Religious School

Religious School registration for 2024-2025 is always open! Click here to fill out your form(s) for grades K-6. Pay tuition online by clicking here.

NEW this coming year! Study-intensive modules for grade 7 (required) and monthly Kadimah-ccino with Rabbi Ilana for grades 8-12! For registration for these grades, we will send you the link on request to [email protected] 

Our school schedule, including the days/times that classes meet, for 2024-2025 is available by contacting the school office – [email protected].

“Educate a child according to their way, and even when they are old, they will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

The mission of our school is to graduate young adults who have the tools they need to form their own Jewish identity.  We aim to enable families to pass their traditions “from generation to generation” and help them build strong bonds within their community and with the Jewish and secular world.  We hope our students will feel comfortable in their Judaism wherever they go in their lives –  and above all, to be “mensches,” good people. In addition, they will have the experience of belonging to a Jewish community that will support them as they grow into their Jewish adulthood.

Every grade will cover, at the appropriate level, the Jewish holidays as they occur and how to be a mensch – for themselves, for their families, for their communities, and for their world. Concentrations by grade are below.

K-1: Hebrew Word of the Day, Storytime, Learn about the Holidays, Crafts, physical activity break, Tour the Synagogue and Meet Our Staff, and music biweekly

2: Ease into Hebrew Learning, Learn about the Holidays, Crafts, Jewish Symbols, Israel, the synagogue, and music biweekly

3: Concentration on Torah stories, Hebrew reading, Israel, Hebrew 1:1 sessions (optional), and music biweekly

4: Concentration on General Judaism – Introduction to the Siddur and Tanach, Holidays, review Hebrew or beginner Hebrew, Shabbat prayers, Sh’ma, Bar’chu,
the 4 Questions, Hebrew 1:1 sessions (optional), tfilah biweekly

5: Being a Mensch, Shabbat Prayers and Customs; Hebrew in 1:1 sessions focusing on Torah blessings, Kiddush, Haftarah blessings, in-class Hebrew review of basic blessings, tfilah biweekly

6: Concentration on the Jewish Lifecycle, Israel, our Holocaust Torah scrolls; Hebrew in 1:1 sessions building on previous knowledge and adding Avot v’Imahot, G’vurot, V’ahavta, the Torah service, tfilah weekly

7-12: Holocaust and antisemitism, T’filah, a mature look at some of the holidays, teen discussions of how to be a mensch with guest speakers to talk about how their Judaism impacts their profession. This year we
are excited to announce a partnership in programming with Ramapo College’s Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies!

Family School has a rotating schedule of curriculum for the 3rd/4th and 5th/6th grades. If you want to know more about this unique program, check in with Director of Education, Rebecca McVeigh. She can explain and also put you in touch with current Family School parents.

Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade classes are FREE of charge to all Beth Haverim Shir Shalom member families. This is a great opportunity to have your younger child become acquainted with our building, clergy, Jewish holidays, and customs in a warm, welcoming environment. There is crafting, singing, gaining familiarity with Hebrew, learning about Israel, holidays, “tours” around the building, meeting and “interviewing” our staff, practicing to be a “mensch” and many other experiences – all packed into an hour and a half on Mondays from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.

Also  – non-members can enroll their children in these three grades as well – $750 covers everything for the school year.  So if you have friends who are just beginning to think about synagogue membership but are not ready quite yet because their children are young, this offer is for them – the more the merrier! Our early years’ programming is some of the most fun; why wait for your child to begin their Jewish learning experience?

Please consider our unique Family School option for the coming year. In just an hour and a half on Sunday mornings, your 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grader and an adult family member can spend quality time together in Jewish learning. Think about it as a perfect opportunity for some parent-child time, or how about some grandparent-grandchild bonding time? Family School is for everyone. And, there’s free childcare for younger siblings, too! Family School meets on Sunday mornings from 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Of course, for your friends who are not yet members, our Young Family membership plan is always an option for families whose oldest child will be below Fourth Grade in the fall of 2023. Come and see what we’re all about!

