TBI’s Religious School
TBI’s Religious School
*PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL CLASSES IN THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE HELD REMOTELY, VIA ZOOM, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.*
Register now for Talmud Torah 2020-21! Just follow these three simple steps:
Spring 2021 JEWL class sign-ups are live now!
If you have any questions about registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are always on the lookout for inspired and motivated new staff members at Talmud Torah. Take a look at our curriculum tab for a better understanding of the different kind of classes (Sunday cohort, Hebrew, and JEWL) we offer. If you are interested in teaching for Talmud Torah, please submit your resume and this application to us at email@example.com.
TBI Talmud Torah is dedicated to providing students from pre-kindergarten through high school with a strong foundation in Jewish practice, prayer and ritual, history, Israeli life and culture, the Hebrew language, and ethical concepts, in order to help our students develop a positive Jewish identity and an appreciation for and understanding of our shared responsibility for the future of the Jewish people here, in Israel, and throughout the world.
The curriculum is designed with the understanding that the role of Talmud Torah and other youth programming is to act as a supplement to a Jewish home and synagogue life. When students study what is relevant to their daily lives, they become more capable and apt to make their own decisions from a standpoint of Jewish commitment and knowledge.
The Vitality of Ritual and Tradition: Our students and families learn about and experience the joy and comfort of joining generations of ancestors as we learn and enjoy prayer, music, dance, art, and the rituals of the Jewish holidays and lifecycle events.
Parents and Families as Citizens of our School Community: Talmud Torah can only achieve its goals if parents and families think of themselves as partners. Talmud Torah asks parents and students to seek ways to support the school, understanding that volunteering and sharing needed skills are critical to our success. We also ask for parents to get to know their children’s teachers and to communicate a clear message of the importance of Jewish education at home.
Progressive, Pluralistic Judaism: Talmud Torah teaches an approach to Judaism that reflects the TBI community’s membership, which is pluralistic and progressive in its Jewish life. We embrace the motto on TBI’s letterhead, which states that TBI is “a center for Jewish life embracing traditional wisdom with contemporary insight.” We teach respect for the wisdom of tradition and respect for the different approaches to Judaism found within TBI and in the wider Jewish world. We also teach and model a progressive approach to Judaism, including egalitarianism, gay/lesbian equality, the welcoming of interfaith households in the community, and respect for other religions.
Jewish History: Our curriculum offers a broad study of Jewish history from biblical times to the present. We want students to understand that Jews have lived in many parts of the world under many different conditions, and that one of the most interesting and wonderful aspects of Jewish history is that such a scattered and geographically disconnected people has maintained a sense of unity and people hood over the millennia.
Israel: The rebirth of Israel as a modern state carries great meaning for Jews everywhere. We honor our connection to the people, the culture and the places of Israel and celebrate the richness and diversity found there. As with all our areas of study, we welcome diverse points of view on Israeli politics among our students and staff.
Hebrew Language: We first orient children to the sounds of Hebrew through songs, blessings, and activities focused on holidays and Torah stories. Please see our curriculum page for more information.
Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah: We see ourselves as God’s partners in making the world a better place. Learning to care for the earth, to seek social justice, and to show concern for all people and their needs are just a few of the principles we glean from the moral laws of Torah. We regard Tzedakah as not simply charity – although this is an important practice which we include in our classrooms – but as the performance of righteous acts for the benefit of others. Students have opportunity for volunteer work in the TBI and wider community.
Educational Methods and our Approach to Learning: Please click the Learning tab or more information about our specific class offerings and curriculum.
Talmud Torah features much smaller class sizes than most children experience in their daily school settings. And, in addition to their regular teacher, most Talmud Torah classes also have a madrich/ah (TA). We work hard to make sure we meet each student’s individual needs to make sure everyone feels s/he belongs.
Talmud Torah Policies were updated and newly republished in the summer of 2017. You can view the complete Talmud Torah policies updated here.
Here are some key excerpts that may be helpful to you.
