Parent Handbook 2012-2013 / 5773 - Congregation Beth El

Parent Handbook 2012-2013 / 5773 - Congregation Beth El

Parent Handbook 2012-2013 / 5773 - Congregation Beth El


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<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong><br />

<strong>Parent</strong> <strong>Handbook</strong><br />

<strong>2012</strong>-<strong>2013</strong> / <strong>5773</strong><br />

Kindergarten-7th Grade YAFE Programs<br />

Debra Sagan Massey<br />

[Pick the date]


Welcome pg. 2<br />

Youth and Family Education Vision Statement pg. 3<br />

Section I: Youth and Family Education Programs<br />

Shabbat Family School: Chug Mishpacha pg. 3<br />

Midweek School for grades K-6: Kadima pg. 3<br />

Judaic Curriculum pg. 4<br />

Hebrew Curriculum pg. 6<br />

B’nei Mitzvah Program pg. 9<br />

T’fillot (Prayer Services) pg. 9<br />

Tzedakah pg. 10<br />

Youth Groups pg. 10<br />

Section II: Family Education and Enrichment<br />

Family Participation Opportunities pg. 12<br />

Section III: Guidelines and Policies<br />

Attendance pg. 14<br />

Drop Off/Pick-Up pg. 14<br />

Cell Phone Policy pg. 15<br />

Parking pg. 15<br />

Guest Policy pg. 15<br />

Food for Thought pg. 15<br />

Emergency and Security pg. 16<br />

Health Policy pg. 16<br />

Code of Conduct pg. 17<br />

Section IV: Communication<br />

Meeting each child’s needs pg. 18<br />

Sharing news with you pg. 19<br />

Teaching Team pg. 20<br />

Madrichim (Teaching Assistants) pg. 21<br />

Glossary of Hebrew Terms pg. 21<br />

Section V: School Calendar pg. 22

<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Youth and Family Education Mission Statement<br />

<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>’s Youth and Family Education Program is a vibrant component of<br />

an overarching commitment to lifelong learning for all members of our congregation.<br />

The K-7 program is dedicated to providing our young people and their families with a<br />

rich and varied Jewish educational experience in a warm and positive environment that<br />

operates with three major goals:<br />

I. Our program strives to provide each student with a foundation for life-long<br />

Jewish learning by offering:<br />

• A ‘hands-on’ curriculum based on experiential learning by integrating art, music,<br />

cooking, dance and outdoor experiences into the classroom<br />

• A comprehensive Hebrew program including modern and prayer book Hebrew<br />

• A curriculum based on the three pillars of Judaism: Torah, avodah (worship) and<br />

g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness)<br />

II. Our program seeks to inspire students and families to form relationships<br />

within our congregational community by:<br />

• Fostering a strong sense of community by offering small classes that meet two<br />

days per week<br />

• Celebrating Shabbat and Jewish holidays together as a community<br />

• Offering Chug Mishpacha- our family learning program on Saturday mornings<br />

III. Our program endeavors to nurture our students and families with Jewish<br />

literacy, identity, and lifelong guidance in Torah teachings by:<br />

• Providing students with the honor of leading Shabbat services to reinforce the<br />

prayers and prayer concepts taught in class<br />

• Encouraging God-wrestling in order to help students articulate their own,<br />

constantly-changing, God beliefs<br />

• Engaging in tikkun olam projects in our classrooms and in our community<br />

• Instilling in students the importance of tzedakah by empowering them to make<br />

group decisions about where their tzedakah fund distributions<br />

• Coordinating and encouraging a vibrant youth group program with creative and<br />

interactive activities (4 th - 12 th graders)<br />

• Connecting to Israel through hiring Israeli teachers, teaching Israeli music and<br />

dance, and teaching about Israel to students of all ages<br />

• Supporting post-B’nei Mitvah students in Midrasha, in youth group activities and<br />

as madrichim (teaching assistants) in the school


At <strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>, we recognize that our students can begin learning at any age —<br />

from one to 90! Our doors are open to anyone who is curious to learn more about<br />

Judaism and its rich heritage. We urge all parents to participate in the life of our school,<br />

both at the synagogue and by engaging with your student at home. No previous<br />

experience is required to become your child’s partner in Jewish education; all you need is<br />

dedication to the Jewish tradition and a sense of the value it can bring to your family.<br />

Our curriculum is based on Torah, Avodah (worship) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of<br />

loving kindness). For all of our students, Hebrew is also a large part of the learning at<br />

<strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>. In the younger grades we introduce the Hebrew ‘alef-bet’ (alphabet) and<br />

continue to teach reading throughout the years. By the end of 6 th grade, our students<br />

should be familiar with the themes in a large range of prayers, for both the morning and<br />

evening services. We will continue to integrate modern Hebrew for grades 3-6, to help<br />

give our students an opportunity to speak and understand Hebrew as it is spoken today.<br />


School Hours: Saturdays, 9:30-12:00 p.m.<br />

Chug Mishpacha is a program designed to approach Jewish Education in a new way.<br />

This is an alternative to the Kadima Midweek Education Program and is offered to<br />

families with students in grades K through 5. All students in grades 3-5 are required to<br />

also sign up for an hour of parent/child Hebrew during the week: either Saturday<br />

afternoon from 12:15-1:15 p.m., or Wednesday evening from 5:00-6:00 p.m. NOTE: If<br />

one chooses Chug Mishpacha for their educational program at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>, one does not also<br />

need to enroll in the midweek Kadima program.<br />

The goal of Chug Mishpacha is to enrich <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> families’ engagement in the Jewish<br />

values of learning, community, and involvement in Jewish life. Participants in Chug<br />

