Rodeph Sholom Religious School
Information about Religious School
A Jewish education is one of the most precious gifts you will give your child. From Judaism they will gain faith to sustain them in times of trouble and they will find a community in which to celebrate life’s successes. Judaism will add meaning and depth to their lives and root their actions in values.
The Religious School at Congregation Rodeph Sholom can help you give this great gift to your child. Students in our school build close relationships with gifted teachers, who act as mentors and role models. Our classroom time is filled with lively discussions, creative projects and engaging activities.
We continuously explore ways in which our students can be more engaged and active in finding their own path to learning. Through project based learning (PBL) we empower and allow our students to use a combination of 21st century skills (teamwork, problem solving, research gathering, time management, information synthesizing, utilizing high tech tools) to explore, learn and experience their rich Jewish heritage.
The core of our Judaica curriculum is built around the three pillars of Jewish life – Torah, Avodah (prayer) and G’milut Chasadim (deeds of lovingkindness). Torah is the central text of Judaism—a place to learn about our ancestors and to guide our actions. Prayer is the heart of Jewish life, making up the rhythms and cycles of daily, weekly, holiday and life-cycle observance. G’milut Chasadim is the actualization of Jewish values—the way we interact with the world and leave it a better place.
Our Hebrew program not only prepares students for B’nai Mitzvah, but it is also the foundation for a lifetime of Jewish practice. Students learn to connect with prayers and seek meaning in Jewish practice.
Students pray regularly in services that allow them both to have spiritual experiences and to practice their Hebrew fluency.
Our school could not be the warm, remarkable place that it is without our dedicated parents. You are a role model to your children about how Jewish life is lived. Your participation in school activities and your feedback on your family’s experience here helps us to continually refine our program. Open communication is a cornerstone to the Religious School’s strength. We look forward to getting to know your family and to working with you throughout the upcoming school year.
- Education Theme
- Jewish Life at School
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah
- Family B’nai Mitzvah Program (FBMP)
- Jewish Learning
- The Primary Years
- The Intermediate Years
- Hebrew Program
- Lewis Steinman Center
- The Middle School Years
- The High School Years
- Family Experiences
- Shabbat Programs
- Youth Program
Education Theme for 2014-2016:
Two Are Better Than One…For If They Fall, One Will Lift Up The Other
טוֹבִים הַשְּנַיִם מִן־הָּאֶחָּד… כִי אִם־יִפּולוּ ,הָּאֶֽחָּד יָּקִים אֶת־חֲבֵרוֹ
Each year we welcome back our returning teachers, students, and families and perform the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests, by greeting all those who are new to Congregation Rodeph Sholom and/or to Religious School. However, it’s not just about making our new families and faculty feel welcome with a quick hello and introduction. Each of these interactions holds the potential for making new friends, something that is very important in order to maintain our warm, tight-knit community. It is one of our middot, Jewish values, to have friends and to be a good friend, called dibbuk chaveirim, cleaving to friends. No surprise the rabbis had a lot to say about this subject. They looked to the Bible for notable examples of close friendships, such as 1) Jonathan (King Saul’s son) and the future King David and 2) Ruth and Naomi. “Two are better than one … for if they fall, one will lift up the other.”(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
The rabbis looked to the importance of friendship to provide company and support for each other, but there’s more to it than just this surface understanding. When two people are sitting together as study partners in chevruta, it is on a different, deeper level of friendship. It is one in which our friends challenge us, leading us to grow into stronger, more thoughtful people. “A stone has no value, but when you rub two stones together properly, sparks of fire emerge.”(Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz)
When we study Torah with a chevruta partner, our minds are opened to new ideas, our thoughts are sharper, and sparks fly! We are not simply transmitting useful skills and important content to our students. Rather we are creating true friendships through Torah. And that is the total body of learning we at Religious School seek to impart.
As I am writing this article, our brothers and sisters in Israel are running to bomb shelters and sending their young and old off to battle. We watch as some in the media and others in protests refuse to recognize that Israel has the right and the duty to defend her citizens. And yet, it is not lost on me that there are still rays of hope in this tenuous situation. People and organizations on both sides of the conflict are promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence – and in the process, even becoming friends. The precious goal of turning our enemies into friends rings truer now than any time in the recent past.
