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The Upper School is a huge leap from the educational experience of the lower grades. The program is designed to accommodate the teen’s changing sense of self, the interest and awareness of the outside world, and desire to see the relevance of the lessons Judaism has to teach. The Upper School program seeks to inspire our teens to lead their lives as identified, committed Jews, with a thirst for lifelong Jewish learning.
The seventh grade religious school program at Congregation Beth El has long acted as a bridge, gesher in Hebrew, between the lower and upper school programs. Designed to complement the reality of life as a seventh grader, this program offers our students and their families flexible, meaningful educational experiences. The Gesher Program contains two distinct pieces, both of which are essential to the program: Tuesday classes AND monthly experiential education programs.
Each Tuesday evening, teens take two classes – one core and one elective. The core courses make up the backbone of our Upper School program, with one year-length course for each grade.
The elective courses offered enable students to choose a class based on areas of interest to them. These classes fall under one of four areas of study: Israel, History and Culture, Jewish Text and Thought, and Ethics and Jewish Values. Courses offered this year include: Conversational Hebrew, Jewish Leadership, Top Talmudic Tales, The Afterlife: Jewish Views on Death, Tikkun Olam – Text and Thought, Arab-Israeli Conflict, US-Israel Relations, Power & Propaganda in the Holocaust, The Holocaust through Film, Hot Topics and Jews in the News.
Every Tuesday evening, teens come early for class (or stay after class, in the case of our afternoon seventh grade cohort) for dinner and social time. A highlight of the program, the hallways of the school are often filled with teens spending time together, creating their own teen community. Most Tuesday evenings, dinner will be pizza, but occasionally a different menu will be planned. You can sign up for Tuesday night dinner here.
In addition to our regular program of core classes and electives, we provide a broad range of special programming for teens and their parents dealing with issues that impact their lives now or will in the near future. Past programs have included workshops on relationships with the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, programs on social action with Jews United for Justice, and special speakers, such as Neil Lazarus and Scott Fried.
“I loved the activities—lots of fun!”
“Being with my Beth El friends was the best part.
Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing offers adolescent girls the opportunity to gather on a monthly basis to learn, laugh, and grow as they explore the challenges and joys of their lives, sharing their thoughts and experiences, and accessing the wisdom from their heritage. We will gather for dinner, discussion, and a project related to the theme of the current Hebrew Month. Beth El currently hosts two Rosh Hodesh groups for sixth and seventh graders. Sixth graders typically meet on Saturday evenings, when Shabbat ends early, or on Sunday evenings. Seventh graders typically meet on Sunday evenings. For more information, please contact Tali Moscowitz (email@example.com).
Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood is a program designed for teen boys by a group of rabbis, educators, psychologists, parents, and teens themselves. In general, the program is a lot of fun for the participants – they play various competitive and collaborative games, talk about pop culture, study great Jewish texts, and share stories. They will also have an opportunity to discuss, in a safe and private setting, critical issues in their lives as teens and young men. For more information, please contact Tali Moscowitz, Assistant Education Director for Youth Engagement.