Mishpacha will make a year-long commitment to a new way of learning; parents and<br />

children who participate in Chug Mishpacha will come together regularly on Saturday<br />

mornings. Though there is a classroom component to the program, the learning at Chug<br />

Mishpacha extends far beyond the academic aspects associated with school learning. It is<br />

an experience of learning for the whole family through living Torah and Jewish life.<br />

Chug Mishpacha is a vehicle for families to spend quality time together on Shabbat,<br />

participate in lifelong Jewish learning, and build strong friendships with other <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong><br />


KADIMA YOUTH EDUCATION, K-6 th grade<br />

School Hours:<br />

Classes for Grades K-2 meet on Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 p.m.<br />

Classes for Grades 3-6 meet on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4:00-6:00 p.m.<br />

All students are welcome to arrive anytime after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays/Thursdays to<br />

unwind after school, enjoy snack, play games or work on homework in the Social Hall.<br />

All students will have time with specialists to focus on music, art, cooking, gardening and<br />

dance. Classes rotate through these activities based on a schedule.<br />

Grades 3-6 will have separate teachers for Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Every class day,<br />

students will have both a Hebrew class and a Judaic Studies class. Students will be<br />

divided into Hebrew classes according to their ability. As a student progresses in<br />

Hebrew, s/he is encouraged to change classes in order to be continually challenged.<br />

In addition to the Hebrew and Judaic classes, 5 th -6 th graders will have ‘chugim’<br />

(electives) once a week. The year has been divided into three ‘trimesters’ of 9 weeks.<br />

The ‘chugim’ will run for a trimester and are designed to give students an opportunity to<br />

choose a class in which they are particularly interested.<br />

Judaic Curriculum:<br />

Our Judaic studies program is guided by the Reform Movement’s national curriculum<br />

called the “Chai (Life) Curriculum.” This thoughtfully created curriculum is organized<br />

around a series of core classroom lessons in three subject areas- Torah, Avodah (worship)<br />

and G'milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). The complete outline of lessons can be<br />

viewed online at: http://chai.urj.org/about/contents/.<br />

Kindergarten: “Turning the cycle of the Jewish year”<br />

Teacher: Jodi Gladstone<br />

Through the playful exploration of the kindergarten year, children are introduced to<br />

Jewish holidays, life and values, the synagogue, Jewish symbols, Hebrew letters and<br />

Bible stories. Using hands-on activities, we will discover how Judaism is expressed in<br />

our every day life.<br />

First Grade: “Discovering myself in the Jewish story”<br />

Teacher: Jody Seltzer<br />

Our first graders will continue with their introduction to living Judaism and begin their<br />

exploration of the Torah by meeting characters from Genesis. Students will learn about<br />

their responsibility to be helpers in repairing the world (tikkun olam) and take action to<br />

make a difference in our community. First graders will continue to learn Hebrew letters<br />

in preparation for reading and also get their hands “dirty” as they discover Judaism’s<br />

strong connections to the environment.<br />

Second Grade: “I am part of the Jewish people”<br />

Teacher: Lauren Byrne<br />

Students will journey into the Torah and learn new stories from the 2 nd book in the Torah-<br />

Exodus. We will explore what it means to be Jewish in today’s world and the actions that<br />

we should take to help repair the world. Students will also explore their relationship with<br />

God and will be encouraged to “wrestle” with the ideas about God that are presented in

our tradition. We will read stories that convey Judaism’s emphasis on living an ethical<br />

life. In addition, students will add Hebrew vowels to their Hebrew proficiency and begin<br />

to sound out syllables and words.<br />

Third Grade: “Being part of the community”<br />

Teacher: Miriam Schwartz<br />

Students will explore what it means to be a part of “Am Yisrael” (the people of Israel),<br />

how we are connected to “Eretz Yisrael” (the land of Israel), and the ‘brit’ (covenant) that<br />

connects both the people and land to God. The focus of these lessons will be on the<br />

actions we take to make the world a better place. Students will engage in a year-long<br />

study of the Torah portions, which will culminate in the creation of their traditional 3 rd<br />

grade class Torah.<br />

Fourth Grade: “Connecting to the earth”<br />

Teacher: Karen Hen<br />

For the first 8 weeks of class, Students will have a unique opportunity to get hands-on<br />

experience at Urban Adamah, the Jewish urban farm in Berkeley. We will be involved in<br />

creating the new garden at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>, while also discussing the importance of being a<br />

“mensch” and our responsibility to repair this world. We will continue to wrestle with<br />

our God beliefs and explore myriad Jewish approaches to God.<br />

Fifth Grade: “Being part of the Jewish family”<br />

Teacher: Marisa Handler<br />

In fifth grade, we will be using a unique curriculum created by Hazon to guide our study<br />

of Jewish responsibility. We will be exploring our connection to the earth and how<br />

Jewish tradition has much to say about our relationship with the land. We will also look<br />

at how other Jewish communities around the world are similar to ours, and celebrate their<br />

differences as well.<br />

Sixth Grade: “Shomrim: Our roles as guardians, protectors and perservers”<br />

Teacher: Nina Price<br />

This year, students will begin to focus on how all the pieces of Jewish literature and<br />

history fit together. They will explore the different books of the Torah and discover the<br />

many mitzvot we are commanded to fulfill. Students will add their voices to the<br />

traditional commentaries as they begin their journey of making 'educated Jewish choices.'<br />

