CBI Religious School

Our Programs

Pre-K - 5th Overview | 6th - 7th Overview | 8th - 12th Overview | Grade by Grade Descriptions

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (PRE K-GRADE 5)

Sundays, 9:15am to 12:15pm

Beth Israel Religious School is for students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5. The school calendar closely matches with the Portland Public School calendar, beginning in September and ending in May.

Our Sunday morning begins in the Main Sanctuary at 9:15 a.m. with Mishpacha Minyan, a spirited Family Service full of singing, dancing and energy. Clergy joins Ben Sandler and other musicians to lead this popular service. Parents and younger siblings stay and participate before walking kids over to class.

Specialty Classes and Activities
Our Religious School is an arts integrated program. Each week, students attend specialty sessions for music, dance, drama and visual arts.

Integrated Hebrew Program (IHP)
Grades 3, 4, & 5 IHP classes meet on Thursday afternoons from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in addition to regular Religious School on Sunday mornings. Students in this program receive all the regular Hebrew School curriculum as well as learning reading fluency, vocabulary, t’filot (prayers) and root word forms. IHP students grow to understand the beauty of the Hebrew language through our “Hineni: Hebrew Through Prayer” curriculum.

Learn more about our Elementary School Classes

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MIDDLE SCHOOL MIDRASHA AND B’NEI MITZVAH PROGRAM (GRADES 6 & 7)

Sundays, 9:00am to 12:15pm

Beginning with a light breakfast, 6th and 7th graders meet for two sessions with a Tefillah, learning service, in between. The first session core class works on a range of topics such as Israel, social justice, Jewish history, ethics and identity. The second session are the B’Nei Mitzvah Studies with Cantor Cahana, peer tutors, and experienced Hebrew teachers. Each week ends with a catered lunch and social time.

In grades 6&7, learning becomes more sophisticated.

  • Deeper understanding of Holocaust studies and exploring Israel and the Middle East
  • Jewish values and relevancy of Torah and Mitzvot in modern life
  • Ethics and social justice

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HIGH SCHOOL MIDRASHA (GRADES 8-12)

Sundays, 12:15pm to 2:00pm

8th grade and High School students are ready for the next step on their Jewish Journey, and to begin establishing their leadership within our community. They start their day with lunch and socializing with friends and then break off by grade to explore subjects such as Jewish identity, comparative religions, Jewish history and social justice.

In grades 8-12, there is advanced study of what it means to be on a Jewish Journey and the emergence of becoming a Jewish leader in the community. 

  • Topics include dealing with social and religious ethics, open discussions with clergy and teachers on political issues and other items of concern to Jewish teenagers today 
  • Beginning in 9th grade, students may choose to work as Madrichim (classroom aides) in lower grades to gain valuable background and experience that can be applied to future roles in education 
  • Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Seminar to Washington D.C. is offered to students 10th grade as well culminating the end of the year with the Confirmation ceremony during the festival of Shavout 
  • 11th and 12th grade students are eligible to participate in a trip to the South where they get a taste of southern Jewish life, learn about the Civil Rights Movement and solidify their lasting relationships as well as becoming eligible for scholarships to travel to Israel on teen NFTY trips 
  • A beautiful Graduation service created and led by seniors takes place at the end of the grade 12 year

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YOUTH GROUPS

Get involved with Beth Israel’s two Youth Groups: PARTY (Portland Area Reform Temple Youth) for High School Students and Dor Chadash (New Generation) for Middle School Students! Spend time with friends and make new ones at fun activities such as hikes, overnights, field trips and outings. In addition, there are opportunities for teens to become national leaders through NFTY and travel both regionally and nationally to events. For more information about joining our Youth Group programs, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Our Religious School Classes - Grade by Grade


Gan - Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Our Jewish world is brought to the classroom through a hands-on approach to synagogue life.

