Seventh Grade – Ethics, Holocaust and the Arts
6:00 to 6:20 pm – Dinner (Included)
6:20 to 7:30 p.m. – Class
Students explore their Jewish identity though participation in electives and volunteer work, creating bridges between themselves, American culture and Judaism. Topics include Zionism and the Hatikvah, conversational Hebrew, Jewish roots, and Jewish customs for life cycle events such as cooking, comparative religion, Talmud, Israel and Judaism, Purim Play and the Holocaust. The post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah curriculum includes pre-confirmation and confirmation (eighth and ninth grade). It is composed of core courses and electives filled with challenging topics and controversial issues based on Biblical and Talmudic thought, such as making difficult choices, fixing the world, Jewish identity, Jewish law, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Israel.
For our post-B’nei Mitzvah students, Temple Sinai offers two informal educational teen programs for eighth- and ninth-graders that take students out of the classroom and into the community for unique learning experiences. Personally directed by our rabbis, these groundbreaking, high-impact programs have proven to be very engaging for teens, tapping into their desire to make a difference in the world and experience new things, all while hanging out together and having fun.
Eighth Grade – Teen Foundation
For the past several years, the majority of students who become Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Temple Sinai have chosen to continue their participation instead of “dropping out” of Temple! Combining elements of teen philanthropy, community service and leadership development, our cutting-edge youth program was pioneered six years ago to engage eighth graders in performing important mitzvah work while having fun hanging out together. The Teen Foundation focuses on tzedakah (charity), gemilut chasadim (deeds of kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) through site visits to local nonprofit organizations doing great work in our community. Students learn about the needs of others in the community who may not have what they have, and about what nonprofit organizations─both Jewish and secular─do to help those in need. They gain experience volunteering at these organizations and at the end of the year, decide as a group which organizations should receive monetary grants from the Teen Foundation.
The Teen Foundation typically meets twice a month between October and May on Sunday afternoons from 5:00 to 6:15 p.m. and on Fridays after school from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. On occasion, special mitzvah opportunities are offered at other times. Click here to learn more.
Ninth-Grade ─ Netivot/Pathways Program and Confirmation
As students begin high school, they meet numerous challenges. We are all well aware of the academic challenges. However, for a young person, the challenge of developing personal identity–determining what is important in life and who one wants to be–may be far more significant. Understanding where Jewish background, community, and faith fit into overall identity is a critical aspect of personal development.
The primary goal of the Netivot/Pathways program is to expose our students to various pathways for developing their adult Jewish identities. We seek to help them grapple with developing their own approach to being a Jew─one that can sustain them into adulthood.
From October through March, students engage in an activity with us approximately three times each month in the following format:
- One Sunday a month, the entire group meets together for a discussion on a topic related to teens and identity.
- One Friday afternoon each month, students participates with the group in a volunteer program at a local Jewish organization. Students can apply for community service credit from their high school for this work.
- Once a month, we take the students on a trip or to participate in an activity where they experience something that will help them develop an aspect of their individual Jewish identities.
Students who participate consistently in our ninth-grade Netivot/Pathways are eligible to be confirmed at Temple Sinai at a service held on the Festival of Shavuot. Students who participate in Confirmation will meet weekly on Tuesday evenings in April and May to prepare for this special service.
Post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah students enrolled our Religious School throughout their high school years have the opportunity to work as Madrichim (teaching assistants) in the classrooms of younger students or in the Religious School office. This work-study program allows students to gain meaningful skills, and fosters a connection between our upper and lower school students. Madrichim receive community service hours or payment for their work.