Religious School

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The core mission of Congregation Beth El’s Religious School is to foster Jewish growth through learning. We envision Jewish learning as a lifelong process that begins in the Religious School and is enhanced by learning in the home and community. We strive to instill in our students a love of Judaism and Torah that will motivate continued Jewish growth throughout their lives. Our dedicated teaching staff demonstrates their love of Jewish learning through their actions in the classroom and involvement at Congregation Beth El. We invite you to learn more about Beth El’s Religious School in these pages.

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Project Based Learning at Beth El Religious School: An Aleph bet Book of Middot

As we begin the secular New Year our Religious School is entering its second semester. In the fall we received a grant from Combined Jewish Philanthropy to introduce Project Based Learning into the school.  The mission of the school is to foster Jewish growth through learning, and educational research shows that Project Based Learning is the most effective way to accomplish this mission.  The teachers and I have been working closely during the first semester with Doctor Ronit Ziv-Kreger to create a dynamic and engaging project which we are now introducing into the school.  Our big kick-off with the students took place at the beginning of the month in an innovative retreat for grades 3-6.  At the retreat, students were introduced to the project that will engage us over the next few months: Creating an Aleph Bet Book of Middot (Jewish values/virtues).

The book will have a student- constructed page for each letter of the aleph bet that will elaborate on a Middah that begins with that letter.  Each page will include: artwork, Hebrew calligraphy, original definitions of the MIddah based on exploration of Jewish sources, stories from our tradition (Torah and Rabbinic as well as folk tales) that illustrate the Middah, stories from the student’s personal experience, and suggestions for people of all ages about how to increase the MIddah in our lives.

On Thursdays students are working in multi-aged groups to explore a range of Middot with their teachers before embarking on the creation of their own page. As the semester progresses we will be meeting with artists, writers and editors to help us achieve excellence.  Our goal is to be able to distribute our book to the Beth El community and encourage the adult community to engage with these MIddot in their own way. The enthusiasm of the students on the retreat was palpable as they realized that they have something meaningful and important to teach the Beth El community, and our students can’t wait to see their work in print.

We will continue to update you on the progress of the project and provide opportunities for you to engage with us in this wonderful new learning experience.

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The opportunity for study, contemplation, and celebration at Beth El's bar mitzvah Torah class retreat enhanced the joy and meaning of the occasion and deepened our family's Jewish experience.
— Lisa B