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Temple Sinai’s education program for kindergarten - 7th grade

JQuest is an exciting journey of Jewish learning and discovery for children and families and an opportunity to develop and strengthen Jewish identity, knowledge and community.

In JQuest, we seek to instill in our children and families a sense of commitment to and excitement about Jewish life and Jewish peoplehood. We strive to enable our children and families to understand the Jewish past, while being inspired and empowered to create a Jewish life in the present that is committed to tikkun olam. The philosophy and atmosphere of JQuest invites our students to develop a love of Jewish tradition and the study of Torah, along with the questioning that our tradition encourages. Overall our goal for children and families in JQuest is to be challenged, inspired, and energized by the power of Jewish ideas and traditions.

At Temple Sinai we strive to provide our students and their families with tools to understand the Jewish past, connect to the Jewish present, and become an integral part of the Jewish future.  Our primary goal is to create educational programs that enable all children and families to be challenged, exhilarated, and energized by the power of Jewish ideas, community, and tradition. 

In creating curricula for JQuest that will be aligned with these goals, we acknowledge – and celebrate – that there are many different ways to connect to Judaism and Jewish life. Some adults connect to Judaism through prayer; others connect through Torah study, or social action, or singing in the choir. Historically, religious school has been a one-size-fits-all model. Like adults, children connect to Judaism in different ways, and we are delighted to offer a variety of paths of Jewish learning to match the various learning styles and passions of the children and families in our community.

Our K-2 program meets weekly and seeks to connect children with the ongoing creative life of the Jewish people through music, art, dance, stories, Hebrew, prayer, and discussion. They will move from class to class for 2 periods in the morning: Hebrew/Prayer/Tefillah and Quests (Kadima or Tzofim)

Kindergarten and 1st Grade - Kadimah! (Let’s go!)  

Kindergarten and 1st graders are in combined-grade classes. 

In this exciting JQuest program for Kindergarten and 1st grade, students will go on a Jewish “quest” to explore Jewish holidays, values, traditions, prayers, and Torah stories by using all five of their senses. Kadimah students will engage in cooking, building, art, games, outdoor activities, music, and more – in order to bring Judaism to life in multiple and exciting ways! It includes two required family programs per year, along with opportunities for parents to volunteer for projects such as cooking and games.

2nd Grade - Tzofim (Scouts) 

 

Calling all 2nd graders!  A year of scavenger hunts and adventures awaits, as Tzofim (2nd grade “scouts”) will go on journeys to discover what it means to be Jewish in the world.  Tzofim includes occasional field trips, quests related to Israel, synagogues, and Jewish values, and “ Junior Mitzvah Corps,” in which students learn about a mitzvah and then go out into the world to perform that mitzvah through social action/community service projects.  This is a year of JQuest you don’t want to miss!

3rd-6th Grade

They will have 2 periods on Sundays - one for Tefilah/Hebrew/Prayer and one for JQuest Track. 

 

Philosophy of JQuest “Tracks”

At Temple Sinai, we acknowledge – and celebrate – that there are many different ways to connect to Judaism and Jewish life. Historically, religious schools followed a one-size-fits-all model. Like adults, children connect to Judaism in different ways, and we are delighted to offer a variety of paths of Jewish learning in JQuest to match the various learning styles and passions of the children in our community. Please note that all 3rd through 6th grade tracks include our comprehensive Hebrew & prayer curriculum. 

Curricular themes: God, Torah, Israel

Teva - Nature  

   

Teva (teh-vah) is our nature program. You will get to explore God, Torah, and Israel through the lens of nature and the outdoors. While usually classroom-based, this program includes opportunities for outdoor learning (as weather permits) around the Temple Sinai campus and local parks, as we celebrate and learn about seasonal, eco, and wilderness-based traditions of the Jewish people. For example, we might have discussions around a fire in an outdoor classroom/ “campground” on the Sinai campus, take a short hike in order to connect with the experience of Moses climbing Mt. Sinai to get the 10 commandments, or participate in a vegetable garden project connecting with Israel and the holidays. Join us in Teva, where we will make connections between Jewish life and the natural world! 

Bonim – Builders  

       

Bonim (boh-neem) is for students who like to build things! In this track you will have the opportunity to learn about God, Torah, and Israel through the experience of construction and building projects both big and small. Activities may include model projects such as building a ‘mini Israel’ as well as full-size projects such as building a sukkah. A wide variety of materials will be used – everything from Legos to clay to wood and more! This class has an additional Supply Fee. 

Omanut – Art  

   

Omanut (oh-mah-noot) is our art program in which you get to explore the topics of God, Torah, and Israel through the lens and modality of art. In Omanut you will have the opportunity to spend time immersed in Jewish art, deepen your artistic skills and your spirituality, learn about many of the great Jewish artists and Jewish art-forms, and create your own works of art based on Jewish topics. For example, students in Omanut have studied different Jewish views about God, and then created art pieces in the style of Israeli artist Yaakov Agam to reflect their differing relationships with God. This class has an additional Supply Fee.

Curricular themes: Jewish History and Ethics

BISHUL - cooking 

  

Bishul (Bee-shool) is a culinary journey around the world. Students will get their hands dirty while traveling through Jewish history!  In this exciting track for students to learn about Jews around the world by making food (cooking) that have been part of different Jewish communities.  For example, students might learn about Moroccan Jews by making and tasting Moroccan dishes. It will be a tasty, fun, hands-on cultural adventure you don’t want to miss! This class has an additional Supply Fee. 

