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Religious School

Our outstanding religious school provides a comprehensive Jewish education for students from kindergarten through high school. Our goal is to help our children become integral members of the Jewish community and to develop an awareness of themselves and an understanding of their Jewish heritage. Family involvement is an important component of our children’s religious foundation.  We are also welcoming to interfaith families.

 

The schedule for the religious school is as follows during Covid:

Wednesdays:

  • 4:30 P.M.. to 5:00 P.M. online for students in grades 3/4 and 5/6
  • 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. online for students in grades 1/2 and 7

Sundays:

  • 10:00  to A.M.11:35 A.M.: for students in grades K thru 12
  • Grades K-8 can either meet in-person or Zoom into their classroom; grades 9-12 meet online (email David Schwartz - dschwartz@wsthz.org - for the links)
  • 9:00 A.M. to 9:45 A.M., and 11:45-12:00 noon: 1-on-1 Hebrew reading practice with our madrichim (8th-12th graders)

The schedule for the religious school is as follows during non-Covid times:

Wednesdays:

  • 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. for students in grades 2 thru 7

Sundays:

  • 9:30 A.M. to 12:00 noon: for students in grades K thru 8
  • 9:30 A.M. to 12:00 noon: Hebrew High: 9th-12th grades meet bi-weekly (and are madrichim helping in the classroom during the other weeks)
  • 8:30 A.M.  to 9:15 A.M.: individualized instruction for students recommended by teachers

Our cadres of madrichim (paid teacher assistants) are an invaluable help to our school. Madrichim are eligible to assist in the classroom if they attend Hebrew High.  Hebrew High is where students are able to apply classic Jewish texts to their lives as modern teenagers.

Let's have a conversation!  Contact Director of Education David Schwartz at principal@wsthz.org or 708-366-9000.

 

Our Curriculum

 

Curriculum Content

 

We teach the following content areas in age-appropriate ways:

 

Prayers - Students learn how to sing, translate, and connect to the meaning of prayers.  These prayers are ones which they will then lead for their B’nai Mitzvah ceremonies.

 

Holidays - In a ground-breaking curriculum being implemented around the world, students learn facts about each holiday in the earliest grades, and then have a different grade-appropriate theme each year for each holiday.  This helps students see that the holidays add meaning to their lives regardless of age.  

 

Tanach - By the time students have graduated from the Koven Religious School, they have studied the Tanach from beginning to end, plus learned about the Second Temple period (after the Bible closed) and studied rabbinic texts.

 

Shabbat Dinner - Students in Grades 1-4 learn the blessings for Friday night (candles, grape juice, challah), learn the major parts of Birkat Hamazon, and learn how to sing 2 traditional Z’mirot songs (“Tzur Mishelo” and “D’ror Yikra”).  The learning is spaced out over 4 years so they are able to master the parts they are learning each year.

 

Lifecycle - Students in Grades 5-8 learn about the Jewish lifecycle events of B’nai Mitzvah, Wedding, Birth, and Death.

 

Hebrew - Starting in Kindergarten, students become familiar with the Hebrew alphabet.  By the end of 2nd grade, students are reading Hebrew.  They then go on to learn to write, speak, and translate written Hebrew as well.  The emphasis in this area is on Modern Hebrew.  

 

Israel - Israel is a special place for the Jewish people, and students develop a connection to Israel at the Koven Religious School.  By the time students explore the complexities of modern Israel in 8th grade, they have developed a love of Israel that allows them to want what is best for the country.

 

Social Action - It is important that our students not only learn but experience the Jewish imperative to make the world a better place.  That is why each grade has a social action theme, both grounded in Jewish text and experienced with a project.  The 4 themes repeat, so that students can re-experience them from an older perspective.

 

Other - There are just some things that won’t fit into the aforementioned categories, and that is why each grade has an “Other” topic.  These topics include things like Jewish peoplehood, G-d, and Jewish food, to name just a few.

 

Curriculum Content By Grade

 

Grade K/1 

 

Prayer - Shema; Holidays - Basic facts; Tanach - The weekly Torah portion; Hebrew - Naming letters; Israel - Symbols; Social Action - Honoring the elderly; Other - Intro to the Synagogue

 

Grade 1 / 2

 

Prayer - V’ahavta; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - Genesis: Creation through Abraham; Shabbat Dinner - Blessings for Candles, Grape Juice, and Challah, Shir Hama’alot, the first paragraph of Birkat Hamazon, and the first paragraphs of 2 Z’mirot (Tzur Mishelo and D’ror Yikra); Hebrew - Read Hebrew; Israel - The National Anthem; Social Action - Healing the sick; Other - Home rituals

 

Grade 2 / 3

 

Prayer - Barchu; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - Genesis: Isaac-Joseph; Shabbat Dinner - Review, Kakatuv paragraph of Birkat Hamazon, and the next paragraphs of Tzur Mishelo and D’ror Yikra; Hebrew - Write Hebrew; Israel - Jewish Homeland; Social Action - Environment; Other - Jewish Peoplehood 

 

Grade 3 / 4

 

Prayer - Friday evening Kiddush; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - Exodus-Deuteronomy; Shabbat Dinner - Review, Uvnei Yerushalayim paragraph of Birkat Hamazon, and the next paragraphs of Tzur Mishelo and D’ror Yikra; Hebrew - Present tense; Israel - Demography; Social Action - Hunger; Other - Jewish foods

 

Grade 4 / 5

 

