Curriculum

At Central Synagogue

Curriculum

The LCLJ Curriculum is designed around helping students to 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 understands what it means to live and act as a Jew in the world today.

Our students will engage with Judaism through Project Based Learning, a teaching 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 our student will work on projects related to a particular topic over 8-10 weeks in the LCLJ. At the end of the project, families and community members will be invited to 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.

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 when kids are not in class, they are missed. We know every family has so much going on. Please help make this a positive learning environment for all by bringing your children to 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 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
    • 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 Tefillah

It is our goal that every child who attends 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 were it came from. They will also study holiday-specific prayers such as the Hanukkah blessings and the Four Questions. Students will put their learning into action through weekly Tefillah (prayer) and by attending Shabbat Yeladim, our Shabbat programming for kids and families.

Our Hebrew program begins in Kindergarten, 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 have never had Hebrew instruction before. 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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