Letter from the Director

Congregation Beth Shalom Religious School


August 15, 2018

Welcome back to the school year. I hope everyone’s week has started out well.

Religious School will continue the same morning schedule as last year:

Grades 3-7 will start in the sanctuary with tefilah based music followed by classroom learning.
Grades preschool-2 will start in their classrooms and have music from 11:10 to 11:30.
These g
rades will all start classes in the farmhouse at 9:30.

Hebrew for grades 3-7 will be Sundays from 1:30-12:30 and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30

High School youth group will start on Sunday September 16 from 11:30-12:30. I want to meet with this group on that day to plan for the year. My plan is for me to meet with them so I can make sure there goals are met for the year. We will plan on the Crop Walk Sunday September 23 as a social action project. Last year was our most successful Crop Walk participation. Kelly Durante has  graciously accepted to continue the role of parent liaison for the youth group. Hopefully we will do two social actions projects and two social activities per semester along with topical student directed group discussions on other Sundays with an advisor or topic leader.

Junior youth group will be available for the 8th grade class on Sundays from 11:30-12:30 with similar goals as above. I hope there is a parent that may be interested to be the parent liaison.  Since junior NFTY is open for grades 6-8 with one event in the spring, I would like to plan one activity in the fall and one in the spring to include grades 6-8. The typical Sunday morning for grades 6 & 7 is Hebrew. The eighth grade class will have a significant role in the planning of the event.

The religious school curriculum is designed to be age appropriate for several grade levels. Some grades loop with another for a two year cycle. Which grades will be combined this year will be determined by enrollment numbers. I do know that grades 6&7 will be combined and preschool will not be combined. The ideal minimum number in a classroom is four. The on line curriculum will be updated after determining which grades are together.

The bagel program for snacks will continue this year with some modifications (included on the form).  Scott Joffe has kindly volunteered again to spear head having bagels on Sunday morning for snacks.  Parents will sign up and prepay for bagels for the school year. They will be fresh bagels from B&B every Sunday.  The form is attached and due on the first day of school.  If you
are not planning on purchasing bagels please send your child with a snack. 

The religious school is subsidized by the Congregation’s general fund and so it is necessary to be a member of the congregation or the grandparent can be the member for a student to attend the school.  The general fund subsidizes the religious school by about 50-60%. This is typical for congregations. Please send in your pledge forms before the first day of school.  You do not actually have to send in your pledge money at that time but if you can – great.  School fees have not been increased this year. There is a line on the  registration form if you need tuition assistance or if you wish to contribute for those who need assistance. Please be sure to fill out your forms. 

We live in a very digital world.  Our children and our teachers likely do not know of a world without cell phones.  I am asking everyone, teachers and students to put their phones on do not disturb mode during school hours. In the event of an emergency a second phone call will disrupt the do not disturb mode. Both buildings have been equipped with a Wi-Fi enabled television that can be used for teaching.  Thank you to the Jenkins family and Deb Kupferer for the donation to purchase the second television

As a reminder, the Religious School is designated as a supplemental school which means the Religious/Hebrew School accounts for just about 1-2% of our children’s awake time over a year. In that small amount of time, through regular attendance the outcome goals are to build a foundation of Jewish knowledge and together we nurture their Jewish identity. In our homes, each of us observes or practices being Jewish in our own way. The synagogue is our Jewish communal place of worship and study, where we celebrate Shabbat, holidays, and family life cycle events. The religious school covers a broad-spectrum Torah, tefilah, avodah and gimilut hasadim through the study of holidays, rituals, language, prayers, customs, history, ethics, values, relationships and Israel. At home, each family likely nurtures one or some of these more than others and together we raise Jewish children.

On our first day of school, Sunday August 26 starting at 9:30. A back to school social is planned to start at 12:00. Hebrew students will have Hebrew until that time. Pizza and ice cream will be served as we start the new year getting together as a community. Sisterhood will sponsor the ice cream and I will sponsor the pizza.

Please do not forget the garage sale next week.

I look forward to an exciting year.  Please contact me with any questions.

Debbie Kaplan
Congregation Beth Shalom
Religious School Director

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