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Shoresh: Our Shabbat-based religious school program

Our learners develop foundations of Jewish education—their own “roots”—to become curious, engaged, and skillful Reform Jewish adults. Learning on Jewish time through authentic experiences provides learners and their families with opportunities to develop positive Jewish identity, Hebrew knowledge, Jewish traditions and values, and engagement with Jewish ritual and community. The roots our learners plant at KAM Isaiah Israel will lead them to be adults who live meaningful Jewish lives. 

Our program

Shoresh provides experiential and project based Jewish learning for Kindergarten through 10th grade learners. Our Shabbat-based model supports learners as they become curious about, engaged in, and skillful in Judaism. Shoresh is an inclusive and diverse environment where interfaith families, Jews of color, Jews by choice, LGBTQ+ families and learners, and many others find a home for Jewish learning. Kindergarten–9th grade learners meet Friday afternoons 4:00–6:30 PM, culminating in our weekly family Shabbat service. Shoresh families love our focus on Shabbat—Judaism's built-in break from the busy week—and coming together to welcome Shabbat with friends.

Shoresh sessions on Friday
4:00–6:00 PM Classroom time

Students focus on developing a sense of Jewish identity and belonging to the KAM Isaiah Israel community through developmentally appropriate projects and discussions based on a thoughtfully designed curriculum developed exclusively for Shoresh. Read more about the Shoresh curriculum.

Kindergarten–1st grade learners have a dynamic schedule of activities for hands-on learning that helps them learn how to be Jewish and about Jewish values. 2nd–5th grade learners explore how Judaism is relevant in today's world through project based learning. 6th–9th grade learners learn about modern issues and grapple with Jewish values and texts through discussions with clergy and experienced teachers. 2nd-7th grade learners also participate in Hebrew instruction on Fridays, which focuses on Hebrew prayer and spirituality.

6:00–6:30 PM Family Shabbat service 

Learners conclude Friday afternoon learning by welcoming Shabbat in a meaningful community setting where they can put their knowledge into practice at our weekly Shabbat service and monthly congregational dinners. Designed for learners and parents together, this service is a central component of our Shabbat-based model. Parents join their children for the service after socializing at a wine and cheese oneg at 5:30 PM.

Background
 This idea of planting and growing our Shoresh, our Jewish roots, reflects the mission of our program as well as the identity unique to KAM Isaiah Israel. Most literally, our community is proud of our urban farm and the over 18,000 pounds of organic produce grown and donated to local soup kitchens and shelters. KAM Isaiah Israel has deep roots in the Chicago Jewish community, and we have a deep commitment to learning. In Hebrew, we often look at the shoresh (root) of a word and how that affects a word’s meaning and use. Our learners’ roots—both those in our gardens and that our congregation helps sow through education—affect our Jewish identities. 
Tue, July 16 2019 13 Tammuz 5779