Print Friendly, PDF & Email

CONGREGATION B’NAI ISRAEL RELIGIOUS SCHOOL

PARENT INFORMATION PORTAL

OUR EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

 

“…and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…”

Deuteronomy 6:7

 

Learning is not the mere acquisition of subject matter. Real learning is a process of personal growth and development. Our school is a caring community where everyone learns and participates in a variety of programs and activities. Our program emphasizes structured classes and warm relationships, where our students will develop a positive Jewish identity through a comprehensive exploration of Judaism. An emphasis is placed on learning within the context of the family, and parents are considered an integral part of the education program.

CONGREGATION B’NAI ISRAEL RELIGIOUS SCHOOL MISSION STATEMENT:

 

Congregation B’nai Israel embraces a lifelong understanding and pursuit of Jewish identity, commitment, and values. Our congregation strives to instill knowledge of pride in Jewish heritage including Torah, T’fillah and Mitzvot, leading to active participation in Jewish life.

**Mission Statement created and adopted by Temple Board July 1999.

OUR EDUCATIONAL GOALS

 

Congregation B’nai Israel strives to provide Jewish education in accordance with the guidelines set by the Reform Movement. The deepening of Jewish knowledge and experience, through education and participation in temple life, strengthens faith in God, love of Torah, connection to Israel, and identification with all Jewish people.

We believe that Judaism contains answers to the challenges and questions confronting us daily, and that an educated Jew can successfully discover these answers. Linked to these goals, our educational programs embrace experiences and learning activities that encourage children and adults to become:

  1. Jews who affirm their Jewish identity and bind themselves inseparably to their people by word and deed.
  2. Jews who bear witness to the Brit (the Covenant between God and the Jewish People) by embracing Torah, and by the studyand observances of Mitzvot (commandments) as interpreted in the light of historicdevelopment and contemporary thought.
  3. Jews who affirm their historical bond to Eretz Yisrael, the state of Israel.
  4. Jews who study and cherish Hebrew, thelanguage of Jewish people.
  5. Jews who value and practice T’fillah(prayer).
  6. Jews who further the cause of Justice, freedom and peace by pursuing Tzedek(Righteousness), Mishpat (Justice) andChesed (Loving Deeds).
  7. Jews who celebrate Shabbat and Festivals andobserve Jewish ceremonies marking significant occasions in their lives.
  8. Jews who esteem their own person and the person of others, their own family and the family of others, and their own community and the community of others.
  9. Jews who express their kinship with K’lalYisrael (community of Jewish people) by actively seeking the welfare of Jews throughout the world.
  10. Jews who support and participate in synagogue life.

Such Jews will strengthen the fabric of Jewish life, ensure the future of Judaism and of the Jewish people, and approach the realization of their divine potential.

 

“On Three Things the World Stands: On Torah, on Service and on Loving Deeds”  ~ PirkeAvot 1:2

We love Judaism! Our teachers, our curriculum, ourRabbi and Director of Education and Youth Engagement strive to instill this warm commitment in our students. In order to do this most effectively, we depend on

TEAMWORK,                      COMMITMENT                  AND COMMUNICATION.

Teamwork exists when parents, teachers, students and professional staff work together to reach our goals. Each member of the team must be committedto our educational enterprise to fulfill the goals of the school.

Commitment goes beyond classroom teachers. Inaddition to a full staff of qualified teachers and assistants we rely on the commitment of parents to help make our programming strong and successful. We need parents who are willing to be called upon.

Communication. The overall success of our             program depends on communication at all levels. As parents, you know your children better than anyone, and it is crucial that we remain in contact with you so as to best meet your children’s needs.             We value your input, suggestions and constructive criticism. Additionally, we will communicate with you through many modes including periodic mailings, constant contact/emails, and phone calls.

Please inform us of any changes to your contact information.

Each of these three pillars is essential in the functioning of our school and we ask you to carefully consider your role in each of them.

 

BEHAVIORAL EXPECTATIONS

CODE OF KAVOD

 

Congregation B’nai Israel is proud to promote respect – KAVOD – for our school and institution, for Jewish learning, and for ourselves and others.

 

We show respect and honor to B’nai Israel – our Jewish home.

 

We show respect and honor to our people, traditions and history and toward a life-long commitment to Jewish learning.

 

We show respect to our Morim – teachers, our Chaverim– friends and to ourselves by our conduct, demeanor and actions.

