Lower School (PreK- Gr 7)

Jewish learning is a lifelong journey. Our goal at Temple Beth-El is to create a sacred space that will instill a love of Jewish life help to foster Jewish memories that will last throughout our lives. We want to inspire our youngest learners through innovative programming, dynamic, and interactive teachers.

On Sunday mornings as part of the Rabbi Leslie Yale Gutterman Religious School, we offer:

Being Jewish / Doing Jewish

PreK – Jewish Values
Our smallest learners spend the year learning about Jewish values including but not limited to honoring our parents, caring for those in need, being a good guest, kindness to one another and kindness to animals.  Together, they experience these values through art, music, stories, interactive play and special visitors.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Kindergarten – Jewish Identity
Students explore the question “What makes me Jewish?” during their year in Kindergarten.  They begin by learning about their Hebrew name and go on to what things in their daily lives connect them to their Judaism.  Interactive play, art, music and stories help them on this journey.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Grade 1 – Sacred Spaces & Objects
Students learn about the places and objects that are sacred to the Jewish people.  Together, they explore the synagogue including the sanctuary, bimah, ark, Torah scrolls, siddurim (prayer books) and chumashim (bibles).  They will also learn about the tallit (prayer shawl), tefillin (phylacteries), and kippot (head coverings) along with other tangible objects we use on Shabbat and holidays including but not limited to candlesticks, kiddush cups, etc.  Students will also discover what makes a space sacred and how we can create them for ourselves and others.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Our Torah Family Tree

Grade 2 – Bible Stories: Creation to Exodus
Students explore our collective Jewish ancestry using the text from the Torah starting with the story of Creation and up until our exodus from Egypt.  Using multiple lenses of text study including but not limited to drama, art and stories, students will gain a better understanding of our narrative and its meaning in their lives.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Grade 3 – Bible Stories: Sinai to the Promised Land
Students will continue learning about our history using text from the Torah beginning with Sinai and journey to the Promised Land.  Together they will navigate the relationship between God and the Jewish people and learn how to create holiness in our daily lives using the Jewish calendar as a guide.  During the spring, students will lead the congregation in Kabbalat Shabbat services as they receive their own siddur (prayerbook) during our Kabbalat Siddur ceremony.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Jewish Peoplehood

Grade 4 – Creating Sacred Moments
The lifecycle of a Jewish person includes ritual and tradition which our fourth grade students will learn about through field trips, art, music and stories.  Together, they will also discover how to make important moments in their personal lives sacred using Jewish tradition.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement during Religious School hours.  Students are also engaged in Small Group Hebrew in Grades 4-6.

Grade 5 – American Jewish History
Our fifth grade students will explore American Jewish history particularly focusing on the immigrant experience and the evolution of the Reform Jewish movement in America and particularly this history of Temple Beth-El.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) as well as participating in Hebrew Through Movement during Religious School hours.  Students are also engaged in Small Group Hebrew in Grades 4-6.

Grade 6 – Am Yisrael/Eretz Yisrael (the people & land of Israel)
Sixth graders will focus on Israel: the people, the land, and the contributions Israel has made to the world.  There will be a particular focus on the role the Holocaust and anti-Semitism played in the creation of the Jewish State and how it has affected progressive Judaism worldwide.

Students begin learning Hebrew by attending a weekly Tefilah* (worship service) during Religious School hours.  Students are also engaged in Small Group Hebrew in Grades 4-6.

Grade 7 – The B’nei Mitzvah Seminar
What does it mean a Jewish adult?  As our seventh grade students prepare to become b’nei mitzvah, they will learn about #jewishadulting including, mitzvot, tikkun olam and our prophetic tradition, values and how to be a mensch.  They will lead our younger students in prayer to enhance their preparation for leading the congregation on the day of their b’nei mitzvah.

*Each week includes Tefilah so that we create community, provide an opportunity to share special events, celebrate student accomplishments, prepare for upcoming Jewish holidays as well as pray and sing together. Sometimes we do this as an entire school. The other weeks, our students will have tefilah in three groups (PreK-Grade 2, Grades 3-7 & Grades 8-10) led by clergy and song leaders.