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Sunday School and Curriculum

“When your children ask you, 'How did this come to pass? Why is today so much better than long ago?' You can tell them, 'It was the power of people that changed the world.'"    — Rabbi Adam Chalom

Our Sunday School encourages our children to value their Jewish identity and to decide for themselves. It challenges them to think critically about ethics, values and other life issues.

Cultural Jewish literacy, independent thinking, and personal values are our core objectives. 

Families can ‘try out’ our Sunday School by visiting their grade’s class for the day. There is no expectation of a commitment by coming to this program.  We also welcome non-member families with children of all ages to join us at our Sunday School holiday and cultural celebrations.

 

 

Preschool Jewish Discovery Class

Teacher: Lynn Miller

Once a month, children ages 2-6 years old (with a grown-up) enjoy hands-on activities, arts and crafts projects, free play and music — all with a fun Jewish theme. Free and open to everyone - both members and nonmembers. Younger siblings welcome.

Weekly Sunday School

Note: Classes with multiple grade levels rotate between A and B curricula every other year. 

Kindergarten/1st/2nd Grades

Teacher: Laura Burk

A: My Humanistic Judaism

Students learn about Jewish holidays, Shabbat and the basic principles of Humanistic Judaism through stories, discussion, games and craft projects. Throughout the year, they assemble their art projects into booklets on Humanistic Judaism.

B: The Jewish Year: Holidays, Literature, and Shabbat

Students continue to study Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Passover, Yom Ha’atzmaut) and Shabbat using hands-on activities and a variety of media. They also learn about various types of Jewish literature, including the Bible and folk tales. 

 

3rd/4th/5th Grades

Teacher: Karen Jackson

A: Heroes and Choices

Students explore many heroes — from American history, Jewish history, the Bible, comic books, pop culture, and everyday life. The class decides what makes a hero? What makes a superhero? Does a hero have to be perfect? This curriculum also takes students through a comparative study of Judaism and how Humanistic Judaism is both similar to and different from other branches of Judaism.

B: Coming to America

Students begin the year studying shtetl life in eastern Europe during the late 19th century and their own family histories. Students follow the immigrant experience through the voyage to America, processing at Ellis Island, and Jewish communities in the United States. A highlight of the year is the Family Heirloom Project, in which students select heirlooms from their own families and research their histories.

 

6th/7th Grades

Teacher: Irene Chase

A:  American Jewish History and Israel 

The first semester covers the history of Jews in America from the early pre-colonial period to modern times, focusing on how Jews have influenced America, and how America has transformed Jews and Judaism. 

The second semester focuses on the land of Israel, the evolution of Zionism, and the establishment of the state of Israel, including discussions of Israel today.  

B: Ethical Jewish Consciousness and Morality: Dilemmas Relating to the Holocaust 

This class focuses on Jewish history from the Enlightenment (circa 1750) through the aftermath of the Holocaust. Throughout the year, students discuss how political and social decisions affect quality of life, the importance of community, the ethical and unethical uses of power, personal responsibility, and the impact of the Holocaust on society. A field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum is planned for the spring.

 

8th/9th/10th Grades (Confirmation Class)

Teachers:  David Hirsch and Rachel Samlan

Comparative Judaism and Comparative Religion

Over a two-year period, students explore how various religions attempt to answer the big questions of life, while they develop their own personal philosophies and codes of ethics. Field trips throughout the year to various religious institutions are critical elements of the class. Both 8th and 9th graders participate in the spring Confirmation service, with graduating students preparing more in-depth presentations.

Individual Hebrew Tutoring

Teacher: Mara Heichman

Our Hebrew instruction balances the need for B Mitzvah Hebrew reading skills with understanding Hebrew as a modern, living language. In 5th grade, our students begin their Hebrew learning with one-on-one tutoring to become competent in reading letters, vowels, and basic words. In preparation for their B Mitzvah in 7th grade (or later), students will meet one-on-one for tutoring in their Torah portion or other selected Hebrew reading.   

B Mitzvah Prep Class

Teacher: Rabbi Adam Chalom

In Mitzvah Prep Class in 6th grade, students master simple Hebrew conversations, grammar, and vocabulary, as well as songs sung in Israel and at Kol Hadash. They also explore comparative Judaism and Humanistic Jewish philosophy in preparation for their 7th grade year, where many will be visiting other Jewish congregations for classmates’ celebrations.

Read more about our B Mitzvah program in our Kol Hadash B Mitzvah Guide.

Sat, September 25 2021 19 Tishrei 5782