We will also be taking a closer look at modern Israel and navigating our relationship with<br />

the Jewish state.<br />

HEBREW<br />

Hebrew instruction begins in kindergarten with the introduction to the Alef-Bet. Using<br />

tactile methods, students become familiar with the letters. In 1st grade, students learn the<br />

sounds of the letters using the book "Kadima! Get Ready for Hebrew.” By 2 nd grade,<br />

students are reading Hebrew letter/vowel combinations using the book, "Z’man Likro:<br />

Time to Read Hebrew" and are ready to learn prayers.<br />

Our Hebrew program for 3rd-6th grade goes hand-in-hand with the Judaic Studies<br />

program, but with our Hebrew classes, only native Hebrew speakers teach the Hebrew<br />

classes. Students enrolled in <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>’s Kadima program are introduced to the Hebrew<br />

language, its alphabet, basic grammar, prayers and blessings and are taught to read and<br />

write. Students will be grouped in their classes according to their Hebrew proficiency,<br />

and will be offered tutoring in order to provide individualized attention. Some students

will also learn how to read and write Hebrew script.<br />

Being able to read Hebrew opens a door to a new world of prayer. We guide our students<br />

in their exploration of prayers as they think about and possibly wrestle with concepts of<br />

God, belief, and practice.<br />

While learning how to read and discovering the prayers of our tradition, students are<br />

exposed to modern Hebrew. Through songs, conversation, poems and drama, students<br />

are will learn Hebrew as a spoken language today.<br />

Students will be introduced to Jewish liturgy through experiencing prayer and receiving<br />

his/her personalized interactive ‘siddur’ (prayer book) in the 3 rd grade. The siddur will be<br />

in a small three-ring binder and students will be able to write their own interpretations to<br />

the prayers, draw pictures, highlight words and individualize the prayer book so that it<br />

grows with them.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>/Child Hebrew:<br />

Teachers: Arella Bar Lev<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>/Child Hebrew classes meet on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-6:00 p.m., or on<br />

Saturday afternoons, from 12:15-1:15 p.m. The <strong>Parent</strong>/Child class meets only once a<br />

week, with the understanding that the family will practice at least an hour together each<br />

week at home. The results of such a program are rewarding for all- and often enable<br />

parents who otherwise do not know how to read or understand Hebrew to have a gateway<br />

into the language.<br />

Alef - Level 1<br />

Teacher: Miriam Schwartz<br />

This is the first year of formal Hebrew education, and it begins in Third Grade. Alef is a<br />

year of exposure to the Hebrew language, alphabet recognition and reading development.<br />

Students are introduced to, and gradually develop a familiarity with, the language. The<br />

emphasis of the class is the development of fluent Hebrew reading skills. The goals of<br />

the Alef year are:<br />

• to recognize the sound of the letters and vowels.<br />

• to combine the sounds in order to read words.<br />

• to build a vocabulary of modern Hebrew words.<br />

Textbook used in Level Alef: “Alef Bet Quest” by Behrman House. “Alef Bet Quest” is<br />

the first fully integrated multi-media Hebrew primer. Using “Alef Bet Quest” and its<br />

built-in digital application, students go on a virtual trip through Israel as they learn to<br />

decode Hebrew from Jewish cultural vocabulary and everyday Hebrew words.<br />

Combining the best of today's technology with the most up-to-date techniques for reading<br />

skills acquisition, “Alef Bet Quest” incorporates computer-based, read-aloud exercises-using<br />

both American and Israeli accents--so students can actually hear how the letters,<br />

syllables, and words sound. This book comes with a CD-Rom that stays at home and<br />

accompanies the learning. As each student progresses in the book, they are motivated to<br />

use their knowledge to further their “quest” in the online game. <strong>Parent</strong>s are encouraged to<br />

reinforce the Hebrew at home with the CD-Rom, whether or not they know Hebrew.<br />

Bet - Level 2<br />

Teacher: Yaara Shachnai

The Bet Class is a year of Hebrew language development. Students are introduced to, and<br />

gradually develop a familiarity with the language. The emphasis of the class is learning<br />

to read and comprehend. Students will study the alphabet, read modern Hebrew dialog,<br />

and in turn, practice reading prayers. The goals of the Bet year are:<br />

• to reinforce letter and vowel recognition.<br />

• to combine the sounds in order to read words.<br />

• to master reading the following Hebrew prayers and blessings: Sh’ma, daily<br />

blessings, Kiddush, blessings for home, Havdallah blessings, and The Four Questions.<br />

• to explore modern Hebrew vocabulary<br />

• to comprehend and explain the concept of the prayers and blessings (what it's<br />

about, why we say it).<br />

• to identify key words found in each of the prayers and blessings.<br />

Textbook used in level Bet: Shalom Ivrit by Behrman House. Shalom Ivrit will help<br />

teach 160 key modern Hebrew words and an additional 90 holiday enrichment words, as<br />

well as comprehension and language skills. Basic grammar- including the present tense,<br />

masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives is presented simply and clearly. The Prayer<br />

Companion takes students through prayers such as Modeh Ani, Bar’chu, Sh’ma and<br />

blessings for holidays.<br />

Gimmel - Level 3<br />

Teacher: Orly Perlstein<br />

The Gimmel class is the third year of the Hebrew program. The emphasis on Hebrew<br />

reading proficiency continues. Studies are centered on specific prayers of the Shabbat<br />

morning service. The students will develop a modern Hebrew and prayer vocabulary.<br />