Shira- Music  

  

Shira is an exciting exploration of Jewish ethics, traditions and history through the lens of music, as well as audio/visual media and video production.  Students in Shira go on a Jewish journey using technological and online resources. The students use video, film and sound technology to learn about and express their connection to their Jewish heritage. Shira students write their own songs, create Jewish parodies of popular music, and even produce their own music video!  Shira is all about Judaism, music, hands-on video production and being creative, so join Shira for a fun-filled musical Jewish learning adventure!

Y’tzira - Storytelling 

In Y’tzira students draw upon their creativity and imagination to bring Jewish history and ethics to life through various mediums of storytelling. You will participate in theatre games, create and act in short skits, write poems and short stories, watch and discuss film clips and create simple sets to immerse yourself and your peers in the topics of study. Examples of activities range from creating three-dimensional sets that visually represent Jewish historical periods, to using improv theater games to understand different Jewish ethical teachings. Each unit of study will also include an interactive storytelling experience created by the teacher, whereby students will have to work together to solve a mystery relating to the topic. Sign up for Y’tzira to let your creative juices flow!

Shorashim - Roots  

Shorashim (Roots) is for the curious and adventurous student, interested in investigating their own Jewish “roots,” the “roots” of Jews around the world, and how diversity enriches our Jewish identity as individuals and as a community. Together we will have fun by “traveling” around the world to explore a wide range of cultural experiences from the present and past - through hands-on activities like cooking, art, writing, and other creative outlets. As we embark on this journey, we will seek opportunities to partner with our families and community members who come from a variety of different cultural backgrounds and learn firsthand from their experiences. If you are itching to safely “travel” the world, sign up for Shorashim!

JQuest 7th Grade Program   

 At Temple Sinai, we believe that the seventh-grade year is all about building community. They will begin their mornings with Tefilah and then move into Mitzvah Corps. 

We have also added a holocaust education piece to this curriculum. The students will participate in a four part series:  https://www.templesinai-sarasota.org/event/holocaust-survivor-speaker-series.html

 SUNDAY MITZVAH CORPS teams (i.e. Sunday JQuest classes) go off site every other session beginning in December to give students the opportunity to engage in social action projects throughout the Sarasota Area. The week before going on a community service project, students study the specific mitzvah that they will be fulfilling with that project.

 Hebrew/Prayer     

    

In JQuest. our educational program aims to enable our children to cherish and use Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people, and to value and engage in tefillah (prayer) as two significant ways to connect to contemporary Jewish life. Our multi-faceted approach to learning Hebrew and prayer is designed to touch the whole person: body, heart, mind, and soul.

We use a philosophy of teaching from #ONWARDHEBREW. We infuse Hebrew into everything we do with vocabulary, prayers, songs, and language.  

For Grades 3 - 7 we offer 2 midweek Hebrew options:

  • Wednesday in person 5:00pm - 6:00pm is a multi aged group, split into 1:1 and small groups based on level/needs. The hour consists of Tefillah, direct Hebrew/prayer instruction, and Games/Gaga
  • Thursdays on line (zoom) 4:30pm - 6:30pm - 1:1 20 minute Hebrew tutor session of Hebrew/prayer instruction with trained instructors - sign up for your session here: Midweek Hebrew Sign Up

Why are we called “JQuest?”

There are many reasons we decided to change the name of our program from “Religious School” to “JQuest,” but perhaps the most important reason is that the term “Religious School” just doesn’t fit, as neither “religious” nor “school” is a good description of our program of Jewish education for kids at Temple Sinai:

Jewish education works best when it doesn’t look like, sound like, or feel like “school.”  Yes, we have a curriculum and teachers, and yes, our goals include student learning and discovery.  However, that’s where the similarities between “Jewish education” and “school” should end.  We do not teach subject matter for the sake of mastery of facts or progression from one grade to the next.  Rather, we are trying to develop identity, seeking to instill in our children a sense of commitment to and excitement about Jewish life and Jewish peoplehood.  Many studies have shown that the best forms of Jewish education (i.e. the ones that ‘work’ the best) are informal - Jewish camps, youth groups, trips to Israel, etc.  So the less our educational programs look like ‘school,’ the more successful they will be in trying to achieve our goals of building Jewish identity, connection, knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment.

Jewish education is not necessarily (and certainly not always) “religious.” Judaism is a religion, but it is also a culture, a people, a way of life, a tradition, a community, a nation, a civilization, a sense of identity and a way of seeing and understanding the world.  Jewish education ought to help kids discover various entry points to Jewish life - to see themselves as part of the chain of tradition of the Jewish people, in whatever way that might be.  So when we call our program “religious,” it can be misleading.  For some people, the religious aspect of Jewish life is essential, compelling, and meaningful.  For others, the term ‘religious’ is a turn-off and something to avoid.  We do talk about and learn about ‘religious’ things in Jewish education - we explore different connections to God, we study ‘religious’ texts, we experience prayer - but it is a misnomer to say that what we are doing is ‘Religious School’ in its entirety.

We chose the name “JQuest” in order to capture the spirit of Jewish learning, discovery, community, and fun that our students and families experience in Temple Sinai’s education program.  We hope you embrace the name of our program…

Your child’s Jewish journey awaits!

Register your child!  https://www.templesinai-sarasota.org/new-member-form.html

For Financial Assistance - https://www.templesinai-sarasota.org/form/financial-assistance-application-2020-21.html

 

                                                           

Fri, July 1 2022 2 Tammuz 5782