Temple Emanu-El Youth and Family Education Curriculum

Core Curriculum by Grade Level

Hebrew Program

Parallel Track for Grades 3, 4,and 5: Beyachad


Preschool         Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am

Our youngest students are introduced to Judaism and Jewish learning by listening to stories, singing songs, making and tasting holiday foods, touching and making art, meeting the beloved heroes of our heritage, learning about Hebrew—our special language-and sharing these experiences with new friends.

  • Judaica:  Olam Yehudi – My Jewish World
  • Torah:  Introduction to Core Genesis Narratives
  • Holidays:  Introduction to Jewish Holidays and Celebrations
  • Hebrew:  Recognizing Hebrew Letters and Sounds

Suggested resources for parents:

  • How to Raise a Jewish Child: A Practical Handbook for Family Life by Anita Diamant and Karen Kushner
  • Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
  • Because Nothing Looks Like God by Lawrence Kushner, Karen Kushner and Dawn Majewski

Kindergarten        Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am

Kindergarten is a year filled with joyful celebration, art, music, and games as the children discover significant times in Jewish life. We learn the meaning of and how to celebrate the holidays as we move through the calendar year.

  • Judaica:  Z’manim – Jewish Times and Seasons
  • Torah:  Continuation of Core Torah Narratives
  • Holidays:  Continuation of Jewish Holidays and Celebrations
  • Hebrew:  Alef Bet - The Hebrew Alphabet

Suggested resources for parents:

  • The Jewish Holidays by Michael Strassfeld
  • Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism by Stephen M. Wylen
  • How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L. Kugel
  • Biblical Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Grade 1        Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am OR Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 pm

Our students encounter the ceremonial and ritual objects that make the Temple a sacred place as we explore our own Temple Emanu-El. Students engage in conversations with our rabbis and cantor in their offices. Field trips include communal institutions such as the Jewish Community Library and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. In our Torah studies we discover the early narratives found in the book of Genesis: Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, and the Tower of Babel.

  • Judaica:  Kehilah – The Jewish Community
  • Torah:  The Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish People
  • Holidays: Continuation of Jewish Holidays and Celebrations
  • Hebrew: The Hebrew Alphabet – making sounds and basic words

Suggested resources for parents:

  • A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson
  • These are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life by Rabbi Arthur Green
  • Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area by Fred Rosenbaum
  • Visions of Reform: Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849-1999 by Fred Rosenbaum
  • The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter

Grade 2         Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am OR Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 pm

Our second grade students extend their encounter with the book of Genesis: they meet Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and Joseph and his brothers. Students explore the idea of weekly Torah readings and the importance of Torah in our lives. Our students also discover the meaning and importance of Jewish values and ethics through learning about the specific mitzvot of feeding the hungry, tzedakah, visiting the sick and caring for the earth.

  • Judaica:  Mitzvot - Commandments
  • Torah:  Deepening our Understanding of Core Genesis Narratives
  • Holidays:  Continuation of Jewish Holidays and Celebrations
  • Hebrew:  Basic Hebrew Phonetics and Reading

Suggested resources for parents:

  • The Mitzvot by Abraham Chill
  • Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel by Nahum Sarna
  • The Beginning of Desire: Reflection on Genesis by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
  • Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible – Genesis by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
  • Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Tradition, Customs and Values for Today’s Families by Anita Diamant
  • A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism by Rabbi David Hartman

Grade 3        Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am OR Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 pm OR Beyachad, (see below)

Our third grade core curriculum revolves around the Jewish concept of God.  As our students mature, we challenge them to consider the various ideas for the identity of God as posed by Jewish tradition.  Most of all, we seek to expand the idea of God beyond the monolithic portrayal as a bearded man on a cloud.  We further explore the identity of God by learning about God’s dynamic relationship with the Jewish people as given in the latter sections of the Torah, from Exodus through Deuteronomy.  Ultimately, our students begin their personal search for knowledge of God and a life rooted in Jewish spirituality.

While continuing to learn about all Jewish holidays, we pay special attention to the shalosh regalim – the three traditional pilgrimage holidays of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.  In ancient days, our people would travel to Jerusalem to bring their first offerings to God and renew their relationship with the divine.  We will explore these holidays within the context of our modern theology.  Additionally, our students move through a systematic reading skills program designed to enable them to read Hebrew with confidence and fluency.

