Temple Emanuel Religious School

TE RS LogoTemple Emanuel Religious School

The Jewish People are known as “Am HaSefer” – People of the Book. We want our children to be familiar with and knowledgeable about the Torah, the Hebrew language, the culture of our people, and our over 5000 year old history. More importantly, we want our children to have a positive Jewish identity, to feel comfortable and proud to say “I am a Jew.” To this end, Temple Emanuel offers an educational program from preschool through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Our post Bar/Bat Mitzvah students  learn leadership skills in our Hadrachah course, create short videos in ‘Rabbi, How do I…’ class, join with  other Jewish teenagers at the innovative Reform Jewish program for teens, a joint effort of three local synagogues, and complete the Confirmation course with the Rabbi.

If you would like to learn more about our school or arrange a visit please contact Jodi Harris: school@templeemanuel-gnh.org

About Our Curriculum

Mitkadem Hebrew Curriculum:

Mitkadem is an exciting Hebrew teaching program that generates enthusiasm and excitement from teachers, students and parents. Our students learn to read Hebrew and enjoy a sense of accomplishment as they progress through a series of well-organized, stimulating, and self-paced ramot (levels). Each level is built around individual prayers. Mitkadem’s self-paced and child-centered approach allows each student to achieve according to his/her own ability. Read more about Mitkadem here:

CHAI Judaic Studies Curriculum

CHAI Curriculum is a flexible educational system for Reform congregational schools based on the values of Torah, Avodah, G’milut Chasadim and Israel, the most important concepts and values of Jewish life, helping students grow into committed and thoughtful Jewish adults. CHAI curriculum is designed so that student learning will go beyond the specific classroom activities and will reach a deeper enduring understanding, establishing the basis for later Jewish learning and living. Read more about CHAI curriculum here:

Jewish History Month (a TE RS original unit) is an enrichment program that offers experiential hands-on activities for our students to engage with the richness of the historical experiences of our people. Following the last year’s program on Ancient Jewish history, this year we invite our students on an exciting journey through Jewish Diaspora worldwide.

Asephah: Asephah means a collection or gathering, and the TE asephah is a gathering of parents, students, teachers and the rabbi at the start of Sunday school, from 9:30 – 10 am. Students and their parents learn through stories and music with Rabbi Farbman. We collect tzedakkah every week, distributed at the end of the year to charities and causes of students’ choice.

T’filah: On Wednesday afternoons a short prayer service is led by the Rabbi and teachers, with increasing

participation of the students as the year progresses. Once a month parents are invited to participate. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to implement the knowledge acquired in the classroom.

Our School Structure

Preschool  “Story Hour”

Students and parents meet once a week on Sundays, 9:30 – 11 am. This less formal structure accommodates the varying degrees of maturity of preschoolers as well as allowing the parents to form a “chevra” (camaraderie) with the families who will be moving through religious school together.

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades

Students meet in a traditional classroom setting on Sundays, 9:30 am – 12:00 noon to enjoy learning the basics of Hebrew aleph-bet, Jewish festivals, Torah stories, mitzvot (commandments) and traditions. The weekly program includes music, arts and crafts, games, stories and hands-on activities.

3rd – 7th grades

Students begin attending the school twice a week starting in the 3rd grade, to allow more time to learn Hebrew. Each Sunday includes a Hebrew class, a Judaic studies class and a short break with a snack. Students also attend Wednesday afternoons, 4:30 – 6:00 pm. They begin the day with a short T’filah (prayer service) and have an hour of Hebrew language instruction.IMG_1746

Bnei Mitzvah Preparation

7th grade students continue to study twice a week within the overall religious school framework. On Wednesdays the program combines general bnei mitzvah preparation (service leading, d’var Torah – creative writing, chanting of blessings etc.) with individual sessions with the trope tutor. On Sunday mornings the students continue to improve their Hebrew reading skills, as well as have a special coming-of-age class with Rabbi Farbman.

Post Bnei Mitzvah Programs for Teens

While the bnei mitzvah preparations may be over, there is an increasing number of ways for teens to stay connected with their community, to spend time with their friends, to learn and to socialize. Over the last few years our programs for teens have been growing and so today we are very proud to offer multiple programs to choose from:

Hadrachah (educational leadership) course will offer students an opportunity to learn leadership and teaching skills with our educator Olga Markus, allowing the students to become trained madrichim in our religious school and implement the acquired knowledge and skills in the classroom.
 “Rabbi, how do I…?” is a year-long educational, experiential and fun, student-driven, research-based program. The main component of the program will consist of students coming up with ideas, conducting research, writing script, filming and producing a series of short video clips promoting Jewish practice and learning. The students will come up with their own questions, such as ‘Rabbi, how do I light Chanukah candles?’, ‘… blow the shofar?’ ‘…fix the world through acts of tikkun olam?’ etc. and will learn how to make a movie! These videos will then be posted on the temple’s website and used as educational resources for our Hebrew school.
Reform Jewish High School. Following the success of our innovative new program for teens that brought together three Reform synagogues in our area, we are very excited to offer a monthly program on Sunday afternoons that will bring post bnei-mitzvah teens from all over Greater New Haven together. This year the three congregations will join together again in a course called “Confronting injustice, responding with tolerance” –  combined youth program with Temple Beth David and Congregation Mishkan Israel.


Rabbi Farbman teaches a confirmation class for 9-11th graders. This class meets on a monthly basis and explores many aspects of Judaism, from major texts and commentaries to important modern issues. The students are challenged to discuss and debate issues of importance to them. The Confirmation year culminates with a special service on the Eve of Shavuot, led by the graduates.

Chanukah baskets 2011Special Programs

Educational enrichment programs for individual grades, as well as for the entire school are held throughout the year, often centered around the Jewish Festivals.  Many of these programs have an intergenerational component where adults and children celebrate and learn together.

Adult Education

Learning opportunities aren’t just for kids at TE! There is a warm, welcoming learning community for adults too.  Multiple educational opportunities with the Rabbi are available for adults including weekly Torah study on Shabbat mornings, Basic Judaism class on Sundays, and continued Jewish education class on Thursdays.  There are numerous special lectures and learning sessions which occur throughout the year, including an annual interfaith scholar-in-residence program with our neighboring houses of worship. Individual opportunities exist for adult b’nai mitzvah, for learning Hebrew and Torah trope.

Come, drop in and learn!

Chanukah Gift Giving Program a Huge Hit!

Over 45 kids and 40 adults came together on Sunday, December 2nd for a day of learning and tzedakah. The morning started with the asepha, a gathering of parents and children filled with songs, stories and learning about Chanukah. The group then split off with the kids going back to school for an hour, and the adults joining the Rabbi for a very interesting discussion about the meaning of Tzedakah. We gathered back together for a snack and to pack over 100 gift baskets filled with books, toys, art supplies, hats, scarves and gloves as well as baby items. These baskets […] more