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Goals and Curriculum

At Temple Etz Chaim, we feel the important responsibility of providing our students with an excellent Jewish education. Our school’s critical role is to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for our students to function responsibly in the Jewish Community. Religious education will help to enable future generations to live productive and meaningful lives as Americans and Jews.
 

Our goals and curriculum are outlined here. Please read the entire page, you may jump to a specific topic of you interest:

Goals
Primary Department Curriculum
Elementary Department Curriculum
Confirmation and Post-Confirmation Curriculum

Goals

 The overarching goals of the Temple Etz Chaim Religious School are to:

Develop children who want to live as Jews
Provide the skills and knowledge to live a Jewish life
Provide moral and character development
Provide family education

Reaching these goals will allow students to:

Innately feel a love of Torah and Bible.
Understand major themes and concepts found in each parsha.
Understand and be able to practice Jewish traditions and be able to explain Jewish heritage.
Participate and lead prayers with competency and understanding.
Practice Jewish rituals at home and in the synagogue and observe Jewish ceremonies that are part of life cycle events.
Encourage, support and participate in mitzvot at Temple, home, and in the community.
Participate in acts of Gemilut Hasidim and give tzedakah regularly.
Realize that they are part of a chain, linking generations through common experience and values.
Be knowledgeable about Israel, the people and the land.
Strengthen their sense of Jewish identity and create empathy towards Jewish people around the world, upholding the theme of Klal Yisrael.
Behave in a moral and ethical manner based on the teachings they receive both at home and through attendance at Religious School.
Involve their families in Jewish life through attendance at Shabbat dinners, Religious School services and school activities.

 Specific areas for educational development include:
 

Bible
Hebrew
Israel
Klal Yisrael, including the historical experience of the Jewish people
Mitzvot
Tefilah
Holidays and Life Cycle

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Curriculum

The Religious School’s curriculum emphasizes the specific areas of education mentioned above. Topics are taught at appropriate grade levels to maximize learning within all seven categories listed above. Various teaching methods, including cooperative learning, music, art, dance, drama, storytelling, videos, visual aids and games, are used to enrich the learning process. Textbooks are assigned by subject and grade level. The individual teacher’s knowledge and creative input enhance the curriculum significantly. In implementing curriculum, each grade builds upon students’ previous educational experiences. Materials and resources progress from year to year. As students mature, discussions broaden and expand.

Primary Department (K-2)

The primary grade curriculum (K-2) introduces students to basic Jewish heritage and traditions. Students are introduced to the Torah as a sacred document to the Jewish people. They learn that there is one G-d who is the creator of the world. Through stories, they learn about people in the Torah, biblical heroes and values. Celebrating the holidays introduces them to Jewish history and ritual. They recognize prayers, ritual objects and symbols associated with the holidays. Blessings over the wine, challah and candles are recited each Sunday at a “Mock Shabbat.” Students begin to understand the importance of and can recite the Shema and Shecheyanu. Students learn about the synagogue, the roles of the Rabbi and Hazzan, and the importance of tzedakah and mitzvot. They begin Hebrew instruction by being able to recognize the Alef Bet and becoming familiar with the sounds of each letter. See appendix for complete curriculum.

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ELEMENTARY DEPARTMENT (3-7)

The intermediate grade curriculum (3-7) builds on the primary curriculum, but places more emphasis on preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Students continue their Hebrew studies, learning prayer based vocabulary. Hebrew reading skills are emphasized so that students can participate fully and comfortably in the Shabbat and holiday services. Students discuss Torah portions in depth, learning about Jewish history, laws, moral and ethical teachings, and the significant contributions of the patriarchs, matriarchs, and other biblical heroes. Students celebrate holidays, reciting the blessings and prayers, using ritual objects correctly, singing holiday songs, preparing and eating holiday foods, and understanding the religious and historical importance of the celebration. They discuss life cycle events and their importance. Students learn about Israel’s history, government, geography, culture, politics and significance to the Jewish people. Participation in synagogue social action projects reinforces the concepts of tzedakah, mitzvot, Gemilut Hasidim and tikun olam.