  • Family traditions and holiday celebrations
  • Arts and crafts, cooking, dance, music, drama and play
  • Family Programs - K: Shabbat & Chanukkah; Pre-K: Monthly Family Holiday Programs

 

Kitah Alef - Grade 1

Extends the study of who the people are in the Temple, how and what we celebrate.

  • Explore the meaning of the holidays and the ritual items used in our Jewish world 
  • Children are blessed by the clergy during a Consecration Ceremony/Simchat Torah which includes a live Klezmer band and dancing 
  • Family Program: Wimpel Making. Parents and students create a beautiful wimpel that is displayed on the bimah and then kept as a treasured ritual item to be used for future life cycle events.

Did you know? The Union for Reform Judaism CHAI Curriculum is designed to facilitate lifelong Jewish learning. It focuses classroom learning on 3 strands: Torah, Avodah (love) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). All of our CBI 2nd through 5th graders learn from this curriculum which brings the home and school together.

 

Kitah Bet - Grade 2

Students begin developing personal connections and learn about the power of the 3 strands.

  • Alef-Bet recognition
  • Class Mitzvah Project
  • Family Program: Celebrating Passover!

 

Kitah Gimel - Grade 3

Students refine their own understanding and definition of k’dushah (holiness).

  • Begin to understand how ritual objects, symbols, prayer, and behaviors can make moments and places special
  • In grade 3, families may enroll their children in the 2-day Integrated Hebrew Program
  • Family Program: Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah! Picking A Date

 

Kitah Dalet - Grade 4

Students start to see a direct relationship between being a member of a community and our behaviors.

  • The study of the relationship between the People and the Land in the Torah
  • Significance and structure of communal prayer
  • Family Program: Discovering Prayer

 

Kitah Hay - Grade 5

Throughout this year, the theme of Reform Judaism and the power of community will connect the 3 strands.

  • The role of the individual in a community, increased sophistication in prayer and connection to Israel
  • Learning the wisdom of the prophets
  • Family Program: Yom HaShoa/Yom Hazikaron Learning and Family Hike

 

Middle School Midrasha - Grades 6 & 7

Learning becomes more sophisticated.

  • Deeper understanding of Holocaust studies and exploring Israel and the Middle East
  • Jewish values and relevancy of Torah and Mitzvot in modern life
  • Ethics and social justice

 

High School Midrasha - Grades 8-12

Advanced study of what it means to be on a Jewish Journey and the emergence of becoming a Jewish leader in the community. 

  • Topics include dealing with social and religious ethics, open discussions with clergy and teachers on political issues and other items of concern to Jewish teenagers today 
  • Beginning in 9th grade, students may choose to work as Madrichim (classroom aides) in lower grades to gain valuable background and experience that can be applied to future roles in education 
  • Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Seminar to Washington D.C. is offered to students 10th grade as well culminating the end of the year with the Confirmation ceremony during the festival of Shavout 
  • 11th and 12th grade students are eligible to participate in a trip to the South where they get a taste of southern Jewish life, learn about the Civil Rights Movement and solidify their lasting relationships as well as becoming eligible for scholarships to travel to Israel on teen NFTY trips 
  • A beautiful Graduation service created and led by seniors takes place at the end of the grade 12 year

Education Links

2017-2018 Religious School
Registration Form

Download and fill out the registration form (fillable PDF). To return your registration materials, please either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or print it and fax, snail mail, or drop off at either the Main or Education offices from 9-5 Monday through Friday!

 

2016-2017 Religious School Calendars:

 

View and download our 
CBI Religious School Brochure 

Education

Ben Sandler, M. ED , M.A.R.E.
Director of Education  

Ben joined Congregation Beth Israel as the Education Director in 2004. Originally from Indiana, Ben earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Indiana University. In Portland, he attended both Lewis and Clark College and Portland State University for his Master’s studies and Oregon teaching certification. Ben graduated in 2004 from the leadership 2000+ Educational Policy, Foundations and Administrative Studies program at Portland State University. In 2016, Ben graduated from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with a Master of Arts in Religious Education.

For more information on our education programs, please call the Education Department at 503-222-1069.