We teach each student not only the skills to fully participate in the Jewish community, but also to instill an emotional sense of love for Judaism. Students learn hands-on skills such as lighting Shabbat candles, the Hanukkah blessings, the order of a Passover Seder, the prayers in the Shabbat service, and more. Additionally, students come away with an emotional connection to Jewish tradition, Jewish community and God.
We understand that our students bring with them a variety of learning styles. Therefore, each of the teachers at Congregation Sinai uses all of the senses in order to teach each subject, incorporating art, movement and library visits. Each class also spends time each month with our Shin-Shinim, Israeli teens doing a year of service in our community, in order to learn more about Israel and modern Hebrew. This variety of learning experiences accommodates a range of interest and learning styles.
Staying Healthy Together
How to keep your kids engaged in Judaism during this time
Dear School Families,
As we navigate this challenging and unique time, I want to tell you that Congregation Sinai, and especially our school, are still here for you and your children. While we will not be able to meet in person for the foreseeable future, we will still offer a number of opportunities for connection and learning.
In the short term, since we were scheduled to head into spring break, I will have some suggestions online for activities you can do with your family. Please join us for Friday Night services streaming, and/or Havdallah on Saturday evening via zoom. Additionally, for our Hebrew students, all the prayer packets will be available on this page for students to work on at home.
Starting in April, we will continue to meet on Sunday mornings, though this time virtually, so please keep the 930am-1200pm time slot available. I will be working with our teachers during the break to determine the best way for us to connect with our students and for them to connect with each other.
PJ Library has a great list of ideas for you to do at home with your family. Here are a few of my top suggestions:
Finally, one more thing you can do right now with you family is write cards to seniors in retirement homes like Ovation and Sarah Chudnow. They are not allowed to have any visitors, including family, because they are more at risk, but they can receive cards from you. I know they will appreciate hearing from any and all of you.
I will be available via email and/or zoom most days to help with Hebrew, or just to check in to see how everyone is doing. I know this is a challenging time, and please let me know what I, and Congregation Sinai as a whole, can do to help.
May you all have the health and patience to get through this difficult time.
Hebrew Packets Available Online
Below are all the Hebrew packets, sorted by level. Your student should know what packet they are working on.
Alef Bet Students should download the app Alef Bet Bullseye (free in the app store through the end of the month) and practice learning letters and vowels. If they want to take practice Alef Bet tests, they are available here, all four versions.
Black Packets - Coming Soon!
K4-7th Grade Religious School
Sunday mornings 9:30am-12:00pm
Our Sunday mornings begin with Family Tefillah with our clergy in the sanctuary before the students head to the classrooms with their teachers. In addition to classroom based learning, Sinai students have opportunities for experiential learning with our specialists in music, movement, art and cooking. Throughout the year our students will also spend time with the Shin-Shinim to learn about Israel and make strong connections to Israeli teens.
The curriculum in the Gan (K4 and K5) and 1st grade class centers around the Jewish holidays, Bible stories, Jewish symbols, exposure to blessings, basic Hebrew vocabulary and the recognition and identification of the Alef-Bet (Hebrew alphabet). Youth engage with the material through interactive Jewish learning centers targeting multiple learning styles. Hebrew language is taught orally and through movement.
Starting in 2nd grade, our students are introduced to the CHAI Curriculum, a curriculum for Reform congregations focused on Torah, Avodah (prayer), and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of kindness). The theme for 2nd/3rd grade is Kedusha (holiness). The theme for 4th/5th grade is Reform Judaism. The theme for the 6th/7th grade class is Hineini (here I am).
In addition to the CHAI Curriculum and electives, students will also spend time each year learning about the Jewish holidays as they come up on the calendar with the goal that they can take the skills they learn in class and use them to help their families celebrate the holiday at home.
3rd-6th Grade Mitkadem
Tuesday afternoons 4:30-5:45pm
Students in 3rd-6th grade also meet on Tuesday afternoons in our Mitkadem program. Mitkadem is a self-paced program that teaches students to read prayers, understand their general meaning, and the ability to translate a few of the key words in the prayer. Students can work at their own pace to complete the Mitkadem packets with the assistance of our Hebrew teachers. As they complete certain benchmarks in the curriculum, they will earn different colored Hebrew dog tags on their way to becoming Hebrew Ninjas.
- Mastering the Aleph Bet – Golden Aleph Dog Tag
- Completing the first 5 Mitkadem packets – Kachol (blue) Dog Tag
- Completing the next 4 Mitkadem packets – Sagol (purple) Dog Tag
- Completing the final 7 Mitkadem packets – Shachor (black) Dog Tag and title of Hebrew Ninja
B'nei Mitzvah Preparation
Sunday mornings 9:30am-12:00pm
PLUS - Individualized study schedule
Our B'nei mitzvah students spend this year engaged in individual studies with our clergy and a Hebrew tutor which are scheduled throughout the week. Sunday morning classes give them a chance to come together as a community for group learning and to support each other during this busy and important year.
Prior to the start of their B'nei Mitzvah preparations, students complete a minimum of three consecutive years in the Youth Education Program, unless they attend an area Jewish day school. For most youth, this means they should be enrolled in the Youth Education program no later than the 3rd grade. Special arrangements can be made for students with special needs to create a meaningful Jewish educational and B'nei mitzvah experience.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is one of anticipation, anxiousness and excitement. We view it as a family experience in which both the youth and family members devote a considerable amount of time and energy in preparation for this ceremony. In the Sixth grade year, we offer three Family B'nei Mitzvah Program learning sessions which are designed to help families deepen their understanding of the B'nei Mitzvah experience.
8th-12th Grade Program
Kesher – Sundays 12:00-1:30pm
Congregation Sinai is excited to launch our new post B’nei Mitzvah program this year, Kesher. Kesher means connection. Our teens will connect with each other, with our Sinai community, and with the greater Milwaukee community. This program aims to help our teens discover their path to becoming Jewish adults who are fully part of, and engaged in, our Jewish community. Activities will include discussion, use of multi-media, expert guest speakers, trips, and opportunities for personal growth.
Tenth grade students will participate in Affirmation with Rabbi Cohen and lead a special service in the spring to mark this milestone achievement.
8th-12th grade students may also work or earn volunteer hours working as teaching assistants in our Religious School on Sunday mornings. Participants are able to make a positive impact on Jewish children. The experience also makes them stronger candidates for summer jobs and helps them stand out on college applications.