The goals of the Gimmel year are to to read the following prayers: Bar’chu, Sh’ma,<br />

V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha, Avot, G'vurot, and Kedusha.<br />

• to review their knowledge of the alphabet and grammar learned in the Bet year.<br />

• to learn the sequence of the Shabbat evening and morning service.<br />

• to explain the concepts of each prayer.<br />

• to identify the key words and root forms found in each prayer.<br />

• to develop a dictionary of prayer words.<br />

• to introduce modern conversational Hebrew.<br />

Textbook used in Level Gimmel: Students will use the “Shalom Ivrit 2.” In this book, a<br />

spirited group of characters from modern short stories, folk tales and midrash help<br />

students explore key Jewish values such as self-respect, generosity and friendship.<br />

Dalet - Level 4<br />

Teacher: Charles Korn<br />

The Dalet class is the final year of the formal Hebrew program. Any student completing<br />

this class will be able to read and lead much of the Shabbat evening and morning service.<br />

The goals of the Dalet year are:<br />

• to review the basic vocabulary, grammar, prayers and blessings of previous<br />

years.<br />

• to continue to learn the sequence of the Shabbat evening and morning service,<br />

with particular attention paid to the Amidah through the concluding prayers.<br />

• to read the following prayers: Aleynu, Kaddish, Torah Service and Haftarah<br />

Blessings.<br />

• to explain the concepts of each prayer.

• to identify the key words and root forms found in each prayer.<br />

• to translate key words of the prayers and develop a dictionary of prayer words<br />

• to introduce trope signs and their notes.<br />

• to identify words in modern conversational Hebrew.<br />

Resources used in Level Dalet: Students will use the Torah Aura book, Journeys<br />

through the Siddur for Saturday morning services. Each prayer that is covered includes a<br />

story, explanation on the prayer and exercises. Students may also use textbooks that<br />

serve as an introduction to reading Torah and practicing script.<br />


We understand that our students have busy lives but regular engagement with Hebrew is<br />

highly recommended. Because the chief goal of the Hebrew program is proficiency in<br />

Hebrew reading, reading practice at home is strongly encouraged. Alef classes have a<br />

book with a DVD of games that can be used at home to reinforce the classroom lessons.<br />


Taught by Rabbi Kahn, Rabbi Zellman, Rebecca DePalma and Juliet Gardner<br />

Every Tuesday, our 7 th graders gather for a 3-hour session from 4:00-7:00 PM, which<br />

includes dinner. The curriculum for this class reflects the three main tenets of our school<br />

wide curriculum: Torah, Avodah (worship) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving<br />

kindness). As the students continue their preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, this class<br />

brings the group together as a community and assesses what it means to become a<br />

Bar/Bat Mitzvah in our community. There are several components of this year that help<br />

to prepare students for becoming bar/bat mitzvah at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>:<br />

• Regular attendance on Tuesday evenings, from 4:00-7:00 including dinner.<br />

• Regular participation in our service learning program, one Sunday/month. This<br />

year our projects focus on three issues: homelessness, caring for the elderly, and<br />

the environment.<br />

• Regular service attendance on Shabbat (Service Reflection Forms are kept in the<br />

sanctuary…to be filled out during/at the end of each service you attend). Each<br />

student is expected to attend at least 10 services before becoming bar/bat mitzvah.<br />

• Participation in the annual retreat, this year on September 16-18 at Camp<br />

Newman.<br />

• Participation in the family events on September 13 th , November 5 th and December<br />

3 rd .<br />

MOREH DERECH (mentors)<br />

Adult volunteers from our community will share their time with a bar/bat mitzvah student<br />

for three sessions. These sessions will begin at 10:30 AM on a Saturday morning and<br />

will continue through the end of that day's bar/bat mitzvah ceremony. Together, the<br />

moreh derech and student will discuss topics relevant to this meaningful rite of passage.<br />

Students will be assigned a moreh derech three months before his/her becoming bar/bat<br />

mitzvah.<br />


We are offering two options this year for our B’nei Mitzvah “mitzvah project”<br />

requirement. One may choose to participate in four out of six family projects over the<br />

course of the year. The other option is to create your own mitzvah project, using our<br />

Mitzvah Project guide.

By integrating a mitzvah component into the b’nei mitzvah preparation, we are teaching<br />

that becoming a bar/bat mitzvah requires of us to become active members of our society.<br />

We want the 7 th grade students to get a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in the<br />

lives of someone that they choose. In our class on Tuesday, we will be helping them<br />

understand the connection between Judaism and repairing the world.<br />

If one chooses to be a part of our family projects, there is an orientation on Sunday,<br />

October 23 rd at 10:30 am- noon at NETIVOT SHALOM. Our family mitzvah<br />

projects will be done in partnership with Netivot Shalom. We ask that on October 23 rd<br />

you sign up for the 4 sessions you intend to participate in, so that we can monitor the size<br />

of the group.<br />

The other “Mitzvah Corps” dates will be:<br />

Individual Mitzvah Project:<br />

This option is perfect for a student who is already committed to a specific cause and<br />

wants to spend more time enriching this experience. With an individual project, one uses<br />

our Guide to Mitzvah Projects, and determines what kind of project would be<br />

meaningful. Each student will create a project plan and timeline so that s/he is sure to<br />

have begun the project by the time of his/her ceremony.<br />


One of the best ways to practice liturgical Hebrew is to participate in services. We ask<br />

for all of our students to attend Shabbat services- either Friday night or Saturday<br />

morning. This not only helps to familiarize families with our Shabbat minhag (practice),<br />

but builds community and enriches the worship environment of our congregation.<br />

