It is the challenge of the Religious School to touch the heart and soul of every student through the study of Judaism. The school creates an environment where students learn to be comfortable being Jewish. Younger students experience Judaism through their senses; music, art, cooking and stories expose them to the richness of Jewish culture. Intermediate students search for answers to life’s questions through an exploration of Jewish values and feelings. Older students develop awareness for our rich history and modern Jewish community. They are encouraged to apply Jewish concepts to social action and personal decision making. A successful Religious School program incorporates Jewish learning into a child’s developmental stages leading to a foundation of ethical Jewish values and a deep pride in our People’s way of life.
View and download our CBI Religious School Brochure.
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.
Gan – Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Our Jewish world is brought to the classroom through a hands-on approach to synagogue life.
Kitah Alef – Grade 1
Extends the study of who the people are in the Temple, how and what we celebrate.
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.
Kitah Gimel – Grade 3
Students refine their own understanding and definition of k’dushah (holiness).
Kitah Dalet – Grade 4
Students start to see a direct relationship between being a member of a community and our behaviors.
Kitah Hay – Grade 5
Throughout this year, the theme of Reform Judaism and the power of community will connect the 3 strands.
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.
Sundays, 12:15 PM to 2:15 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.