Welcome to the Temple Beth Sholom Religious School! We are a warm and welcoming community, which attracts families from all over Orange County. We pride ourselves on the connections our Religious School and Youth Programs foster. We at TBS hold Jewish learning, worship, and community as central values. We take full advantage of our Southern California temple campus, frequently extending the walls of our classrooms to include our expansive outdoor spaces. Our teachers are capable educators, who delight in mixing formal and informal Jewish educational techniques to help bring each of our learners to Torah.
Through our Religious School and Family Learning Circle programs, TBS Families can choose between child- and family-based Jewish Studies instruction. Families with students in Grades 3-6 can also choose between classroom Hebrew instruction and private Hebrew tutoring through our Traditional Religious School and Hebrew Connection programs.
Our Traditional Religious School program offers a thoughtfully crafted and engaging curriculum for each of our grades. Our grade-level curricula are enhanced by all-school family holiday celebrations, mitzvah projects, and weekend retreats. All of our students participate in music and we have an optional junior choir elective. On Sunday mornings, all students engage in regular t’fillot (services), in which parents are invited to attend. On Tuesday afternoons, Religious School students in Grades 3-6 participate in tefillah and chuggim (special interest activities), including drama, technology, and art.
The Torah teaches us, “Teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). At Temple Beth Sholom, we believe that Jewish learning should be accented by laughter and filled with sweetness. We work with learners of all ages to help them build strong relationships with Jewish tradition, with Jewish community, and with God.
Students with Special Needs: Jewish heritage teaches that each of us is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, and that each of us is to be valued. Guided by this tradition, the Temple Beth Sholom Religious School will act with sensitivity and work to the best of its ability to provide a positive experience for every child. Accommodations and support, in collaboration with parents, will be implemented within our means and within the structure of our program on a case by case basis. Please call April Akiva, MAJE at 714-628-4620 to discuss these options.
Kindergarten – Grade 2
Our youngest students (Kindergarten – Grade 2) meet Sundays 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and have opportunities to experience Judaism in a warm and engaging communal atmosphere.
In our hands on, music filled, drama enriched, and art focused kindergarten class, our youngest learners are sure to find Jewish life exciting and engaging. In class, students are invited not only to learn about, but also to experience Jewish holidays, Bible stories, and Shabbat. During tefillot and enrichment periods, Kindergarteners will participate in a lively prayer service and be introduced to the Hebrew letters and important Hebrew words each week.
Our students continue to delight in the joys of Jewish holidays, rituals, and Bible stories. The year is also filled with a number of legacy projects. Students and parents will make keepsake Shabbat candlesticks, participate in a canned food drive & bake sale for Second Harvest, and create gift baskets for the Ronald McDonald House. During tefillot and enrichment periods, 1st graders will participate in a lively prayer service and be introduced to the Hebrew letters and important Hebrew words each week.
Our students are invited to explore all aspects of their synagogue. Highlights of the year include a visit and “Chat with the Rabbi” in Rabbi Cohen’s office, a tour of the sanctuary, a temple-wide scavenger hunt, and chances to get to know TBS community leaders. Second graders participate in fun-filled holiday celebrations, continue their study of Bible stories, and serve as buddies to our kindergarteners and first graders. During tefillot and enrichment periods, 2nd graders will participate in a lively prayer service and be introduced to the Hebrew letters and important Hebrew words each week.
Students in Grades 3-6 can either attend Traditional Religious School or the alternative Family Learning Circle-Hebrew Connection Program. Students in the Religious School meet twice weekly, Tuesdays 4:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. for Hebrew and Sundays 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., for Jewish Studies learning. Students in our alternative Family Learning Circle-Hebrew Connection meet on Sundays 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and are tutored in Hebrew once a week at a time and place of their convenience. Family Learning Circle parents and families also participate in Adult Education and Family Programs.
Our students begin the year by exploring the first book in the Torah, Genesis. We make our foundational text come alive through drama, art, and kinesthetic activities. In small learning communities, students are encouraged to ask questions and uncover new answers. Their conversations will continue into the second semester as the students engage in “God Talk.” Each session is based on a different fundamental question, beginning with “Why don’t we see or hear God today like they did in the Bible?”
Our students jump back into their Torah exploration in “Exodus and Homeland.” In this wildly creative curriculum, students feel themselves a part of the Exodus story and experience the joys and disappointments of life in the Land of Milk and Honey. In the second semester, students will fast forward in history to modern life in Israel. Together, they will explore Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, through our deeply experiential Israel curriculum.
