Special Opportunities for Families
Shabbat and Holidays: Beth Hillel offers a wide range of beautiful and spiritual weekly Shabbat services, with different music styles on different Friday nights and a large group of members who attend Shabbat morning services regardless of whether they have a connection with the Bar or Bat Mitzvah of the week. Beth Hillel also offers various opportunities to celebrate the Jewish holidays at synagogue. Attending Shabbat and holiday services is a great way for students to practice their Hebrew, for families to become familiar with Temple Beth Hillel melodies and customs, and for young and old alike to connect with friends and build community.
Temple Beth Hillel Religious School Policies Handbook
This handbook has been compiled to inform you of policies that have been established by the Temple Beth Hillel Religious School Committee (RSC) and approved by the Temple Beth Hillel Board of Directors in order to maintain and enhance the high quality of religious education which Temple Beth Hillel strives to provide.
These policies are to be used as guidelines for effective administration and positive learning situations and thus, are amenable to changes and additions. Parental input is essential to the success of our program. We ask you to work with us to develop new or additional policies as the need arises.
The goal of our religious school is to promote within our students a feeling of being part of a larger Jewish family…to foster a love of Judaism, understanding of our history, joy in sharing our culture, and the growth of a caring community. To promote life-long skills and a strong sense of belonging in temple life, the children will become proficient at reading Hebrew and reading/chanting prayers from our siddur through our Hebrew curriculum.
Our Religious School program rests on the three classic pillars of Jewish living first formulated in Pirkei Avot:
Torah – learning our sacred texts, history, customs and traditions.
Avodah – worship, the development of a relationship with God and a spiritual sense; and the acquisition of sufficient Hebrew skills to participate in Jewish prayer.
G’milut Chasadim – deeds of compassion; the cultivation of a sense of responsibility towards others, and an impulse to engage in tikkun ha-olam – the repair of the world.
Our Religious School follows the precepts of the URJ curriculum with the emphasis on “Seeing the World through Jewish Eyes”. This curriculum teaches Torah (Bible), history, the Jewish calendar, holidays, Israel, Jewish law, life cycle events, and social justice and Jewish ethics from a Reform Jewish perspective.
Opportunities for Parents
Religious School Committee:
Our Religious School Committee sets policy and provides guidance for our Religious School. It is responsible for developing and evaluating new programs, supporting the staff, faculty and programs of the Religious School, and acting as a conduit for parent input and feedback. The Committee meets on the Fourth Wednesday evening of every month at 7:00 PM. Committee members serve for a two-year term and may serve two terms (four years total). All parents are welcome to attend Religious School Committee meetings. For more information, contact our Religious School Co-Chairs, Jessica Patterson or Rebecca Chaimovitch, at ReligiousSchoolBoard@templebethhillel.org.
Beth Hillel Parent Association:
The Religious School has a flourishing Parent Association: TPA – the TBH Parent Association. TPA exists to foster connection and communication among parents, students, teachers, administrators and the Religious School Committee. All Religious School parents who are interested in supporting the school’s mission are invited to attend and participate. Activities that TPA assists with include community-building events for parents such as Shmoozes during Religious School hours, grade-level picnics and potluck Shabbat dinners, TPA-Sponsored Parent Forums with each the Rabbi, Mitzvah Day, and more.
Enclosed with the registration packet are two Volunteer Participation Forms where parents can sign-up to help with TPA programs. We encourage families to support TPA by making an optional donation of $5 per child or $10 per family. Please see the note on the Fee Payment Form to help support TPA’s mission. For more information about TPA, please contact TBHPA@templebethhillel.org.
Our Youth Committee designs programs and curriculum for all 5th grade through college-age youth, planning informal educational opportunities for both the students and their parents. The Youth Committee meets on the second Wednesday evening of every month at 6:30 PM. The Youth Committee, chaired by Mike Berg, is made up of parents who represent children in this age group. All parents are welcome to participate. For more information, contact Temple TBH Youth Director, Shelley Haslett, or Tbhyouth@templebethhillel.org.
New students will be assigned to classes based on their age and corresponding school grade. New students in grades 4 through 6 will need to meet with the Director, to determine the most appropriate placement for the Hebrew classes.
In order to receive full benefit from our Religious School community, it is essential that students attend regularly and be prepared to participate fully. If parents know that their child will be absent (due to illness, a school or sports event, a trip, a family celebration, etc.), they should contact the Religious School. In addition, as a community that strives to care about each individual student, the Religious School will send home a friendly email checking up on any student who has been absent for two consecutive classes. Students who are absent more frequently will also receive a call from the Rabbi or Cantor.
Because our students have a very limited number of hours and we want to use the time to its fullest, we urge parents to get their children to Temple on time. When tardiness is unavoidable, it is better to arrive late than to be absent from an entire session. However, please remember that latecomers inevitably disrupt activities.
Progress reports are distributed two times per year to give students and parent’s feedback and to initiate improvement where necessary. Parents are encouraged to contact the Director of Education at any time during the year to discuss progress, attendance and/or conduct.