It is the philosophy of the school that a student’s valuable learning time should not be interrupted by a disruptive classmate. All students have a right to a good education. Therefore, the behavior policy is as follows:

  • Teachers are responsible for the management of their students at all times throughout the Religious School morning. Teachers will make every attempt to be fair in their policies and give ample warnings to any students causing a disruption.
  • When a student’s disruptive behavior* is interrupting the learning of others the student(s) will be sent to the Director of Education and Youth Engagement.
  • If it is necessary to send a student out of class repeatedly, the student will meet with the Director of Education and Youth Engagement to discuss the problem. A plan of action will be determined that will enable the student to work towards behavioral improvement. Parents may be contacted if the student’s behavior warrants.
  • A continuation of the problem would result in a request for a parent conference, or further action as deemed necessary by the Director of Education and Youth Engagement.

 

*What constitutes Kavod and Derech Eretz (manners and good behavior) at Religious School and Temple?

Respecting others, their space, property and ideas.
Respect materials, furnishing, and synagogue property.
Being prepared to learn and be open to new ideas presented in the class lessons.
Be mindful of keeping hands and feet to yourself.
Be mindful of appropriate dress and language.

 

HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE –   SYNAGOGUE AND HOME

 

Our curriculum is designed to teach our children all about holidays and observances that are part of the Jewish tradition. We realize that this tradition cannot be practiced nor transmitted in a vacuum. It is important for families to experience these observances and traditions in an individual, as well as communal setting. We encourage you to engage in these observances in your home, and to join the synagogue family when we celebrate together. Throughout the year, there are opportunities for family worship, and there are many well-publicized programs.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RELIGIOUS SCHOOL

 

REGISTRATION AND FEES

Registration forms and a fee schedules are available online. Studentsalready enrolled in our school will receive notice of next year’s registration forms automatically at the end of the school year. Please fill them out online before the due date.  A late fee is added after a pre-determined date.

To register for religious school families will access the link to a PayQuiq form.  There is no new password to be reset. Religious School fees can be paid through the PayQuiq form with a credit card, by mailing a check, requesting an ACH withdrawal, or requesting scholarship. All need based scholarships can be discussed confidentially with Rabbi Block.

New temple members may only enroll their children in our Religious School after their membership is approved by the Board. The Director of Education and Youth Engagement is available to assist new families with Religious School enrollment.

It is more important to us to welcome your child to religious school each year than withholding a Jewish education due to financial constraints.  Please ask – there are funds available for those who are in need and wish to stay connected and active in the religious school and in temple life.

SCHOOL HOURS

Grades K-8 grades meets Sunday mornings from 9:00 am – 12 pm

Pre-Confirmation (9th grade) and Confirmation(10th grade)class meets on selected Wednesday evenings throughout the year:  6 – 8 pm.  Dinner is provided for the class.

Congregation B’nai Israel Policies and Procedures

 

Subject: Religious School Policy

 Adopted: April 22, 2014

 Effective: June 1, 2014

 Amended: October 20, 2015; September 27, 2016; August 27, 2017

Supersedes: Religious School Policy adopted May 28, 2002

Effective Until: Superseded

Policy

  1. Congregation B’nai Israel offers Religious School for children of temple members on Sunday mornings from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in accordance with an academic calendar announced by the Director of Education and Youth Engagement no later than(June 1) May 1 preceding each academic year. Any Jewish child or child wishing to be Jewish may attend CBI Religious School, provided that child’s parent(s) approve of his or her attendance and all applicable tuition and fees are paid. Children of non-members are not eligible for Temple scholarship assistance.
  2. The Religious School curriculum is determined by the Director of Education and Youth Engagement guided by the Rabbi. The curriculum shall include Hebrew instruction, with the goal of achieving prayer book literacy, at least in Kindergarten through Grade Six.
  3. Religious School registration shall begin no later than June 15(July 15) preceding each academic year, with fees set by the Board of Trustees no later than June 1 of each year. Fees may include a penalty for registration later than a deadline determinedlate fee for late registration set by the Board of Trustees. Parent(s) of all students registering for Religious school must be members in good standing, as determined by the President and Administrator, at the time of school registration. Scholarships are available by contacting the Rabbi. (Throughout this policy, the term “parent(s)” shall include legal guardian(s).)
  4. While attendance at all Religious School sessions is preferred, we understand that absences may occur. Six absences are permitted each year in Kindergarten through Grade Nine, and three absences are permitted in Confirmation. Absences include illness, family vacations, secular school activities, and family emergencies. Whenever possible, please provide advance notice of a planned absence to the Director of Education and Youth Engagement and the student’s teacher.

