Jewish Education Center of Anne Arundel
I. MISSION STATEMENT:
The mission of Kneseth Israel is to provide the families of our community with a place to send their children to receive affordable enrichment to their traditional Hebrew and Jewish education so that the next generation of Jewish leaders will be grounded in the values and traditions of the Jewish faith and heritage.
II. EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND RATIONALE:
Our goal is to provide an educational alternative for the parents who wish to pass on the traditions and importance of Judaism to their children. Since not all parents have the privilege of sending their children to the Jewish Day Schools in the area, we want to provide a way for such families to tap into Hebrew and Jewish education in order to ensure that the next generation will grow up richly enjoying, understanding and practicing the Jewish traditions in a meaningful way.
As a congregation, Kneseth Israel would like to assist our families by providing the children of our community the opportunity to learn and appreciate Hebrew, Jewish history, prayers, and rituals. Through the use of the available resources and a unique curriculum that will be taught by our own Rabbi Weisblum, as a community we believe we can provide a rich, cultural enrichment for our families to enjoy together.
In addition, our instructional program will be an outreach of Kneseth Israel as a congregation, attempting to reach those Jewish families on the fringes that are not involved and many not have the background in Judaism but are looking for practical ways to instill their faith and culture into the lives of their children.
Our vision is to attract younger families to our congregation. Kneseth Israel Congregation will provide the support and tools necessary to encourage and supplement the Hebrew and Jewish education of the children of the community. Regardless of religious background or level of observance, students at KI Hebrew School will acquire a broad-based knowledge of Judaism in an appealing, and action-packed environment. The teachers will not merely give out facts, but they will relate to the children individually and take genuine interest in their personal success. Ultimately, students will learn and will have fun as they gain insight into their faith and heritage.
The curriculum at KI Hebrew School will promote Jewish values
Like charity, love and kindness, compassion, love of Torah, love of Jewish traditions and being connected to God along with in-depth teaching of Hebrew language (reading, writing and vocabulary), Torah studies, Jewish History, arts & crafts projects and hands-on holiday enrichment (skits, songs, model Seders, Sukkah-making, menorah designing, etc.)--and will include, but not be limited by:
IV. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:
Objectives for First Year Hebrew
1. Learn the Hebrew alphabet (consonants and vowels) and begin to read Hebrew.
2. Learn to read the blessings for the Candles, Kiddush, Hanukah, and the Four Questions for Passover.
3. Attend worship services with family once a month (9 times between Sept - June).
Objectives for Second Year Hebrew
1. Improve skill in reading Hebrew.
2. Develop solid reading fluency in the prayers from the Shabbat worship service.
3. Increase Hebrew prayer vocabulary.
4. Introduce the structure of the Hebrew language.
5. Attend worship services with family once a month (9 times between Sept - June).
Objectives for Third Year Hebrew
1. "Check off " and review all prayers learned in Hebrew I & II, and those necessary for the successful celebration of THE Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
2. Discuss as a part of his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience.
3. Gain a better understanding of the organizational outline and meaning of a typical Shabbat worship service.
4. Attend worship services with family twice monthly (18 times between Sept - June).
Homework - Students will be much more successful if they practice their Hebrew every day. Students will spend about five minutes each day reading aloud to a parent or doing other assignments. A short time every day is much more beneficial than a longer time once a week.
Requirements for Bar or Bat Mitzvah
1. Complete A three year Hebrew program.
2. Attend worship services with families twice a month (18 times between Sept - June).
3. Learn their Torah and Haftorah portion and be able to lead the worship service either Erev Shabbat or Shabbat Morning.
REQUIRED DAY: SUNDAY
*From 10:00-10:20 there will be communal morning prayer, we will have the students join for this tradition in the small chapel. Through selected songs, chants and prayers the students will be exposed to Hebrew in a way relevant to their faith. We will also conduct special songs with a melody suited for younger students so the children can follow and join in. Prayers will also be explained with regards to meaning.
*From 10:20-10:45 modern Hebrew will be the focus, using various teaching methods while the younger children who attend learn writing, reading and comprehension. The flashcard approach will be supplemented by other innovative new educational tools that will enhance the foreign language acquisition of the student.
