We start the school morning with tefillah, prayer, as a way to transition from our busy daily lives into a more peaceful place. Children learn the words, meaning, and melodies of the morning prayers and become familiar with the order of the service. They build community, find meaning in Torah, and share ideas.
Hebrew instruction, which begins in 2nd grade, includes activities and games to make learning fun and challenging for the whole class, while our self-paced program allows every student to advance based on his or her own ability. The focus is on reading and recognizing prayer vocabulary both for understanding and personal meaning.
We begin the life-long journey through Torah with the stories of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. each year delving more deeply into the text. Teachers use an interactive approach including biblio-drama, text study, and arts activities to bring the people, places, and events to life, while also grappling with the ethical issues they raise.
An Art Specialist visits monthly with hands-on art projects relating to their studies, such as handkerchief challah covers, and holiday themed collages. Our dynamic student cantor regularly brings music to each classroom. Children learn Jewish holiday songs, prayers to enhance our tefillah, and folk music.
On the Jewish holidays and festivals we celebrate in the classroom, at school-wide events, or with the whole UT community. The topsy-turvy Purim carnival includes games, hamantaschen, fantastic costumes and a wild purim-shpiel. On Passover the traditional symbols of the holiday; matzah, maror, salt water, lamb shank, and bitter herbs are embodied in a variety of chocolate forms during our school-wide chocolate seder, making the story of the Exodus both delicious and memorable.
Every week students practice tzedakah (righteous giving) by adding coins to the classroom tzedakah box. At the end of the school year when these nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars have added up, each class chooses an organization to receive the money they have collected. Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, The Trevor Project and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have been among the recipients.
Israeli high school graduates bring a personal piece of Israel to us. These enthusiastic volunteers are from The Jewish Agency’s Service Year Schlichim program (formerly Shin-shinim). Schlichim teach our students about Israeli culture, food, and history, especially as related to the Jewish festivals, and provide instruction in Modern Hebrew. They share a sophisticated, personal, and relevant Israel that promotes greater understanding of Israel and its ideals and increases Jewish awareness and pride.