Students of all ages are expected to come to at least 5 services a year, and 7 th graders are<br />

required to attend 10. 7 th graders are asked to fill out a “Service Reflection” form (found<br />

in the back of the sanctuary) and keep completed forms in one’s file for the course of the<br />

year.<br />


Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for justice. One of the most critical lessons for our<br />

students is how can we have a positive impact on today’s world. Judaism teaches that<br />

whether it is a community service project or the collection of funds, tzedakah is required<br />

even of those who are themselves recipients of assistance. Students should come to<br />

school prepared to contribute their part of tzedakah at every class. This contribution can<br />

be money, canned foods or both. The best way to teach tzedakah effectively is by<br />

doing it. Therefore, during the course of the year, each class will be involved with two<br />

tzedakah projects chosen by that class. The proceeds collected throughout the year will<br />

be donated to the class’ chosen projects at year’s end. Each class chooses one secular<br />

and one Jewish organization or cause in order to demonstrate concern for both the secular<br />

and Jewish worlds in which we live.<br />


<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> offers three Jewish youth groups for students in 4 th -12 th grades.<br />

These groups provide students with fun informal Jewish experiences with their peers,

which are vital to their sense of belonging in the Jewish community. Our youth groups<br />

connect our teens to available opportunities within the <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> community like the High<br />

Holy Day Food Drive, and within the larger Jewish community by informing them about<br />

events like NFTY Convention and programs like Write On for Israel.<br />

Ruach! is a group for students in 4 th -5 th grades. Activities take place approximately five<br />

times a year. Our first activity this year is the <strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Shabbaton at Walker<br />

Creek Ranch. Students have the opportunity to attend a specific program for 4 th -5 th<br />

graders, Lech L’cha: Go Forth with Ruach! We will have services and meals with the<br />

entire community.<br />

Sababa (Grades 6-8) activities take place approximately bi-monthly. This youth group<br />

has an elected board and activities are planned by the students. Currently our board<br />

members are discussing exciting events like a ski trip, a fundraiser for Nothing But Nets<br />

with Cal Basketball, a camping trip, and other unique event ideas.<br />

<strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Youth Group (BEY) is our senior youth group geared to our 9 th -12 th graders. It<br />

provides students with safe opportunities to create fun-filled events for themselves. The<br />

senior youth group is affiliated with the Pacific Central West region of the North<br />

American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY).<br />

All three of the youth groups have electronic newsletters. Please send student and parent<br />

e-mails rebecca@bethelberkeley.org to join this list. To become a member of the youth<br />

groups send $18 to <strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> and fill out the membership form online. All<br />

membership fees go directly to the youth group budgets so we can provide fantastic, safe<br />

events at discounted rates. More information is available on the website<br />



<strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>’s youth education programs include parents and siblings of students. We hope<br />

that coming to <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> is a highlight of your week, and that your family looks forward to<br />

coming not only for the learning, but for the community as well. Community is<br />

something that you build, and the more you participate in the various programs, the more<br />

connected you will feel to <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>. We welcome your ideas and involvement as together<br />

we build a strong community of learners.<br />


Weekly Thursday T’fillot (services)- Each Thursday we have t’fillot for all of our<br />

students in the sanctuary. The K-2 gather from 4:00-4:15 PM and grades 3-6 have t’fillot<br />

from 5:40-6:00 PM. We welcome family members to join us for these services.<br />

Once a month, we have all-school t'fillot (K-6) on Thursday afternoons, from 5:40-6:00<br />

PM. We encourage you to join us for these opportunities. The dates for this year's allschool<br />

t'fillot are: September 13, October 25, November 15, December 13, January<br />

17, February 7, March 21, April 11 and May 16 th .<br />

Holiday Celebrations!<br />

We want families to mark the Jewish calendar with us by coming to our family programs<br />

on Thursday evenings. Mark your calendars now:<br />

Thursday, October 4 at 5:30: Back to School in the Sukkah and Meet the Teachers<br />

Monday, October 8 at 5:30: Consecration and Simchat Torah Celebration<br />

Thursday, January 24 at 5:00: Tu B’shevat Celebration<br />

Thursday, February 21 at 5:00: Purim Carnival Celebration<br />

Tuesday, April 16 th at 5:00: Yom Ha’atzmaut, Art Show and Picnic<br />

Volunteering- The <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> community operates on the energy and cooperation of parent<br />

volunteers. There are many opportunities for serving the school. Among them are<br />

serving as a room parent to coordinate communication among the class parents, snack<br />

helpers, helping with our Children's Library, helping with <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> events and more.<br />

Please contact Debra Massey at 510-848-2122, ext 213 to volunteer.<br />

Youth And Family Education Committee (YAFE)- The Education Committee is an<br />

open group of parents and teachers who gather to provide the Director of Education with<br />

input and feedback. We have regular meetings that are open to all.<br />

Three times a year we will have 8:00 meetings to discuss committee business such as<br />

personnel, budget, and planning.<br />

Proposed meeting dates are: September 13, January 24, and May 23.<br />

<strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Annual Shabbaton- Each year, members of <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> gather in nature for a<br />

weekend of rejuvenation and celebration. This year, we invite everyone to join us<br />

September 7-9 at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa.