This year’s theme of friendship – of honoring our Bible’s instruction that “two are better than one” – will inform how we teach and connect our students to each other. Our goal is that they will support and lift each other up, sharpen each other’s learning, and regard each other as friends. It is only by turning the “other” into a friend that we may ultimately make this world a better place, bringing about an eternal peace over us and all people. Kein Y’hi Ratzon—may this be God’s will.
We are looking forward to another exciting year in Religious School and wish you all a Shanah Tovah, a year full of blessings, renewal of faith, spirit and soul.
Jewish Life at School
Tefillah (Prayer) - Students put their learning into practice at our services, which are held weekly in the Schnurmacher Chapel on the 6th floor for our 2nd through 12th grade students. Students participate in age-appropriate prayer experiences meant to develop an inner spiritual life. The services also allow students to develop relationships with the Rodeph Sholom clergy, which we hope will continue to grow throughout their lives. In Kindergarten and 1st grade the children participate in a Tefillah experience in class at the beginning of each session.
Tzedakah (Righteous Giving) – Collecting tzedakah from students at the beginning of each class is a time-honored Religious School tradition and a wonderful way to begin Jewish learning. Please send your child to school with some change each day. At the beginning and end of each year the students will have the chance to choose the Jewish organizations to which they wish to make a donation of tzedakah. Participating in this important mitzvah instills Jewish values in our students and encourages them to think of others.
Music - Music is in many ways the soul of Jewish practice. Our capable song leaders work with students on Israeli, holiday and prayer music. Students have opportunities to learn music specifically related to their curriculum. Additionally, students are invited to bring their own instruments and participate in the Tefillah band during weekly services.
Community - We are not just a school, but we are also a community of students, parents, faculty and administration
working together as part of Congregation Rodeph Sholom. Our goal is for every child to feel welcome and comfortable. Families are encouraged to see the Religious School as just one part of their involvement in the Rodeph Sholom community.
Field trips/ Special Programs- Every year some of our students go on field trips to different Jewish programs, exhibits, performances, etc. that are offered in the community. We also invite programs to come in such as the Matzah and Shofar factories, Avodah Arts, etc.
Kif Kef Before School Program- Kif Kef is a fun, transitional program for Kindergarten-sixth grade students from 3:00-4:00pm on the days when they attend Religious School. Students may choose from a variety of activities to do during this time such as work on their homework, learn about Israel, read Jewish books, participate in mitzvah projects, discuss current events, watch Jewish videos, create interesting art projects, eat snacks, and much more. Complimentary snack is provided for students in K-6 and 2th-6th grade students have the option of purchasing inexpensive snacks.
The Kif Kef program is available for all K-6 students who arrive at Religious School before 3:45pm and is free of cost
Office Personnel, Location and Hours
Our school runs smoothly with the help of Natalia Arad, the Religious School Administrative Assistant. She is happy to help you in any way possible. If at any time you have questions or concerns, feel free to call the office at (646) 454-3085. The Religious School office is located on the 5th floor of the 83rd Street Synagogue building.
Our office hours when Religious School is in session are:
Monday – 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday – 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday – 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday – Closed
During vacation breaks when Religious school is not in session, the office is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Religious School Schedule
K & 1st Grade: Wednesdays 4:00-6:00pm
2nd & 3rd Grade: Mondays 4:00-6:00pm
4th-6th Grade: Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00-6:15pm
7th-12th Grade: Tuesdays 5:00-7:00pm
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Eligibility
Students are required to complete a minimum of three consecutive years of Religious School beginning in 4th grade immediately prior to and including the entire Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. Families whose children enter the Religious School after the fourth grade must make special arrangements with the Religious School Director to meet grade-level requirements and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date may be delayed. Students who have attended another accredited Religious School prior to arriving at Congregation Rodeph Sholom are eligible for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, provided all requirements have been satisfied. Students leaving the Rodeph Sholom School before the date of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah must join the Religious School program. Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparations are handled through the Cantor’s office.
Any questions relating to Bar/Bat Mitzvah should be directed to the Cantors’ Assistant at 646-454-3039. Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates are coordinated by Gail Becker at 646-454-3022. Students must be enrolled in and attending a Congregation Rodeph Sholom School to keep their Bar/Bat Mitzvah date on the calendar.
Family B’nai Mitzvah Program (FBMP)
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is one of anticipation, anxiousness and excitement. Both the student and the family members devote a considerable amount of time and energy in preparation for this ceremony. We are excited for our families to participate in this program that represents an essential part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process. The program is designed to help families deepen their understanding of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience.
