The Beit Sefer program is committed to developing a love of Judaism in every child. In addition to developing positive Jewish identities, we teach children to appreciate and share their blessings (tzedakah) and contribute to their community (mitzvot). The program is a cooperative venture, creating a community of learners that includes students, parents and the congregation. Our dynamic Reconstructionist educational approach affirms the evolving nature of the Jewish people and the diversity of our thoughts and deeds. Using a modified CHAI and Mitkadem curriculum, students learn to connect Torah, avodah and g’milut chasadim with Hebrew language and Jewish thought. Because children learn through doing, experiential education is very important. Students learn through opportunities to participate in services and tikkun olam projects as well as in a classroom setting.
Based on the Tree of Life, Beit Sefer is divided into cohort groups beginning with the Shorashim (roots). Shorashim is available to children who are at least 3 1/2 years old and potty trained by September 1. Shorashim will meet twice monthly on Sunday mornings and are invited to the Tot Shabbat or Family Shabbat services as well as family education events. This allows families to tailor participation to the needs and adaptability of their children.
Geza’im (trunks) is the cohort group for first and second grade. This group begins Sunday Hebrew instruction with the introduction of Hebrew Through Movement. Meeting on Sunday mornings, this group is also invited to attend either the Tot Shabbat or Family Shabbat services.
Anafim (branches) is the cohort group for third and fourth graders. Meeting on both Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, this group will also attend the Family Shabbat services and will have occasional events like minicamps and shul-ins.
Alim (leaves) is the fifth through seventh grade cohort group. This group focuses on what it means to be an adult Jew, looking at everything from tzedakah, what it means to be a part of a community and specifically the meaning behind the prayers and rituals associated with bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. Also meeting twice a week, Sunday and Wednesday, they will help lead the Family Shabbat services and have youth group activities similar to those of the TBH teens. Students in seventh grade who are training for bar/bar mitzvah will typically receive their training during these meeting times.
Hebrew language instruction is woven into both Sunday and Wednesday classes. Both conversational and prayer book Hebrew is taught. Students begin learning Hebrew through commonly used words in Shorashim and begin with Hebrew Through Movement instruction in Geza’im. Reading begins in Anafim through a combination of computer and book driven lessons. Students learn in small groups through a combination of games, direct instruction and practice exercises. Anafim and Alim students take turns leading prayers in a Wednesday afternoon ma’ariv service and Alim members will help lead family Shabbat services.