Our Religious School strives to create a love of Jewish learning that begins as a journey in a child’s earliest years. The goals of our Religious School are to have our children learn not only the facts and tangible subject matter, but also have the chance to explore values, identities and feelings. Learning is engaging, fun and meaningful with a staff of warm, dedicated and accomplished educators and volunteers. We combine the best of traditional teaching methods and innovative approaches to education. We strive to maintain a deep commitment to tradition while changing to the needs of our children and their families Community is paramount to the existence of our Religious School and we therefore encourage a partnership with our families. Come join us on our journey of lifelong learning!!
Kefiyada Museum Expo
Temple Etz Chaim of Franklin held their first Kefiyada Museum Expo, which displayed their Religious School students’ works. Take a look at the wonderful job they all did.
Religious School meets on Sundays from 9-11:30 am. Our classes are for children in grades Pre-K though Grade 7. Pirke Avot 1:2 states that “The world stands on three things: on Torah, on sacred service (Avodah-worship), and on acts of loving kindness (G’milut Chasadim).” At Temple Etz Chaim, our school strives to ensure that these three core components are integrated into all of our programs. Each of our students also participates in an age appropriate Tefillah (worship/prayer) service during Sunday mornings. This provides our students with an opportunity to use the prayers they have been learning in their classrooms as well as a chance to discuss the portion of the week with Rabbi Alpert.
Hebrew School meets on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm. The Hebrew curriculum, which encompasses grades 3-6, teaches and helps our students develop Hebrew-language skills through classroom instruction and activities and weekly Tefillah (worship) on Sundays. Students learn to read and write Hebrew, and study basic Hebrew grammar and the concept of roots and related vocabulary. They learn the meaning of key prayers in the Friday evening and Shabbat morning services, and to read and chant these prayers. Our program is designed to provide our students all the necessary skills needed to participate and lead us in worship.
Academy, Confirmation, and Post Confirmation, our groups of teens from Grades 8-12, meet once a week in a more informal discussion based format focusing on teen topics as a way of delving into the philosophies of Who am I, What does it mean to be a Jew and other important relevant issues . Our Confirmation students enjoy an in-depth program as they prepare to confirm what being Jewish means to them. They offer their insightful understanding after having had the opportunity to study with the Rabbi throughout the year. These programs provide wonderful opportunities for our teens to continue their Jewish education after seventh grade. The program meets on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm.
GAN ALEPH (Pre-K-Kindergarten-Grade 1)
The children will learn the concepts and traditions of our holidays. They will begin to delve into the classic bible stories and the moral lessons that apply to the stories that can be related to their lives. Students will also focus on “seeing” G-d’s presence through creations and understand the connection between performing acts of loving kindness and being created in G-d’s image (betzelem elohim).
KITAH BET (Grade 2)
Students continue to discover the wonders of our Bible stories along with an introduction to Israel. The children will enjoy “traveling” virtually through Israel and will learn about the connection we have to the land, people and culture focusing on both modern and ancient Israel. The children will also begin to learn their Hebrew letters. They will focus on the letters and vowels and quickly progress to the beginning stages of small word identification.
KITAH GIMMEL (Grade 3)
The focus on holidays takes the children on a more in-depth analysis of the cycle of our holidays and more contextual aspects of each of our celebrations of them. The children continue to learn about Israel and our link to our homeland. They will also concentrate on the order of the Bible stories from Creation through Moses and explore the moral messages of each. They will visualize how our ancestors lived and compare their more modern equivalents. The children are presented with their siddurim (prayer books) during a special service after having an opportunity to decorate covers for their prayer books during a “Siddur Cover Workshop”
KITAH DALET (Grade 4)
Our 4th graders participate in open and thoughtful discussions concerning their belief and relationship with God. Using stories from our traditions and textbooks highlighting the partnership with God, our children begin to explore ideas of God and the miracles and connections we can make with each other and God. Through lively discussions and games and group activities a further analysis of the Bible-including stories of Jonah, splitting of the Red Sea and the story of the Ten Commandments to name a few are highlighted during the year. Learning and comparing school life in Israel and important facts about our homeland create a deeper understanding for our children. Our children also discover what a mensch is and what it takes to be one. This allows the children a chance to think about situations and how we can take action.
KITAH HEY (Grade 5)
During the year the children focus on Jewish values like Sameach B’Chelko-personal satisfication, Hakarat Hatov (gratitude) and Shalom Bayit (family harmony). The students are able to delve into these concepts by looking at our ancient texts, interactive exercises and highlights from modern day people. The children will become more familiar with their personal family histories. A highlight in the class comes in the way of creating My Jewish Identity project. The focus during the year will also be in the use of their Tanakh and study in the Book of Genesis and Exodus. The children will study the role of the Torah as an “instruction guide” for life. The children also continue to see Israel as a culturally rich area bursting with scientific and innovative discoveries as well as providing the incredible link to our past.
KITAH VAV (Grade 6)
Our 6th grade children begin with studying the Jewish calendar and comparing it to the Gregorian calendar. They focus on when the Jewish holidays take place and they learn the Hebrew words for each month. The children also focus on parshiot (portions) of the Book of Leviticus which help provide in-depth discussions on the texts studies. They begin with Vayikra and are brought to life using plays as interpretive means to understanding the texts. The children also begin to study Jewish immigration to the United States. This includes the first immigrants and first synagogues of the United States. A highlight in class includes a book project which focuses on a few famous Jews. The small group analysis of someone well known allows the children to learn in a creative and unique way. As our children begin to focus on a major life cycle event, bringing back the spiritual importance of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is discussed and analyzed during the year with the book “Putting God on Your Guest List” An interview with a relative from another generation as well as discussion on mitzvot are important parts of the class. This analysis also highlights the connections they will have with the larger Jewish community.
KITAH ZAYIN (Grade 7)
Our 7th graders will focus on life cycle events and the positive Jewish values in their lives. They will learn about the practices, terms and ritual passages involved in marking these special times. From birth to death, the children will discuss and understand the concepts of how they live their lives in a Jewish contextual way. A mock wedding and an virtual tour of a Jewish cemetary allow for unique ways to have a deeper understanding of life cycle study. During the year the history of the Holocaust will also be discussed. The lessons will focus on both events and personalities that mark the Holocaust.