Religious School

Link to Home Edition FAQs

TBD RELIGIOUS SCHOOL:

Home Edition

With the safety and concerns of all families in mind, we will be holding TBD Religious School online through December 2020.  In addition to our weekly classes on Zoom, if and when permitted by temple leadership, we envision adding small-group, in-person PACT and other family programs on Sundays and/or weeknight evenings designed and led by Rabbi Klafter and Dr. Gursky, even while weekly lessons remain remote. Our planned combination of remote classes and in-person family workshops enables us to pivot seamlessly to a fully in-person learning environment as we face the changing and unpredictable situation around us. (See the Fall 2020 Calendar of Events and Schedule of Weekly Classes below.)

LINK TO REGISTER VIA GOOGLE FORM

Kindergarten/First Grade – Once Weekly 30-minute session (Sunday Morning)

Each Sunday for 30 minutes, students will meet on Zoom to learn about Jewish holidays and values. Through arts and crafts, music and stories, children will learn about Jewish life and observances. Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home. When we return to in-person learning, Kindergarten/First Grade will continue to meet on Sunday morning (9:00-11:00 am).

Second/Third Grade – Once Weekly 30-minute session PLUS 15 minutes of “Snack and Chat” (Tuesday Afternoon)

One afternoon each week for 30 minutes, students will meet their teacher on Zoom to learn Hebrew and Judaica. When we return to in-person learning, Second/Third Grade will continue to meet on Tuesday afternoon (4:30-6:30 pm).  The curriculum includes:

  • The Hebrew alef bet, vowels and basic decoding of sounds and simple words, Shabbat blessings in Hebrew and English as well as other holiday-related prayers and blessings.
  • Jewish holidays and Israel through arts and crafts, music, stories and special projects.
  • Weekly Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials (see below) will be provided. Tutorials for Second/Third Grade will continue as long as school remains remote. 
  • Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home.

Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grade PACT Program: Home Edition

All Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grade students are automatically enrolled into our family-centered PACT (Parents AND Children Together) Program.  In addition, a parent (or another adult) and the child attend Family Foundation Programs, TBD Family Experiences (Electives) and participate in Social Action projects.  All students receive 15-minute Hebrew tutorials with a teacher.  PACT Foundation Programs and other Family Programs have been scheduled through December 2020. Dates for events beginning in January 2021 will be set after the school year begins to allow for adjustments based upon the situation in our region.

See below for more details.

Fourth Grade PACT classes – Twice Weekly 30-minute sessions (Wednesday Afternoon/Sunday Morning) Plus 15-minute “Snack and Chat” (Wednesday Afternoon)

While school is remote, Fourth Grade classes will be held twice weekly for 30-minute sessions.  One session will consist of a Hebrew Language Class and the other will be a Judaica Class. When we return to in-person learning, Fourth Grade will meet on Wednesday afternoon only (4:30-6:30 pm). The curriculum includes:

  • Hebrew Language: letter recognition, decoding words, reading prayer book and holiday-related prayers and blessings
  • Judaica Class: Introduction to stories from the Torah; exploring God in our world
  • Weekly Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials (see below)
  • Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home.

Fifth Grade PACT classes -Twice Weekly 30-minute sessions (Tuesday Afternoon/Sunday Morning) Plus 15-minute “Snack and Chat” (Tuesday Afternoon)

While school is remote, Fifth Grade classes will be held twice weekly for 30-minute sessions.  One session will consist of a Hebrew Language Class and the other will be a Judaica Class. When we return to in-person learning, Fifth Grade will meet on Tuesday afternoon only (4:30-6:30 pm). The curriculum includes:

  • Hebrew Language: Shabbat prayers and blessings: meanings and mastery
  • Judaica Class: the Jewish life-cycle and the land and State of Israel
  • Weekly Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials (see below)
  • Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home.

