Religious School

Religious School

Register Now!

Applications for the 2022-2023 Religious School Program at CBI are now open! You must complete your application by midnight on Friday, July 1 to qualify for an Early Bird tuition discount.

Registration will take place via our Shulcloud membership portal; if you need assistance in setting up your Shulcloud account, please let us know

Enrollment in CBI’s Religious School is open to CBI members in good standing. If you are interested in joining our community and enrolling in our Religious School, please reach out to our Program Director, Chelsea Ferguson, to begin the conversation.

Financial circumstances are NEVER a barrier to full participation in Jewish life at Congregation Beth Israel, including our Religious School program. To discuss scholarship opportunities, please connect with our Education Administrator, Elisabeth Pierson

The 2022 - 2023 School Year

We are still finalizing our full schedule of family programs, holiday celebrations, and more for the coming year, but here are a few exciting sneak peeks.

  • Mishpacha Minyan will return for our Lower and Upper Elementary Students
  • In addition to our community-building in-person sessions each Sunday, curriculum for Upper Elementary students (grades three through five) now includes an additional Hebrew learning session each week
  • Middle School students will build community and prepare for B’nei Mitzvah with a weekly learning service as part of their studies
  • Travel resumes for High School students, with a L’taken/Social Justice and Advocacy trip to Washington, DC, an immigration justice trip to Arizona, and a Civil Rights trip to the American south on our calendar!

Coming Soon!

Continue to watch this space for schedule updates, drop off and pick up details, health and safety protocols, and everything you will eventually need for back to school. 

Elementary School (Pre-K – Grade 5)

Sundays, 9:45am 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.

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) and Hybrid Program

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.  A hybrid version of this program, for those interested, allows students to meet once weekly in person and once via Zoom.

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 & B’nai Mitzvah Program (Grades 6-7)

Sundays, 9:45am to 12:15pm

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

High School: Midrasha (Grades 8-12)

Sundays, 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

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.