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.
This is a special year as we will celebrate the State of Israel’s 70th birthday. It’s amazing to think that just last year we celebrated Rodeph Sholom’s illustrious 175th anniversary, and that the modern State of Israel is only turning 70.
The word Israel itself is fascinating and enigmatic unless defined further. Israel can be “Am Yisrael,” the people of Israel, not just those who live in Israel, but all Jews around the world. It can mean “Eretz Yisrael,” the physical land of Israel as promised to the Israelites in the Torah if they accepted God’s covenant and obeyed God’s laws. Then, there is “Medinat Yisrael,” which is the modern State of Israel that became a state on May 14, 1948, 70 years ago come this Spring.
Each year in Religious School, we choose an overall theme for the school. It does not change our regular curriculum, rather it provides a lens through which we explore our content. Celebrating Israel’s 70th and these three aspects of the word affords us the opportunity to discuss important topics with our students, such as the diversity of Am Yisrael, recognizing that Jews come in all different colors and backgrounds from all over the world, teaching important lessons such as accepting the other, those who are different from us, and exposing our students to the varying beliefs held by Jews. We’ll also learn about the land itself, Eretz Yisrael, its geography, how Israel maximizes its resources, its hotly contested physical borders, and why it’s described as a land flowing with milk and honey in the Torah. Reflecting on Medinat Yisrael, the modern State of Israel, we’ll focus on its history, the advances it shares with the world, the different narratives of its inception and the challenges it faces due to its diverse population.
David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, said it best: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” While the State of Israel isn’t perfect, no state or country is, it is our Jewish homeland and as its national anthem states, “Then our hope, the two thousand year old hope, will not be lost: to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” We express our hope and vision for the miracle that Israel is now and all that we hope she will become.
We are looking forward to another exciting year in Religious School and wish you Shanah Tovah, a year full of blessings, renewal of faith, spirit and soul.
שָׁנָה טוֹבָה! Kerith