Jewish Learning Center
Our philosophy: We are a participatory, multi-generational, mutually supportive Jewish learning community, dedicated to:
- exploring our spiritual and cultural connections with Judaism’s rich heritage
- performing acts of tikkun olam
- providing an intellectually stimulating, multi-sensory, and joyful learning environment
We are committed to making Sunday school and Hebrew school inspirational experiences for our children. The key is connection: connecting the students’ Jewish learning to real things in their own lives; connecting older and younger children through whole-school learning, fairs and mini-classes; and connecting the JLC families with each other, the greater community, and the natural world through Tikkun Olam (community service) projects, active participation in holiday events and Shabboses, and the presence of so many active parents as teachers, planners and learners. At the center of all this connection is the Jewish wisdom of the Sh’ma, that we are One (Echad), a connected whole.
The JLC curriculum – which spans four thousand years of Jewish history, culture, values and spirituality – is built around a three-year cycle allowing our children to revisit topics and ideas as they grow older and more mature. Our goal is to provide a broad foundation of familiarity upon which the students can continue to build a lifetime of learning and experience.
- Year I: Biblical – Beginnings, Egyptian Exile and Return, Babylonian Exile and Return
- Year II: Diaspora – Talmudic Sages, Golden Spain and the Orient, Eastern European Mystics and Magic
- Year III: Modern – Our Own Families Coming to America, Israel, the Holocaust (for the oldest class), Jews in America
Each class session revolves around a theme of a Jewish ethical or spiritual value and a Jewish teacher/sage who embodies that theme. We attempt to relate that theme to ethical dilemmas or creative and spiritual practices in the student’s life. By integrating Hebrew words, songs, stories, legends and prayers, we also relate the session’s theme to the current holiday, Shabbos or Tikkun Olam project.
The Jewish Learning Center offers pre-school through B’nai Mitzvah classes. Post-B’nai Mitzvah teens continue to participate as teachers’ aides.
The study of Hebrew is an essential part of Jewish identity and enables one to have a deeper understanding of Jewish culture, study and prayer. It is also an important part of Bat and Bar Mitzvah preparation. We offer a full spectrum of Hebrew classes, from beginner through advanced, either through our own program or by combining with other programs offered in the community.
The Teen Group is for our young adults who are within a year of having their B’nai Mitzvah or who have completed their B’nai Mitzvah. Facilitated by teachers and community members, the teen group combines Jewish learning, spirituality, social events and Tikkun Olam.
B’nai Mitzvah Tutoring
Parents may arrange individual Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutoring for their children. Several tutors are available in the area.
We feel it is important that adults engage in Jewish learning throughout their lives as models for our children. Shir Hayam’s Adult Education program includes book groups, Torah study, performances, discussion groups and classes and workshops taught by guest scholars and rabbis. We encourage adults in the community to participate in the Jewish Learning Center’s children’s classes as teachers, guest teachers, planners and learners.