  • Judaica:  HaShem - God
  • Torah:  The Narratives of Exodus through Deuteronomy
  • Holidays:  All Holidays with Special Focus on Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot
  • Hebrew:  Hebrew reading and basic liturgy

Suggested resources for parents:

  • Where Does God Live? Questions and Answers for Parents and Children by Rabbi Marc Gellman, Monsignor Thomas Hartman and William Zdinak
  • When Children ask about God: A Guide for Parents Who Don't Always Have All the Answers by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
  • Exploring Exodus by Nahum Sarna
  • The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
  • Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible – Exodus by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
  • Great Jewish Thinkers: Their Lives and Work by Naomi E. Pasachoff
  • A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices Within Judaism by Rabbi David Hartman

Grade 4     Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am OR Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 pm OR Beyachad, (see below)

Our students tour the Land of Israel, meeting her people, tasting her foods, singing her songs, and discussing her challenges, potentials, gifts, hopes, and opportunities.  They will explore the amazing social experiment of bringing together a people separated for two millennia by geography, language and custom but united through a common peoplehood.  Torah studies will take our students into the books of the early prophets, beginning with the Israelites being led into the land of Israel by Joshua in around 1300 BCE.  From there, they will learn about Deborah, Kings Saul, David and Solomon and the prophet Elisha and their exploits within Eretz Yisrael as they defined the nation’s borders and history.     

  • Judaica:  Yisrael - Israel
  • Torah:  The Early Prophets (Joshua through Kings)
  • Holidays:  High Holidays, Tu B’Shevat (connected to nature in Israel), Purim (the diasporic existence which led to the hope for sovereignty)
  • Hebrew:  See Weekday Torah, Below

Suggested resources for parents:

  • Exodus by Leon Uris
  • From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman
  • The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz
  • The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart
  • Startup Nation by Dan Senor
  • Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler
  • A Tale of Light and Darkness by Amos Oz
  • The Life of David by Robert Pinsky

Hebrew Program - Grade 4

Students in grade 4 enroll in an additional day of Weekday Torah studies where they develop Hebrew reading skills in preparation for their B’nei Mitzvah.  Our fourth grade Hebrew curriculum prepares our students for Hebrew reading and comprehension while delving into basic segments of our liturgy.

Grade 5     Sunday 9:00 - 11:45 am OR Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 pm OR Beyachad, (see below)

5th grade students explore the history of the prophetic period, from roughly 1000 through 586 BCE, when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were forced into Babylonian exile.  This history is covered in the later books of Prophets, which are often read as haftarot on Shabbat morning.  Therefore, the curriculum prepares our students towards B’nei Mitzvah in terms of perspective, history and liturgy.  Here, our students will meet models of social justice and righteousness such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  Together we will discuss the balance between kevah (routine) and kavanah (intention), and learn to approach the world with awe and wonder.  

  • Judaica:  Tzedek and Kavanah – Prophetic calls for Righteousness and Intention
  • Torah:  The Later Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi)
  • Holidays:  Channukah, High Holidays, Tishah B'Av
  • Hebrew:  See Weekday Torah, Below

Suggested resources for parents:

  • The Prophets by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • The Hebrew Prophets: Selections Annotated & Explained by Rami M. Shapiro and Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi
  • God in Search of Man by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • God Was in This Place & I Did Not Know It: Finding Self, Spirituality, and Ultimate Meaning by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
  • The JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot by Michael Fishbane

Hebrew Program - Grade 5

Students will work in small classes centers on specific pieces of liturgy.  When reading and comprehension of a given prayer are mastered, the students will move on to the next prayer. In addition, our 5th and 6th grade Weekday Torah program will focus specifically on B’nei Mitzvah liturgy as we seek to establish a core fluency in the basic Hebrew which will allow our students to explore Jewish prayer as they mature.    By the end of the year, all 5th graders are expected to demonstrate a mastery of basic Hebrew reading and fluency in the prayers of Barchu, Sh’ma, Ve’ahavta and the Torah blessings.

