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.