Shoresh program and curriculum

Shoresh guides students to become curious, engaged, and skillful Reform Jewish adults who live meaningful Jewish lives

Experiential and project based, Shoresh provides Jewish learning for Kindergarten through 10th grade students. Our Shabbat-based model supports students as they develop a sense of Jewish identity and belonging to the KAM Isaiah Israel community through developmentally appropriate projects and discussions. See more details from our curriculum.

Shoresh learning priorities

  1. Jewish identity: At Shoresh, we grow and get to know ourselves, our congregational family, and our Judaism.

  2. Community: Each of us is an important member of the worldwide Jewish community with responsibility for others, just as they have responsibility for us.

  3. Prayer: We express our hopes, wishes, needs, and thanks through prayer, spirituality, awareness, and exploration of God.

  4. Social justice: All Jews are responsible in the work for social justice and equality among all people.

  5. Study: We gain meaning and guidance for our daily lives through learning about Torah and Judaism.

  6. Israel: Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Our relationship with the modern state of Israel can be complex; knowledge of and engagement with Israel is an important part of modern Jewish identity.

  7. B’nei mitzvah and confirmation: Becoming bar/bat mitzvah and participating in confirmation are rituals that put the other six learning priorities into action and allow students to experience a taste of adult Judaism.

Kindergarten-7th grade

Students meet Friday afternoons 4:00–6:30 pm, culminating in our weekly Family Shabbat service. Kindergarten–7th grade students take an active role with teachers in determining projects for learning units. Units are structured around Judaics concepts and Hebrew, and they incorporate student interests and teacher skills.

Grade level learning priorities this year

Kindergarten-1st grade: “The Torah brings the Jewish people together and teaches us how to live. It is a sacred privilege and obligation for me to honor and celebrate the Torah and to live by its values and ethical practices.” Students focus on Torah, mitzvot and good deads, and prayer and hoildays this year.

2nd-3rd grade: “The Torah, our most sacred gift, teaches us about our past and guides us in understanding how to live today.” Students focus on stories and meaning from the Torah, prayer, and God.

4th-5th grade: “Molded by challenges and transformations through the centuries, we pass Judaism on from one generation to the next. Throughout our history the Jewish people have migrated for freedom, equality, and opportunity, contributing to and gaining from the cultures in which we lived.” Students focus on Jewish history and its meaning and values, faith, and holidays.

6th-7th grade: “Despite the devastation of hundreds of years of anti-Semitism, I am part of a thriving and diverse Judaism and world Jewish community today.” Students focus on Jewish identity; antisemitism and the Holocaust; and Zionism and modern Israel.

Hebrew

2nd–6th grade students have Hebrew instruction twice a week. In addition to Friday Shoresh sessions, students participate in Hebrew@Home, weekly individualized online sessions with their teachers. Students participate as a group with their teachers for part of the class and learn to read through independent study activities and learning. Teachers track progress through regular one-on-one interactions during class and at Hebrew@Home, and other educators like our clergy and Religious School Director participate in individual student assessments. Students work individually with teachers and clergy to prepare for b'nei mitzvah. There may be students who advance beyond our standard Hebrew curriculum; these students are given additional material to study for their b'nei mitzvah ceremonies and may study modern Hebrew as desired.

Kadima (8th–9th grade)

Kadima is designed for post-b'nei mitzvah teens who are capable of more thorough and mature discussions and topics. The curriculum cycles through intriguing and relevant topics to provide students with a full suite of learning and experiences leading up to Confirmation and Jewish adulthood. This year, Kadima will focus on the Jewish community, including denominations of Judaism, what Jews think about hot topics, and dealing with anti-SemitismEach year includes interaction with Jewish texts, discussion of Jewish practice and spirituality, and conversations about modern issues (e.g., gender or kashrut ethics) and more adult topics (e.g., the Israel conflict or adult concepts of spirituality). Kadima also includes experiences within each unit, such as the B'reishit bike trip from KAM Isaiah Israel to the Adler Planetarium, and trips, such as an Adventure Judaism camping trip.  
 

Confirmation (10th grade)

Students meet weekly with the rabbi, discussing topics such as adult God concepts and how to consciously live Jewishly in their adult lives. Students focus on developing their own God concept, learning about advocating for social change they believe in, and learning about what being a part of a community is all about. They learn about their responsibility to identify and find their own Judaism that is meaningful to them.
 
The class travels to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Religious Action Center's L'Taken program, designed for high school students to explore public policy issues and their Jewish values, create a persuasive argument on a topic of their choice, and lobby Congress. Each spring, the Confirmation class puts together and then leads a Shabbat morning service to culminate their Confirmation year and mark the end of their formal Jewish education.