This six session program focuses on the questions, “Why are we here?”, “Who am I?”, “Where am I going?” and topics such as God, prayer, ritual, Tikkun Olam, community and responsibility, etc. Through interactive, engaging text study and experiences, families will explore how this milestone impacts the family before, during and after the actual ceremony. As part of this program, families will meet with one of the rabbis to study their Torah portion and will also complete a mitzvah project serving both Rodeph Sholom and the larger community.
At this age, it is important that students feel nurtured and comfortable as they learn that being a Jew means they are part of a Jewish family, that we are all part of the greater Jewish community and that they are an integral part of our synagogue. Through the use of a variety of educational strategies, early elementary students are introduced to: Jewish holidays, Shabbat, Torah, Prayer and G’milut Hasadim (deeds of loving kindness).
The Primary Years (Pre-K though 3rd Grade)
Nevatim Family Pre-K Program (Sprouts)
A Pre-K (4 year old) parent(s)-child program that invites families to be Jewish explorers as they explore Jewish experiences through story, song, movement, drama and more!! Families learn together, celebrate together and enjoy a pizza dinner together as a community.
Nitzanim (Flower Buds): Kindergarten and First Grade
The curriculum in Kindergarten and first grade centers around the Jewish holidays, Bible stories, Jewish symbols, exposure to blessings, basic Hebrew vocabulary and the recognition and identification of the Alef-Bet. Students engage with the material through interactive Jewish learning centers targeting multiple learning styles. Hebrew language is taught orally and through movement. Students will also have the opportunity to bring home the class Shabbat and Flat Joseph Bags!
Kindergarten: The Torah Alive! Early Childhood Torah Curriculum truly brings the Torah alive for the Kindergarten students by re-creating the stories of Genesis and Exodus through dramatization, conversation and a community artistic description of them throughout the year culminating in receiving a photo version of their own class Torah at a special end of the year ceremony. Let’s Discover the Alef Bet booklets are used to introduce the Alef Bet. The “Drops of Honey” activity booklets focus on Holidays and are sent home for family learning.
1st Grade: Teach Me Torah is used to introduce 1st graders to the Prophets. First grade will “tour” Israel throughout the year with Let’s Discover Israel booklets. The students create artifacts from the cities they visit and become tour guides for their families at the culminating Israel Museum Program. Students begin our formalized Hebrew program, a systematic decoding program called PHD (Phonetic Hebrew Decoding). Let’s Celebrate activity booklets focus on Holidays and are sent home for family learning.
Second grade: Megalim I (Discoverers)
The emphasis in the second grade is on Torah. Through pictures, learning activities and stories, the children will study selections from the Torah and begin to learn the various values taught by the Biblical personalities and how they are relevant to their lives today. Bible is taught on a more significant level than in the previous years. The students create a personal Torah commentary book which culminates with an interactive family scavenger hunt through the Torah. Text: Explorer’s Bible: Volume 1: From Creation to the Exodus. A more conceptual approach than in earlier years is used in order to teach about the Jewish holidays. Text: Holy Days, Holy Ways. Israel will be studied as it connects to the other topics in the curriculum.
The Hebrew language is taught through the systematic decoding program called PHD (Phonetic Hebrew Decoding) and the development of basic vocabulary.
Third Grade: Megalim II (Discoverers)
The students study the Prophets and Writings and through these books begin their historical and ethical study of Judaism and recognize how those values from the bible play out in their lives today. Text: The Explorer’s Bible, Volume 2: From Sinai to the Nation of Israel. Students also begin to learn about the special connection Jews have to Israel by learning about its cities and people and creating their own Israel Travel Brochure that culminates with an interactive scavenger hunt through Israel. The Jewish holidays are studied through a variety of resources to facilitate discussions and in class celebrations.
The Hebrew language is taught through a systematic decoding program called PHD (Phonetic Hebrew decoding) and the development of basic vocabulary.
The Intermediate Years (4th through 6th Grade)
In 4th through 6th Grade students engage in the study of the prayers used in the synagogue and establish fluency in Hebrew. These skills will enrich their synagogue experience and further develop their connection to the Jewish people through prayer. These skills are also a pre-requisite for students to begin the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation program. In-depth studies of Torah and Prophets, Jewish holidays, customs and ceremonies complete the program. Jewish history and the study of the modern state of Israel and Jewish values are also a central part of the curriculum.