Tuition for 2019-20
|Member||With sibling discount||Non-member|
|Sunday Cohort Class Only||$515/year||$465/year||NA|
|Full Program (for grades 2-7):
· Sunday morning cohort class
· Hebrew classes
· JEWL classes (as many as you choose)
|Individual JEWL or Hebrew class
(Hebrew classes meet twice a week, students who come once a week pay the same as students who come twice a week)
Interim Talmud Torah Director
Talmud Torah Administrator
The Talmud Torah committee works collaboratively with the director to support the mission of the Talmud Torah educational program at TBI. During the school year, it meets monthly to review a status report on the program, advise on policies and curriculum, and organize activities to foster a positive sense of Jewish identity and to increase knowledge of the values and practices of Judaism. We also report annually to the congregation on the status and needs of the school.
The committee is interested in hearing from parents and other members of the community. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas for the Talmud Torah program, feel free to contact either co-chair or any committee member (listed below). You can reach the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talmud Torah Committee Members:
Cindy Morris Anderson (co-chair)
Zehra Greenleaf (co-chair)
(note that at least for Fall 2020, all classes are online via Zoom)
10:00-10:45, Cohort classes all students grades K-7
11:00-11:30, Music and teaching from director for all grades K-7
11:45-12:30, Hebrew classes
12:45-1:30, JEWL classes
4:15-5:00, Hebrew classes
5:15-6:00, JEWL classes
*note that this calendar is always subject to change; please check it regularly*
We have made some monumental changes to our school in the last few years! Our new model has emerged from much research into the trends in Jewish supplementary education and Hebrew language acquisition, multiple parent visioning meetings, and countless conversations with the Talmud Torah committee, teachers, parents, and students.
We do our best to create a school that:
Talmud Torah offers three different types of classes: Sunday cohort classes, Hebrew classes, and JEWL classes. See below to understand the different types of offerings and how they create a unified program of Jewish education. If one of your goals for your child is to become bar or bat mitzvah, make sure you see that page for information about requirements.
***Important Note: For the 2020-21 school year, all classes are held via Zoom until further notice. Also, our class schedule has changed for this school year. See the “Schedule” tab for complete information.****
Students meet with the other children in their grade levels (K-7) to build community with their peers, develop a basic foundation of Jewish literacy, and celebrate Judaism together. In these classes, students focus on the Jewish holidays and associated rituals, Torah stories, and tefillah (prayer) and music.
Hebrew is part of the oral and aural experience of the class as they learn about holidays and basic elements of Judaism. This provides the essential foundation for learning reading skills in our focused Hebrew classes.
Classes are from 9:30-11:15 most Sundays (barring holidays and vacations) from the middle of September through the beginning of June.
For students working towards b’nai mitzvah credits, each trimester of the Sunday morning cohort class counts as one credit. Students must have attended class at least 75% of the time to earn the credit for the term.
Hebrew reading classes are available for student in grades 2-7. Children need to have a solid aural foundation of familiar Hebrew words and be comfortable with reading and writing in their own language before aleph-bet and decoding skills are introduced. Our Sunday morning cohort classes provide excellent support for establishing an introductory Hebrew foundation with spoken words like Shabbat, shalom, Torah, boker tov, hag sameah, and the phrases commonly used in blessings.
Hebrew reading classes have a clear goal of enabling students to decode Hebrew prayers, blessings, and songs in the siddur (prayer book) and passages from Torah. As students work their way up the Hebrew levels, they should also master a small but powerful set of Hebrew vocabulary words that are used most regularly in synagogue life. This skill set is markedly different from learning to read and write in either their first language or a normal foreign language class.
Classes meet twice a week on Sundays from 11:30-12:15 and on Wednesday afternoons (times vary) for a trimester. Students are strongly encouraged to come twice a week to best facilitate learning, but can master the material with additional independent work if there is a personal schedule conflict. Students are not required to take Hebrew reading classes, but families should be aware that siddur/Biblical Hebrew is an important component of most students’ b’nai mitzvah preparation. If students haven’t learned enough Hebrew, they aren’t able to “read” from the Torah or assist in leading a Shabbat service.
