March 2, 2024 ()
Joy and Jewish learning go hand in hand at the Beth El Religious School. Our goal is to facilitate a love of Jewish life through experiential learning, Jewish wisdom, and observing traditions.
Beth El’s Religious School (begins in Pre-K) meets every Tuesday afternoon and twice a month on Sundays. The goal of our program is for children to grow into competent, proud Jewish adults.
Every Tuesday begins with a participatory service with prayers from the Shabbat morning service. We start with a common Jewish word of the day, as well as a D’var Torah relating to their lives. A different student is highlighted each week at this time.
Following services, children learn Judaics, Hebrew decoding and T’fillot in the classroom. The Judaics curriculum rotates with studies of Torah stories, Holiday celebrations, Jewish life cycles, and Israel. The Hebrew curriculum includes the online platform Eyal for decoding and Hebrew Through Movement for comprehension. The goal is learning T’fillot so that students can lead parts of the service, become active participants in other parts of the service and understand key words used in the liturgy.
Our Sunday program begins with a brief service, then students in pre-K – first grade focus on Brachot (blessings). Students in grades two and above participate in a service-learning project. This year the students are making a video about what makes our congregation special, to be shown at Beth El’s Annual Meeting.
Religious school also includes age-appropriate celebrations of holidays so that students can learn about our holidays in a meaningful way for them and participate in congregational celebrations as well.
Prayer buddies – Every student in grades three and above is assigned a ‘prayer buddy’. This is an adult in the congregation who is knowledgeable about T’fillot and competent in Hebrew. Once a week the student and adult meet virtually for 10-15 minutes to read the prayer being learned in class. This not only improves the student’s Hebrew decoding, it also develops a relationship between the student and a Jewish role model.
Jr. Congregation – Jr. Congregation meets once a month on Shabbat morning. Every service has a theme, such as: Star Wars, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter, tropical vacation, etc. Students are encouraged to dress up and participate in the service. Jr. Congregation is also held on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Mini-minyan – Our smallest congregants (birth to age 4) join us once a month for a fun-filled active Shabbat celebration with lots of movement and song.
Multi-congregational events – Three Sundays a year each of the three Jewish congregations in Akron host a city-wide program for all the students in their combined religious schools.
Madrich program – After B’nai Mitzvah, students are invited to become madrichim/madrichot (teacher’s aides) in our classrooms. This is a year long appointment that develops the young teens’ leadership skills as well as enhances their Jewish experience.