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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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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.

Camp Ramah Family Camp

Camp Ramah Family Camp for TEC families - May 19th - 21st. 

Temple Etz Chaim Preschool: Camp Ramah invites you to Family Camp For families with children 8 and under Come spend the weekend in beautiful Ojai at Camp Ramah Questions? See Debbie Blumenthal at Etz Chaim or call Lisa Cooper, Rosh Family Camp, at Camp Ramah: 310.210.7654

Click here for the flyer.

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 7:30pm
Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 10:00am
Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 5:00pm
Sunday, April 30, 2017 - 3:00pm
Monday, May 1, 2017 - 7:00pm
Friday, May 5, 2017 - 9:15am

Temple Etz Chaim Video

A window into Temple Etz Chaim's daily life

Chai Lights

Religious School Programs available for Transitional Kindergarten through 12th Grade. For more information, contact the Religious School office at (805) 494-8174 or [email protected].

Temple Etz Chaim’s Thursday Night Bingo - Doors Open 4:00 PM Games Start 6:15 PM. All Games, Including Early Birds, Pay $250. Click here for more information.

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. Click here for the flyer.

Yom HaShoah Observance - Friday Night Services April 21st at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary - Featuring special guest speaker James Bachner, Holocaust survivor & author of My Darkest Years: Memoirs of a Survivor of Auschwitz, Warsaw and DachauThe TEC Choir performing Music from the Holocaust. Click here for the flyer.

Please join Women of TEC for Tea, Fashion Show and Fun - Sunday, April 23, 2017 one o’clock in the afternoon - Click here for the invite and click here for the RSVP.

Join TEC USY in “Feeding the Hungry” April 25, 2017 at 6 PM - Calvary Church - RSVP and flyer.

SPRING BOUTIQUE-SUNDAY, APRIL 30Do you have something special you would like to sell? *$50.00 table fee * No extra costs! * Your profit is all yours! Limited space available! Sign up by April 20th. For more information call 805-494-8174 [email protected]

Special “In Gratitude” Say Shalom - Friday, June 2nd - 6:00 pm ~ Social Hall - Join us for a casual and complimentary Shabbat dinner. Click here for the flyer.

USY/SATO Bake Sale - Sunday, June 4th - 11:30AM - 12:30 PM - Everything is just one dollar!

Preschool Summer Camp - Registration is now open for a summer of fun! Click here for the list of activities. 10 week program - June 19th - August 25th. Click here for the calendar and registration package

Camp Conejo Creek - It's time to start thinking about summer - Join us here from June 19th - August 11th. We have a lot of speciality programming - come for one week or stay for the summer! 

TEC USY is leading Shabbat on March 31st. Click here for the flyer. TEC USY is serving dinner and are hosting Oneg. If you would like to sign up and help us lead services please call (805)494-3648 or email [email protected].

Camp Ramah Family Camp for TEC families - Click here for the flyer. May 19th - 21st. 

USY - Fun, exciting, meaningful, immersive Jewish experiences for teens grades 7-12. Click here for the flyer.

Camp Conejo Creek

Spend your summer at Camp Conejo Creek! Join us here at TEC June 19th - August 11th

Camp Conejo Creek will provide your children with a fun and engaging summer Jewish day camp experience. Activities include mixed media arts, theater performance, cooking, sports and recreation, science and magic, along with local field trips and theme days – your camper decides on the programming they want to do for the summer! We incorporate Jewish values into our programming and celebrate Shabbat every Friday as a camp. Come for the week or stay for the summer. Camp Conejo Creek is open to everyone! 1-week sessions with the choice of 2, 3 or 5 days a week. Early and late care available.

Counselor-inTraining opportunities available. Please contact Dena Feingold with any questions: [email protected].

Camp Conejo Creek Information and Forms:

Activity Calendar
All about Camp Conejo Creek and Workshop/Enrichment Schedule
Registration Form - 2/days a week (T/Th) 

Registration Form - 3/days a week (M,W,F)

Registration Form - 5/days a week (M-F)

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

GoodSearch

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 shcools designated by its users.

TEC Trip to Spain

Rabbi Richard Spiegel of Temple Etz Chaim took a group of Temple members to Spain for a Jewish heritage tour of Spain. The group traveled to Madrid, Barcelona, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Girona, and Toledo to see remnants of a once vibrant Jewish community that existed in Spain during the middle ages.