Religious School

Exciting School News!

Continuing with the fall of 2019, we are piloting the following program: our Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade classes will be 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 to 5:30 p.m.

There’s no attendance requirement, since we understand that every youngster has an off day or another obligation from time to time! In addition, if you want to carpool with a family who has a 3rd grader attending from 4 to 6 (or even if you just want to have more than an hour and a half to run errands or grab coffee), there is a half hour of enrichment available at a very reasonable fee that allows for dismissal at 6 p.m.

Also  – non-members are able to 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 not ready quite yet because their children are young, this offer is for them – the more the merrier! Our early years programming are some of the most fun years; why wait for your child to begin their Jewish learning experience?

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 2019. Come and see what we’re all about!

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

Pilot Program Summary

  • Grades K, 1, 2 FREE for members of BHSS
  • Non-members’ children can attend – $750 for 25 sessions
  • No attendance requirement – come when you can!
  • Enrichment available to give you 2 hours of free time and/or allows carpools with 3rd grade Monday students
  • Have fun with early learning about Hebrew, our synagogue, holidays, music, Israel, “mensch-hood”, tikun olam

And don’t forget – you can join as a Young Family membership for HALF the cost of a regular family membership if your oldest child is entering third grade or below in the fall of 2019.

Click here to view the 2019-2020 school year schedule of sessions.

Click here to open up our school FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet.

Click here to view the school’s home handbook. It contains policies, procedures, and resources.

Attendance at school is vital to becoming a part of our community! The attendance policy (also found in the handbook at the link above) is reprinted here:

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 Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom. If you have questions about when your child should start, please call the school office.

*Note: If a student will be 9, turning 10 during third grade, he/she should start school in third grade in order to receive a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date near his/her 13th birthday.

 The Education Committee believes that students’ regular attendance in the religious school is a necessity in order 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 a decrease in the 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.

If you have any questions regarding the attendance policy, please contact us.

2019-2020 School Forms

If your child previously attended, you should receive all of the forms you need via email. However, the forms are also available by clicking the appropriate link below:

If your child is entering PreK (4 or 5 year-old not yet in Kindergarten) through 6th grade (including Family School):
  • Click here for a Word document you can fill out and email back (after saving) to [email protected]
  • Click here for a pdf that you can print and fill out, mail, hand deliver, or fax to 201-512-1586.
  • Click here for a pdf form that you can fill out on your computer, save the file with your child’s name, and email to [email protected].
If your child is entering 7th  through 12th grade (7th grade is a REQUIRED year of religious school.):
  • Click here for a Word document you can fill out and email back (after saving) to [email protected]
  • Click here for a pdf that you can print and fill out, mail, hand deliver, or fax to 201-512-1586.
  • Click here for a pdf form that you can fill out on your computer, save the file with your child’s name, and email to [email protected].

Sessions of Religious School by Grade

Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2: Mondays 4 – 5:30 p.m. (Enrichment – 5:30 to 6 p.m.)
Traditional School Grade 3: Mondays 4 – 6:00 p.m.
Traditional School Grades 4 and 5: Tuesdays 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Traditional School Grade 6: Sundays 9 – 11:30 a.m.
Family School (Grades 3,4,5,6): Sundays 9 – 11:30 a.m.
Kadimah (Grades 7 through 12): Mondays 6:45 – 8:30 p.m.

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

RAC (Religious Action Center) trip NEWS

As its first disbursement of the endowment income, the Endowment Committee decided to subsidize every tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade student in the congregation to participate in the L’Taken Seminar.  The cost for a student to attend a L’Taken Seminar is approximately $600, plus spending money for incidentals.  Thanks to the support of the Endowment, since then over 150 students were able to take part in this truly powerful experience for just $250 to cover program, lodging, and transportation fees. Click here to see what the “RAC” trip is all about.   AND… the Endowment Committee is again subsidizing our trip for February 21 – 24, 2020.

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 sense of Jewish identity. In the six-eight session PreK our four year-old students explore the holidays with fingerplay, cooking, stories, and crafts. Beginning with Kindergarten and continuing through Grade Twelve, students learn not only the Hebrew reading that they will need to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but also 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.

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. 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. Please call me with any questions you may have about this exciting and unique program!

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 to [email protected] or call 201-512-1983 to let us know if your child would like to volunteer.

Beth Haverim Shir Shalom’s Preschool Class

Miss Terry is with us all year to help your child (4 or 5 not yet in Kindergarten) have fun while learning about being Jewish!

  • $36 per session; payable by check to BHSS or by credit card to Iris in the office.* Your family does NOT have to be a BHSS member for your child to attend.
  • A minimum of four (4) students must be REGISTERED and PAID no later than the Monday the week before class in order for that particular class to take place.
  • There will be a craft, some cooking, a song, a story, and more! (This class is without parents.)

*No minimum number of classes. This is a per-session sign-up.  Pay for each class as you register!

As we schedule this year’s classes, dates and topics will be posted here. If you’d like to be added to our notification email list, click here to write to Lisa Barrack in the office and let her know!

(Please note: If you have a 3 year-old and are interested in a program for him/her, we will develop one if there is sufficient interest. Call the synagogue office and leave your contact information.)

We’re PROUD of our 2019 Confirmands!

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

Email the Religious School at [email protected]