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CONFIRMATION AND POST CONFIRMATION (8-12)

The Confirmation Program (8-10) provides a diverse curriculum. Students attend a core class that covers a specific topic for each grade. Students discuss anti-Semitism, Bioethics, cults, the Holocaust, modern Jewish heroes and other relevant issues in terms of the Jewish ethical, moral and legal response according to Jewish law. Through discussions about current events in Israel, they gain a better understanding of Israeli government and politics. They also have a choice of electives, including self-defense, ceramics, scrapbooking, Jewish videos and Judaism through science fiction and fantasy, Bible studies, Israeli dancing, Jewish cooking, drama and more. Dinner seminars are a highlight of the Confirmation Program. Parents are invited to join students to hear various speakers provide valuable information about current topics. The 10th grade students lead Shavuot Services at which time they are confirmed.

In 2005, Temple Etz Chaim Religious School was selected to be one of five religious schools for the southern California region to pilot a new curriculum called “Facing History and Ourselves.” The subject matter is an in depth exploration into the Holocaust and human behavior. To quote their brochure, “Facing History’s institutes connect history to the moral questions inherent in a study not only of violence, racism, and anti-Semitism but also courage, caring, and compassion.” This program has become the foundation for our ninth grade curriculum and hopefully will make a significant difference in the lives of our students.

The Post Confirmation Program (11-12) provides students with an opportunity to continue their Jewish education while remaining involved in synagogue life. Students study Torah, discuss current events and explore ethical issues with Rabbi Spiegel. The format of the class allows students to express themselves candidly in a non-judgmental environment. The program was originally conceived after students leaving the Confirmation Program asked how they could continue their studies at Temple Etz Chaim.

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

High Holidays - 2017/5778

High Holidays 2017/5778 Services Schedule -Rosh Hashanah September 21-22, Yom Kippur September 29-30 - Click here for the 2017 services schedule.

Sign Up to Attend High Holidays Services - Please let us know which services you'll be attending in order to help us assign honors by completing our High Holiday Services Attendance Form 

Reserve Your Tickets and Seats - Can pay by cash or credit card - Click here for the ticket and seating reservation form.

Special Programming for Children and Teens:

Children Can Participate in Our Beautiful Neilah Service - Join us on September 30 at 7:00 p.m. sharp in the Chapel. - Click here for the registration form due by September 25, 2017.

High Holiday Children's Services - Great for families who love holiday songs and storytelling! Join us for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at 2:30 p.m. - Click here for the schedule

High Holiday Childcare for Children up to 5 Years - Free for Temple Members, $25/day for Non-members, Return form to the office no later than September 1, 2017 - Click here for the form.

High Holiday Experience For Children in TK, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grades - A creative service with hands-on fun! Begins at 9:00 a.m. - Click here for the flyer.

Junior Congregation For Children in 5th, 6th, and 7th Grades - Join in leading a meaningful service in the Winer Chapel. For Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, meet in Wolfson at 10:45 a.m. - Click here for the flyer.

This Yom Kippur Sicha is LAVA!! Don’t get burned by the choices you made in the past! Join us on September 30th, from 12pm-1pm for a fun and interactive program about how to be our better selves this year. For 8-12th graders only. Click here for the flyer.

Tashlich Walk with USY - USY Tashlich Walk at Temple Etz Chaim. Meet us on September 21st in the Religious School rotunda at 11:30 a.m. sharp.  Click here for the flyer.

Caring Connections and More

I Care, We Care, TEC Cares!

For more information and to be a part of Caring Connections visit our page.

Volunteer opportunity: The ALS Association is looking for volunteers to visit home-bound people with ALS once a week. Teens would be welcome. Please contact with Barbara Porush: 818-429-5686b[email protected]

Bereavement Support Group Open to the Community: Our Bereavement group will meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

Al-Anon meets every Wednesday at TEC, 7:00-8:15PM. 

Be Involved - Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.

Refuah Shelamah Requests - Can't make it to shul for a friend or loved one in need of a prayer for healing?  Send in any name you would like read at services (Shabbat, minyan or other) and a dedicated Temple congregant will stand and read the name. Just email your request to refuah.[email protected] with the details of the individual in need of healing. It is that easy and simple!  Because No one should be without a voice. 