Students will jump into Mitzvot and Jewish Living as they explore the values and rituals we hold dear to our lives. Students will explore ritual mitzvot such as lifecycle traditions, wrapping tefilin, kissing the mezuzah, and more. The class will also get into the shoes of the biblical prophets, who provided us with a tradition to seek out justice and pursue ethical mitzvot with passion.
In Jewish History: Space and Time, students will be invited into our “TBS Time Machine,” as they travel through Jewish space and time, visiting Jewish communities from antiquity to the present, in diverse places around the globe. Through this course, our students will gain an understanding of, and appreciation for our rich history as a people.
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Tuesday night is the ATID night for our 7th and 8th Graders, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. We are especially proud of our Temple Beth Sholom teen program, which has been thoughtfully designed to meet the needs and interests of this particular age group. Our classes are taught by our Rabbi, Cantor, Educator, Youth Director and other special guests, who have the opportunity to really get to know our teens on a personal level. One highlight of our ATID program is a twenty-minute pizza and socializing time, during which students eat, talk, and spend time together. We also have educational programming for teens in 9th-12th grades. See details about each grade’s learning schedule.
Students meet with Rabbi Cohen for B’nei Mitzvah Class either on select Shabbat (Saturday) and Sunday mornings throughout the first semester of their seventh grade year (see Schedule and Calendar for details). Together, they explore what it means to be a Jewish adult, tackling issues from keeping kosher to observing Shabbat. The B’nei Mitzvah class is enhanced by a series of family programs and a special TBS seventh grade retreat. Additionally, students take part in our TBS Teen Night, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., in a program called ATID (Future). During ATID students participate in a B’nei Mitzvah Hebrew Class and select from a variety of elective classes, including Conversational Hebrew, Guitar & Jewish Song Leading, Current Events, Cooking, Drama & Video, Art, and more.
In 8th grade, students continue their participation in our ATID/Adat Noar program on Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. During the first semester our 8th graders engage in a study of Comparative Judaism or Leadership (for Madrichim training). During the second semester, 8th graders engage in a Jewish values and identity curriculum, designed in conjunction with our local Bureau of Jewish Education. On Tuesday nights 8th graders participate in an elective each semester. Past electives for 8th graders have included Sacred Choices: Sexual Ethics for Jewish Teens, Leadership training, Jewish Cooking, Drama, Technology, Glee Club, and more. Included in the ATID/Adat Noar program and tuition is a special 8th Grade weekend retreat in Malibu, three community-wide youth events, and a family social action program.
There are two programs in which 9th Grade TBS students may participate. We have our own TBS 9th Grade program on select Sundays from 12:00-1:45 PM. 9th Graders will join our entire high school community for lunch and then continue learning within their own grade level with teachers including the clergy, educator, and more. On three Sundays each year the 9th grade students will participate in special off-campus field trips and events. 9th Graders also have the opportunity to join ninth graders from all over Orange County and Long Beach in the TALIT Program, a community-wide program sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education. TALIT Ninth Grade includes an opening day orientation, a series of three 9th-12th grade retreats, three Social Action Sundays, and a Siyyum graduation event. For more information, visit the Bureau of Jewish Education website (www.bjeoc.org)
In Confirmation, students return to us on select Sundays from 12:00 – 1:45 p.m. for lunch and learning with the TBS Clergy and Educator. Confirmation students have an opportunity to reflect on their own Jewish identities and confirm their commitment to Jewish life. Throughout the year, students will wrestle with foundational questions, such as: Who or what is God? How can Judaism guide my understandings on a modern, often controversial topics? How can I live an ethical life? Why and how do we pray? How can I affect change in the world? Along with the Confirmation class, students participate in a TBS Confirmation trip in Joshua Tree and lead the congregation in a Confirmation ceremony. The program also includes three Sunday events where we take our high school community off campus for special field trips and events.
Eleventh and Twelfth Grades
Post-Confirmation students gather on select Sundays from 12:00-1:45 p.m. for lunch and learning, and also includes three Sunday events where we take our high school community off campus for special field trips and events. The Post-Confirmation curriculum alternates each year between a study of Comparative Religions and an in-depth study of Israel and Israel activism. Post Confirmation prepares our students to navigate the world as young Jewish adults in college and beyond. Our Post Confirmation students also take an optional trip each year, to New York City or the Jewish South East Civil Rights Journey (In 2013, we are going to NYC!).