CAA Hebrew School

Mission 

Congregation Ahavas Achim’s Hebrew School strives to establish a deep and abiding love of Jewish life and learning.  Our approach is broadly interdisciplinary and we make use of both traditional and experiential modes of learning.  

Towards this end we commit to providing:

§  Weekly classes that provide opportunities for students to learn about Jewish texts, traditions, historical figures, prayers, customs, and more.

§  Opportunities for students and families to experience in Shabbat prayer together.

§  Ample space for the school and the larger community to come together in celebration of holidays and life-cycle events.

§  Instruction in Hebrew that goes beyond phonetic instruction, reinforcing basic Jewish concepts.

§  Teen programming that is engaging and honors the special role teens play in our community as young leaders.

§  Parallel programming for adults who are interested in learning alongside their children.

Program Overview

Shabbat Morning Experience/Family Learning

We gather on 13 Shabbat mornings throughout the year to learn and pray as an entire community. Family singing begins at 9 a.m.!  Then, after beginning the morning together, we divide up into three groups.

For our youngsters in pre-K, we offer a musical Tot Shabbat. Parents stay so that they can sing, dance, and keep an eye on their little ones!  Our Shorashim group (grades K-3), focuses on the Parashah (the weekly Torah portion), the Jewish holidays, and Hebrew reading.  Finally, for our Anafim group (grades 4-7), we offer a lively Junior congregation, combining music, Torah study, and Hebrew.  

And while the children are learning downstairs, parents are invited upstairs to study together as a group. Often, and certainly in the beginning, we focus on what it has meant to our ancestors — and, of course, what it means to us today— to be part of a Jewish family and to raise Jewish children.  These sessions are a lot of fun and integral to our guiding vision.

Kabbalat Shabbat Dinners/Havdalah

On seven Friday nights throughout the year, we’ll gather together with the entire CAA community for Kabbalat Shabbat, including singing, dancing, and L’chaim!, the CAA band. We’ll follow that up with a potluck Shabbat meal. Modeled on our annual Community Shabbat Dinner—a perennial highlight—these promise to be a lot of fun and a great opportunity for building community across generations. 

Just like last year, we will gather periodically on Saturday afternoon for havdalah.  Unlike last year—and in line with our core goal of engaging whole families—these events will be hosted by CAA families. Because the traditional rhythms of Jewish living are deeply tied to the rhythms of the earth, the exact timing of Hebrew School Havdalah will vary slightly throughout the year. Given the way the calendar has fallen out, in general Hebrew School Havdalah will begin at or near 4:30 p.m. Hebrew School Havdalah will last one hour and will include prayer, song, meditation, learning, and food. These afternoons are geared towards all ages and all parents. Exact times are listed below along with the dates

Tuesday Learning

Grades 3-7  learning together on Tuesday afternoons from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.   

Our Tuesday curriculum is comprised of seven main content areas: 1) Holidays; 2) Prayer and Liturgy; 3) Tanakh (Bible) and Jewish Text; 4) Theology and Religious Experience; 5) Gemilut Hasadim (Jewish Ethics) and Mitzvot; 6) Jewish History, Israel and Identity; and 7) Hebrew.  Like last year, we’ll divide the year into three major sections based on what the ancient rabbis said are the three pillars on which the universe rests: Torah in the fall, Avodah (Jewish ritual, prayer, and sacred service) in the winter, and Gemilut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness) in the spring. While the Judaic Studies content will be spread out across the year, we will devote time to Hebrew each week, aiming to increase students’ ability to decode and engage with Hebrew text.  

Seventh graders will also spend time on bnai mitzvah preparation, focusing on both the “hows” and the “whys” of becoming a bat/bar mitzvah. And, as a Hebrew school community, we will continue to explore our prayer lives, making ample space for song, dance, and reflection, while also increasing students’ familiarity with traditional Jewish liturgy and strengthening their “synagogue skills.”

In addition to these core content areas, our learning will always remain intimately connected to the Jewish calendar, to Jewish history, and to the events happening all around us. We will study and experience each holiday in its season and we will discuss contemporary issues and events as they arise. And, of course, while the curriculum will provide us with a foundation, our teachers are committed to personalizing their instruction in order to serve every student best and with an eye toward highlighting what makes our community unique and special.    

Full outlines of our curriculum are available upon request.  

Sat, December 16 2017 28 Kislev 5778