Lower School: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

Kindergarten
We start with our family and our most familiar spaces and artifacts and connect them to our Jewish spaces and artifacts. We look at the Jewish holidays through their most concrete symbols and connect them to our lives: Rosh Hashanah and starting new things, Yom Kippur and making mistakes, Sukkot and welcoming guests, Simchat Torah and stories we love, Hanukkah and finding light in hard times, Tu B’Shvat and the ways we can take good care of the earth, Purim & Passover and the ways we can stand up for what’s right, Yom Ha’Atzmaut and places that are special to us, Shavuot and the end of one story/part of the year and the start of another story.

1st Grade
We move into more of the “why” of our Jewish holidays and rituals. We look at holidays and rituals through the lens of “beginning”: what’s it like to start something new and what do we need when we start new things? How do we take responsibility for something that is new to us? And we of course focus on the beginning of the Jewish year, the Jewish life cycle, the Torah, the Jewish people, and modern Israel.

2nd Grade
We begin to think about kehilah/community both physically (CBE) and temporally (l’dor v’dor/from generation to generation) more. We talk about the expectation or mitzvot that motivate our community, that our community involves itself in. What have our families and communities passed on to us, where are we in the chain of stories, how do we find some of our current 2nd grade questions, hopes, and struggles in the ancient Torah stories that belong to us?

Upper Elementary: 3rd – 5th Grade

3rd Grade
Throughout the year, 3rd grade students follow the Jewish calendar as they experientially learn about the different holidays from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to Purim and Passover, as well as Shabbat and Havdalah. By taking a deeper look into the holidays’ meanings, traditions, and prayers, students are able to learn about each holiday before they occur encouraging their own families to partake in celebrating at home. Students also learn about the Jewish lifecycle and the various rituals, traditions, and prayers associated with various stages and milestones. At the start of the year families join in their third grader receiving their Mishkan T’filah siddur, a celebratory moment in their Jewish journey.

4th Grade
4th grade centers around major themes and stories from the five books of Torah. Students become familiar with significant figures, stories, and questions and explore how they are reflected in the world today and how they themselves are reflected in the stories. Students engage in drama, art, film, song, and many more hands on styles to internalize the stories and translate meaning from the ancient text.

5th Grade
The focus of 5th grade is Jewish leadership and heroism with the goal that students will learn the importance of related themes and figures in biblical and modern Jewish History. Students will come to see how they can become leaders and heroes in their own communities. They explore many topics through this lens, including mitzvot, biblical and modern Jewish figures in Israel and the Diaspora. One of the many exciting projects 5th graders experience is a mock trial between Jacob and Esau, in which students grapple with the relationship between right and wrong and explore origin stories of leadership in the Torah. Students wrap up the year with a ceremony in which the are joined by their families to receive their chumashim as preparation for b’nei mitzvah.

Middle School: 6th – 8th Grade

6th Grade
In 6th grade students explore major topics and themes in modern Jewish history and reflect on what they feel is calls them to do in their world today. Major segments of the curriculum come from Facing History: “Through rigorous historical analysis combined with the study of human behavior, Facing History’s approach heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice; increases students’ ability to relate history to their own lives; and promotes greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.” Students also begin to prepare for the b’nei mitzvah experience as a community in partnership with parents, teachers and clergy. The experience includes an overnight retreat as well as the Moving Traditions B’nei Mitzvah Program, in which their “ unique informal education model [is applied] to the social realities of sixth and seventh graders and their parents.”

7th Grade
In 7th grade, students continue preparing for b’nei mitzvah and join together each week for time as a community. Seventh graders at Yachad have three blocks each week: Tikkun Olam, Tefillah and Electives.
In Tikkun Olam, students will choose a social justice topic to focus on for the year. Throughout the year, they will learn about that topic in depth and also complete service projects related to that topic. The topics last year were: Dismantle White Supremacy, Combat Climate Change, End Hunger, Gun Control Now, Defend Refugees and Immigrants, and Stand Up for the Differently Abled.

