Temple Beth Jacob brings together a thriving community of families with a commitment to the religious education of their children. The heart and soul of TBJ is alive on Sunday mornings, from 9am until noon, when as many as 65 religious school students and madrichim (clasroom aides) bring their energy, high spirits and questions to their Judaica and Hebrew lessons. Additionally, grades 5-7 attend Hebrew school on Monday evenings from 5:30-6:30.
The Religious School is under direction of the principal, with guidance from the rabbi and the cantor. A team of volunteer teachers guide the students from Kindergarten through seventh grade, exploring their Jewish heritage through music, text and prayer. The giggling children making latkes in the temple kitchen or learning a traditional prayer put to a modern melody are the same children earnestly discussing the Holocaust the next week.
Hebrew studies begin in Kindergarten and gradually intensify each year until students are ready to prepare for their B’nei Mitzvah in seventh grade. TBJ students are so comfortable on the Bima by the time they are called to the Torah, that most of them conduct both the Friday evening and the Saturday morning Shabbat services.
Gesher classes for 8th-12th grades are offered on Sunday mornings to keep the TBJ youth connected to their Judaism and each other. Rather than offering confirmation in a certain grade, students earn credits for attending Gesher, serving as madrichim, serving on the Youth Group Board, visiting Israel, attending a Jewish leadership camp, and more. Students are confirmed when they have earned sufficient credits and are in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. High School students at TBJ also participate in an 8th-9th grade trip (recent cities have included New York and Montreal). 10th-12th graders are also invited to attend, with the rabbi, the Reform movement’s L’Taken Social Justice seminar in Washington, DC each year. TBJ youth are also active members of CONTY, which is affiliated with the North American Federation of Temple Youth.
The TBJ religious school provides the environment for children to learn and grow, while developing a positive sense of self and commitment to their Jewish values. Their spirit of love and hope is embraced by the congregation, and keeps TBJ an exciting and vibrant place to be.