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Mission Statement & Curriculum

As a school community, we are committed to creating an experiential learning environment in which learners of all ages and abilities can take ownership of Jewish texts, of the Hebrew language, of their community, of their spiritual life, and of their own Jewish identity. We strive to guide each of our students and families in an open and friendly environment, in order to build lasting relationships with one another, find their Jewish voices, dive into Torah, and engage deeply with the world around them.

Our Five Pillars of Learning

  1. Hebrew (עברית): We strive to infuse Hebrew into every part of our learning, from using common words and terms in Hebrew, to specially designed Hebrew movement games, to infusing each lesson with song, story, art and drama inspired by the Hebrew la
  2. Jewish Text (תורה): Students develop a love and appreciation of the ongoing Jewish conversation, going from generation to generation, that is found in our Jewish texts. From Torah to the Mishnah to great teachers like Rashi, Maimonides, and Heschel, we strive not only to introduce students to the lessons of our tradition, but to help them find their own Jewish voice so that Jewish tradition can give them a new perspective on the world in which they live.
  3. Holidays & Jewish Life (חגים): The cycle of Jewish communal life can be a framework for connecting students to family and friends. By learning about different ways to celebrate Jewishly throughout their lives, our students have the chance to bring new, exciting ideas back home.
  4. Ethics & Justice (מידות ומצוות): “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah. All the rest is commentary; now go and learn.” Hillel said these immortal words thousands of years ago and they are just as true today. As a community, we strive to grow as just and ethical people throughout our lives.
  5. Spiritual Community (קהילה ותפילה): As our students grow and change, we want them to have a connection to something bigger than themselves. By learning the prayers of the סידור (prayerbook), creating new melodies, and learning to lead engaging and inventive new services for one another, we are working together to create a community who constantly seek answers to life’s biggest questions.

Parent Learning Cohort (Limmudim LaHorim, לימודים להורים)

As parents, we rarely have time to learn simply for the sake of learning, but being able to transmit our values and ideals to our families takes thought, intention, and a supportive community to help.

Parents have the opportunity to meet together each week, to learn, discuss, and of course grab a cup of coffee or tea. Our learning each week focuses on:

  • Creative ways to add spiritual meaning to your home throughout the year,
  • Learning about the myriad of customs, beliefs, experiences, and paths that make up our home lives,
  •  Finding new ways to cultivate gratitude and joy in everyday life,
  • Reviewing and looking deeper into the cycle of the Jewish year and major holidays,
  • Engaging with community, Jewish texts, creative ritual, and thoughtful debate as a way to learn more about ourselves, our community, and our families.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN/KINDERGARTEN (Gan Katan & Gan, גן קטן\גן)

At this level, students are introduced to Jewish concepts through storytelling, role-playing, games, arts and crafts, cooking and music. Starting in our Gan Katan, and moving into the Gan, students will:

  • Learn Hebrew words and phrases through movement-focused games and activities,
  • Begin to read Torah stories and become familiar with Big Ideas within the Torah narrative,
  • Hebrew letters and their sounds
  • Investigate central customs of family-focused holidays: Shabbat, Simchat Torah, and Purim,
  • Experience giving to others and taking responsibility through composing Mitzvah Journals
  • Learn and seek to understand blessings for Shabbat candle lighting, hand washing, and hamotzi.

FIRST GRADE (Aleph, כיתה א)

First grade continues using the creative strategies of kindergarten, but delves further into the topics of:

  • Using Hebrew to lead one another in new activities, and expanding to numbers, colors, animals and verbs,
  • Learning about families and community through the Genesis stories.
  • Experience hands-on learning for Rosh HaShanah and Hannukah, focusing on family celebration.
  • Fostering gratitude using the morning blessings (Modeh Ani, Ma Tovu, and Birchot HaShachar)

SECOND GRADE (Bet, כיתה ב)

Second grade builds on the previous years of topics and creative strategies, moving on to include:

  • Listening to stories in Hebrew and starting to read words they have acquired during movement activities.
  • Engaging with the ethical lessons in the Book of Exodus
  • Building connection between the Land of Israel, the homes we live in, and ourselves, using Yom Kippur, Tu Bishvat, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
  • Developing creative and meaningful prayer services by discovering new meaning in Havdallah, Ein Kamocha, and Adon Olam.

THIRD GRADE (Gimel, כיתה ג)

Beginning with 3rd grade through 8th grade, classes meet twice a week in order to spend more time studying Hebrew as a language, as well as learning to read and understand specific prayers in the Siddur. Students begin to learn the letters in cursive as well as the printed “block” symbols. Other goals include:

  • Expanding Hebrew vocabulary through use of drama, storytelling, movement games, and the סידור (prayerbook),
  • Understanding the importance of Jewish connection and customs in their lives,
  • Developing and understanding of the cycle of Torah portions and the Jewish year through studying the Book of Leviticus,
  • Looking at the holidays of Sukkot, Pesach, and Yom HaZikaron, as well as the Being an Upstander, Not A Bystander curriculum, as ways to build and connect to community,
  • Investigating the ways we interact with others through the lens of the blessings we say over food.

