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PSJC Hebrew School

Park Slope Jewish Center (PSJC) is a Conservative, egalitarian synagogue in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. We have a strong commitment to Jewish learning, tradition, and social justice and pride ourselves on inclusiveness by welcoming Jews of all backgrounds and family structures. Our Hebrew School similarly provides a warm, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for students in pre-Kindergarten through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. 

Our mission is to instill in our children a positive Jewish identity, a connection to the PSJC community and to k’lal Yisrael (the Jewish people), and to provide our children with a strong grounding in Jewish literacy through knowledge of bible, holidays, prayer, history, values and the Hebrew language. It is our hope that once the children have become B’nai Mitzvah they will continue with their Jewish education and their involvement in PSJC.  Our students also have the opportunity to return as Teachers’ Assistants through the Hebrew School’s Madrichim Jewish Leadership program, as well as to continue their learning at Teen Torah on Shabbat. The Gesher program, for 8th - 10th graders, allows students to explore Jewish identity and social justice issues in a relaxed environment with their peers over a pizza dinner.

PSJC's Hebrew School is open to all children of PSJC members, including interfaith families. In Conservative Jewish practice, children are considered Jewish if their birth mother is Jewish or if they have had a halakhic conversion. PSJC's Hebrew School welcomes children who do not meet these criteria, though families will need to consult with our rabbi by the time their children enter fifth grade in order to discuss their children's eligibility for Bar/Bat Mitzvah at PSJC.

We try to accommodate children with special needs whenever possible. We urge families with children who have special needs to discuss their individual child's accommodations with our principal and our inclusion committee as part of enrolling in the program.

PJSC encourages families to enroll their children at Kindergarten age, but admits children in subsequent grades.  Students enrolling in the third grade must be able to identify the letters of the Aleph-Bet and basic vowels. Parents may be asked to provide a few hours of private tutoring in order to catch a student up with his/her class if enrolling in the third grade and beyond. Our goal is to work with parents to help their newcomer children to obtain the necessary skills to keep up with the class without hindering the growth of those students previously enrolled. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please email our Director of Youth Education and Family Programming at aileen.heiman@psjc.org or contact the synagogue office at 718-768-1453 x102. We hope you and your children will join us for a meaningful and engaging Jewish education.

Download the 2017-2018

Hebrew School Calendar

 

OUR CURRICULUM

Download our Curriculum Overview Document here for a sense of the topics covered in each grade level. Note, this document is only an overview of what is taught in our program, and does not necessarily reflect special projects, programs, and adaptations in a particular year.

Our curriculum is divided into 6 general areas of study: Ivrit (Hebrew Language), Tefillah (prayer), History & CultureTraditions & RitualText, and Ethics & Mitzvot. In kindergarten through second grade our students are provided a foundation in each of these areas of study. Beginning in third grade the Judaics portion of the curriculum in each grade examines Jewish identity and practice through a specific curricular lens.  For example, the third grade theme is "family," which means that holiday study focuses on home ritual and personal celebrations, and Torah study focuses on the major families’ stories in the Torah. The theme for fifth graders is "strangers in a strange land." History lessons, therefore, center on the exile and Diaspora experience, and biblical study focuses on the experience of being a stranger (e.g., Joseph in Egypt). Through this theme-oriented approach, teachers can revisit central subjects, such as recurring holidays, without repeating the same lesson from year to year.

Our teachers make learning come alive through creative use of drama, arts and music, as well as through the group celebration of the holidays. We also engage our children and their families in Mitzvah projects, such as visiting local soup kitchens, working with PSJC synagogue committees,  and the PSJC's annual Tzedakah Fair. Our program involves the whole family in the learning experience. We invite families to participate in school programs and also encourage children, with their families, to participate in PSJC-wide programming. Hebrew School children and their families also have a special role in designated children's Shabbat programs. Jewish education at PSJC is far beyond the walls of our Hebrew School!

Students in 3rd - 6th grade have the option to participate in our Havurat Shabbat program, in place of Sunday Hebrew School. These students participate in multi-age classes on Shabbat mornings and play a leadership role in our Junior Congregation service. The curriculum for these classes centers on living Jewish values. Once a month families who are enrolled in Havurat Shabbat attend Family Torah, our interactive parsha study program prior to Shabbat Kulanu, an all-ages family service. Families who choose to enroll in Havurat Shabbat are also encouraged to create additional opportunities for parents and students to join together in other Shabbat celebrations, such has hosting each other for Shabbat meals or planning picnics in the park. 