Here are the Hebrew Level class descriptions (including benchmarks for demonstrating proficiency and earning credit).The percentages to the right indicate the score needed on the assessment tool to show students have met the benchmarks and may progress to the next level.
Hebrew 1: Aleph-Bet
Hebrew 2: Vowels & Syllables
Hebrew 3: Decoding Words
Hebrew 4: Foundations of Roots & Grammar through Prayer In level 4, students focus on the basic everyday and holiday blessings, complete mastery of 100 vocabulary words (started in Hebrew level 1) and learn to identify:
Hebrew 5: Intermediate Prayers We have four different classes at this level that can be taken in any order. We generally offer two of the four classes each term. Students ideally take them all (and can repeat a class) before moving on to Amidah.
5a: Shema v’ahavta
5b: Kiddush and Aleynu
5c: Yotzer Or and Ahava Rabah
5d: The Torah service and Havdallah
Hebrew 6: Amidah In this class students will use the skills acquired in levels 1-4 to continue tackling pronunciation and meaning for the Amidah prayer.
Hebrew 7: Biblical Hebrew Students begin using their Hebrew skills to start dissecting Torah portions for understanding rather than simple rote memorization.
Hebrew 8: Trope Offered as needed to meet students’ interests and readiness.
Hebrew 9: Modern Hebrew Offered as needed to meet students’ interests and readiness.
Talmud Torah staff and parents work together to determine which Hebrew level is right for each student. Regardless of attendance (or even enrollment), students will receive one credit for the class (and move to the next level) when they can demonstrate mastery of the benchmarks for that level. Some students may master a level in a trimester; others may take two or three terms to move to the next class. Both approaches are respectable.
A solid Jewish education includes much more than just Hebrew, holidays, and Torah stories. Traditionally, religious school has also been concerned with ethics and values, social action work, life cycle rituals, learning about the rest of the Jewish Bible, Jewish history, Jewish culture, and Israel. There’s a lot to cover! Our JEWL classes address this rich assortment of topics. We agree that these topics are an essential part of Jewish education, but families may prioritize the topics differently. We will offer several JEWL classes each trimester for students in grades 2-7 to satisfy a wide variety of Jewish interests and needs. Some classes will have specific pre-requisites or age requirements. Most classes will meet weekly on Wednesday afternoons for 45 minutes; some classes meet on Sunday afternoons.
For students working towards b’nai mitzvah credits, each trimester-long class counts as one credit. Students must have a minimum of 75% attendance and (when relevant) finish any associated projects or activities to earn the credit. We recommend that you take a minimum of three JEWL classes a year. You may take as many as you like. Most students’ schedules will make it possible to take at least two any given trimester.
Previously offered JEWL classes have included: Life Cycle Rituals, Modern Conversational Hebrew, Hebrew through Pop Music, Art, Purim Shpiel, Jewish Cooking, Judaism and Nature, Biblical History, PJ Our Way Book Club, Shtetl Stories, People Worth Menschioning, Understanding Tzedaka, Choir, Torah Caretakers, Holy Friendships, Kosher Living, Hebrew Calligraphy, Introduction to Yiddish Language and Culture, Introduction to Israel: People and Culture, Jewish Collage and Printmaking, and Judaism and the American Comic Book Tradition.
Students can also design their own independent learning JEWL class by working with the Talmud Torah director. Here is the Independent Learning Agreement.
Do you have some Hebrew skills? Are you comfortable with liturgy? Do you have a particular Jewish subject you might be interested in teaching to children or teenagers? Do you consider teaching the next generation of Jewish adults to be a mitzvah? Do you have 1-2 hours a week in your schedule available to teach on a Sunday morning and/or Wednesday afternoon (plus some lesson prep time?) Are you willing to try teaching via Zoom (with some mentoring and training where needed) from the comfort of your own home? If so, Talmud Torah needs you! Did you know that most of our teaching staff are not professional educators, and weren’t aware how much they’d LOVE teaching Talmud Torah until they gave it a try? Please contact Sheri at email@example.com and let’s talk! What do you have to lose?