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Hebrew School

Ohavi Zedek: A Place for Learning

“Makom” means “place” in Hebrew–a place for learning, dwelling, or coming together as a community. It can even refer to a sense of place in the world. Ohavi Zedek provides a place for all of these things in an open and welcoming atmosphere. Our Hebrew School is often the first stop for families looking for a “makom,” and we strive to serve families from varied backgrounds. We offer programs for children ranging from Preschool to B’nai Mitzvah age in a lively and engaging environment which provides essential tools for continued exploration of Judaism’s rich traditions. We believe that Hebrew School should be more than simply a teacher and a classroom full of students; it should be a place where our connections to one another and the community at large come alive. To strengthen these connections, the entire school joins together for holiday celebrations, Junior Congregation, class led Saturday morning Shabbat services, music, Israeli Dance, and special presentations. Families are invited and encouraged to participate in all special events. To engender an understanding of tikkun olam (or “repairing the world”) students participate in hands-on projects and begin to understand their responsibility as Jews to care for one another and the makom that we all inhabit.

Makom L’Mechinah: A Place to Prepare (Grades K-2)

Sunday mornings, 9:15 AM-11:45 AM

In our younger grades, children are introduced to the Hebrew language through the Hebrew Through Movement curriculum as well as through games, art and music. Holidays, Torah, Modern Hebrew, prayer, ethics, and life-cycle events round out our curriculum. Our teachers recognize that children learn in many different ways, and they work to bring the Jewish traditions alive through the senses. One week, students might connect with the Aleph Bet through yoga; another week may find students completing art projects, learning songs, or engaging in Torah Time with their parents. Students meet in their grade classes 9:15-10:30 then gather with the whole school for Junior Congregation until 11:00, followed by a music session with Cantor Steve and supervised play until 11:45 when the whole school is dismissed.

Makom Lilmod: A Place to Learn (Grades 3-7)

Sunday mornings, 9:15 AM-11:45 AM

On Sundays, our older students are grouped by grade. Together as a class, they explore prayer, Torah, ethics, holidays, history and life cycle events, and participate in all-school events and Junior Congregation. Students meet in their grade classes 9:15-10:30 then gather with the whole school for Junior Congregation until 11:00, followed by SUPER Electives ending at 11:45. These electives are experiential, multi-faceted, and project-based learning opportunities that examine Jewish culture, traditions, and history through different lenses. Recent SUPER Electives include Spies and Disguise, Virtual Israel, Around the Jewish Year World Tour, OZ Glee, BTayavon Cooking, Whats a Sabra? And more!

Wednesday afternoons, 4:00-6:00 PM

On Wednesdays, all students in Gimmel, Dalet, Hey, Vav and Zayin (3-7th grade) participate in Hebrew language learning which is taught remotely in semi-private, half hour sessions with one, two or three students doing concentrated work with their teacher each session. Students are matched with others on a similar level of ability and age. These small groupings provide the opportunity for very individualized attention and allow for rapid progress. Meeting times on Wednesday are determined at the beginning of the school year.

Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World (Grade 7)

Kitah Zayin students meet on Sunday mornings to delve into everyday challenges facing our society through a Jewish lens and have an opportunity to take concrete steps towards repairing the world. Through a cycle of learning and experiencing, the class first looks at historical Jewish sources related to various mitzvot (commandments/good deeds), then explores their interpretation and relevance today and then, finally, participates in hands-on service projects related to each of those mitzvot at our synagogue and in our community. This approach gives students a place to synthesize their Jewish learning, put Jewish ethics and moral into practice and to start thinking for themselves as Jews in the world.

To prepare Kitah Zayin students for B Mitzvah, they participate in SUPER Electives (as described above) only during the Fall semester. In the Spring, they meet as a group with Cantor Steve to explore this rite of passage, continue learning cantillation and the necessary service prayers. In addition, Kitah Zayin students participate in remote Hebrew language sessions on Wednesdays (as described above).

Jewish Journeys: A Place to Explore (6th and 7th Graders)

Twice a month, time and dates TBD

Jewish Journeys is an educational alternative for middle-schoolers who want to explore their connection to Judaism in a smaller, more informal setting.

Through classroom and experiential learning and holiday celebrations students will uncover the stories, the history, the actions, and the questions that guide the emergence of Jewish identity. Themes of the program’s first year include Jewish identity, the history of Jewish immigration, the Jewish-American Experience, Holocaust and Israel. The second year focuses on mitzvah projects, the meaning of prayer, storytelling and the study of texts – Torah, Talmud, and Midrash (biblical commentary and interpretation) – as building blocks toward creating and participating in a B Mitzvah.

 

Naomi Barell serves as Youth Education Director of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.

 

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