FOURTH GRADE: Studying Torah with commentary is introduced and students are asked to take a “closer look” at the Book of Genesis, Bereshit, in addition to conducting a yearlong in-depth study of the Jewish calendar.
Field Trip to the Jewish Museum: Students participate in a hands-on workshop about Jewish holiday ritual objects from all over the world and from different time periods. This field trip commences the yearlong preparation for our Jewish Holiday Do It Yourself Video Series.
Jewish Holiday Do It Yourself Video Series: Students explore the concepts and rituals of the Jewish holidays analyzing Jewish folklore, texts, laws, cuisine, customs, and rituals reflecting on their own holiday experiences and discovering ways to enrich their celebrations in order to create Do It Yourself Videos for the Religious School families. At the fair, students share what they’ve learned with their parents.
FIFTH GRADE: By fifth grade, students are better able to grasp a sense of historical perspective. They study the Jewish people’s journey from a small nation in Israel to an international community in the 19th century, discovering how in every century the Jews have adapted to changing times with creativity and a sense of purpose while holding fast to our core beliefs. Text: The History of the Jewish People: Volume 1. Bible studies are continued as the students explore the Exodus from Egypt with the use of the text: Exploring the Torah. A highlight for 5th grade families is the year-long Living Museum program through the Museum of Jewish Heritage during which families choose an artifact that describes their family’s Jewish story and connects to their yearlong study of Jewish history, the larger story of our people. The program culminates in a Living Museum display at Rodeph Sholom and an online version through the museum.
SIXTH GRADE: By the sixth grade, the students’ concepts of past, present, and future have matured to the point that our study of Jewish History can continue on into the study of Zionism, the Holocaust, and the subsequent establishment of the State of Israel. Text: Holocaust: History of Courage and Resistance and The History of the Jewish People: Volume 2, documentary films from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Moriah Films and Maus I. Bible study continues focusing on the journey of the Israelites through the desert toward the Promised Land learning the major stories from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy: A Torah Commentary For Our Times, Vol. 3, Fields. Students will also learn skills for Jewish living such as how to put on a tallit, bake challah, affix a mezuzah, etc. Students will rotate to different teachers for each Jewish Studies unit and will create hands-on projects to depict their knowledge and understanding of each time period. Parents will be invited in to view the projects as students present what they’ve learned.
Hebrew Program (K through 7th Grade)
The primary goal of the Hebrew program at the Rodeph Sholom Religious School is to foster an understanding of the place of Hebrew in the Jewish tradition and to cherish and use this Holy Language of the Jewish people during synagogue worship and home celebrations. Our Hebrew program is to help students gain fluency in reading and understanding the prayer book and to instill in all our students a feeling for the beauty of the Hebrew language and the central part it has played in the continuity of Jewish history, religion and culture.
Oral Hebrew and Letter Recognition Students will begin their Hebrew program on an informal basis in Kindergarten and First grade. Along with Hebrew letter recognition through games and activities, equal attention is given to oral language skills. The children will learn Hebrew words that are a natural part of their environment, through song, dance, arts & crafts etc.
PHD – Phonetic Hebrew Decoding In first grade we begin to develop good reading skills and habits. The PHD curriculum is divided into a series of 14 units in which letters and vowels are introduced sequentially and in increasing degrees of complexity according to their shape and sound. In the first 6 packets, PHD teaches the alphabet, how letters are written, and how they sound. As students read more accurately and their skills become more fluid, the remainder of the vowels is introduced in the final 6 packets. This approach enables students to phonetically read almost any text in either classical or modern Hebrew. Each PHD unit introduces letters and vowels along with games, such as letter-searches, word-searches, and word-matches to reinforce the material and enhance the student’s learning experience.
T’fillah Contract Program Formal Hebrew instruction on a twice-weekly basis begins in the fourth grade, continuing through the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. Once students have completed the PHD program mentioned above, they will begin the Hebrew Contract Program, an individualized program that teaches students a general understanding of the Shabbat and holiday prayers and blessings and how to read them fluently. By the end of sixth grade students will have completed the three contract books. Part of the program includes having parents listen to students read certain prayers each week. We look forward to your support and encouragement of this program. (Students who enter the school after second grade and who need to learn Hebrew will begin with the PHD program listed above and will work at their own pace as they progress with their Hebrew studies).