Regular Participation in our classes will enable students to benefit fully from the<br />

teaching and community building that takes place at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>. We strive to make each<br />

class gathering meaningful and productive, and ask that you help meet the learning goals<br />

by prioritizing your family’s attendance at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>’s education programs.<br />


Thursday K-2 classes run from 4:00-6:00 pm, and students are welcome to come anytime<br />

after 3:00 pm to visit with their friends, have snack and study. All 3 rd -6 th graders are<br />

expected to attend classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 pm, unless a<br />

previous arrangement with the Director of Education has been made. All 7 th graders are<br />

expected to attend the B’nei Mitzvah Program from 4:00-7:00 pm on Tuesdays for the<br />

entire school year.<br />


If you know that your child will be absent, please call the school office by 2 pm so we<br />

can inform the teacher. When a child has been absent for more than two sessions, the<br />

teacher is asked to call the family. If a child is absent or late three times in a row, the<br />

Director of Education will contact the family. Please let us know of any problems or<br />

issues that may interfere with your child’s regular attendance so that we can work<br />

together to accommodate the needs of your child.<br />


Please help us create the best possible learning environment by ensuring that our students<br />

arrive on time. Any child who is more than ten minutes late needs to stop and sign in at<br />

the school desk so that we can upgrade our attendance sheets. For safety and security, the<br />

school must know which children are present at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>.<br />


Students need to leave early from time to time, and we understand this reality. All<br />

students who need to leave early must have a note from home, or a parent must come to<br />

the School office to sign out the child. Without a note or a parent, a child will not be<br />

released before normal dismissal time. Any child being dismissed early may be picked<br />

up from the classroom (after checking in with Rebecca in the office) or from the School<br />

office.<br />


Drop Off- Before all midweek classes, students gather in the Social Hall for snack and<br />

socializing beginning at 3:00 PM. At 4:00 PM, teachers will escort their class to the<br />

room. Chug Mishpacha will gather in the Lower Courtyard between 9:00-9:30 for Chug<br />

Café, and then head to classes at 9:30 AM. If a student arrives within ten minutes of<br />

class starting, but after his/her class has already left the Social Hall, s/he should go<br />

directly to the classroom.<br />

Transportation to <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> – If your student is signed up to use either a bus or is walked<br />

over from the JCC or Oxford <strong>El</strong>ementary, then you must call or e-mail the office by 2 PM<br />

when your student will not be using that form of transportation on a given day. This vital<br />

action prevents confusion and worry for the staff meeting buses and picking up students.<br />

Pick Up-All students will be gathered in the Gallery area for pick up at 6:00 PM, and will<br />

need to check out with their teachers before leaving the campus. <strong>Parent</strong>s are encouraged

to park and come into the building to pick up their students, or they can pull up to the<br />

upper entrance and tell our staff member who they are picking up. Only students who<br />

have a signed waiver in their enrollment papers to walk home can leave the campus<br />

unaccompanied by an adult.<br />

In the event that you will be late picking up your children, please call the school at 510-<br />

848-2122 ext. 214 so that we will know the situation and explain it to your child. No<br />

child is ever left unattended at <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>. If you are more than ten minutes late, your<br />

children will wait for you to pick them up at the school desk in the Temple office. If you<br />

are late regularly to pick up your child/ren, we will first give you a written warning,<br />

and 2 nd time you will be charged a late penalty of $1/minute.<br />


Cell phones may only be in plain view before and after school. Any cell phone that is<br />

seen or used during school hours (including hafsakah/recess) will be given to the Director<br />

of Education. After class, the cell phone will be returned directly to the parent or<br />

guardian of the child.<br />


Since <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> is located in a residential neighborhood, it is essential that we are<br />

considerate of our neighbors during drop off and pick up times. As much as possible,<br />

please try to use the parking places that are available on our property. If there are no<br />

spaces available, we ask you to use the street parking on a limited basis. Please respect<br />

our neighbors’ desire to have a quiet environment and be aware of the noise level when<br />

parking on the street. Your cooperation and understanding is greatly appreciated!<br />


Occasionally, a guest or special friend asks to attend the Education Programs with your<br />

child. We welcome newcomers who are interested in learning more about the school, and<br />

ask that parents inform us ahead of time before a guest comes to class. All guests need to<br />

register in the office so that we know they are on campus and where they are.<br />


We know that kids are hungry after school. We have a snack bar that is run by our Camp<br />

Kee Tov Directors- Zach Landres Schnur and Emily Schnitzer. Students can use cash or<br />

a debit system (set up in advance through our enrollment forms) to purchase foods. If<br />

your family has a negative balance from the previous school year, your child will not be<br />

permitted to use the debit system.<br />

We are doing our best to constantly improve the food that we serve for snack. We try to<br />

have pizza every Tuesday and sushi every Thursday, in addition to fresh fruit and<br />

vegetables. If you have suggestions for menu items, we are always interested in your<br />

ideas.<br />

We need volunteers to help the Food for Thought program be a success. We are grateful<br />

to those of you who are willing to volunteer regularly to purchase food and help prepare<br />

fruits and vegetables. If you are willing to volunteer to help with snack, please call<br />

Debra Massey at: 510-848-2122, ext 213.<br />


We will periodically ask for updated emergency forms. Please call us if any of your

child's emergency information changes. It is important that the school has current<br />

emergency information about each student.<br />


On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, we ask that everyone enters the building through<br />

the upper door near the Social Hall. The doors along the Gallery will be locked<br />

throughout the school hours for the protection of our students.<br />

In the event of any emergency, teachers are equipped with an up-to-date roster and<br />

Emergency Release Forms for all children in their classes. <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> maintains an<br />

emergency supply of food, water and first aid supplies on site in case of an emergency.<br />


