The role of Jewish education is to educate and inspire all people who are a part of the members of our community. Our programs seek to raise concepts and address basic questions that recur throughout one’s lifetime. Appropriately addressing these issues from a Reform Jewish perspective at each developmental stage fosters both a strong Jewish identity and a connection to the Jewish world at large. Our programs begin from birth with a Mommy, Daddy and Me play group and continues throughout one’s adult life. Here at Beth Shalom we offer a variety of educational opportunities.
Tiny Tots - This is a class that is offered for our 2 to 3 year old children and their caregivers. This first educational Temple experience is based on a holiday and Mitzvah curriculum which is written for the children’s developmental stage. It is a hands-on interactive play time which will begin their journey for lifelong Jewish learning. This class meets presently on Tuesday mornings from 10:00am-11:00am; the cost is free to members and $5.00 per class for non-members.
Religious School opens its doors at age four and continues throughout high school.
Pre-K - This class is for our 4 year olds and meets on Sunday mornings for one hour every week during the Religious school year. This first formal Jewish educational experience emphasizes a multisensory approach that starts to build a foundation for Jewish living. Students are exposed to Jewish holidays and values and display their knowledge through age-appropriate means.
Kindergarten- Kindergarteners experience holidays through stories and crafts with a focus on the Mitzvot of the holidays, and kinesthetically learn the Hebrew alef-bet (alphabet) on Sunday morning for two hours. These children celebrate their starting of Religious school by participating in Consecration and receiving a child’s Torah.
First Grade - These students continue on Sunday morning studying the Jewish holidays. This time the learning is through their senses; especially their taste buds, and the recognition of Hebrew letters continues. The first grade participates in a Family Shabbat service.
Second Grade -In Second Grade, which is also held on Sunday mornings for two hours, students continue their holiday journey by learning about Jewish values related to the Hebrew alphabet, and actually pre-reading of the alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) begins. The second graders participate in a Friday night family Shabbat service.
Third Grade - This is the first year the students come to Religious school twice a week; Sunday mornings and Monday or Wednesday evenings. Formal study of Hebrew begins this year as students learn to read our special language. Students’ spirituality will deepen as they develop Jewish God concepts and contemplate their relationship with God. During this year students also review and continue their study by strengthening their understanding that Jewish people are bound together by a common history, ideals and future. "Chug" or special activity is an added bonus starting in third grade.
Fourth Grade - The students will continue their exploration of Jewish spirituality, gaining insights into the meanings of the stories of the prophets and writings. Jewish holidays will continue to be explored with experiential educational school wide programs and Jewish values and behaviors. Hebrew reading skills are polished this year. Students then begin a series of modules, through which they will advance at their own pace. The Mitkadem Program continues through the sixth grade. This Hebrew program develops a fluency of reading, chanting, grammatical structures, meanings, and comprehension of theological concepts in each module. Students are able to work at their own pace and are constantly challenged.
Fifth Grade -In the fifth grade we see a clear maturation of our students. They are ready and able to explore concepts of a more intellectual and emotional nature. This course will lead us to develop a better understanding of who we are as American Jews and North Carolinian Jews. We will also continue with the Mitkadem program, and start to explore our lifecycle events.
Sixth Grade - As students continue to develop intellectually and spiritually on the road to becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they will expand their concepts of Jewish Identity by their study of European Jewry, Shoah and the development of Israel. Study of prayer and ritual Hebrew continues. During Music on Sunday morning an introduction to Haftorah chanting will be presented. Students will also start to develop an eye for Torah as we explore the Bible stories through a different lens.
Seventh Grade - As most of our seventh graders are preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a significant question they are asking is,” What does it mean to be an adult Jew? What are my obligations?” The seventh graders will be studying Oral Torah (Pirkei Avot, Talmud) and will continue in a deeper level to study the Prophets of their Haftarot and various aspects of Bar/Bat Mitzvah etiquette. A new program will be introduced in which the 7th graders come to Religious School once a week on either Monday or Wednesday and twice a month on Sundays at Beth Shalom and once a month in the community participating in organized Mitzvah projects. Bar/Bat Mitzvah requirements are defined in Beth Shalom’s Ritual Document which is available at the Beth Shalom office and on our website. Education Requirements are jointly defined by the Education Director, Lead Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor, Rabbi, and the Ritual committee.
Recent research has shown that involvement in a Jewish Peer Program during teen years is crucial to a strong Jewish identity.
Madrichim 1 & 2 - This is our work and seminar program offered for our 8th-12th graders who would like to continue to be part of our Religious school community. 8th and 9th graders are able to volunteer one session on Sunday mornings while the 10th-12th graders have the opportunity to work up to 8 hours a week(Sunday, Monday, Wednesday). The Madrichim seminars will be taught 3 times a month on Sunday morning during both sessions. Once a month all Madrichim will participate in Dor Atid a leadership Program.
BESHTY – ( Beth Shalom Temple Youth) Here at Beth Shalom we offer Jr. and Sr. Youth group which begins in 6th grade and continues through Senior year of High School. Youth Group meets at least once a month during the year and participates in social events, Mitzvah projects, peer leadership and much more.
Beth Shalom Throughout the year, various Adult Education programs are offered by Rabbi Edery as well as lay people of our community. Some examples are Hebrew language and reading, holiday classes, and Taste of Judaism. Family Education for each grade is offered monthly, discussing topics that are relevant to the curriculum of each grade in Religious school.