In T’filah, students practice the choreography, prayers and skills involved in receiving an aliyah to the Torah and chanting trope.

In Electives, students will get to choose a different elective each trimester to learn about an aspect of Judaism that they are interested in. Electives offered this year included: Jewish Cooking, Jewish Pop Culture, Holocaust Studies (continuation from 6th grade), Jewish Arts & Crafts, Judaism & Sports, Girls’ Group, Boys’ Group, LGBTQ+ Group, Torah Study and Jewish Meditation.

Additionally, throughout the year, students will continue their b’nei mitzvah experience as a community in partnership with parents, teachers and clergy. Over the course of the year, there will be several Moving Traditions classes for the seventh graders including a couple of family sessions where parents/guardians are encouraged to join.

Overall, seventh grade at Yachad is a lot fun and we are so excited to continue your Yachad journey with you during this important year!

8th Grade

Please note that our 8th grade program offers a class trip to Israel. We recognize there are many new factors during and post-pandemic and will make the wisest choices based on governmental guidance.

In 8th grade students explore the many dimensions of modern Israel as modern American Jews through historical, cultural and political lenses. Using first person narratives, music, film, food, primary documents and more students engage in the deep, complex questions that Israel presents. Students travel to Israel together over the February break for a 10-day trip with American and Israeli educators where the get to explore the landscape firsthand and form strong bonds with their class community. Upon return to Brooklyn, students continue their deep dive into learning about Israel and reflecting on their personal relationship with the country as Reform American Jews in the 21st century.

8th grade students also have several add-on programs at their disposal:

Volunteer Madrichim Leadership Program

The 8th grade Volunteer Madrichim Program is open to 8th grade Yachad students who are excited to enhance their knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew, and are enthusiastic about developing meaningful relationships with our students by serving as role models in the classroom. Madrichim (“leaders” in Hebrew) not only aid teachers in the classroom, but act as leaders at CBE. All madrichim receive monthly training in education and leadership development, and are supervised and coached by the Madrichim Program Supervisor, Kate Meltzer. Volunteer Madrichim will receive school community service credit to work in classrooms with Yachad teachers and students.

It is CBE’s policy that madrichim must be enrolled in Yachad; if you have any questions about this, please contact Tehilah Eisenstadt at teisenstadt@cbebk.org. If you are interested in hearing more about the Madrichim Program, please contact Haley Breskin at hbreskin@cbebk.org.

Rosh Chodesh

Rosh Chodesh meets one Sunday a month at CBE. We use Jewish teachings and practices, to give girls a place to feel safe, articulate their deepest concerns, consider the impact of gender on their daily lives, have fun, and be ‘real’ with their peers. Through discussion, arts & crafts, creative ritual, games, and drama, the girls and their leader draw on Jewish values and a gender lens to explore the issues tweens and teens care about most.

Shevet

Shevet groups re-imagine the transition from being a boy to being a young man through a space where male-identifying students can explore what masculinity and being Jewish means to them, asking the hard questions they have, and helping them find voice for the ones they might not know how to ask yet. Through a combination of hanging out, deep inquiry, games and thoughtful questions made fun, boys are able to bring their full selves and personalities to deep discussions of what Judaism has to say about the ethical challenges of their everyday lives. For more information, visit the Moving Traditions website.

Tzelem (Moving Tradition program adapted to the spectrum of LGBTQIA teens)

This group focuses on topics such as healthy relationships, stress, belonging, and identity. Teens explore issues through games, art, discussion, and by drawing on Jewish teachings. Tzelem seeks to enrich teens’ lives with these core outcomes: (1) Develop a strong self-concept and the social emotional skills to navigate through life. (2) Recognize and resist sexism personally and in their communities. (3) Experience Judaism and Jewish community as personally relevant and meaningful.

BESTY Jr.

BESTY Jr. is a teen run organization for 6th-8th grade students at CBE. We run bi-monthly events focused on fun, making friends and connecting to other middle school aged teens.