With school starting and the weather eventually getting colder, flu season will be upon us<br />

before we realize it. That being said, please keeps your child home from <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> if there<br />

is any chance that your child has a communicable infection. Our goal is to keep our<br />

children and staff health and productive. The CDC recommends that people with<br />

influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever<br />

(100° F [37.8°C]), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. If<br />

you have any questions about the latest CDC guidelines, then feel free to check their<br />

website at: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/exclusion.htm<br />

If your child is diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, then please inform Rebecca by phone<br />

510-848-2122 or email at Rebecca@bethelberkeley.org<br />


The goals of the teaching staff and administrators of <strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Youth and<br />

Family Education Programs are to provide classrooms in which our children and staff are<br />

safe, respected, and can learn together.<br />

In order to meet these goals, we feel it is important for each student to be accountable and<br />

responsible for his/her own behavior. The <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Code of Conduct is listed on page 17<br />

and should be discussed with your child before the first day of school. If students are<br />

having problems, then you will receive a call from the teacher or Director of Education.<br />

Together, we will strategize solutions to make our school a positive and healthy learning<br />

environment for your child.<br />

If you have concerns about your child or his/her class, then please call as soon as possible<br />

so we can work together on solutions. The sooner we begin to work on a problem, the<br />

better our chance to solve it quickly and effectively.

<strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Code of Conduct<br />

<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> is a place of worship, learning, celebration and community. Our school<br />

teaches Jewish values, and expects the behavior of all teachers, parents and students to follow<br />

these values:<br />

Kavod L’Adam v’Chavero: Respect Other People<br />

We do not tease, bully and/or make unwanted physical contact with others.<br />

We respect other people’s belongings.<br />

We do not use rude, vulgar and/or disrespectful language, in speech, writing or in drawings we<br />

create.<br />

We respect our neighbors’ right to privacy and quiet.<br />

Kavod L’Beit Knesset: Respect for our Synagogue and Grounds<br />

We dispose of trash and food properly, including recycling and composting whenever possible.<br />

Plantings, walls, physical spaces of the building should not be damaged or defaced.<br />

Running inside is not allowed -nor are skateboards, shoes with wheels or scooters.<br />

Play equipment is to be used for play purposes only and in the designated areas.<br />

Kavod L’Beit Sefer: Respect for our School<br />

Modest, appropriate clothing should be worn.<br />

We arrive on time, ready to learn and willing to listen and participate in a positive and respectful<br />

manner.<br />

We follow all our classroom conduct rules.<br />

We keep electronic devices, including cell phones off and out of sight.<br />

Consequences:<br />

Failure to adhere to these rules will result in warnings, Time Outs and/or dismissal to the<br />

Education Director’s office, as appropriate. Repeated incidences will result in a phone call home<br />

and/or a meeting will be scheduled to facilitate a team approach to the student’s success at <strong>Beth</strong><br />

<strong>El</strong>. Any parents wishing a meeting in advance or at any time during the year may contact the<br />

Director of Education, Debra Massey.


Meeting Each Child’s Individual Needs<br />

Before the school year begins, parents should communicate to the Director of Education<br />

any learning difficulties, disabilities, or enrichment needs which may affect their child’s<br />

achievement in our education programs. If your child is under the care of a mental health<br />

professional, has difficulty reading, takes medications affecting his/her attention span and<br />

behavior, has difficulties with social adjustments, etc., then please inform the school<br />

administration as early as possible for the benefit of your child. When notified in<br />

advance, the Director and teachers will be better equipped to meet your child’s individual<br />

needs.<br />

Letters & Email Updates<br />

Teacher introductory letters and grade level updates are sent out during the first weeks of<br />

the school year to introduce the teacher, the class curriculum, expectations, and goals for<br />

the semester/year. Because our 3 rd -6 th grade students will be working with two teachers<br />

throughout the year- one for Hebrew and one for Judaica- you should expect to hear from<br />

both teachers. During the year, monthly updates of ongoing classroom learning and<br />

activities will be sent home. <strong>Parent</strong>s are encouraged to communicate directly with<br />

teachers about their child’s progress and needs throughout the year.<br />

Room <strong>Parent</strong>s<br />

Each class will have one or two room parents who will help to communicate to that<br />

particular class. Room parents will be asked to reach out to the other parents about<br />

family programs, volunteer opportunities and Shabbat services.<br />

Class Rosters<br />

Soon after the start of classes, parents will receive a list of the students in each class,<br />

along with their addresses and telephone numbers.<br />

Progress Reports<br />

Progress Reports, which reflect the student's academic achievement and classroom<br />

behavior, will be sent to parents via e-mail once a year for Judaic Studies and twice a<br />

year for Hebrew. A student will be evaluated according to mastery of the curriculum,<br />

class participation, behavior and regular attendance.<br />

If a student is experiencing academic difficulties, then the teacher will notify the parents<br />

as soon as possible. We want our children to succeed and we will do our best to see that<br />

this goal is achieved.<br />

Weekly E-Newsletter<br />

YAFE (Youth and Family Education) News You Can Use is the school newsletter sent<br />

home weekly via email. This newsletter keeps parents informed of important school and<br />

congregational activities to enhance and encourage family participation.<br />

The <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Builder<br />

The synagogue bulletin, the <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Builder, carries a bi-monthly article by the Director<br />

of Education, an update of changes in each month’s Youth and Family Education<br />

Calendar, and news of the multifaceted activities throughout the school and synagogue<br />


