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Religious School

Beth Israel Religious School: Experience the Joy of Jewish Community

Our Philosophy

It can seem like there is a lot to know in order to be a Jew; Judaism is a religion, a people, and a shared set of cultural touchstones. Feeling a sense of ownership of one’s Jewish identity begins by finding meaning, purpose, and joy within these paths to Jewish identity.

Beth Israel Religious School (BIRS) aims to guide students so they can have the skills necessary to understand and participate in religious observances and rituals; provide ample opportunities to build a joyful community; and explore and connect with Jewish cultures.

Our goal is to enable students to connect with the world through their own Jewish lens. At BIRS, students will study Jewish texts and traditions for relevance and meaning, learn to understand and lead holiday rituals, read (decode) Hebrew, and actively and meaningfully participate in religious services.

Our youngest students, ages 2-4, are invited to join our Gan Katan. This class is designed for our young learners to participate in class with a grown up. Class meets on BIRS Sundays from 10am-11am and includes lots of singing, stories and crafts.  

Elementary school students learn Torah stories, encounter Jewish life-cycle events, participate in tefillot (prayers) services, sing songs, learn to decode Hebrew, study about Middot (Jewish values), celebrate holidays, and create meaningful Jewish friendships.

Our 6th and 7th grade students will work on honing their Hebrew decoding skills in preparation for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. In these grades, students will be assigned to Hebrew groups based on their level. They will practice tefillot (prayers) with the goal of participating in or leading a Saturday morning service, prepare for their bar/bat mitzvah journey with our Moving Traditions coursework, study Antisemitism and the Holocaust, learn about Israel, and discuss Jewish life cycle events. 

Our 8th-12th graders have choices. They can join our high school program that focuses on issues that teens are dealing with and looking at them through a Jewish lens. There is some text study, chevruta (small group) work, and a lot of open discussion. They can also opt to join the Madrichim (guide) program, where they will learn about teaching others and being role models. Madrichim will participate in monthly learning opportunities that focus on leadership skills, how students learn, and what it means to be a role model.

At BIRS, we learn through doing: our calendar includes Family Mitzvah Day, holiday family celebrations, services, and dinners. Our mission is to foster joyful, proud, Jewishly-knowledgeable kids.

For more information about Beth Israel Religious School, please contact Heather Gale at hgale@bethisrael-aa.org.

Thu, December 1 2022 7 Kislev 5783