Our religious school’s mission is to provide our students with a warm environment and a comprehensive Jewish education. We have programming for children from Pre-Kindergarten through the Tenth Grade. The school offers a curriculum that stresses a strong foundation in Jewish history, Israel, observance of Jewish rituals, customs, ceremonies, and Modern Hebrew as well as Hebrew prayer skills that enable them to be comfortable with the Conservative prayer book.
The school is open on Sunday mornings for Pre-K to Tenth Grade. Children from the Third to Seventh Grades also attend an extra Hebrew class on Wednesdays from 5:30-7:00pm. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged. It is only with the parents’ help, participation and encouragement that our children will embrace our teachings with joy.
Using drama, story telling, crafts, and songs, children in the primary grades (Pre-K to 2nd Grade) are introduced to Torah stories, Israel and Mitzvot. They experience the classroom as a model Jewish home where they give Tzedakah, celebrate Shabbat, and discover the rituals and customs of our Jewish holidays. They learn about the synagogue by visiting the sanctuary, dressing the Torah, and participating in children’s services. In a playful, entertaining setting, they begin developing a basic Hebrew vocabulary while learning the Alef Bet. When they get to Second Grade, they begin reading and writing basic words in Hebrew.
In the middle grades (3rd to 7th grades), our students learn about Jewish wisdom in action. They connect the Jewish values they discover through stories and biblical texts to their daily life, and they understand the role they can play in the community. They not only celebrate the holidays in the classroom, but understand their meaning and learn the main prayers. They are introduced to the ceremonies surrounding life cycle events such as Brit Milah, Naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Weddings and Funerals.
They travel through time to discover the secrets of Jewish history from Abraham to the present time, in Israel and the Diaspora. They learn about significant Jews throughout the generations and explore which of these “heroes” can serve as role models. By the Seventh Grade, our students know more about our past so that they can better understand our present.
In Hebrew, they progress with more reading and writing skills and expanding their vocabulary as they discover Modern Hebrew stories. The focus is on being comfortable with the Conservative prayer book. Our teachers also try to interject modern conversation skills wherever they can. Shaar Hashalom prides itself on our children who are essentially able to LEAD Shabbat services by the end of the Seventh Grade. We have an excellent Bar/Bat Mitzvah program with months of one-to-one instruction that is geared towards the child’s skill level. Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Shaar Hashalom is a very special community event as the whole congregation is invited to witness and celebrate each child’s entrance into Jewish adulthood at our Shabbat services.
Our Pre-Confirmation and Confirmation programs (8th to 10th Grades) are very exciting for the students as they delve much deeper into Jewish issues and finding their place in the world using Judaism as their springboard. Subjects such as ethics, mitzvot (commandments), tikkun olam (repairing the world), social action, the Holocaust, Jews around the world, Israel, the Middle East, responding to missionaries, and life cycle events are all explored in a deeper way to give our students a solid foundation on the meaning of being Jewish and developing a personal Jewish identity. The last year, Tenth Grade, is spent with the rabbi as their teacher and many subjects are explored such as the afterlife, abortion, medical research, euthanasia, and anything about which the children have questions. The school year culminates in a lovely Confirmation service led by the students.
We also have an active Education committee consisting of parent volunteers who help to support the school, offer assistance with the special programs that are held throughout the year, problem-solve issues that may arise, and help to advise the Education director. We try to offer as much family involvement as we are able, and hold special events such as seders and a huge Purim carnival. The congregation Men’s Club and Sisterhood also work to support the school programs as everyone recognizes that our future lies in our children. Shaar Hashalom has a wonderful welcoming warm attitude towards our children, and we hope you will join us.