Ulpan – Modern Hebrew Religious School students who have successfully completed the Hebrew Contract program will enter our Ulpan class for the study of Modern Hebrew. Students can continue their study of Modern Hebrew through sports, cooking and art in our Middle School Mercaz Sicha (Conversation Center) in partnership with Strategic Hebrew.
Make-Up Hebrew/ Hebrew Enrichment We are offering Hebrew make-up sessions for those students who miss Religious School for various reasons for limited times only. Classes will be held on Tuesdays between 3:00 and 5:00PM. These classes can be attended only through special arrangement with the director. Additionally, students who would like extra time to work though the Hebrew program may choose to attend during this time.
Lewis Steinman Center
Educating Jewish Children with Special Needs
The Rodeph Sholom Religious School is in the unique position to offer Jewish education in a synagogue school for students with special needs through the Lewis Steinman Special Education Center. This innovative program is made possible through the generous contributions of the Steinman family and the Rudin Foundation in memory of Lewis Steinman.
We offer an inclusion program for our younger students. Experts believe that young students are best served within the regular learning community. Therefore trained faculty work with the Kindergarten through third grade students who need individualized attention in the classroom setting. For fourth through seventh graders, we have learning specialists available to work with the students on a small group basis. We are proud that we can provide all students with a quality Jewish education.
The Middle School Years (7th & 8th Grade)
7th Grade: Finding Your Place in the Community
We are excited about all our B’nai Mitzvah students’ ceremonies and parties, but Tuesday nights is way more than just about that. Through our exciting chugim (electives), students will come to realize that the ceremony is simply the beginning. Our chugim topics include Israel, Spirituality, Mitzvot, and Jewish Communities Around the World – we offer all of these topics through different types of experiences such as cooking, media, sports, creative movement and the arts. Students will continue preparing to become B’nai Mitzvah and learn Hebrew during their weekly Hebrew Contract classes. Once a month students join a special tefilah (prayer service) where we come together and express prayer in different creative ways such as through yoga, meditation, movement, drum circles, etc. Students will also take part in J-Word – this is a student driven advisory group that explores topics affecting their lives and their identity as they are on their journey of becoming a Jewish teen.
8th Grade: Social Action Club
The journey continues as students organize their own social action program, selecting causes, projects and a leadership board inspired by the concepts of the film “Pay It Forward.” Every two weeks, students plan a social action project and then carry it out the following week, starting with our own community and building outward. The club travels to New Orleans in February to learn and assist in post-Katrina rebuilding efforts.
Click here to learn about the Post B’nai Mitzvah Internship Program.
The High School Years
9th – 12th Grade
Click here for the curriculum packet.
Our Tuesday night High School Program provides teens with a solid foundation of Jewish knowledge necessary to help them make informed Jewish decisions. During a weekly minyan our teens are empowered to connect with the prayers of the service through varied modalities. Students participate in clubs (Chugim) offering experiential learning opportunities such as Jewish Cooking, Values in Sports, P2G (Partnership 2Gether) Israel Exchange and Modern Hebrew. Each grade also meets with one of our Rabbis for more intensive study (Midrasha) focusing on topics related to God, Torah, Israel, Social Action and Packing for College.
An important part of the High School program and our senior Youth Group (CRuSTY) is the creation of a community (Kehillah Kedoshah) in which all Rodeph Sholom teens can feel a sense of belonging, friendship, safety and purpose. Every week students have the opportunity to connect with their rabbis, cantors and educators. During dinner there is ample opportunity to socialize with friends and staff.
Commitment to Tikkun Olam-repairing the world through community service, speaking, lobbying, and rallying on current domestic or foreign political issues – is a central part of the High School years and our students are committed to learning, caring and making a difference in the world.
Our program provides our teens with a Leadership (Manhigut) Development program that inspires them to become the Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Under the continuous encouragement of our clergy, educators and Director of Youth Engagement they acquire leadership skills through peer-led programming, serving on committees, and CRuSTY board and fundraising events.
10th Grade Confirmation
Confirmation is a ceremony that was originated by the Reform movement for students in the 10th grade of Religious School. It is tied to the holiday of Shavuot, which is dedicated to Torah and Torah study. The year culminates in a beautiful ceremony at Erev Shavuot services offering the confirmands the opportunity to publicly affirm their loyalty to Judaism, the Torah, and the Jewish people. Many students reflect that this ceremony is even more meaningful to them than Bar/Bat Mitzvah as it was their own choice to reach this milestone.