<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> Youth and Family Education Teaching Team<br />

Debra Sagan Massey, Director of Education 510-848-2122, ext 213<br />

Rebecca DePalma, Education Administrator 510-848-2122, ext 214<br />

Grade Teacher<br />


Kindergarten (Th) Jodi Gladstone<br />

1 st grade (Th) Jody Seltzer<br />

2 nd grade (Th) Lauren Byrne<br />

3 rd grade Judaica (Tu/Th) Miriam Schwartz<br />

4 th grade Judaica (Tu/Th) Karen Hen<br />

5 th grade Judaica (Tu/Th) Marisa Handler<br />

6 th grade Judaica (Tu/Th) Nina Price<br />

Alef Hebrew (Tu/Th) Miriam Schwartz<br />

Bet Hebrew (Tu/Th) Yaara Shachnai<br />

Gimmel Hebrew (Tu/Th) Orly Perlstein<br />

Dalet Hebrew (Tu) Charles Korn<br />

Hebrew Tutor (Tu/Th) Desmid Lyon<br />

Art Specialist Erica Fink<br />

Music Specialist Isaac Zones<br />

Dance Specialist Allen King<br />

Garden Specialist Nathaniel Markman<br />


Director: Rabbi Bridget Wynne<br />

Pre-K Lauren Byrne<br />

K/1 st Sarah <strong>Beth</strong> Alcabes<br />

2 nd /3 rd Linda Silverberg Miller<br />

4 th /5 th Marisa Handler<br />

Music Rabbi Reuben Zellman<br />

Adults Rabbi Bridget Wynne<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>/Child Hebrew- Wednesday<br />

Alef Arella Bar Lev<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>/Child Hebrew- Shabbat<br />

Alef Arella Bar Lev<br />

B’nei Mitzvah Program<br />

7 th Grade Teacher Rabbi Yoel Kahn<br />

7 th Grade Teacher Juliet Gardner<br />

7 th Grade Teacher Rebecca DePalma<br />

Youth Advisor Rebecca DePalma

Madrichim<br />

Supervisor: Rebecca DePalma<br />

The word madrichim literally means guides in Hebrew. Our madrichim are 8 th -12 th grade<br />

students that apply to be teaching assistants, office assistants, tutors, specialists and<br />

special education assistants in our youth and family education programs throughout the<br />

year. They lead by example and help guide our students to have fantastic experiences at<br />

<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong>. Many of them aspire to be educators and camp counselors.<br />

Therefore our madrichim work hard to learn the skills to be outstanding Jewish educators,<br />

administrators and specialists in our community while providing essential staff support to<br />

teachers and students throughout the year. They attend four leadership trainings<br />

throughout the year, and get hands-on opportunities each day that they are at<br />

<strong>Congregation</strong> <strong>Beth</strong> <strong>El</strong> to learn new responsibilities by helping teach classes, tutor<br />

students, lead specialty activities, supervise students at recess or work the front desk.<br />

As with most Hebrew words, “madrichim” has different versions for singular, plural and<br />

the different genders that are as follows: madrich – guide, singular male, madricha –<br />

guide singular female, madrichim – guides, plural all male or co-ed, madrichot – guides<br />

plural all female.


B’nei Mitzvah This is the plural of Bar Mitzvah and the plural of one bar mitzvah<br />

and one bat mitzvah. The plural of Bat Mitzvah is B’not Mitzvah<br />

Chug Mishpacha Literally ‘Family Activity’- Our Shabbat Family School<br />

Chug <strong>El</strong>ective for midweek Kadima classes<br />

Hafsaka break/recess<br />

Kadima Literally ‘let’s go!’ or ‘onward!’- our Tu/Th afternoon program<br />

Madrichim Literally ‘counselors’. The title of our teenage teaching assistants.<br />

Mitzvah Often translated as good deed, it literally means commandment.<br />

The plural is mitzvot.<br />

Mensch Literally ‘man’ in Yiddish. It has come to mean a good person.<br />

Minhag Literally ‘custom’. Used to describe the practice or ritual at a<br />

particular synagogue or Jewish institution.<br />

Moreh Derech Literally ‘guides’. The title for our b’nei mitzvah adult mentors<br />

Parasha(t) Equivalent of portion. The Torah portion of the week is call<br />

“parsha” or “parshat (name of portion).<br />

Ruach Literally ‘energy’. What every Camp Kee Tov camper has. The<br />

name of our 4 th and 5 th grade youth group.<br />

Sababa Literally ‘cool’ in Arabic, very popular word in Modern Hebrew.<br />

The name of our 6 th -8 th grade youth group.<br />

Shabbaton A Sabbatical, or time of rest. The name for our annual retreat.<br />

TaNaKH The name of the Jewish Bible, which includes three books: Torah,<br />

Nevi’im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings)<br />

Tefillot Literally ‘prayers’, the singular is Tefillah. Used for the name of a<br />

prayer service.<br />

Tikkun Leil Shavuot An all night study session starting on the evening of Shavuot<br />

Tikkun Olam Literally, ‘fixing the world’. It is the concept that Jews are<br />

obligated to partner with God to help make this world a better<br />

place<br />

Yom HaShoah Day of The Holocaust, Shoah means whirlwind. This is Holocaust<br />

Remembrance day.<br />

Yom HaZikaron Day of Remembrance. This is the day remembering the Israeli<br />

soldiers who have fallen in wars throughout the year.<br />

Yom Ha’atzmaut Israel Independence Day. This celebration immediately follows<br />

Yom HaZikaron.

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