The goal of the Blanche Bayar Religious School (BBRS) is to foster an atmosphere that will allow each student to develop a strong Jewish identity based on exposure to the richness and depth of Jewish life. Our curriculum exposes each child to various aspects of our religion including the Jewish Bible, Jewish history, Jewish holidays and rituals, Jewish prayer, Israel and Hebrew.

We at BBRS believe that the best kind of learning comes from meaningful experience. Each grade level is designed for students to access our curriculum in an age-appropriate manner through the principles of experiential education. Through our experiential methods, our students live their learning by participating in student-driven projects and experiences.

The curriculum of BBRS is continually re-examined to insure that it best meets these goals.

Subject Areas

The school week at BBRS is divided into three major subject units—Jewish life, text study and Hebrew language, under which the following topics are covered:

Chagim (Holidays)  

Throughout their 8 years of schooling, students are exposed to the cycle of Jewish holidays.

Tefila (Prayer Worship)

Prayer is a powerful part of our lives as Jews. Learning how to participate in a prayer service and the meaning of the fundamental tefilot are valuable tools. The goal of our tefila curriculum is to initiate and cultivate a spiritual dimension of life through individual prayer experiences and congregational worship within the Conservative Jewish tradition.

Davening

Each school day contains an opportunity for our students to gather in community prayer. Through these sessions students have the chance to explore the spiritual connection between Jews as expressed through tefilot. Students gain a sense of familiarity with the order of the service as well as the prayers. Once a month, the school experiments with a creative prayer service including modern poetry, art, and music.

Reading

A solid foundation in Hebrew skills enhances a student’s ability to lead prayers and to feel comfortable during prayer services. Functional Hebrew skills open the door to more meaningful prayer experience, as well as deeper Torah study and Jewish learning. The teaching goals in Hebrew are fluent siddur reading and the understanding of key prayers. In all grades, students learn essential Hebrew vocabulary as instructors reinforce the language of liturgy and Jewish values and rituals. 

Modern Hebrew

Ever since Eliezer Ben Yehuda created Modern Hebrew, it has been accepted that the ability to speak Hebrew is a tool that will enhance the identity of Jews. The goal of BBRS is to provide a setting where students can develop a comfort with spoken Hebrew. Beginning with our youngest students, students are introduced to core words and objects. As they move through our program their vocabulary will expand.

For those who desire an intensive Hebrew language experience, BBRS offers Ivrit L’Meetkadmim. This special program is a yearlong conversational Hebrew course for those in fourth and fifth grades. To qualify students must demonstrate a strong Hebrew reading ability.

Torah
Tanakh

The study of the Jewish Bible is fundamental to Jewish life. Its study provides guidelines of how to live, including personal responsibility. To this end, children begin formal study of Torah in kita aleph (first grade).

 

Core Curriculum

Beyond the major subjects of Holidays, Tefila, Davening, Hebrew and the Tanakh, BBRS students are enriched with the study of Israel, Jewish Life Cycle, and Jewish History. Each topic is taught as lateral connections to the major subjects or as independent units

School Departments

Primary Department – GAN, ALEPH, BET

Grades: Kindergarten, First and Second Grade

Meets: 8:45am – 12:00pm on Sundays

Description: Primary “Camp” is a program for our kindergarten through second graders modeled after the summer camp experience. Children are divided into small groups by grade level with six to seven children per group. Two teenage Counselors lead each group. The groups rotate through 5 different class periods conducted by our experienced teachers. Over the course of the morning, children will learn about Hebrew vocabulary and letters, Israel, Jewish holidays, prayers and Israeli music.

Elementary Department  – GIMEL, DALET, HEY

Grades: Third through Fifth Grade

Meets: Two days a week on Sunday and Tuesday for 5.5 hours total

Description: The two day-a-week programs, which begin with Gimel (third grade) and continue through Hey (fifth grade), are divided into two subject areas – Hebrew and Judaic Studies. We follow the teaching model of departmentalization in which teachers elect or are chosen, based on their specialized training or strengths. Teachers become subject matter “experts” and their students have two or more “expert” teachers during the day.

Once in Gimel, study takes a thematic approach. Third and fourth grades study holidays twice a week and tefila is further explored. In Gimel, the cycle of Jewish life is examined and tefila is studied through daily davening (prayer) experiences. In Dalet (fourth grade), the holiday curriculum focuses on the concept of mitzvot and Jewish commandments. Hey students study the theme of freedom, as taught through the holidays. Both fourth and fifth graders participate in reading stations twice a week where the focus is on reading fluency. Periodically the curriculum is ‘frozen’ to allow for a day of Hebrew carnival activities or creative prayer learning.

For those who desire an intensive Hebrew language experience, BBRS offers Ivrit L’Meetkadmim. This special program is a yearlong conversational Hebrew course for fourth and fifth graders. Students must demonstrate a strong reading ability.

Middle School Department – VAV, ZAYIN

Grades: Sixth and Seventh Grade

Meets: Two days a week

Description: Vav and Zayin classes follow the model of departmentalization that is used throughout the school. In addition to the regular subject areas, the Vav class meets with Cantor Wallach and learns the trope for reading Torah.

BBRS Zayin students are uniquely exposed to a variety of Jewish subjects including the study of Biblical commentary, an overview of Jewish history and a Judaism course taught by Rabbi Bayar. New to this year, Zayin students will participate in a program called “Majors,” which will allow students to choose an area of concentration for their final Graduation project.

Chugim (Special Interest Clubs)

An aspect of our philosophy of learning at BBRS is that students enjoy learning more when they self-direct their experiences. Additionally, we recognize that different types of activities drive students. We believe that when we provide our students with choices and variety in their Jewish learning, our students cultivate their own unique love of Judaism and the Jewish people. For these reasons, the students in Gimel – Vav participate in Chugim, one-half hour special interest club periods at the end of the Sunday morning school day. Students will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of enrichment courses offered by our madrikhim and teachers.