Prayer - Ashrei; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - The weekly Torah portion; Shabbat Dinner - Review, the Shabbat Harachaman and Migdol paragraphs of Birkat Hamazon, and the next paragraphs of Tzur Mishelo and D’ror Yikra; Hebrew - Speaking conversational Hebrew; Israel - Geography; Social Action - Honoring the elderly; Other - G-d

 

Grade 5 / 6

 

Prayer - Vayomer; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - Joshua through Solomon; Lifecycle - B’nai-Mitzvah and Wedding; Hebrew - Writing conversational Hebrew; Israel - History; Social Action - Healing the sick; Other - Kashrut

 

Grade 6 / 7

Prayer - Aleinu; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - The rest of the Tanach; Lifecycle - Birth; Hebrew - Reading stories; Israel - Planning a trip; Social Action - The environment; Other - Jewish values

 

Grade 7 / 8

 

Prayer - Mourner’s Kaddish; Holidays - Review facts, grade-specific themes for each holiday; Tanach - The Second Temple period; Lifecycle - Death; Hebrew - Read newspapers; Israel - Complexities; Social Action - Hunger; Other - Holocaust

 

Grades 9-12

 

Tanach - Rabbinic Texts; Other - Modern Issues

Holiday Curriculum:

 

 
 
  High Holidays Sukkot Shabbat Chanukah Tu B’Shevat Purim Pesach Yom HaShoah Yom HaAtzmaut Shavuot
K/1 Basics: New Year, Apples and Honey, "Shana Tova", Shofar, Tashlich, Repentence, Fasting on Yom Kippur, Basics: Lulav and Etrog, Build a Sukkah Basics: Candles/Parent Blessing/Kiddush/Challah, Day of Rest, Havdalah/"Shavua tov", "Gut Shabbes"/"Shabbat Shalom" + Make Candlesticks Basics: The story (Maccabees plus oil), light candles, dreidels, gelt, presents, latkes, sufganiyot, “I have a little dreidel”, Maoz Tzur Basics: New Year for Trees Basics: Story, hamantaschen, dress up, groggers, Mishloach Manot, Matanot LeEvyonim Basics: Story, Seder, Haggadah, Open for Elijah, Afikomen, Matzah not Chametz, Maror, Charoset, Karpas in Salt water, Seder Plate + Ma Nishtana Basics: Remembering the Holocaust Basics: Israel’s birthday, Yom HaZikaron, falafel/pita/hummus/Israeli salad Basics: Got Ten Commandments, Mt. Sinai, Dairy Foods, Tikkun Leil Shavuot, Counting the Omer
1/2 Basics + Sweet New Year Basics + Time of our Joy Basics + Holy Time + Make Kiddush Cup Basics + being a light in the darkness + Chanukah Blessings Basics + appreciation for where fruit comes from Basics + bravery Basics + Dayenu + importance of telling the story Basics + respecting others who are different Basics + Realizing our hopes/dreams Basics + talents as gift to G-d (Bikkurim)
2/3 Basics + Fresh start (Tashlich and Jonah) Basics + unity (the 4 species) Basics + Self-care + Make Challah Cover Basics + few against the many + Ocho Kandelikas Basics + Appreciation of nature Basics + being an upstander Basics + Kadesh Urchatz + Jewish Peoplehood (customs around the world) Basics + importance of remembering Basics + All Jews are responsible for each other Basics + joining the Jewish people
3/4 Basics + Repairing relationships Basics + food insecurity (Harvest) Basics + Reflecting on work done + Make Blessing Sheet Basics + preserving traditions + Chanukah Chag Yafeh Basics + Taking care of the Earth Basics + drowning out evil (groggers) Basics + Ha Lachma Anya + humility (chametz = puffy) Basics + standing up to injustice Basics + contributing to the world Basics + harvesting/getting food with dignity
4/5 Basics + G-d as Parent/Ruler Basics + G-d’s protection (in the desert) Basics + separation + Make Havdalah Candle Basics + G-d in History + Sivivon Sov Sov Sov Basics + What nature gives us and what we give nature Basics + working with allies to make a difference (the king) Basics + Ten Plagues + G-d in nature (plagues/sea) Basics + silence is assent Basics + power of grit Basics + encountering G-d
5/6 Basics + The fast G-d wants (YK Haftarah) Basics + housing insecurity Basics + Taste of the World to Come + Make Spice Box Basics + conservation (of oil) + Mi Yemalel Basics + connection with the Land of Israel Basics + women’s rights (Vashti) Basics + Echad Mi Yodea + modern slavery Basics + stereotypes Basics + self-determination/taking control of own destiny Basics + life-long learning (Tikkun Leil Shavuot)
6/7 Basics + Power of words (Kol Nidrei) Basics + water issues (Shmini Atzeret) Basics + unplugging + Make Phone sleeping bag Basics + Religious Freedom + Maoz Tzur Basics + “L’Ovdah Ulshomrah” Basics + staying with your true identity Basics + Chad Gadya + rejoicing at others’ suffering Basics + civil disobedience Basics + helping Jews and non-Jews Basics + not embarrassing (interpretation of not murdering)
7/8 Basics + Communal nature of sins (Ashamnu) Basics + Torah wisdom (Simchat Torah) Basics + Relationship with G-d Basics + assimilation + Light One Candle Basics + environmental justice Basics + excess (Achashveirosh’s party) Basics + V'hi She'amda + personal enslavement Basics + preventing modern genocides Basics + Two sides to every story Basics + why choose to be Jewish (Ruth)
                   
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
 

 

 

Upcoming Religious School Events

All Events

 

Fri, July 30 2021 21 Av 5781