Sixth Grade PACT classes – Twice Weekly 30-minute sessions (Wednesday Afternoon/Sunday Morning) Plus 15-minute “Snack and Chat” (Wednesday Afternoon)

While school is remote, Sixth Grade classes will be held twice weekly for 30-minute sessions.  One session will consist of a Hebrew Language Class and the other will be a Judaica Class. When we return to in-person learning, Sixth Grade will meet on Wednesday afternoon only (4:30-6:30 pm). The curriculum includes:

  • Hebrew Language: Chanting the prayers of the Shabbat service
  • Judaica Class: Jewish Heroes from Biblical times to present day
  • Weekly Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials (see below)
  • Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home.

Seventh Grade Classes – Once Weekly 45-minute session (Tuesday Evening) Plus 15-minute “Snack and Chat” (Tuesday Evening)

While we are remote, Seventh Grade classes will be held once weekly for 45 minutes. Each session will consist of 30 minutes of Judaica and 15 minutes of group Hebrew Language/prayer practice. When we return to in-person learning, Seventh Grade will continue to meet on Tuesday evening (6:40-8:30 pm).

  • Hebrew Language: Chanting the prayers of Shabbat service with particular emphasis on prayers for the Bar/Bat mitzvah service
  • Judaica Class: Engaging Holocaust, tolerance and anti-bullying activities
  • Weekly Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials (see below)
  • Seventh Grade Hebrew Language Tutorials are in addition to Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring with Ms. Chaikin, scheduled to begin approximately five months prior to the student’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date.
  • Supplies and materials will be provided to children via mail, email, prearranged pick-up at TBD or prearranged drop-off at your home.

Additional Religious School Program (Outside of Class)

Individual Hebrew Language Tutorials

While we are remote, in addition to their weekly Zoom classes, each student in Grades 2-7 will have a weekly individual 15-minute session with a Hebrew Language teacher by phone, Skype, Facetime or Zoom; the schedule is set by the teacher and individual parents at the beginning of the school year.  When we are permitted by our temple leadership to return to the building for classes, Hebrew Language Tutorials will continue for PACT Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grade students only. Bar/Bat Mitzvah Lessons

continue until the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Snack and Chat Time

While we are remote, all students who attend Tuesday and Wednesday classes will have the opportunity to engage with their classmates and teacher for 15 minutes in a less structured, but supervised, environment.  All Snack and Chat times are scheduled immediately before or after Tuesday and Wednesday classes.  For grades that have two classes, Snack and Chat time will be scheduled between the two classes to allow students from both classes in the same grade to see each other.

Family Programs

Until in-person events are permitted by our temple leadership, all scheduled Family Programs will be held remotely. These include all-grade Family Holiday Programs, PACT Family Foundation Programs, and Tefillah (worship) Assemblies for School Families. When we are able, these programs will transition to small-group, in-person events.

PACT Foundation Programs

PACT families are expected to attend at least five of the Foundation Programs.  While we are remote, these will be offered on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings (see calendar).  As is permitted by our temple leadership, these programs may be held in-person, in small groups. During these programs, parents and children learn together, participate in special events and have a chance to get to know other PACT families. 

TBD Family Experiences (Electives)  

During the course of the year, we offer several events (remote or in-person) to celebrate holidays and Shabbat or to have fun together with our TBD families.  PACT families are expected to attend six of these events (remote or in-person). Families choose the events based upon their own interests and schedules.  These events will be held remotely until we are able to meet in small groups in-person at the Temple. 

Worship Services

Students are expected to attend Shabbat, High Holiday and Festival Services whether remote or in-person. All students are expected to attend the number of services according to their grade. In addition, PACT students are expected to attend a total of ten worship services.

Tzedakah and Social Action

We encourage all families to participate in acts of Tzedakah and collect their own funds while classes are remote. PACT families are also expected to participate in a Social Action project. While school is remote, families may consider creating an online fundraiser or other project that can be completed at home.  Suggestions and ideas for home-based Social Action projects will be provided.

TRANSITIONING BACK TO IN-PERSON LEARNING

As permitted by our temple leadership, and with the safety of all of our families and staff in mind, we will transition back to in-person classroom learning as soon as possible, but not before January 2021.  We will continue to provide regular updates to all our Religious School families during this challenging time.