Call our Director of Education in the school office for more information, or write her at [email protected].

Need information on having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom? Go to the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Info page

ATTENDANCE POLICY (beginning in Grade Four***)

 There is a requirement of a minimum of four consecutive years of religious school attendance beginning with the fourth-grade year before there can be a Shabbat morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom. If you have questions about when your child should start, please call the school office. Seventh grade is a part of this requirement, so students must be registered and attending seventh grade in order to meet the expectations for a full leadership option with our clergy on a Saturday morning in our sanctuary.

****Note: If a student will be 9, turning 10 during third grade, they should start school in third grade to receive a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date near their 13th birthday. We STRONGLY recommend that children begin, at the latest, in 3rd grade to have 2 years of Hebrew reading training before starting to work on prayers in 5th grade.

 The Education Committee believes that students’ regular attendance in religious school is a necessity to attain a well‐rounded education and to become a part of the community that they will eventually lead in prayer. Students may be absent a maximum of ten times a year. Leaving early or arriving late may also result in a partial absence. Unexcused absences above 10 will result in an alternate leadership role your child takes during their bar/bat mitzvah as follows:

  • Rather than the typical four aliyot of Torah, the student will chant two; accordingly, the honors of inviting friends or family to the bima to recite the Torah blessings will be two as well – one for the parents of the bar/bat mitzvah and one for the bar/bat mitzvah themselves.
  • The student will read their Haftarah portion in English, with the blessings to be chanted in Hebrew.
Alternately, the original date may be moved at least 6 months past the 13th birthday to re-align with the attendance policy, which allows the student to regain their original service leadership opportunities.
If you have any questions regarding the attendance policy, please contact us.

ABOUT OUR SCHOOL

Beth Haverim Shir Shalom (BHSS) offers a one-day-a-week religious school program for children in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. We take pride in working with families to strengthen each child’s Jewish identity.  Beginning with Kindergarten and continuing through Grade Twelve, students learn about the rich tradition, history, and culture that help them to become informed Reform Jewish adults living in today’s world. They participate in Tikkun Olam (healing the world) through our congregation’s social action programming, as well as learning about it in their classes, in lessons created by our experienced teachers and enhanced by the presence of our teen Morei Derech, Teachers of the Way. We work to help students learn to build relationships – with Judaism and with each other. Students will learn to read Hebrew, and students whose families wish them to become b’nei mitzvah at BHSS are prepared, each according to their ability.

Our program includes the unique Family School alternative, as well as our Kadimah (“moving forward”) program for Grades Seven through Twelve. In Kadimah the teens discuss hot topics, argue moral issues, cook Jewish foods, dance, sing, meditate, and learn conversational Hebrew, to name a few of the Monday night options. Beginning with their tenth-grade year, they have the opportunity to travel with their peers to Washington, D.C. to put their social action knowledge to use at the Religious Action Center.

Family School is ongoing and ongrowing!

Engraved in our mission statement is our congregational aim for lifelong learning; we are “…dedicated to the never-ending process of Jewish learning.” As a jewel in the crown of our educational programming, the Family School stands as a testament to what we believe in. Now finishing it’s 20th year, from our original fifteen families of chalutzim, pioneers, the Family School continues to engage families each week in this unique program where every participant benefits. Each one is a student, and each one is a teacher. When these families leave our building, they have had richer, deeper conversations about what their Judaism means to them. And these conversations continue – into the rest of Sunday, into the rest of the week, and into the rest of their lives.

Every single family should participate in Family School for just one year during their child’s religious education; it speaks to the moral imperative that we all have to be responsible to maintain the chain of our people. I hope you will consider this alternative to our regular religious school.

Community Service Hours Available: Whether we are getting our classrooms ready for the new school year or doing special projects, extra help is always welcome. Please email [email protected] or call 201-512-1983 to let us know if your child would like to volunteer.