Temple Or Rishon is a vibrant Jewish community on the outskirts of Sacramento, California. We share a love for Judaism, education, Israel, community and social justice. We want our community to grow and thrive through engaging programming, excellent educational opportunities, and personal connections to each other and to our Jewish faith. We are a congregation who understands the importance of working together to teach our children, providing them with the tools needed to succeed in life and make choices that honor our traditions and faith.
At TOR’s Religious School, we are growing and nurturing each individual student to develop a love for Judaism. We guide our students to a deeper connection to their faith, an understanding of our traditions and cultures, a connection to the State of Israel, familiarity with our Hebrew language and an ability to fully participate in the Jewish world. Over the past 4 months, an educational task force made up of teachers, parents, and lay leaders has been meeting to discuss our goals as a school community and how to best achieve those goals.
We know that each child is different and that education is a process of gradual understanding and eventual participation. As such, we have adjusted the structure of our school in two fundamental ways.
- Division of school into 3 parts (as illustrated above).
- The Lower School: PreK – 3rd Grade (Sundays only)
- The Upper School: 4th – 6th Grade (Sun and Wed)
- Our 7th grade B’nai Mitzvah class (Sun and Wed)
As students matriculate through our program, they will gain the skills to gradually increase their engagement in our community, eventually being able to lead services alongside their peers and confidently celebrate holidays at home.
We have amazing teachers at Temple Or Rishon and we wanted to provide them with the appropriate curriculum and allow them to spend time doing what they do best, in the subjects that they know best. This led us to the second fundamental program change.
- Changing the format and structure of the Sunday school day
- Students will attend 3 different classes – they will move between the classes during the morning. Each group of students will be accompanied by a highly-qualified member of our madrichim staff.
- Elective (Cultural Arts and Special Topics – change at semester)
- Tefillah will be divided into two separate sessions, Lower School and Upper School/B’nai Mitzvah class. The two separate sessions will allow us to use prayer, soulful expression and educational elements to make tefillah more engaging and age appropriate for the students.
All of our students will spend 45 minutes per day learning a variety of information about being Jewish. For the youngest learners (PreK, Kinder, and 1st Grade), their lessons will be about holidays, Torah stories, and traditions. For 2nd – 5th grade, the students engage with a curriculum called Shalom Learning. This interactive program focuses on seven major themes throughout the year.
- B’tzelem Elohim-In G-d’s Image
- Hakarat-Hatov-Recognizing the Good
- Koach Hadibbur-Power of Speech
The lessons are fun and engaging, with videos, questions, games, brain breaks and activities aimed at making the topics relevant to our students.
Our 6th graders learn about the rhythm and cycles of the Jewish calendar and how it fits into the secular calendar and seasons. They also talk about specific holidays and gain a deeper understanding of the traditions and history behind their observance.
The 7th grade class engages in lively discussions about Jewish ethics and how being Jewish can fit into and be relevant to their everyday lives.
Our elective program consists of two semester-long enrichment classes (12 sessions each semester). All students will take both offerings, switching in January.
In our special topics class, students will be learning new and unusual things about our Jewish world. 1st—4th graders will be using a STEAM based curriculum developed by the ROZZY Learning Company. It explores different STEAM careers in Israel through problem solving activities.
Our 5th and 6th Grade students will choose different topics to research and use the resources from our library and the online community to learn more about their topic, eventually creating a presentation for the class.
Our cultural arts elective will have three rotating sessions.
Music: students will participate in musical instruction, including singing, percussion instruments, and chant – all focusing on different prayers.
Art: Students will learn about different Jewish artists and create their own art using similar mediums to the masters.
Dance: At least twice during the semester, students will receive instruction in Israeli dance.
This year, we are adjusting our Hebrew program in two ways. Sundays: Students will have a dedicated Hebrew teacher on Sunday mornings with a specific block of time in which Hebrew instruction takes place.
Wednesday Hebrew school: We plan to switch to a Hebrew Tutorial model (still on Wednesdays). Students in grades 4-6 will receive personalized private and semi-private 30 minute tutorial sessions with a Hebrew teacher. When you register, you will provide us with your preferred tutorial times. (Alternate tutorial days may be available)
Our 7th grade students will continue to come each Wednesday, as a class, to meet with their teacher from 6:30 to 8pm.
What about Social Time? We know that the social element of Hebrew school is also extremely important. Because of this, we have planned one whole group Wednesday session per month (except Dec and Feb). Students will come from 6:30 to 8pm, enjoy snacks, Hebrew games, social time and participate in an evening tefillah.
|Grade Level||Class Name||Goals/Material Covered|
|First Grade||Alef 1||Learning letters and becoming familiar with their sounds and some vocabulary|
|Second/Third Grade||Bet 1||Adding vowels to letters, beginning to blend, building vocabulary|
|Fourth Grade||Alef 2||Review of letters, vowels and focusing on blending|
|Fifth Grade||Bet 2||Review of blending and beginning to read longer words and prayers|
|Sixth Grade||Gimmel||Advanced blending, reading prayers, beginning to focus on meaning of root words.|
|Seventh Grade||Dalet||Fluent reading, Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation.|