FOURTH GRADE (Dalet, כיתה ד)

At this grade level, students begin a more in depth study of:

  • Reading and writing words and short Hebrew paragraphs,
  • Torah portion of the week (Parsha shavua) and looking deeply at selected interpretations from the Book of Numbers,
  • Importance and application of Derek Eretz (treating others with respect),
  • Jewish ethics and values in relationship to their lives,
  • The ways Rosh HaShanah, the month of Elul, Simchat Torah, Shavuot and the Omer contribute to a personal understanding of their Jewish spiritual lives,
  • Kabbalat Shabbat and the world of modern, Jewish songwriting.

FIFTH Grade (Hay, כיתה ה)

As students move into young adulthood, the begin to learn more about:

  • The main services each day and on Shabbat: Shacharit (morning), Mincha (afternoon), & Ma’ariv (evening),
  • The Book of Deuteronomy, focusing on leadership lessons,
  • How to debate and disagree important ethical issues with respect,
  • Creating Wonder (Heschel), finding gratitude, building identity AND interacting with other cultures,
  • Hiddur Mitzvah, the value of beautifying Jewish ritual in the ways we celebrate Shabbat, Hannukah, & Purim,
  • Personal Jewish spirituality, focusing on the Ashrei and the Amidah.

SIXTH Grade (Vav, כיתה ו)

Students begin to move into leadership roles in throughout our community. We endeavor to focus on:

  • Comfort with reading, singing, and speaking Hebrew phrases,
  • Getting to know Rashi and Torah commentary and learning to use the text to inform our own experiences,
  • How to tackle tough moral questions through the lens of some more somber historical holidays, such as Yom Kippur, Yom HaZikaron & Yom Ha’Atzmaut, and Tisha B’Av,
  • Jewish ethics and values in relationship to their lives,
  • Creating a sense of personal agency and responsibility in order to improve the world around you,
  • Learning about the Torah service and its blessings.

SEVENTH GRADES (Zion, כיתה ז)

At this point in their learning journey, we try to enable students to pull together all of their experiences to begin to form their own adult, Jewish identity in preparation for their entrance into the Jewish community as B’nai Mitzvah. Topics for study and practice include the following:

  • Study of Mishnah and ethical texts to create a system of personal and community ethics,
  • Focus on Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Shemini Atzeret, Pesach, and Shavuot as guides to becoming responsible members of a community,
  • Contemporary issues – living in today’s world as Jews, Americans, teenagers, and individuals,
  • How can the community enrich my life and personal practice?
  • Using Tallit and tefillin blessings, Mourner’s Kaddish, and Shabbat evening & morning Kiddush as ways to model personal spiritual practice,

KOL RINAH ENGAGED, ACTIVE TEEN EDUCATION (KREATE)- EIGHTH, NINTH, and TENTH GRADES

Our core curriculum entering high school takes the experiences of students and their families and empowers them to take these lessons out into the world. Students will focus on how we engage with others, can give back to people from all walks of life, and how we define ourselves in a world that is rarely black-and-white.

The main goals of this educational experience is to engage in service learning. As a cohort, we will investigate different organizations whose missions align with our shared values and spend time volunteering with them. We aim to discover new ways to experience our Jewish identity as well as wrestle together with what it means to be a young Jewish person in the modern age through hands on service, engaging with others, text study, guest presentations, discussion/debate, and adventures around the St. Louis area.

Typically, we will meet about every other Sunday, from 10:30-12:30, though the time may vary some weeks depending on when a guest or activity may be available to us. Below, you will find a list of the dates for this course

ATTENDING SERVICES
MifgaSHabbat is a Family Service held one Saturday a month from 10:30 – 11:45 a.m. (starting this year in October). This is an opportunity for all Kol Rinah youth, kindergarten through 8th grade, to be leaders as they participate with their families in a Shabbat morning service. Our staff, with a Rabbi, help to create a meaningful experience of prayer and song. We ask that families make this a monthly priority and circle those dates on the calendar in this Handbook.

SHABBATONIM
Shabbatonim are designed to give several age groups the opportunity to share a Shabbat experience with their classmates and other peers in the Conservative Jewish community. Besides participating in services, creative activities for Jewish learning take place in small groups under the leadership of Religious School staffs and Rabbis. Meals and snacks are also a part of the Shabbat experience. As in the past, we partner with B’nai Amoona Religious School (“Pardes”) to celebrate the holiday as well as fostering new and old friendships.
The Shabbaton for grades 4 and 5, and grades 6 and 7 take place from Friday evening through Havdalah on Saturday evening. The “Shabbateeny” for grades 2 and 3 take place only on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. through Havdalah that evening.
Please see the calendar for this year’s dates.
There is an additional fee for attending these events. Please contact the director for scholarship opportunities.

Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779