11th & 12th Grade
Packing for College: Where does Judaism Fit?
One of the most exciting and anxiety-producing times in a family’s life cycle is when a teen prepares to transition from life as a high school student to life on a college campus.
This program helps answer questions such as:
- Not sure which college to choose?
- Concerned about Jewish life on campus?
- What will saying goodbye be like?
Teacher’s Assistant Program for Post B’nai Mitzvah Students
8th-12th graders are invited to work as assistants in the Religious School and earn money or community service hours. Participants are able to make a positive impact on Jewish children; the experience makes them stronger candidates for summer jobs and they will stand out on college applications.
A very important part of our students’ Jewish education is learning about Judaism in an informal environment that allows them to establish closer relationships with staff and peers. Students from the fifth through twelfth grades attend various conclaves in order to enrich what they are learning in their classes.
Fifth and sixth graders attend Fall Conclave, a special camp retreat weekend in which students and staff participate in a wide variety of activities based around a given theme related to their regular curriculum. The weekend includes Friday night, Shabbat morning, and Havdalah services, social activities and exploration of a theme by participation in large and small group activities and art projects. In addition, there are outdoor facilities for athletics. Singing, supervised social time, and movies are also part of the retreat experience. All fifth and sixth grade students are expected to attend these weekends.
Seventh graders also attend Fall Conclave, participating in their own Adventure program using ropes, zip-lines and climbing equipment, and helping to run programs for the younger students.
Eighth Graders visit New Orleans where they celebrate Shabbat, meet with local Jewish teens, explore the local culture and engage in social action projects throughout their trip. Click here for the NOLA application.
Ninth graders attend a special seminar at the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. Students learn about prominent political issues and Reform Judaism’s position regarding these issues. Then students have the exciting opportunity to lobby Senators and House Representatives according to their beliefs and what they learned during the seminar. Click here for the RAC application.
Tenth through twelfth graders are also invited to attend the RAC trip mentioned above and also attend Senior Youth Group weekend retreats.
Partnership 2gether (P2G) Jerusalem-New York Teen Exchange (10th-12th grades)
P2G participants join in study and action with the High School Youth of Kol HaNeshama, our sister reform congregation in Jerusalem. The two groups learn from each other about the different needs of each community and engage in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) projects. Working together the students discuss via e-mails, web forums, phone calls, and video conferences the issues concerning each community and the project culminates in a face-to-face meeting in Jerusalem and New York. This allows them to create a special bond and enables our youth on both sides of the ocean to enrich their lives and the life of their community. This program is funded by the UJA-Federation-Partnership 2Gether program and includes funding for our youth to visit Jerusalem. (10 days). Click here for the P2G application.
For more in-depth information on our Teen Religious School Programs
please contact Sara Spanjer, at gro.cynsrcnull@rejnapss or 646-454-3081
Rodeph Sholom is committed to supporting families on their Jewish journey. Judaism enriches our lives with learning, ritual, values, community, connections with Israel, our heritage and so much more. At Rodeph Sholom families have the opportunity to study, do mitzvah work, and celebrate Shabbat and holidays together. Children who see their parents attending classes and/ or participating in Jewish experiences recognize the value and importance of Judaism and Jewish living to the entire family.
Join together with your friends (old & new) for a relaxing dinner after Shabbat B’shir services. No cooking needed…just relax and enjoy some family and adult schmooze time! Singing and activities for all ages!
Family Supper in the Sukkah!
After Religious School enjoy supper in the sukkah, say the blessings, sing and join the annual Edible Sukkah competition!
Shabbat B’Yachad (“Shabbat Together”)
A Shabbat Family Experience for families with children ages 0–7. Meets the 1st & 3rd Shabbat mornings of the month! Lively prayer, Torah reading, family activities, and a light lunch!
*Siyum–“completion” This refers to the completion of any unit of Torah study/Jewish learning. Traditionally it involves a celebration with food and an opportunity for those who’ve studied the material to share what they’ve learned. Parents will be invited in to view the projects students create around their units of study.
MMI: Monthly Mitzvah Initiative – Mitzvah work becomes a habit for Religious School families
Bring in specific donations and tzedakah money and do a hands-on mitzvah project during the last half hour of class time. MMI has helped synagogue communities and other victims recover from Hurricane Sandy. This year, we will pack backpacks of food for children who receive government-funded meals during the week, but who are food insecure on the weekends amongst other projects.