Havurat Shabbat (Shabbat School) Option for 3rd - 6th GRADE

**The Shabbat School option is dependent upon registration numbers. 

All students in grades 3 - 6 attend PSJC Hebrew School on Wednesdays, 4:00PM - 6:00PM. The Havurat Shabbat program gives families the option to enroll in a specialized Shabbat morning program, Saturdays, 9:30AM - 12:30PM, in place of the Sunday morning class. The Shabbat morning classes are multi-grade level and follow a values and text curriculum that is different from the regular PSJC Hebrew School Judaics curriculum.

The program was created in response to families' desire to have more opportunities to learn and celebrate Shabbat together. Due to this emphasis on community and family education, the Shabbat School option has additional requirements beyond the regular Hebrew School obligations. We consider these opportunities to build community, both within the Shabbat School and wider PSJC community. These requirements include: regular attendance at Family Torah (12 sessions per year), one parent volunteering as an usher (downstairs or upstairs) twice a year, and completion of a grade-level project as a family. We also encourage parents to participate in Shabbat morning services with the congregation, attend Parshat HaShavuah with our rabbinic intern, and to foster community building among the class with Shabbat meals and picnics.

The Shabbat morning program includes both a shortened Hebrew school class, required participation in Junior Congregation, and participation in leading the concluding prayers of the main service when time allows. It is important to note that the curriculum shifts for students participating in the Shabbat option and those families with specific concerns or questions should contact Aileen at aileen.heiman@psjc.org.

6th and 7th Grade Shaarei Mitzvah Program

In the months prior to Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students and their families will participate in Shaarei Mitzvah (pre-B’nai Mitzvah program) to help develop the skills necessary for participation in the service and to discuss issues around becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah with peers. These programs include Shabbat meals, movie nights, family values discussions, and guest speakers. Students enrolled in the PSJC Hebrew School will not have normal class on weekends when the Shaarei Mitzvah program has met over Shabbat. Students in the 7th grade participate in monthly field trips both as part of Hebrew School and the Shaarei Mitzvah program.

HEBREW AT PSJC HEBREW SCHOOL

We recognize that there are realistic challenges to fully immersing our students in the Hebrew language with a limited number of classroom hours. We have developed a curriculum framework that allows us to integrate Hebrew into a variety of areas of study. Our curriculum does not focus on Modern Hebrew, but rather it is our goal that our students will develop a foundation in the sounds of Hebrew and a basic Jewish life vocabulary. 

Tefillah 

 

Tefillah (prayer / communal worship) is at the core of our Hebrew Curriculum.  We want our children to value the experience of Jewish prayer and language, as well as to be able to participate in Tefillah at PSJC and in Jewish communities around the world.  While Tefillah is only one of the ways in which Jews celebrate Shabbat and holidays, the language of the siddur is a powerful connection with K’lal Yisrael (the worldwide Jewish community) and in the life of a synagogue. 
Jewish Life Vocabulary One of the important ways that we connect to the Hebrew language is through key Hebrew and Yiddish words and phrases that are part of contemporary Jewish life.  The curriculum will use and explore Hebrew terms (such as shalom, mazal tov, tikkun olam, yasher koach, tzedakah, and more) and be introduced thematically by grade This Jewish Life Vocabulary will also include terms used within the classroom and synagogue consistently, integrating Hebrew grammar lessons (such as roots and prefixes) with Judaic studies.  It is our goal that we will develop a PSJC Hebrew School Jewish Life Glossary for the home.  
Hebrew through Movement “Hebrew through Movement” is a language acquisition strategy in which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew instructions.  It starts by laying a foundation of spoken Hebrew, and builds toward the goal of making the prayers in our siddur, as well as synagogue and Jewish vocabulary, more easily accessible within a limited learning time.  We will begin using Hebrew through Movement in the younger grades, to build a strong foundation for Hebrew language acquisition.
Modern Hebrew Though Modern Hebrew vocabulary and grammar is not the primary focus of the PSJC Hebrew Curriculum, it is our hope that through use of phrases in the classroom; Hebrew through Movement activities; regular Hebrew games; Modern Hebrew chugim/interest groups; and supplemental activities, students will develop a foundation in Modern Hebrew that can be built upon in later years.
 
 

Who's Who at the PSJC Hebrew School

 

Who's Who at the PSJC Hebrew School

Aileen Heiman                         Director of Youth Education & Family Programming

 

Rabbi Carie Carter                            Park Slope Jewish Center Rabbi

 

 

Wed, November 22 2017 4 Kislev 5778