*From 11-12:30 there will be a special subject, for example: Now for the high holidays, learn about shofar, prayers, visit a company that manufactures shofars. For other holidays learn about sukkot, build a sukkot as a class, learn about traditions and the true meanings behind Purim, Passover, etc. with the goal to make the holidays relevant. To do this we will coordinate with parents and teachers, in whatever way they want to coordinate…some parents want to learn about certain holidays while others will be interested in the special hands-on projects.
THE SECOND DAY IS OPTIONAL:
WED. 4:30-6 PM OR FRIDAY FOR ABOUT 1-2 HOURS. If it is Friday (which we recommend), the tradition of the Shabbat, we would light candles, make Kiddush, blessing of wine, read from Torah, have a short meal, a little dancing, question and answer session with children, parents and children learning together.
V. FUNDING AND LOGISTICS
We have a commitment from three philanthropists within our congregation who are willing to provide financial resources to sponsor the school.
Two of these philanthropic partners are committed to give --------total to form a seed fund trust specifically for the Kneseth Israel Hebrew School. These monies will be designated into a separate account specifically for the Kneseth Israel Hebrew School and the donors will have oversight over these funds as it relates to school expenditures. In addition to the seed fund, there will be a transfer of $9,000 from the monies that our congregation already gives to the consolidated school fund. This track of funds will be deconsolidated, with the funds redeposit into the KI Hebrew School account.
SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL SEED FUND:
First year: -------seed money donated by individuals already committed
In addition, parents will pay tuition, which will be very reasonable as one of our main missions is to make such education accessible and affordable for all of our families. Teachers will be paid according to their education and experience.
TEACHERS AND INSTRUCTORS: Rabbi Weisblum will oversee the program. He will supervise the teachers, and coordinate the instructional and curricular program. While other schools hire teachers from Baltimore, we intend to invite members from our own local community to join our teaching staff. We would prefer to start with members of our own community, and as the school expands and the need dictates, we will look beyond our own resources for qualified instructors.
SCHOOL LOCATION: At the present time a committee is investigating the optimal location for our new school at Kneseth Israel.
VII. GENERAL OBJECTIVES :
THE GENERAL OBJECTIVES OF THE KNESETH ISRAEL HEBREW SCHOOL ARE TO DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN:
Goal #1: To make available a course of Hebrew language study for all our eligible students, whether or not they and their families elect to celebrate either the Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Goal #2: To introduce our students, primarily in grades 5th, 6th and 7th, to their Lashon Hakodesh (holy language), to its reading, its writing, its vocabulary, and its viability, in the world today and exemplified by both the world of Tefillah (prayer) and the world of Eretz Yisrael (land of Israel). To this end, a variety of texts, instructional aid, and approaches are used.
Goal #3: To enable those young people who elect to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah to comfortably and maturely participate in the conduct of the Shabbat worship service, by leading the congregation in the major portions of the worship service itself, and reading or chanting a selection from both the Torah and Haftorah weekly selections together with the attendant four Brachot (blessings).
X. RATIONALE FOR HEBREW LITERACY
The late, renowned rabbi and teacher, Dr. Emanuel Gamoran, presented the following reasons (adapted) for studying Hebrew:
1. Hebrew is the language of the Torah
2. Hebrew is the language of the Siddur and Machzor (prayer books)
3. Ability to participate intelligently in the worship service depends upon knowledge of Hebrew.
4. Hebrew serves as a bond of union between all the Jews throughout the world.
5. Knowledge of Hebrew, pursued intensively, opens up such sources of Jewish literature as the Mishnah, medieval Hebrew poetry, and philosophy.
6. Modern Hebrew is the spoken tongue of the majority of Jews now living in Israel and a great many others around the world.
7. Every Jewish group should provide Hebrew language education for its children sufficiently intensive to develop a number who will be capable of Jewish leadership in the community.
8. Hebrew is a mean of helping Jewish people survive.
9. Our literature concerns itself with many religious and ethical ideals which are linguistically untranslatable, but which are reflective of the noble spirit of our Jewish people.
10. The emotional values derived from a study of Hebrew speak for themselves.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rabbi MP Weisblum
Edited by :
Dr. Richard Solomon
Richard Solomon, Ph.D., has been the Teacher in John Hoping University and teacher in the Center coordinator of the Prince George's County-University of Maryland Secondary Professional Development Center, since 1986.
He is also president and executive director, National Institute for Relationship Training Inc. Presently, he teaches for the Graduate School of Loyola College on organizational development, human relations in school management, managing conflict, relationship training, and cooperative and collegial learning.