The ISJL Jewish Studies curriculum is a spiraled curriculum in which students revisit key content areas with increasing sophistication as they progress through the curriculum. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate, nurturing the students Jewish identities and equipping them to live rich and meaningful Jewish lives.
Adat Chaverim Religious School by Grade:
This part of the curriculum is designed to provide young children with multi-sensory experiences that will help them build a foundation for Jewish living. Students will be exposed to Jewish values and holidays, and display their knowledge through various means. They will create treasure boxes for collecting materials from their school experiences, and keep these Jewish treasure box at home. Ride home conversations are suggested as a way of recognizing the extended driving time many families face by including “ride-home activities” such as questions parents can ask, captions for students to draw pictures, etc. To create a connection to the congregation, students’ work will be displayed in the building or community whenever possible. Throughout the year, students will “scrap book” to preserve and save their work.
Content Areas: Community, Mitzvot and Jewish Values, Jewish Holidays, Hebrew Vocabulary
Following the first experiences in the early childhood curriculum, Kindergarten focuses primarily on Jewish holidays and stories from the Torah. Using these two content areas as a backdrop, other areas like mitzvot and Jewish values are introduced as they pertain to the holidays and the Torah. For the first time, students are exposed not only to what Jews do, but also why they do them.
Content Areas: Community, Jewish Holidays, Mitzvot and Jewish Values, Tanach: Torah, Aleph-bet
As the students continue to grow, they continue their understanding of Judaism. In this year, the students will be learning about mitzvot and how they can impact their everyday lives. They will begin their exploration of Jewish holidays, learning about them through the specific mitzvot associated with each holiday.
Content Areas: God, Hebrew & Prayers, Jewish Holidays, Mitzvot & Jewish Values
As students mature, they will delve deeper into their exploration of Jewish life, gaining greater skills and knowledge of the rubrics of Jewish life. This year the students will explore the Jewish community and their own role in it. They will be exposed to a variety of activities that demonstrate how we are a part of the community and the synagogue through holiday celebrations, life cycle events, and symbols that identify Jewish people and places. The students will begin their exploration of Israel as the Jewish homeland.
Content Areas: Community, Culture and Symbols, Hebrew and Prayers, Israel, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Lifecycle Events, Hebrew Reading.
The reading skills of third graders have progressed to the point where they are able to gain insights into the values and messages of the Torah. Students’ spirituality will deepen as they develop Jewish God-concepts and contemplate their relationship with God. Students continue to increase their appreciation and understanding of Jewish holidays.
Content Areas: God, Hebrew and Prayer, Jewish Holidays, Mitzvot and Jewish Values, Tanach: Torah
Students will continue their exploration of Jewish spirituality, gaining insights into the meanings of the stories in Prophets and Writings, and developing an understanding of what it means to be a partner with God. Jewish holidays will be explored with increasing sophistication as students learn the history of different Jewish Holidays, and the values they express.
Content Areas: God, Hebrew and Prayer, Tanach: Prophets and Writings, Jewish Holidays and Hebrew Reading
In the fifth grade, we see a clear maturation of the students. They are ready and able to explore concepts of an intellectual and emotional nature. The curriculum meets their abilities and developmental stage with discussions and activities related to living as Jews, with milestone events and celebrations. They also continue to build a relationship with Israel, and to recognize that there are Jewish values and experiences that link all Jews.
Content Areas: Hebrew and Prayer, Israel, Jewish Life Cycles, Mitzvot and Jewish Values
As students continue to develop intellectually and spiritually, and prepare for the bar and bat mitzvah celebration, they will delve deeply into Jewish sources and critically examine core areas of Judaism: Torah, God and mitzvot. Students will study the Torah in greater depth using a sophisticated and multi-faceted approach, exploring traditional and modern commentaries on each weekly Torah portion, and probing the text for its multiple layers of meaning. Students will also explore the concept of mitzvah – a divine commandment or obligation – and the relevance of particular mitzvot in their everyday lives.
Content Areas: Hebrew and Prayer, God, Mitzvot and Jewish Values, Tanach: Torah
With increasing maturity comes an ability to understand abstract concepts and to learn through a process of inquiry and discovery. The 7th grade curriculum responds to this intellectual development, delving deeper into Jewish topics and learning to understand them in a critical way, while still respecting the active learning styles of many 7th graders. Role-play, debates, drama, art and other interactive and fun learning activities make up the core of the 7th graders’ learning experience. In their study of Jewish holidays, students attempt to grapple with the theology inherent in the different holidays, the different meanings ascribed to the holidays throughout the ages, and the variety of ways Jewish holidays are celebrated in the Jewish world today. Likewise, students examine the Prophets and the Writings, and learn to probe the texts for their multiple layers of meaning. They will also continue to develop their Hebrew reading skills and vocabulary; and learn to read and recite the prayers, the Torah service, and the concluding prayers.
Content Areas: Hebrew and Prayer, Jewish Holidays, Tanach: Prophets and Writings.
After eight years of intensive study of Judaism’s timeless traditions and values, students will now turn their attention to the Jewish modern world; beginning their study with two major events in the 20th century which continue to shape our Jewish lives today: the Holocaust and the creation of the modern state of Israel. Students will also study the history of the modern State of Israel.
The 8th grade is a time when students experience the pressures of the adolescent world — the need to conform, to go along with the crowd, to be accepted. There are many other issues that teens deal with, such as obedience to authority, indifference to others, making moral choices grounded in understanding how evil can triumph. Studying the Holocaust helps young people understand that history is not inevitable. The Holocaust happened because of individual choices – people who chose to legalize discrimination and violence, as well as people who chose to do nothing – that ultimately led to mass murder. In the end, we hope that studying the Holocaust will teach them how to live meaningful, good, and courageous lives that will bring about a more just world.
Content Areas: Israel, Jewish History, Mitzvot and Jewish Values
9th – 12th Grade:
B’nai Torah – The High School Program at Adat Chaverim. B’nai Torah celebrates young adult Jewish living, and prepares high school students for the challenges that await them as Jews on college campuses, and into the future. B’nai Torah is a program for students in 9th – 12th grade, offering additional religious study opportunities and social activities beyond traditional Bar/Bat Mitzvah study preparation. The classes are offered as a ‘cafeteria-style’ program, offering both flexibility and meaning for today’s busy teens. There are several choices for our students to choose from each semester, and they choose the classes that interest them.
The Machar Program – In many congregations around the country, the teenage assistant teaching program is called “Madrichim.” In Adat Chaverim, our program is called “Machar.” The word, Machar was chosen because in Hebrew, it means “tomorrow.” Our Macharniks are tomorrow’s leaders. The Machar Program teaches teens leadership, communication, responsibility, planning and organizing, and how to work with both adults and children. Macharniks can take these skills with them to other aspects of their lives, including leadership roles in secular activities, and being a Macharnik is something that will positively affect you for the rest of your life. There is a Machar coordinator whose job it is to guide, supervise, train and mentor the Macharniks with their classroom activities, holiday programs, and leadership skills. The goal is to form close working, and non-working, relationships with each Macharnik in order to build mutual trust and respect.