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Temple’s Torah School: A Dynamic, Inclusive and Welcoming Learning Environment
Torah School of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom is a supplementary school that provides a comprehensive Jewish education for children in kindergarten through high school. Like our Temple, our Torah School offers a dynamic, inclusive and welcoming environment and is open to all families who wish to provide their children with a Reform Jewish education.
The goal of our school is to teach children how to read and pray in Hebrew, understand our Bible stories, celebrate the Jewish holidays and grow into committed and thoughtful Jewish adults. We use a cutting-edge and dynamic Hebrew and Jewish Studies curriculum. This new and exciting five-year educational program was created especially for Reform congregational schools and is based on the most important concepts and values of Jewish life, Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasadim -Torah, Prayer and Acts of Kindness.
This new curriculum represents an innovative and highly effective approach to learning Hebrew and prayer because it is self-paced and child-centered, allowing each student to progress at his/her own pace and according to his/her ability. This means that learning challenged students can receive the extra support they need and more advanced students can progress more quickly and independently.
New curriculum: CHAI/Mitkadem
The CHAI program offers a versatile, adaptable Jewish studies curriculum that is designed to nurture an enduring understanding of values that have lifetime meaning for all Jews. Mitkadem, CHAI’s Hebrew language learning counterpart, offers a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning Hebrew and prayer. Both programs are generating enthusiasm and excitement from teachers, students and parents across North America.
CHAI’s Curriculum Core: Torah, Prayer and Acts of Kindness
The CHAI curriculum is based on the fundamental lessons of Torah, avodah (prayer) and g’milut chasadim (acts of kindness). The program ensures that learning goes beyond classroom activities and provides students with a deeper and enduring understanding of Judaism, thus establishing the basis for future Jewish learning and living. Each level of the curriculum core consists of 27 one-hour lessons, adapted to fit the schedules of our students and their families.
Mitkadem: Hebrew for Youth
The Mitkadem curriculum is a five-year program beginning with Hebrew letter recognition and decoding skills and progressing through the study of a series of blessings, prayers and ritual observances. Mitkadem's self-paced and child-centered approach allows each student to achieve according to his/her own ability. The program’s approach allows students to make choices within their Hebrew studies, thus increasing their motivation and accelerating the learning process. More advanced students move quickly through their Hebrew studies, while students who need extra attention are identified early on and receive the assistance they need.
Not the “afternoon school” you remember!
Clearly, Temple’s fun, relaxed and experiential Torah School is not the same “afternoon school” many of us attended as children. Our program makes Jewish learning fun, meaningful and stress free. Our students look forward to our weekly classes and our graduates leave our school as knowledgeable, responsible and committed Reform Jews.
Why choose Torah School for your child?
We want our children to grow up feeling at home in the world at large, as well as in their own Jewish community. Ultimately, they will choose to accept or reject their Jewish heritage as adults, but whatever path they choose, the only way to feel confident that they comprehend the significance of their decision is to give them the gift of growing up with a true understanding of their identity.
We hope that you will take a moment to think about how your child(ren) could benefit from learning to read and pray in Hebrew, understand our Bible stories, celebrate the Jewish holidays and participate fully both in worship and in ongoing dialogues relevant to the past, present and future of liberal Jewish life.
Junior Torah School (4-5 years old)
Junior Torah School offers a fun-filled introduction to Jewish learning and Temple life through Hebrew language, songs, arts and crafts, and stories.
Torah School (6-15 year olds)
The Torah School offers a cutting-edge Jewish studies and Hebrew curriculum specifically developed for Reform congregational schools and based on the key concepts and values of Jewish life. Our innovative Hebrew program is child-centered, allowing each child to progress at his/her own pace.
Two-Year Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program
(Grades 6 and 7)
Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM-12:15 PM at Temple, or
West Island: Monday afternoons from 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
Grade 6 students attend Saturday morning classes in Judaic studies and enjoy art and music activities, as well as holiday programming and weekly 11:45 AM services (Westmount only). The program’s goal is to develop a sense of Jewish life, synagogue life, and mitzvah in our students.
