Jewish vocabulary is the basic set of words we use to talk about everything we do, from “Shabbat” to “Yom Kippur,” from “Torah” to “Kiddush.” We teach these words early on, so the children will be equipped to use them as they progress through the program and through Jewish life.
Holidays are the cornerstones of Jewish time and the centerpieces of most Jewish celebrations. We teach their significance, and offer a range of traditional and modern ways to celebrate each one.
Bible stories are the common literacy of Judaism, and the conceptual basis for both introductory and advanced Jewish thought. We teach the stories and the characters so students can take part in the ongoing Jewish conversation.
Jewish identity is a student’s sense of relationship to the Jewish community, and the way in which classroom material is not merely an academic curiosity.
Ethics covers everything from widely accepted tenets (say, murder is bad) to legal matters (like compensatory and punitive damages, both of which are in the Torah) to murky questions like how to balance peace and self defense, or the interplay between honesty and kindness.
Israel is both the eternal metaphor of God’s presence in our lives, and, since 1948, the physical Jewish state — which is why we end the Passover Seder hoping for “next year in Jerusalem” and why the Israeli flag flies in the Jewish Center alongside the American one. Hebrew is the language of our sacred texts, of Jewish prayer, and of the modern State of Israel. We introduce students to Hebrew throughout our program, but increase the focus on Hebrew learning as students approach Bar and Bat Mitzvah.