All B’nei Mitzvah prayers, in Hebrew and English, with mp3 recordings, may be found at http://www.emanuelsf.org/mechina

Grade 6     4 Shabbaton Weekends at Camp Newman 

We are excited to introduce an entirely new approach to the sixth grade year of Youth and Family Education. Our first goal is to lessen the number of times per week in which our B’nei Mitzvah students are expected in the building. Our second is to bring the entire sixth grade class together in order to create community and a sense of connection before the individual Bar and Bat Mitzvah studies begin. Therefore, we are moving to a three-pronged approach to the sixth grade year:
 
Quarterly – 6th graders are invited to attend four weekend Shabbaton retreats at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa. These retreats will include opportunities for study, worship, community building and reflection. We will offer bus pickup on Friday afternoons both at Temple Emanu-El and Mill Valley and will return the students to both locations by Sunday early afternoon.  Participation in at least three of these weekends is mandatory.
October 9-11             November 13-15 *in conjunction with Newman's Fall Camp              April 8-10
Feb 12-15 *this is a Camp Newman run weekend and can be a make up for missing one of the TEE Shabbatons above but is not covered by YFE tuition     

Monthly – As our students and families prepare for B’nei Mitzvah, it is crucial that they understand Jewish prayer so that they will be able to act as shichei tzibur – leaders of worship in the synagogue.  “Shabbat Exchange” will move to monthly Shabbat morning family learning opportunities for the entire grade. Parents and students will come together to meet one another and to learn about the structure of the Shabbat morning liturgy with members of our clergy team. Following the one hour class, our families are then encouraged to attend our 10:30am Shabbat Morning service, so they may become comfortable with our style of worship here at Emanu-El.

6th Grade Shabbat Exchange Dates : Saturday 9:15 – 10:15 am
Oct 24                      Jan 23                    Apr 30
Nov 7                       Feb 27                 
Dec 5                       Mar 12               

Weekly – Hebrew Program will continue as currently structured.
Given our sixth grade students’ B’nei Mitzvah preparation, including meetings with Hebrew Reading Coaches, Guide Rabbis and Cantors, we feel as though this streamlined approach will prove to be less stressful for our students (and the parents who drive them!). At the same time, by bringing the entire grade together at regular intervals, we hope to instill a sense of belonging and camaraderie for our students as they go through this meaningful process.

Hebrew Program - Grade 6

Students will work in small classes centers on specific pieces of liturgy.  When reading and comprehension of a given prayer are mastered, the students will move on to the next prayer. In addition, our 5th and 6th grade Weekday Torah program will focus specifically on B’nei Mitzvah liturgy as we seek to establish a core fluency in the basic Hebrew which will allow our students to explore Jewish prayer as they mature.  By the end of the year, all 6th graders are expected to demonstrate a mastery of basic Hebrew reading and fluency in the Haftarah blessings, the Avot Ve’Imahot and Gevurot as well as the Friday evening Kiddush.  Students who complete all assignments before the end of the year are encouraged to learn additional liturgy which they may then lead at their B’nei Mitzvah as well.

Grades 3, 4, and 5    BEYACHAD   (This class meets 15 total times over the year.)

12 Sunday mornings, 9 – 11:45 am
Sept 20                      Nov 1               Jan 10, 24               Mar 13         
Oct 4, 18                    Dec 6               Feb 7, 28                Apr 3, 17

1 Saturday Evening, 6:30 – 8:30 pm:     Nov 7
1 Friday Evening, 6:00-8:00 pm: Jan 29
1 Saturday Evening, 4:00 – 6:00 pm:    Apr 30
 
The Beyachad (together) program allows parents and children in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades to learn as a family.  While fewer sessions are scheduled, families come together for both learning and periodic communal events such as Shabbat experiences, Havdallah and movie nights. In all, the program aims to empower parents to acts as their children’s primary educators through a shared learning experience.  At times parents and children study side by side; at other times they will separate and learn at their appropriate levels.  The Beyachad program replaces the core 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade curriculum (Sunday/Wednesday) Program. 

 Beyachad families attend opening Tefilah in the Martin Meyer Sanctuary with families enrolled in the core program.The program will end in time for families to pick up younger siblings in the Martin Meyer Sanctuary. Therefore, families may enroll siblings in different programs.  The Beyachad program features a distinct theme each year.  
In 2015 – 2016, we will study 350 years of Jewish American life with a particular focus on Bay Area Jewish history. In 2014 – 2015, we studied Israel. 2013-14 guided Beyachad families through Eilu Devarim; Jewish Values in Our Lives. 

Beyachad is in place of the standard 3rd, 4th or 5th grade program. However, students are still expected to enroll in Weekday Hebrew in order to prepare for their B’nei Mitzvah. If you have any further questions regarding Beyachad, please contact Heather Erez at herez@emanuelsf.org.


Contact

© 2012 Congregation Emanu-El 2 Lake Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: (415) 751-2535
Fax: (415) 751-2511
mail@emanuelsf.org