If a student exceeds the number of permitted absences in any school year, a conference will be scheduled with the family, the Rabbi and Director of Education and Youth Engagement to discuss the special needs and circumstances of the family that kept the student(s) out of Religious School.

If a student will miss Religious School to attend another Jewish event, and such absence is approved in advance by the Director of Education and Youth Engagement or the Rabbi, that absence shall be excused and not counted toward any aggregate number of absences described above.

  1. The Religious School Registration process shall ask parent(s) to provide information and grant permissions as follows. Unless otherwise specified, parent(s) are required to provide this information and these consents:
  2. Appropriate demographic and contact information, including mobile telephone contact for responsible adult(s), as requested by the Director of Education and Youth Engagement
  3. Consent for Congregation B’nai Israel to transport a registered child in need of medical care, and to obtain emergency medical care when necessary, if the parent(s) cannot be reached.
  4. Information about any and all known allergies.
  5. Consent for participation in field trip(s), which parent(s) may decline to offer, with the understanding that missing a field trip constitutes an absence under this policy.
  6. Consent for photographs of registered students to be used, without name identification, in Temple publications, including but not limited to the Chronicle, the Temple web site, and the Temple Facebook group and other social media upon seeking permission. Or see next ‘f’
  7. Consent for photographs of registered students to be used more broadly, which parent(s) may decline without penalty.
  8. Consent by the parent(s) and student(s) to the Religious School’s Discipline policy.
  9. Certification of compliance with the immunization policy of an Arkansas Public School District or of an accredited Arkansas private school; or, for children who are home-schooled, proof of immunization that would comply with the immunization policy of a Central Arkansas Public School District. Verbal approval upon registration that child(ren) are in compliance with the immunization policy of an Arkansas Public School District or of an accredited Arkansas private school.
  10. Information about any special learning needs, as provided in paragraph 6 below.
  11. The Religious School is committed to making every reasonable accommodation to meet students’ special learning needs. In order to allow sufficient time for special learning needs to be addressed, they should be disclosed to the Director of Education and Youth Engagement at the time of registration on the online form
  12. The Director of Education and Youth Engagement shall maintain a behavior Policy and provide it to all parent(s) at the time of registration.
  13. The Director of Education and Youth Engagement shall employ and supervise all Religious School teachers, in accordance with any personnel policies of Congregation B’nai Israel and any relevant state and/or federal law.
  14. The Director of Education and Youth Engagement may employ high school students, post-Confirmation, as Religious School teaching assistants.
  15. Congregation B’nai Israel and its Religious School are aware that, from time to time, the trials of life preclude the fulfillment of even the best of intentions. In the event of circumstances that

prevent a parent and/or student from complying with any aspect of this policy, parent(s) are encouraged to contact the Rabbi, the President, or the Director of Education and Youth Engagement to request an exception.

 

GUEST POLICY

Although we do not encourage guests at Religious School due to liability issues, we do recognize that there are occasions when out of town friends and relatives may want to accompany a student to Religious School.Congregation B’nai Israel Religious School is able to welcome guests under the following conditions:

The Religious School family notifies the Director of Education and Youth Engagement in ADVANCE of Sunday morning with the guest’s name and other pertinent information in case of emergency.

. Guests are asked to participate in our program with respect.

No guests will be allowed to attend field trips

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AND VACATIONS

Congregation B’nai Israel develops its academic calendar with attention to area secular schools calendars. Jewish holidays are observed as well.

If at all possible, when scheduling your family vacations, please consult your B’nai Israel on line calendar to ensure that your child will not miss class sessions.

Refer to our calendar on our website for all scheduled religious school dates:

 

www.bnai-israel.us

DROP OFF AND PICK UP

To ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students, we ask that you observe the following procedure:

Drop Off:

Drop students at the front entrance to the temple before 9:00 a.m. Please use good judgment as to whether or not your smaller children need to be escorted to their rooms. Do not leave your car unattended in the line of traffic. The traffic line moves and is clear within minutes, as long as everyone remains in their car.

