Family School

Family School

Sukkat Shalom’s education program involves the entire family. Parents and children join together twice a month to explore stories, values, and traditions. We strive to provide our families with interactive and challenging experiences which we hope will help build a foundation of knowledge and literacy. The curriculum is a combination of parallel and joint study, engaging all in the activities that promote intellectual and emotional development. In every discussion we emphasize the core values that we each have brought from our diverse traditions and backgrounds. Shabbat and Holiday worship, experiential learning, art, music and family programs are all included in order to provide a well-rounded educational experience. It is our hope that families continue to learn and discuss long after they leave Family School.

Family School 2017-2018 Registration

2017-18 Family School Calendar

Our Guiding Principles

Tikun Olam – Repair of the World We see ourselves as God’s partner in the repair the world. The study of social justice issues, such as, caring for the needy and mending the earth, are just a few ways that we partner to make the world a better place. Kehillah – Community The mandate of “ Al Tifros Min HaTzibur” (Do Not Separate Yourself from your Community) Pirke Avot 2:5 is a commitment that the whole family is part of the learning community. Participation in our community strengthens the bonds between parent and child and the congregation as a whole. Tzedekah – Righteous Acts We use the word Tzedekah to mean “charity.” However, it is so much more. The word "Tzedekah", is derived from the root Tzedek meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In Judaism, giving to the needy is not viewed as generosity; rather, it is simply an act of justice and righteousness. B’tzelem Elohim – In God’s Image The Torah teaches us that we are all created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26) Each of us has immeasurable worth and the right to a secure and a nurturing environment. Through our differences we can find connections with each other and create a community with shared morals and values. Our hope is that together we can build a community of spiritual awareness and support each other through times of joy and sorrow. Talmud Torah – The Study of Torah Our educational program strives toward both intellectual and spiritual excellence. Promoting life-long learning is a core value in the Sukkat Shalom community. The great philosopher Martin Buber taught that we must find the relevance of the text in our contemporary life. Jewish education must inspire students of all ages to be responsible for their spiritual learning and we must guide them through this journey.


Enjoy the following links to some of our favorite songs from Family School Oseh Shalom by Gesher Al Sh'losha by Alan Goodis Sweet As Honey by Dan Nichols Love the Lord by Lincoln Brewster

Curriculum Overview

Early Childhood

Shalom Sesame Magazines Teachers: Robin Pinsof and Rhonda Wax * Learn all that Judaism has to offer * Actively engage in discovering the joys of their identity * Explore the holidays, Shabbat, and Israel * Play, music, and art round out the day

Pre Kindergarten

Jewish and Me Teachers: Stacia Goldstein and Alyce Lang * Explore Jewish Holidays and Mitzvot * Receive a take home booklet to discover the joys of our tradition * Build spiritual identity


Let’s Explore Being Jewish Teachers: Amanda Max and Jodi Max * Discover the stories from the Torah * Explore the building blocks of Jewish life * Delve into the holiday celebrations through stories, music and art projects

First Grade

Let’s Discover Shabbat Let’s Discover the Synagogue Teachers: Susie Pinzur and Susan Schaff * Discover the beauty of Shabbat through the observance of the traditions and the creation of ritual objects to use at home * Build a connection to their spiritual home by learning about the people and the artifacts found in a synagogue * Learn what goes into the sanctuary, and about the Sefer Torah

Second Grade

BJL Mitzvot Teachers: Jodi Berlinger and Jody Kenzer * Delve into the subject of Mitzvot (Commandments and Good Deeds). * Explore the key Mitzvot – giving Tzedekah, feeding the needy and preforming acts of loving kindness * Learning these core values teaches us how to live them each day

Third Grade

The Great Israel Scavenger Hunt Teachers: Ronit Levy and Danya Lev * Build a relationship to the State of Israel * Discover the beauty and history to the land * Explore each major city and extraordinary archeological sites

Fourth Grade

The Explorer’s Bible: Creation to the Exodus Teachers: Kate Afanasiyeva and Jaime Lewis * Engage in authentic, dynamic Torah study * Explore the Torah as we have done for centuries – by pondering, personalizing and wrestling with the text * Participate in biblical dialogue and create Midrashim (interpretation of the text)

Fifth Grade

The Explorer’s Bible: From Sinai to the Nation of Israel Teachers: Abby Damsky Brown and Israel Moe Gross * Engage in authentic, dynamic Bible study * Explore the book of Prophets (Niviim) * Learn the message of the prophets - to remind us how God wants us to live * Encounter the text from the Book of Writings that are used for holiday celebrations

Sixth Grade

Life Cycles Teachers: Kelli Max and Dana Auerbach Harf * Study of the lifecycle events, such as, Brit Milah and Simchat Bat, B’nai Mitzvah, Weddings, and Funerals. * Examine the rituals, prayers and vocabulary associated with each life cycle event * Observe how each life cycle is practiced today * Attendance at field trips and special speakers are an integral part of the year

Seventh Grade

Living Jewish Values Great Debates throughout Jewish history Teachers: Lior Tomer and Melanie Tomer * Investigate how our ancestors argued with God or other authorities when they felt justice and truth demanded it * Analyze the key conflicts in history and apply Jewish values and understanding to each situation * Discover what factors makes being a person worthy of emulation and how to be a mensch

Eighth Grade

Taking the MTV Challenge Teachers: Rev. Tom Hamilton and David Walcoff * Explore in depth the social/emotional issues of our lives through art, drama and narrative. * Examine how popular culture questions our values, faith and identity * Engage in a spiritual quest for knowledge through ethical and moral dilemmas.

High School Offerings

Madrichim Our high school students (9th – 12th grades) are vital to the Family School experience. They are role models to the younger students and bring a love of the congregation into each classroom. Please email to become involved. Breakfast with the Rabbi Throughout the year Rabbi Gordon will meet with the high school students to discuss important and relevant topics. This unique opportunity meets on the following Sunday’s (9/29, 11/24, 2/2 and 3/23) throughout the year at the Temple from 10:30-12:00. L’Taken: Seminar on Social Justice, February 7-10, 2014 Join Rabbi Gordon in Washington DC where every year, nearly 2,000 high school students participate in the Religious Action Center's L'Taken – Social Justice Seminar. The program is designed to expose students to a variety of public policy issues, explore the Jewish values surrounding these issues and teach the skills of being an effective advocate. You will have the opportunity to impact our political process as you share your views on social justice topics with decision-makers on Capitol Hill. When: February 7-10, 2014 Where: Washington DC, Hyatt Regency - Crystal City We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. Together, we can fulfill the commandment of “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy16:20).

Youth Group

Calling all Sukkat Shalom 5th -8th graders!! If you are looking for a youth group experience to connect with others through fun and dynamic programs, like movies, hikes, GAGA, bowling, sporting events, social justice projects and holiday celebrations than you have found the place to be. Under the supervision of our advisor, Kelli Max, the youth group will typically meet on Sunday afternoons. We are looking forward to an amazing year!!