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Have Questions About Temple Beth-El’s Reinvigorated Religious & Hebrew School?

Q:  We are not yet members of Temple Beth-El, do we need to be in order to be part of the school?

A: Yes — all school families are part of the TBE community. To join, it’s a self-directed donation and we offer guidelines. If you want to be part of the community and access Jewish education, but finances are a hurdle, we will help. That’s what makes us a community. It’s a great feeling to be in Jewish life like this with clergy who can offer pastoral support, adult education classes, volunteer opportunities, a fun Facebook group, holiday and Shabbat celebrations and life cycle events from baby namings to B’nei mitzvahs, weddings and funerals. 

Q: What if my child will miss a lot because of sports and dance commitments, etc ?

A: We understand. Your child will not be made to feel they are behind, that the teacher is annoyed, that anyone questions your priorities. We welcome everyone with genuine open arms each session.

Q: What if my child has ADHD or another challenge?

A: We work so hard to make each session engaging, interesting, content rich and relevant. If it’s not working for your child, we will partner together and figure out why. Getting your child to come should not be stressful for either of you.

  • For our Sunday program, one hour is classroom learning and the other hour is divided between 2 electives each week to keep the lessons moving and the subjects varied.
  • Teachers are loving and supportive and will not tolerate bullying.
  • Our classrooms are kindness only zones because we’re trying to model Jewish values. If two hours is too much, we also offer a one hour Zoom class taught by a technology teacher who makes use of games and online tools the students look forward to.
  • We also offer a one hour Friday program;  you can pick up dinner after and take it home or stay for community dinner and Shabbat blessings and stories.
  • We also have a unique program called the Spirit Room which meets twice a month on Sundays for 45 minutes. It’s led by a Jewish OT and each session is hands on, fully participatory and made so each child only knows success. It’s a full Sunday School experience.

Q: What’s the schedule each Sunday?

A: One week the students have art and music as well as an hour of classroom time and the next week the students have modern/conversational Hebrew through games and movement with Jewish improv and theater games as the two Specials.

Q: What do the students learn in Sunday School and Hebrew School?

A: Each year the children learn about and experience the Jewish holidays in different ways. They may make a challah cover in both Kindergarten and 4th grade, but they will be pretty different and the students will have had different discussions and will have heard different stories about Shabbat in each grade. They learn the holiday symbols and traditions, the how to of each holidays and always the whys.

The children also learn about Jewish concepts of God, wonder and awe and start to develop language and questions around what they believe about what’s out there and within all of us. They learn about being a mensch, a kind, generous, grateful lifelong learner who tries to make the world a better place.

They learn about the cities and landmarks of Israel. They meet Israeli children through the internet and form connections with our Jewish home. They learn Jewish history as it relates to biblical days, the rabbinic period, modern Jewish history including the Holocaust, creating the modern state of Israel, and coming to America. They learn major pieces of Jewish literacy from synagogue and community connections to Jewish values and customs.

They read Torah and Bible stories and interpret them through different lenses. We want each person to feel that they belong at TBE, that they are part of a real community and that their presence matters. In Hebrew School they learn how to read Hebrew. They learn lots of prayer book vocabulary so that they know what they are hearing in Temple. They gain extensive experiences with Jewish prayer, both leading it and participating in it. We hope our prayers and songs are a source of familiarity, comfort, and inspiration for our young people. 

Q: How do you respond to children from interfaith homes who also celebrate Christmas and Easter with a parent and extended family?

A: We respond with total acceptance. We are grateful and do not take for granted the gift to the Jewish people the parent who isn’t Jewish has made by raising children with Judaism in their lives. We honor and respect each family. We believe that having additional holidays, foods, cultures and religious experiences can be a source of blessings for children. 

Q: What if our family isn’t traditional because we aren’t very religious, we don’t believe in God in a traditional sense, we are LGBTQIA+, we are single parents, blended families, neurodiverse or just want a specific thing out of religious and Hebrew School and b’nei mitzvah?

A: We can’t wait to meet you. We can’t wait to learn from you and with you. We can’t wait to grow because of you. We can’t wait to create a program that feels comfortable and meaningful to you.

Enrolled In Our Religious & Hebrew School?

Q: How does Temple Beth-El handle allergies? 

A: We have students with food allergies, and take this seriously. We will go over a plan with you in case of exposure. We do not allow the students to bring in food on Sundays. On Tuesdays, after school, students can bring a nut-free snack and or buy a personal pizza/carrot sticks which can be ordered through us from Sarpino’s. We avoid cooking and using food in class to be as inclusive as possible. 

Q: Who do I call if my child will be absent from classes?

A: Please call Rabbi Ari’s cell is (312) 550-5665.

Q: How do I pick up my child early? I know Temple Beth-El is a secure building. How do I notify the school of an early pick-up?

A: For security reasons, no child will be allowed to meet a parent outside when leaving early. Please come into the administrative office to sign your child out and their teacher will be contacted to release your child and meet you in the office.  

Q:  What if I don’t read Hebrew, can I still help my child with their learning and B’nei Mitzvah preparation?

A: Yes—the prayers can be found with recordings and transliteration so that you can help your child with pronunciation. We also offer adult Hebrew, if this is of interest to you. In addition to Hebrew reading skills, we also try to impart meaning. You can talk with your children about what you believe about God, the way the world works, why we pray, the themes of the prayers, etc. and this is incredibly powerful and valuable as you are our partners in Jewish education! 

Q:  Who do I speak with if there is a shift in our family or we have a death in the family?

A: Please be in touch with Rabbi Ari. We want to be supportive and help as much as we can. Information that is shared is confidential. 

Sun, April 2 2023 11 Nisan 5783