Please serve breakfast at home.  Religious School provides snack, but not breakfast.

Pick Up:

Students will be dismissed at 12 noon through the front entrance door only, and will remain in the designated area until:

— Your car has reached the front of the traffic line at which point they will be     assisted into your car OR you arrive on foot and escort themto where you are parked.

To ensure safety, please refrain from using your cell phone during drop off and pick up.

YOU CREATE A SAFETY HAZARD WHEN YOU BLOCK THE DRIVEWAY OR SIGNAL FOR YOUR CHILD TO RUN OUT TO YOU.

PLEASE DO NOT INSTRUCT YOUR CHILD:To run down the driveway to see if you are waitingORto cross the street or to walk home alone.

EARLY PICK UP

If your child needs to be picked up early from class for any reason, you must:

— Send a note to your child’s teacher, or to the Religious School office.
AND

— Report to the Religious School office to check in person about signing out your child.

We will send someone to get your child(ren) from the classroom. A child will only be released to a custodial parent or person(s) so designated on the school registration form, unless written notification is received by the schooloffice.

SNACKS

All students are offered a snack and break time during the morning. Each family is asked to provide a snack for the school. This snack can arrive at any time throughout the year and will be shared with all grades as a pooled snack item.  Appropriate snacks are as follows:

  • Juice boxes
  • Small packaged snack item such as: cheeze-its, goldfish, pretzels, cookies.
  • Fruit
  • Cheese sticks
    • Please check packaging for items produced in non-peanut factories if possible.

EMERGENCIES

In the event of a personal emergency, please contact the school office and we will assist you in the best way possible.

For weather-related school closings, we will do our best to contact you personally and with a direct text message to your cell phone using an EZTEXTING system.  A message will be directly sent to the phone number in our records.

OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

It is our philosophy that education occurs both inside and outside the Religious School. Judaism is a way of life and therefore needs to be encountered through a variety of experiences and models. We take this philosophy very seriously and, as a result, the following programs are included as part of our Temple Educational Program.

Congregation B’nai Israel Religious School offers a comprehensive program for grades K through 10. The program in our school is based on our own curriculum and resource materials, which builds on what students have learned in the past and introduces new concepts and ideas appropriate to the student’s cognitive development as they progress in grades.

Please click on the link of the grade level curriculum overview you choose to see.  The overviews are a sampling of what may be covered during a Sunday session.  For more detailed information, lesson plans are on file in the religious school office.

JUDAIC STUDIES

Each grade level participates in a myriad of learning experiences integrating Bible/Torah, Being Jewish, Lifecycle, the Hebrew language, Israel and Jewish Holidays. The students are challenged to think about the place of God, of the Temple and of the Jewish community in their lives. They are presented with primary Jewish resources, become involved in action programs and develop the skills to question and think creatively. Congregation B’nai Israel Religious School Judaic Studies program prepares our students for lifelong Jewish learning.

HEBRAIC STUDIES

All students are instructed in Hebrew throughout their Religious School experience. This contact may be in the form of direct, formal Hebrew study, or it may be informal through music, worship and the use of Hebrew words for concepts of Jewish religious experience. The main focus of the Hebrew program is designed to provide students with the ability to participate in a synagogue setting. There is an emphasis on mechanical reading skills and vocabulary recognition as related toT’fillah and Tanach. The Hebrew language is seen as a central thread linking World Jewry, past, present and future.

TEFILLAH

T’fillah (prayer) is an important part of being Jewish. We stress blessings and prayer in our curriculum and Hebrew instruction, so each student becomes a leader inT’fillah.

MUSIC

Music is such an important part of Judaism and also a part of our Religious School day. Sporadically students in our school, under the direction of a music and song leading specialist, will learn the tunes to traditional favorites and prayers, and also the newest melodies from NFTY, the National Reform Youth Movement and other Jewish composers, especially contemporary Jewish tunes.

 MADRICHIM

Pre-Confirmation, current Confirmation and past Confirmation students in our congregation are welcomed into the world of teaching, serving as Madrichim (teaching assistants) on Sunday mornings.

The high-school studentsbenefit from the experience of working in the younger grades, and the school benefits from having the Madrichim share their talents. Madrichim are paid staff members, and serve as wonderful role models for our younger students. Anyone interested in being a part of the Madrichim program should contact the Director of Education and Youth Engagement.