Homework and Testing
When homework is given, it will be meaningful and realistic. Third through sixth graders are expected to practice their Hebrew for 10 minutes daily in order to best retain the information learned in class.
Tests may be given as part of the learning experience and to help teachers determine whether the learning goals are being achieved by their students.
Students studying Hebrew should bring a pencil, their Hebrew books, a folder or binder, and their homework to class each day. It is helpful to have a bag designated for Religious School so books are sure to make it to class.
It is important that Temple Beth Hillel be a place where everyone feels safe, where each individual is respected, and where the Temple and its grounds are treated with respect. If a minor problem arises, teachers will handle it directly within the classroom. However, if a student continues to behave inappropriately, he/she will be sent to the Religious School office. At that time, the student will fill out a Behavior Incident Report, stating what happened and what could have been done to prevent it. The student will speak with the Director of Education. If they are unavailable, the student will speak with the adult in charge of the office at that time. The second time a student is sent to the office, the above steps will be taken and the parents will be called. If the student acts inappropriately again, the student, parents, Director of Education will meet to work out a solution to the problem.
Visiting the Classroom/Guests:
Parents are welcome to visit classrooms as often as they wish. Arrangements for visiting class while in session need to be made with the Director of Education in advance.
Guests are not encouraged to attend our classes on any regular basis. However, if a child wishes to bring a guest, s/he must obtain permission, in advance, from the Director of Education.
Pick-Up and Drop-Off
Children must be picked up immediately after classes are dismissed. Children in 2nd grade and under must be picked up directly in their classroom by a parent, responsible older sibling or an adult designated by the parent. This person’s name must be submitted in writing to the Temple office. If an emergency prevents prompt pick-up, please call the Temple office to let us know. Young children who are still waiting to be picked up from the classroom will be brought to the office to wait under the supervision of the office staff.
If a student needs to be picked up prior to dismissal, the parent must come to the Temple office first and sign the child out. Then the parent will be given a slip that gives the teacher permission to release the child.
When parents arrive to drop off or pick up their children, they should drive around the traffic circle and enter the parking lot.
Reminder: To help keep our air clean, please try not to let your car idle while you are waiting to pick up your child.
Cell Phones & Smart Phones; iPods and MP3 Players:
New this year: Students are welcome to bring cell phones and smart phones to Religious School. However, they should remain in the child’s pocket or backpack unless there is an emergency. Students are not allowed to make phone calls, text, surf the web, or play games during class or during break-time. iPods and MP3 Players should remain in pockets or backpacks throughout class, with no exception (including during Pizza Dinners and snack-times).
Temple Beth Hillel has a full emergency plan that is provided to the teachers at their orientation.
In case of bad weather, school closures will be announced on the Temple Beth Hillel website and on the Temple office’s pre-recorded telephone message. For Tuesday evening classes, if South Windsor Public Schools are closed on Tuesday, Temple Beth Hillel classes will be cancelled.
Students are not permitted to use tobacco products, alcohol, or other drugs at any Temple Beth Hillel class, program, or event, on or off Temple premises. Parents will be notified immediately in the event of such use. Students requiring medication during school hours must give it to the teacher or school office, along with written information about its name, administration time, and dosage. Emergency medication, such as that for diabetes or allergic reactions, will be kept in the student’s classroom or in the Temple office as instructed by the parent.
Students are encouraged to stay home from Religious School if they have pink eye, lice or nits, a fever of 101°F or higher within the past 24 hours, vomiting within the past 24 hours, or diarrhea within the past 24 hours.
If a child is going to be absent due to illness, a parent should let the School know by contacting the Religious School.
If a student becomes ill during class, the Religious School will call the student’s home and notify his/her parents.
Parents whose children have serious anaphylactic allergies must fill out an Allergy Action Plan Form so that the school knows how to treat the child in case of an allergic reaction. The form also indicates where the Benadryl, Epinephrine, or Epi-pen will be stored during school hours (for example, in the classroom, in the Temple office, or on the student’s person). If parents need a form, please contact the Religious School.
Students with Special Needs
Temple Beth Hillel strives to have a Religious School program that allows every Jewish child to receive a Jewish education. As we move forward, we will begin working towards this goal by helping teachers make needed adaptations and/or changes to meet the individual needs of specific children in their classrooms. The teachers and Madrichim (teaching assistants) receive training to work with children with learning or behavioral needs, medical challenges, gifted abilities, Day School backgrounds, and anyone else whose individual needs have been brought to our attention. Individually assigned and trained Madrichim are also available as needed so that all children can be included in regular Religious School classes. These individually assigned Madrichim are supervised by the classroom teachers, and by Shelly Haslett, our Madrichim Coordinator.
All parents of students in our Religious School, as well as parents of students with special needs, are welcome to make an appointment with the Director of Education to discuss how we can best meet the needs of their child, and to help find ways in which their children can be most successful in the classroom. The information shared with us is completely confidential and will only be shared with the Rabbi, and – if necessary – the child’s teacher(s).
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Cantor Scott Harris Director of Education