Shop & Deliver: Rodeph Sholom Religious School families make the year-long commitment to keep the West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s (WSCAH) “supermarket-style” food pantry stocked with nutritious foods. Once a month after dismissal, families buy healthy foods from an approved list and drop them off at the WSCAH food pantry. If students are not able to join us after dismissal, they can bring food donations to Religious School, this way every family can participate in this monthly mitzvah of ma’achil re’evim—feeding the hungry. We also participate in the WSCAH Thousand Turkey Challenge at Thanksgiving time, donating turkeys to the pantry so that all families can enjoy celebrating the holiday. Rodeph Sholom families can volunteer at the food pantry as well. Volunteers do a wide range of activities, from grocery check-out to stocking shelves to teaching exercise classes. Interested families can contact the Religious School office for details.
Mitzvah Day: Congregants and families at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, the Religious School and the Rodeph Sholom School are involved in mitzvah projects all year, but once a year on Mitzvah Day everyone comes together to perform the mitzvah of tikkun olam, making the world a better place, participating in multiple projects at Rodeph Sholom and at organizations throughout the city. This year Religious School families will be preparing for and hosting a Halloween party for children at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center, with the same children who will be receiving the backpacks of food we will be packing this year.
WANTED: Religious School Parent Volunteers
We believe that our parents are a wealth of talent, information and intelligence, and that you have something unique to share. We’d love for you to become involved! Sign up on your registration form to volunteer for specific projects:
- Shabbat Dinners
- Family Programming
- MMI (Monthly Mitzvah Initiative) and
- Shop & Deliver
- Classroom Volunteers
A core leadership group of parents form the Religious School Committee who work with the educators to create initiatives that strengthen our community, increase social action, and encourage family study and celebration.
Families embark on a Jewish family day at an offsite location for an amazing opportunity to get away, learn, connect with other families and have fun together as a community. It is very important to us that students and their families forge a close connection to each other and to the larger congregation. To this end, class parents communicate upcoming events, class projects, and dates when parents are invited into the school and the synagogue.
NEVATIM Family Pre-K Program (Sprouts)
A Pre-K (4 year old) parent(s)-child program that invites families to be Jewish explorers as they experience Judaism through story, song, movement, drama and more!! Families learn together, celebrate together and enjoy a pizza dinner together as a community.
PJ Library at CRS!
PJ Library (“PJ” for “pajamas”) program offers FREE high quality Jewish books and music each month to Jewish families with children ages 6 months to 7 years. Visit www.crsnyc.org to sign up!
PJ and Play Story Time
Ages 2-5 years old, 4:45 – 5:30 on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
Drop in and join us once a month for stories, activities, playtime on the indoor playground, and snack from 4:45 – 5:30. We will have guest readers each month to share our favorite PJ Library books! Interested in reading a story? Please contact Marcia Stein @ gro.cynsrcnull@nietsm for more information.
Please see our calendar for a complete listing of services.
“Do not separate yourself from the community…” Hillel
Shir Chadash (“Shabbat in Song”)—On the second Friday of every month, we celebrate Shabbat with a song-filled worship service for adults and children of all ages. Services begin at 6:00pm.
Shabbat Morning for All Ages—Sponsored by the Geduld Family
Shabbat is a time for children! Each program encourages the children to participate with their families in a Shabbat experience filled with song, prayer and stories – the perfect way to celebrate Shabbat! (Note: Shabbat morning children’s experiences alternate on Saturday mornings and occur only when school is in session. Please check the the website calendar for more information.)
Sing Along Shabbat
For children ages 0–5
Come for songs and stories as we celebrate Shabbat!
(9:30 am – 10:00 am)
Shabbat B’Yachad (”Shabbat Together”)
For children ages 0-7
Lively prayer, Torah reading, family activities, and a light lunch!
(9:30 am – 10:30 am)
For children ages 8–12
Where our youth become leaders – sing, celebrate, and even learn to chant from the Torah!
(10:30 am – 12:00 pm)
Young Families Group Geared to children age 5 and under, this group hosts Shabbat family dinners, brunches, and Jewish holiday programs.
Through informal education under the direction of Sara Spanjer, Associate Director of Youth & Teen Engagement, and Danny Kron, Assistant Director of Youth & Teen Engagement, our youth will have many opportunities to interact and engage in social and educational programs. Youth groups provide a natural setting for learning about Judaism in new, exciting and fun ways. We have five youth groups: Learn more »