 

Congregation B’nai Israel Policies and Procedures

Confirmation Policy

 

Adopted and Effective:  April 21, 2015

Amended: March 28, 2017

Effective Until:  Superseded

Policy

  1. Confirmands must be Jewish, as defined by the rabbi in accordance with the norms of Reform Judaism.
  2. Confirmation at Congregation B’nai Israel is reserved to children of members of Congregation B’nai Israel.
  3. In order for a young person to be confirmed, his/her parent’s or parents’ financial obligations to the congregation must be current as of six months prior to the date of Confirmation.
  4. Confirmation is celebrated on Shavuot, at the conclusion of the 10th grade year of Religious School.
  5. Each confirmand must have been enrolled and regularly attending Congregation B’nai Israel Religious School or its equivalent for three years prior to Confirmation. Regular attendance is defined in the congregation’s Religious School Policy.
  6. Confirmation classes during 10th grade meet approximately twice each month. The rabbi is the primary instructor. 
  7. When a meal is served during regular Confirmation classes, the cost will be paid by the congregation as an expense of the Religious School.
  8. The rabbi and Director of Education and Youth Engagement will make every effort to accommodate special needs that the family discloses to the rabbi, to assure that each young person enjoys a positive Confirmation and Jewish education experience.
  9. An educational trip to Washington, D.C. is an integral part of the Confirmation program. Confirmation families are responsible for paying for the students’ expenses for this program in addition to Religious School tuition.  Confirmands and their families are strongly urged to conduct fundraisers to cover the costs.  Prior to the beginning of the Confirmation year, the rabbi shall inform Confirmation parents that the congregation’s Harvey Luber Youth Scholarship Fund may provide scholarships to cover these costs in the case of need only after fundraising efforts have been exhausted. The cost for the rabbi, Director of Education and Youth Engagement, or any other Temple-designated chaperone to participate in this program shall be borne by the congregation.
  10. Each Confirmand is required to attend 18 Shabbat or Holy Day worship services during the year leading up to Confirmation. At least 12 of these services must be at Congregation B’nai Israel.  All must be full-length Shabbat or Holy Day evening or morning services.  Up to nine of these service attendance credits may be earned by attending and participating in Shabbat morning Torah Study at Congregation B’nai Israel, by serving as a volunteer madrich/ah (teaching assistant) in Congregation B’nai Israel’s Religious School, or by other community involvement approved in advance by the Rabbi or Director of Lifelong Learning.
  11. Confirmation families shall sponsor a reception before or after the Confirmation service and shall be responsible for all direct costs associated with the Confirmation service.

 

More Jewish educational opportunities.

LAFTY – YOUTH GROUP

As a youth group, LaFTY (Little Rock Federation of Temple Youth) strives to unite the Reform Jewish Youth of Little Rock so that they may share the joys of fellowship and cooperate in the pursuit of their common aims, to build richer Jewish lives through a surer religious consciousness and a fuller knowledge of our Jewish religious and cultural heritage, and to prepare our members for responsible Jewish adulthood.

In addition, we are a youth led movement, with a strong, functioning executive board.  We hold programs dealing with discussions, social action, religion, and more. Any high school student whose parent(s) is a member at Temple B’nai Israel is eligible to join.

 

SUMMER CAMPS/ISRAEL PROGRAMS

A Jewish summer experience offers an intense exposure to the ideals and values of the Jewish community in a unique setting. We are fortunate to be in the region of Henry S. Jacobs Camp, an affiliate of the URJ, the umbrella organization for the Reform Movement. To learn more about Jacobs Camp ~ www.jacobs.org.  First time camper allocations are available.

Additionally, we receive all of the information for the summer trips to Israel from the URJ NFTY in Israel programs. We will pass on all of the information as it comes to us. If you are looking for something in particular, please let us know. We encourage all of our students to take advantage of these fine programs. Financial assistance is available through selected scholarship funds. Please direct your request to the Rabbi or to the Director of Education. All requests will be kept confidential.

Jewish education continues beyond Religious School. Adults, as well as children, benefit from exposure to new ideas and areas of interest. Our Synagogue offers a fully integrated program of continuing education.

Congregation B’nai Israel offers a variety of additional programs geared to adults with different interests, as well as subjects and topics in conjunction with your child(ren)’s Religious School curriculum. Why not learn with your children? More information can be obtained through the Chronicle or from the temple Office.