Community Outreach/Caring Connection presents New support group forming at TEC: Caregiver Support Group - May 15th,11:00am ALL TOPICS ENCOURAGED (dementia, behaviors, finances, Alzheimer, aging, etc.) Hear, share,learn, discuss, resolve issues in caring for loved ones. Click here for the flyer - Open to the community.

Chai Lights

Rabbinic Seach Frequently Asked Questions - Our congregation has begun the process of searching for and hiring a new rabbi. The Rabbinic Search Committee (RSC) recognizes that you will have various questions regarding the search, so we thought we would try to anticipate some of them and do our best to provide answers. Please read our Rabbinic Search Frequently Asked Questions.

Saturday September 16th dinner and Selichot Services- Join us for Havdallah, a light dinner, the screning of "The Women's Balcony" followed by a coffee and cake and the late night Selichot service. More information.

Operation Isaiah Canned Food Drive - Donate cans of food to the hungry! September 18 - September 30, 2017

September 29th is the last day to RSVP for "Dinner in the Sukkah" More information and form

Annual Sukkah Building October 1st 9 am- Join the Men's Club in the annual tradition of building and decorating our sukkah, it's a great way to spend a Sunday while the kids are at Religious School. No esperience necessary. More information.

Sukkot Dinner December 6, 6 pm - Remember to RSVP by September 29th.

RSVP for Say Shalom "Celebrate Life" Dinner by October 11  ​- "Celebrate Life' Shabbat onwill begin with a Say Shalom complimentary dinner for all at 6:00pm. Please RSVP by October 11

Guess Who's Comming to Shabbas. October 13 - This is Temple Etz Chaim’s new program where congregants host a Shabbat dinner in their homes and invite 1-2 other synagogue families to attend. Thus far, 86 Etz Chaim families have participated! If you’d like to host a dinner, if you’d like to be invited to attend a dinner, or if you have questions, just contact us at [email protected]. Our goal is to have every Temple family invited for an at-home Shabbat dinner over the next year. Doesn’t everyone enjoy celebrating Shabbat over a good meal at home with family and friends?

Say Shalom Dinner: Celebrate Life and Community in the New Year Friday, October 20 6:00 pm ~ Social Hall - Click here for the flyer.

TEC Book Club - Join us to read and discuss a selection of great books - August-November 2017 upcoming schedule

The First Great Challa Bake -Wednesday, November 8th RSVP by October 27. 7:00 pm -9:00 pm Click here for the flyer.

Be The Change - Tzedakah campaign - Are you ready to be the change? Suggested donation of $5.

Parent and Me Classes - Wednesdays, 9:15 AM -10:30 AM. Storytime, art, music, Jewish traditions, crafts, and so much more.

                  

Women of TEC Judaica Shop

Visit the Women of TEC Judaica Shop at Temple Etz Chaim! We carry a wide selection of Judaica gifts for every occasion. Visit the Women of TEC Judaica Shop web page for hours and featured items!

 

 

 

 

Religious School 2017-2018

First Day Religious School Grades 3-7

Tuesday, September 5th and 6th are the First Days of Religious School Grades 3-7

First Day Class Grades TK,K,1,2

Sunday, September 10 is the first day of Religious School for Grades TK-2

First Day Confirmation Grades 8-12
Monday, September 11th 6:30pm

Infant Care Now Registering!

Infant Care Now Registering!

Now Offering Full-time Infant Care from 3 months on. 

Small caretaker - child ratio.
Full Time Monday to Friday 7:30am - 6:00pm.
Space fills up fast, plan ahead and reserve your spot! To schedule a tour please contact the pre-school office at (805) 497-6852 or email us at [email protected].

Registration Form

Support Temple Etz Chaim everytime you shop

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases when you shop at AmazonSmile - smile.amazon.com.

Agoura Hills Hand Car Wash "Wash Bucks" Program

Find out here how you can help support TEC every time you wash your car or shop at Agoura Hills Hand Car Wash.

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Earn Funds for TEC

When you search and shop with GoodSearch, you help Temple Etz Chaim earn money. How? Good Search is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its renveue to the charities and schools designated by its users.