The middle school years can be tough, and hard to maintain your true inner self. Having friends that share your values, with whom you can talk about issues can be so important for these vulnerable souls. As a cohesive learning team, these students will be guided through hands-on experiences and reading materials about how Jewish values and ethics impact their lives. They will compare and contrast Judaism with other religions, develop strategies for valuing diversity among their peers, and dealing with bigotry or hatred towards anyone; not just themselves. This class will help students begin to formulate a concept of their own Jewish adult identity through introspection, reflection, discussion, and debate. They will develop confidence to stand up for who they are and what they believe is right, when faced with peer pressure to do otherwise.
Since these students are on the home stretch toward becoming a B’Nai Mitzvah they will explore the text “Putting God on the Guest List” to instill that this milestone is more than just a performance and a party. The class ensures that all students understand the order of prayers for Shabbat evening and morning services. In addition, the curriculum will reinforce our obligation as Jews of Tzedakah, and Tikkun Olam, to ensure there is sufficient “Mitzvah” in their Bnai Mitzvah preparation. It reminds students of the importance for us to care for the less fortunate, feed the hungry, and provide for our own future. It will help them to identify a B’nai Mitzvah project; an opportunity to use their God-given talents to make this world a better place than they found it, and begin to be a contributor to the continuity of the Jewish people.
As their date draws near, these students will also meet with the Rabbi to discuss and prepare a D’var Torah essay related to their Torah or Haftorah portion. Parents will also meet with the Rabbi at least 4 times over the year. They are expected to attend and co-officiate portions of the traditional Friday Night Shabbat Service as often as feasible, but a minimum of 6 times prior to their big event.