Temple also provides 9 half-hour one-on-one sessions for Bar and Bat-Mitzvah preparation.
This year we are implementing ShalomLearning, a new and innovative program that not only provides engaging content and media within the classroom but also offers students the opportunity to participate in self-directed learning, online group discussions, and experiential and family education programs.
ShalomLearning is a values based curriculum that has been designed with a four week cycle of: classroom instruction, virtual classroom instruction, field trip, and family education or independent study program. This model offers less physical classroom time and a more hands-on learning approach that we feel will have a positive impact on our students.
The monthly class will be on Saturday mornings for both Westmount and West Island students. Field trips will take place on Sunday afternoons. There will be 2 virtual class time choices: Monday evenings from 7-8 pm and Saturday mornings from 10-11 AM. Students can opt to attend the Saturday morning virtual class in Temple and participate in our electives program and family services afterwards.
Temple also provides 18 half-hour one-on-one sessions for Bar and Bat-Mitzvah preparation.
Family Education Programs
Students in grades 1-7 will have the opportunity to experience family education programs for parents and children organized by grade level. These programs are designed to provide an engaging and enriching family experience that will enable parents to strengthen the Jewish identity of their families.
Learning by Doing
At Torah School, we believe that children learn most effectively through direct experience. That’s why we have introduced Yerusha to our program for students in grade 1-3. This program is guided and structured by a series of ranks and requirements, which students advance through at their own pace by completing tasks, such as making and hanging a mezuzah or creating a map of where Jews live in the world. Within each rank, there are recognized milestones for accomplishing required activities, so students are rewarded as they progress. Students advance through a 7-step rank system. To advance to the next rank, students must complete a number of activities, such as making an art project about a bible story, reciting a Shabbat blessing or learning a Hebrew song. (Eliminate this) When all the activities are completed, the student receives a kippah in the colour that corresponds to the rank and advances to the next rank. The student’s name is then posted on the Wall of Honour and their achievement is recognized during family services.
Experiential learning is also happening in our grade 4-7classes in Westmount. This year, we have introduced a series of electives as part of our religious school program. Students will now have the opportunity to choose an elective course, such as “Judaism Rocks”, “Jewish Traditions through Art”, “Jewish Eats and Treats” and “Tikkun Olam through the Senses”. These courses will allow the students to participate in fun and exciting activities while exploring Jewish themes, values and history.
“The Deep Dish” (Grades 8 and 9)
Saturday mornings from 9:00 am-12:15 pm at Temple
Students will enjoy a pizza dinner and “dish” about topics and subjects that interest them. As a group, students will choose what they would like to study from a series of possible topics, including ethical dilemmas, current events, the Holocaust, Jewish and personal identity, comparative religion, and Israel and the Middle East. The overall theme of the Confirmation year is “What I know about being Jewish…and taking it on the Road”. Students will have the opportunity to synthesize all that they have learned throughout their years at Temple and to continue with their own ongoing development of Jewish identity and faith. In the spring, students will have an experiential learning opportunity on a Confirmation class trip, where they will have a chance to visit some interesting Jewish sights and connect with other Jewish teens.
“A-TEEM” (Assistant Temple Emanu-El Madrichim)
The A-TEEM Madrichim program is a leadership and teaching experience geared to involve students in grades 10-12 in all aspects of Torah School. These student leaders will work in the school office and interact with students. The madrichim will have administrative duties as well as hands-on involvement with students. The A-TEEM have the opportunity of facilitating school-wide tzedakah projects, assisting with electives courses, photographing school events and holiday programs and performing administrative duties to ensure the smooth running of day to day activities.
Join the A-Teem!
-Help shape Torah School
-Gain new skills and develop new interests
-Connect with friends, clergy, staff and the greater Temple community
To learn more about Temple’s Torah School, please contact our Director of Education, Melanie Alter, at 514-937-3575, ext. 210 or Melanie@templemontreal.ca