Temple Beth Shalom offers a free Hebrew and religious education to children of qualified members. The congregation feels that the education of their youth is the future of Judaism. Classes meet at 4:30 pm on Thursday afternoons.
The first Friday of each month our regular Shabbat Service is replaced with our Family Service. This service includes the use of our Children’s Siddur and the participation of our youth in the service. Rabbi Buchen invites the children up on the bima to read and lead prayers responsively, and to participate in the Kiddish at the end of the service. Rabbi also alters her sermon to fit the age bracket. Usually, she calls all the children onto the bima and explains the week’s parsha in kid-friendly terms.
On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, a special service is held in the main classroom beginning at 11:00 am. Teachers, volunteers, and sometimes the Rabbi pop in for a greeting and to add some meaning to the significance of the holiday. The service is timed so that the children may join the adult congregation for the conclusion of that service.
On weeks there is a Jewish Holiday, the religious school celebrates during their regular Thursday afternoon classes. Rabbi often leads a kiddish, and teaches the classes the nature of the holiday and its modern meaning for Jews today. These holiday lessons include: Shavut, the giving of the Torah; Tisha B’av, mourning the destruction of the second Temple; Sukkot, the agricultural festival; Purim, Pesach, Simchat Torah, the joy of the Torah; Tu B’Shevat, the planting of trees, Hannuka, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
The students preparing to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah meet privately with Rabbi Buchen for tutoring. These sessions are not part of the religious school.