 

TBD RELIGIOUS SCHOOL: HOME EDITION FAQs

 When does Religious School begin this year?

TBD Religious School: Home Edition will begin on Sunday, October 4th.  All classes which have a Sunday component begin on this day.  Classes which do not have a Sunday component will begin on Tuesday, October 6th.  See the Calendar of Events.

What is the schedule of my child’s classes?

Please see the Weekly Schedule of Classes.

Why did you make a decision to go completely remote before the public schools made their plans?

With the health and well-being of our students, your families, your extended families, and our teachers in mind, we decided that we would not be able to return to the building in a fashion that would promote community among all the children for the fall season.

You have enough uncertainty in your life right now; we wanted to give you the certainty of Jewish online learning.

Why is religious school starting so late? Does it have anything to do with the virus?

We are starting after the High Holidays to give families a chance to adjust to their secular school schedules.  TBD will be providing meaningful holiday activities to families starting at the end of August including an All Grade Remote Family Holiday Program for Sunday, September 13th 10:00-11:00am.  Please keep an eye out for emails regarding family holiday activities.

My kid(s) are already doing so much online, I want to give them a break!

We know how challenging online learning is. We also wish we could give students a break from screen time. Given what’s going on in the world today, it becomes even more important that your child(ren) have the opportunity for Jewish community, consideration of big ideas, and a boost to their Jewish identities. This is the time to make sure your children maintain their connection to their teachers and TBD.
 

I’m worried my child will be bored. How can you keep them engaged?

As is our goal when we are in the building, we will include different modalities to present content, ranging from videos to games to having students stand up and participate in a short “scavenger hunt” to find something relevant to the topic, to giving each child the opportunity to teach (share their knowledge or experiences with their classmates) to using our breakout room capability for small group discussion and prayer practice. This past spring we only scratched the surface of ideas that are available. Our teachers have been working all summer to learn not only all that Zoom can do, but also to learn best methods for teaching remotely.

With all the uncertainty in my child’s life, I worry that they will not able to make connections with other children in the current atmosphere. How will you address this?

We have included in our schedule “Snack and Chat” time online. Each class/grade will have the opportunity for 15 minutes to connect online with their peers in a less structured but supervised environment.   Snack and Chat sessions are scheduled immediately before or after their regular class.  See the Schedule for details.  In addition, at the start of each class, teachers will be including a short “getting to know you” exercise as community is VERY important to us.  Also, prior to the beginning of our school year, teachers will reach out to students to get to know them and understand their needs.

What if my child has a disability that limits how much they can really absorb with remote learning?

Please, by all means, get in touch with our Assistant Director, Dr. Margie Gursky, to discuss how we can supplement your child’s remote learning with private or semi-private brief, socially distanced, sessions in our building, as is deemed safe and feasible by the temple leadership.

I worry about Hebrew, in particular. How can my child’s teacher listen to them practice in the short time they are in remote learning?

We are offering three different modes for learning Hebrew:

First, the Hebrew portion of class time in weekly remote learning will be devoted to introducing new material and review. 

Second, each Hebrew teacher will be scheduling weekly 15-minute PRIVATE sessions (by FaceTime, Zoom or phone) with all students, second through seventh grades, to listen to them and to assist them individually. Families have found this valuable as nobody needs to wait their turn to read in class.  To ensure your children’s success in Hebrew learning, it is imperative that you prioritize these private Hebrew sessions.  Our teachers do everything they can to schedule sessions that work for you and your family, please be mindful of their time as well. If you need to change or cancel your child’s private Hebrew session, please let them or Dr. Gursky know as soon as possible. Please be aware that as soon as religious school returns to in-person learning, only students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades will continue to have individual Hebrew lessons.

Third, for those students who need more individual attention, we will be offering extra tutoring remotely (outside of class time) with our student aides.

Will I need to print all of my child’s study materials, like I did this past spring?

You will be able to pick up (contact-free) bags customized for each grade that include textbooks and other learning materials that your child will need for school.

The students used to have t’filah (prayer) assemblies and music. What will happen to those?

