Curriculum

At Central Synagogue

Curriculum

LCLJ Curriculum Night Presentation:
PreK-2nd Grade Curriculum Night Powerpoint Slides
3rd-7th Grade Curriculum Night Powerpoint Slides

The LCLJ curriculum is designed around helping students answer the question, “How is Judaism relevant to me in the 21st Century?” This is not only a question that they will answer as they graduate from the LCLJ, but they will visit and revisit it each year of their education. We will weave together ancient texts and ideas with modern understandings and student experiences to help students and families understand what it means to live and act as a Jew in the world today. 

Our PreK-7th Grade students will engage with Judaism through Project Based Learning, an education method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In the context of Central, it means that PreK-2nd Grade students receive a “taste of PBL” as they spend the year exploring one topic (i.e. Jewish symbols or holidays and blessings) and answering a driving question. For our 3rd-6th grade students, it means they will work on projects related to a particular topic over 8-10 weeks. At the end of each project, families and community members will be invited to the showcase, a family learning night, where we will engage with the final product. 

We are incredibly excited to pioneer this approach at Central. All of the educators have been trained by the Buck Institute for Education, the leading innovators in this approach. We believe that Project Based Learning will allow our students to examine a topic in-depth, while forming a cohesive community with their classmates, finding relevance in Judaism and finding ways large and small to transform their community, Central and the world.

Our 8th-9th Grade curriculum offers flexible learning opportunities for our teens to continue their Jewish Education. Our students have the option to participate in our Jewish Leadership Institute or Seminars. In our Jewish Leadership Institute, students participate in all 8th/9th Grade seminars, in addition to the Jewish Leadership Seminar, where they learn from influential lay leadership within our congregation and begin to develop their role as Jewish leaders. Our Seminars allow our students the flexibility to enroll in 1-4 seminars (6 weeks each) throughout the year. The topics of our Seminars vary from Jews Around the World, the Arab-Israeli Conflict to Jewish Cooking, Israeli Pop Culture, and Jewish American History. 

Here is what it means in practical terms:

  • The most important thing your family can do is show up for school. Each project depends on student participation, and kids are missed when they are not in class. We know every family has so much going on. Please help make this a positive learning environment for all by bringing your children to the LCLJ each week. 
  • The LCLJ is a holistic experience, building on the learning from the previous year in order to support and enhance the next year’s curriculum. Our curriculum begins in Kindergarten and runs through 12th grade. We will not cover every topic every year, which is why it is so important that students enroll in Kindergarten. While students are welcome to join at any point, each year of our curriculum builds on the next, so we strongly encourage students to enroll as soon as possible. 
  • Over the course of a Pre-K–12 education, the following topics will be covered in-depth:
    • Creation and Shabbat
    • Jewish holidays, stories and symbols
    • The Jewish Calendar
    • Genesis and Exodus and selected other Torah stories
    • Jewish Ritual
    • Israel (Land, Culture, People, History, Present Day, Israel on Campus)
    • Lifecycle Events
    • The development of Jewish law and text
    • The Holocaust
    • God
    • Justice and Judaism
    • Reform Judaism
    • Jewish leadership and identity
    • The Jewish take on current events

We invite you to be our partners in Project Based Learning. If you would like to learn more about it, here are some resources we recommend:

  • A discussion of the essential elements of Project Based Learning from the Buck Institute for Education.
  • A quick video from the Buck Institute for Education that explains Project Based Learning.
  • The book Most Likely to Succeed by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith, as well as the accompanying documentary by the same name. The book and movie will give you a sense of why we chose Project Based Learning as our curricular framework.
  • In addition, An Ethic of Excellence by Ron Berger will give you a window into the kind of impact Project Based Learning can have on a school and community.

If you would like to discuss Project Based Learning or any aspect of our curriculum, please reach out to Rabbi Rosenthal.


Hebrew and T’filah

It is our goal that every child who attends the LCLJ regularly will be able to decode Hebrew (putting together words and sounds fluidly). Our Hebrew curriculum is based around the siddur, meaning that students will be able to decode and chant the prayers and understand the general meaning of the prayer and its origin. They will also study holiday-specific prayers such as the Chanukah blessings and the Four Questions. Students will put their learning into action through weekly T’filah (prayer) and by attending Shabbat Yeladim, our Shabbat programming for kids and families, our once a month Kabbalat Shabbat services and program for children in Pre-K–6th grade. If you would like to see a sample T’filah session or if you want more T’filah at home, check out our new YouTube t’filah playlist here. You can sing-along with our T’filah specialist to your favorite songs, learn new prayers and their meaning, and celebrate the holidays all in one!

Our Hebrew program begins in Pre-K, with students participating in Hebrew Through Movement, which helps them get used to hearing Hebrew words and associating words with body movements. Beginning in 2nd grade, students learn their letters and the basics of decoding, and in 3rd grade and beyond apply those skills to the siddur. Beginning in 3rd grade, students are divided into small Hebrew groups based on level, including a group for students who previously never had Hebrew instruction. Research shows that the more children are exposed to a language, the easier it is for them to learn, so we encourage you to enroll your students in the LCLJ at an early age to increase their familiarity and fluency with Hebrew. 

Our People

Rabbi Rosenthal

Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal

Director of Youth and Family Education

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