The Religious School has
Mission Statement and School Philosophy
At Temple Beth Am Religious School, students will develop a strong and meaningful Jewish identity that will give them a foundation for their adult Jewish lives. They will develop a connection to K’lal Yisrael—the Jewish community--in their families, in the temple, in the United States, in Israel, and wherever Jews live.
The faculty of the school, the school committee, the rabbi, the cantor and the parents will work in partnership to create a positive educational experience that will foster this development.
We recognize that Jewish identity is only strong and meaningful when it is grounded in Jewish knowledge and values.
Pirkei Avot teaches that the world stands on three things—Torah, Worship and Acts of Loving Kindness. The religious school strives to help students develop a sense of Jewish selfhood that also rests on these three core values.
Torah encompasses all of the knowledge and learning of our Jewish tradition. We strive to help students to find meaning in their own lives through their study of sacred texts, our history, and the teachings of our sages.
Worship encompasses our encounter with God—our individual experience of the Divine, our communal
Gemilut Chasadim, acts of loving kindness, encompasses all of our efforts to bring our Jewish values to our everyday life. Students will study the concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and will have ongoing opportunities to engage in Tikkun Olam and acts of kindness, as individuals and as a school community. Students will develop an understanding of the mitzvot, the commandments, and will strive to live the values that the Torah imparts to us.
from the director of education
One of my favorite parts of the fall is immersing myself in the wonderful stories of B’reishit, the book of Genesis. Our ancestors traveled deeply personal Jewish paths, each one encountering God in unique ways. Abraham, experiencing God’s call, used his courage and faith to travel an unknown path. Rebecca helped push God’s plan along by coaching Jacob in cunning and self-promotion. Jacob, a spiritual man, dreamed of the angels to awake with a new and passionate awareness of God’s presence. In the Tefilah we recite “God of Abraham, God of Isaac…God of Rachel…” emphasizing how our ancestors related to God in completely unique ways. Judaism has never been a one-size-fits-all experience.
Nowhere can we see this principle more clearly than in the Religious School. Each child who enters our building is beautifully unique, blessed with gifts and talents, but also encumbered by challenges. Our goal is to create deep, meaningful and enduring Jewish learning for all of our students by creating a learning environment where students can be themselves while having their individual needs met.
This means getting to know them as people. Our teachers strive to build personal connections with our students through class discussion, conversations about outside interests, and informal educational experiences. Our teen madrichim build relationships with younger students to reach children where they are.
In designing our program, we consider the needs of all types of learners by balancing different modalities of learning — reading, writing, discussion, cooking, music, etc. As our students progress to the upper grades, they are empowered to choose their own classes, creating their own personalized Jewish learning.
We are engaged in ongoing development of our programming for students with special needs. Our Coordinator of Special Needs Programming works with staff and parents to create Individualized Religious Education Plans for these students. We follow up on these plans weekly. Supported Hebrew Learning classes are available at all levels. This year, we have partnered with Matan — a national organization that works with Jewish schools to create rich, educational offerings for children with special needs.
Each of our children, like each of our ancestors, is capable of having powerful Jewish experiences and of connecting with God -- a beautiful reflection of the individual child.
Cantor Jamie Tortorello-Allen