Through small group sessions (breakout rooms), teachers will lead students in tefilah (prayer) as well as other music. 

Later in the school year, we will plan tefilah (prayer) assemblies that will be led by our older students on Zoom. Once it is safe to return to in-person learning, we will schedule music with our music teacher, Joann Kaplan.

Does this mean there will be no group school programming in the building at all from October through December?

At this time, all programming will be held online.  As soon as the temple leadership allows, we will start looking at the possibility of PACT Family Foundation Programs as well as other Family Experiences in-person. (All family programming online or in-person is for your child(ren) with an accompanying adult.)

What will happen in January?

We’d like to give you an answer, but we do not know. Our temple leadership will continue to assess the safety and efficacy of different options. When we know the best course of action, we will communicate quickly and clearly with you.

What if I have questions about school tuition?

Please contact Robin Kain (robin@tbdcommack.org), Rabbi Klafter (rabbibhk@tbdcommack.org) or Cantor Halpern (cantah@gmail.com) to discuss your Temple account.

Whoever teaches his child teaches not only his child, but also his child’s child – and so on to the end of generations

 

In the halls of the Religious School, Judaism comes alive. We strive to create a warm and welcoming environment for every student and their family. Through classroom instruction, special activities and programs, as well as our Family Education offerings, we plant the seeds of lifelong Jewish commitment and learning.

The Religious School programs at Temple Beth David begin in Kindergarten and continue through High School. Please contact us in the Religious School Office for further information at 499-0915 x 317 or by email.

Rabbi Beth H. Klafter, R.J.E., Director of Education Rabbibhk@tbdcommack.org

Dr. Marjorie Gursky, Assistant Director of Education mgursky@tbdcommack.org

 

Goals of Reform Jewish Education

Temple Beth David is a Reform Jewish congregation affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), the umbrella organization of our movement. Reform Judaism approaches Judaism in a liberal and dynamic manner. It values the lessons of Jewish texts, history and customs, but does not necessarily view them as immutable. Reform Judaism defines itself as an ever-changing, ever-adapting movement. The goal of education is the deepening

 

LEARNING STYLES & SPECIAL NEEDS

The Religious School welcomes students with various learning styles and challenges. We offer individualized tutoring in Hebrew language studies. Our faculty is experienced in addressing the needs of diverse learners. Contact Shirley Offman if you have particular concerns.

TECHNOLOGY

The Religious School was awarded a grant from the Legacy Heritage Fund which provided a “SMARTBOARD” and advanced training for our staff. Each classroom is equipped with desktop computers. Students also have access to laptops for research during class time.

MUSIC PROGRAM

Students learn a wide variety of Jewish and Hebrew songs with our Music Teacher. Our Junior Choir participates in Shabbat Services several times during the year.

PRAYER ASSEMBLIES

We hold regular informal prayer services for the students during class time in the Temple Sanctuary. Mrs.Offman leads these throughout the year. On occasion they are led by the older students.

GUEST SPEAKERS & FIELD TRIPS

Enrich the classroom lessons

STUDENT AIDES

Dozens of our students stay involved in the School by volunteering as Student Aides after they become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Aides assist in Primary Grade classrooms and in the Office. Some tutor in Hebrew. Many fulfill High School Community Service requirements through their volunteering in the Religious School.

TZEDAKAH 

Our students learn the value of Tzedakah in all grades. Over the years donations have been sent to local Jewish and secular organizations as well as to organizations in Israel. In addition to class collections, the School has adopted a family through the M’Yad L’Yad-Helping Hands organization. We have provided support for this family with packages of books, games, school supplies and clothing, as well as funds for” our family” to purchase food and necessities; especially during holiday times.

We also show our support for the Israeli Defense Forces by sending packages to soldiers for Chanukah and Purim and greeting cards throughout the year.

The Religious School has donated Tzedakah to organizations and communities in the U.S. and throughout the State of Israel.

 

 

TBD Students attend our Reform Movement’s Summer Camps! Rabbi Klafter pictured here with students at URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA, and at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Camp in Byfield, MA.

camp photos 2016