In Gan students explore Jewish customs and biblical tales through crafts, stories, drama, and music. Students also learn some basic conversational Hebrew vocabulary. The first part of the year the focus is on Shabbat, culminating in “Shabbat at Home” hosted in homes by Gan families, and the Gan Shabbat dinner and Family Service at the Temple (combined this year with Kitah Aleph). On the Sunday following their Family Service, Gan families (children and parents) have their first Family Education day with the CHAI Educator, making ceramic Shabbat candlesticks. Gan also focuses on familiarizing children with the synagogue, its symbols and people. Note: parents/guardians attend all family programs with their children.
Books & materials: Let’s Discover the Holidays, Let’s Discover Shabbat, Let’s Discover the Synagogue, Sam the Detective’s Reading Readiness Book
KITAH ALEPH (GRADE 1)
With games and activities to reinforce their acquisition, students learn to recognize the letters of the Hebrew alef-bet (alphabet) and some basic Hebrew vocabulary. They learn how the most important holidays are observed, working on projects related to each holiday. Children also learn Bible stories and begin to learn about Israel.
Families join together for the Kitah Aleph Shabbat dinner and Family Service at the Temple (this year with Kitah Gan). Families (children and parents) also have a Family Education day with the CHAI Educator, making ceramic mezuzot (prayer-holders that go on the doorposts of Jewish homes). Families may also choose to join together for “Kitah Aleph Shabbat at Home” hosted in homes by Kitah Aleph families.
Books & materials: Building Jewish Life (BJL) Alef to Tav Activity Book, BJL Beginnings, Israel I: The Symbols of the State of Israel
KITAH BET (GRADE 2)
In Kitah Bet learning revolves around the themes of community and culture. Students learn Hebrew in a reading-readiness approach, focusing particularly on letter sounds. They continue learning some basic conversational Hebrew vocabulary and about Israel. Using stories, games, discussion and the arts, students explore Jewish values and ideas of God, especially those connected to Jewish identity and Bible stories. Students learn how the holidays are celebrated in the synagogue and at home. A highlight of the year is the Kitah Bet Shabbat dinner and Family Service, when students co-lead the service. On the Sunday following their Family Service, families (children and parents) have their Family Education day with the CHAI Educator, making a ceramic chanukiah (Chanukah menorah/candelabra).
Books & materials:The Bible: Alef Through Tav, I Can Celebrate the Jewish Holidays, Let’s Discover the Alef- Bet, Jewish Values Alef through Tav, BJL (Building Jewish Life) God