Affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Hebrew, also known as Lashon Hakodesh (the holy tongue), is an integral part of Judaism used in both prayer, Torah reading and communication. In K/1st grade, students will receive an introduction to Hebrew becoming familiarized with both Hebrew letters and sounds. They will practice casual language like greetings or phrases, and practice their usage in class. By the end of 2nd grade, children should know the letters, vowels, and corresponding sounds. This will allow for the addition of simple language including family members, pets, and holidays. Starting in 3rd grade, emphasis is placed on the learning and recognition of simple words. This includes the addition of colors, weather, Holiday artifacts, foods, and places. Building upon this, 4th grade students utilize their knowledge to begin formulating and responding to simple sentences like how to order from a restaurant. The 5th and 6th grade years begin to turn their focus towards B’nai Mitzvah training placing weight on successfully reading T’filah, as well as culminating the oral curriculum with the Torah trope, and preparing for their 6th grade exams.
T’filah is an integral part of Jewish life that has taken place of the daily Sacrifices brought in the Temple. At the end of Religious School the students will be able to lead prayers for Shabbat meals, Friday Night and Saturday morning Shabbat Services. This is accomplished by combining the teaching of individual T’filot with student’s leading of Religious School Shabbatot and dinners.
Judaism comes with a long and rich tradition both written and oral. Our way of life has been recorded in a range of texts from creation in B’reisheet to the exile from Israel recorded in Divrei Hayamim II. Through studying these texts students learn the history of our people, and begin to become familiarized with the greater Jewish morals we strive to instill.
Each month classes will focus on a different holiday. The goal is for children to be ready, in time for each holiday, with the knowledge and understanding necessary to properly celebrate it. For example, by Sukkot, students will know what a Sukkah is, as well as, the laws pertaining to the four species of plants comprising the Lulav & Etrog.
Our Sages teach that “without social justice and morality, the righteousness and compassion signified by the concept of Gemilut Chassadim (acts of loving kindness), there can be no society; humanity cannot exist.” They go so far as saying “he who cares for nothing but the written Torah, to the exclusion of Gemilut Chassadim, doesn’t have written Torah, as it is written: "Learn them and be careful to perform them" (Deuteronomy 5:1). Talmud Torah (studying of the Bible) and Gemilut Chassadim are inseparable.
That is why we find them usually coupled in the teachings of the Sages. Thus it was taught: "If Israel would consider the words of the Torah that was given to them, no nation or kingdom would have dominion over them. And what does (the Torah) say to them? Take upon you the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven to excel one another in the fear of Heaven, and to conduct yourselves, one to another, with acts of loving-kindness." As such, we strive to instill a sense for Gemilut Chassadim, every step of the way, by utilizing the following schedule:
K-2nd: Hachnassat Orchim (welcoming guests) & Chaverut (providing hospitality) 3rd: Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim (compassion towards living animals) & Bikkur Cholim (visiting the ill) 4th: Hiddure Pnei Zaken (honoring our elders) & Kibud Av v’Em (honoring our parents) 5th: Bal Tashchit (waste avoidance) & Shomrei Adamah (guardians of the Earth) 6th: Ahavat Yisrael (love for the people of Israel) 7th: Tzedek (righteousness) & the role of the Prophets in transmitting this key value to the people.
Throughout the year students will learn about key events in Jewish history and how they relate to our daily lives. For example, children will become familiarized with the progression of our people through Europe from the Middle East. They will learn about basic Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel including popular figures like Theodore Herzl. Finally, we will use scholars like Abraham Joshua Heschel to trace Judaism as it enters the diaspora.
818-788-4664 BnaiHayim@yahoo.com 4302 Van Nuys Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 photos by Brigitte Benchimol copyright 2013
Grau Religious School Curriculum
Now Enrolling for Fall 2015
The Grau Religious School provides an experiential approach that focuses on the joy of learning and self-discovery. Students participate confidently in curricular areas, such as Hebrew language, Torah stories, values, prayer and life/cycle/holiday events, all taught through the creative methodology of art, drama, music, yoga, dance, games and sensory-based activities.