The comprehensive Religious Education program Or Chadash offers, beginning with Temple Tots (pre-school) through the 10th Grade, provides our children with the background necessary to develop a love and enthusiasm for Judaism so that Jewish values might guide and enrich their paths through life. We believe that Judaism provides the framework and the language for spiritual development that strengthens a person, our Or Chadash community, and the world at large. We encourage our children to engage with our tradition, to stay focused on their studies, and always to remember that their work is sacred, their relationships loving, and the knowledge they acquire is part of a greater whole that transforms lives. We aim to launch them into the world as young adults who embrace their Jewish identities. We are proud to do this this through a Reform Jewish lens.


Our Religious School begins with our monthly pre-K Temple Tots program, then moves from Kindergarten to B’nai Mitzvah training and on through Confirmation. Our Temple Tots program, a monthly parent/child Jewish content playgroup, emphasizes the opportunity for young families and their children to socialize in the Temple setting. Our elementary age students begin to explore their relationship to the Torah and its implications for their daily lives. Our curriculum in our younger grades focuses on Shabbat and the other holidays, prayers, practices, rituals, and Bible stories. Our Jewish Studies curriculum includes life cycle, Torah, Israel, values, Jewish heroes, holidays, activities of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) through a Jewish lens, and modern Jewish history. Our students learn the Hebrew of the synagogue service, study Jewish history and ideas, and learn to love being Jewish.


We are especially proud of the atmosphere we have created at Or Chadash. All of our students are involved in Tefillah (weekly worship services), music, arts and crafts, library and other special activities chosen to enrich holiday celebrations or curricular themes. Our post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program in grades 8-10 is a hugely successful program that addresses high quality, meaningful content that engages our students in topical subjects. We provide our students with the opportunity to socialize and create a Jewish peer group, thereby enhancing their connection to the Jewish community. We guide them as they mature and become literate, responsible, and committed Jewish adults. A highlight of our Confirmation program is a four-day overnight trip to Washington D.C., to participate in the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Students are exposed to the Reform Jewish stance on issues of social, environmental, and economic justice. In addition to learning sessions, Shabbat celebrations, and visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the program culminates with a day on Capitol Hill during which our teens lobby legislators on issues important to them.


Our students are introduced to Hebrew Through Movement (HTM), a language acquisition strategy by which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands. Hebrew Through Movement introduces Hebrew in a playful and meaningful way, creating a positive first link between students and the Hebrew language. Using two of the principles of Hebrew Through Movement — that learning is social and that children are active learners — students and teachers engage in playful and experiential activities. Following the natural flow of a young child’s language learning, there are no expectations for learners to produce language in a Hebrew Through Movement lesson.


Jewish Life Vocabulary (JLV) is a collection of Hebrew words or phrases that increases one’s connections to Jewish people, traditions, culture and life. Or Chadash has formalized a Jewish Life Vocabulary weekly curriculum by introducing words and phrases we feel are most important for our students and families. An important element of our Religious School program is Tzeddakah. We teach our children that the word Tzeddakah is derived from the Hebrew letters Tsadee, Dalet, Kuf which forms the root for the word Righteousness. The word Tzeddakah literally means “doing the right thing.” We collect Tzeddakah weekly in our Judaica classes. At the conclusion of the year, the students decide how they would like to allocate their Tzeddakah – through a Mitzvah Project or donation. School-wide Tzeddakah programs include our annual Mitten Mitzvah, when we collect mittens and decorate our Sukkah with them, and our pasta box grogger shakers which we use during our reading of the Megillah at Purim.


Revised October 2018

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