MISSION

The Bridge Family Religion School at Temple De Hirsch Sinai provides a high quality Reform Jewish educational experience for students and families, pre-K through 12th grade, seeking to inspire a lifelong dedication to Jewish learning and community.

We welcome you to the Bridge Family Religion School, our growing educational program for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. We are proud of our excellent program and invite you to explore Bridge Family Religion School for your family. Temple is committed to providing a Jewish education to all children of the congregation. For those families that cannot afford full tuition, we offer scholarships. . To apply for a scholarship please complete the online registration form and complete the online scholarship application.

This year's tuition fees include a non-refundable $100 deposit.

Temple De Hirsch Sinai believes strongly that Jewish education should be available and accessible to all of our participating families.  Scholarships available here.

Completed Religion School scholarship applications, are due by JULY 11, 2016 for all returning families.

Applications received after deadline will be reviewed by the committee on a rolling basis, but there is no guarantee that late submissions will be funded.

Please note: A portion of both Religion School and JRM Preschool scholarship funds are set aside for new member families and for those families whose circumstances change during the course of the year.

Click here for the B’Nai Mitzvah prayers and blessings.

Approximately two years prior to a child’s thirteenth birthday, parents are invited to an informational meeting at which a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date may be requested.  Dates are assigned only to those students whose families are members in good standing and who are enrolled in the Bridge Family Religion School.

Students must be enrolled in the Religion School and must meet attendance expectations to participate, including attending seventh grade.  If the student is in the eighth grade or high school, (s)he will enroll in our Livnot Chai program. 

There is a possibility of two B’nai Mitzvah on any given date: one in the morning (10:30 a.m.) and one in the evening (5:00 p.m. Havdallah).  Dates are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the vagaries of rabbinic scheduling, it is not possible to request a specific rabbi for your service.

During the year preceding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students and their parents are invited to an orientation session where they receive their Bar/Bat Mitzvah materials and important information about the B’nai Mitzvah process.

Temple believes strongly that Bar/Bat Mitzvah is not the culmination of a child’s Jewish education, but a milestone in an ongoing Jewish journey. Students are asked to sign a pledge to continue their Jewish education beyond the B’nai Mitzvah experience.

B’nai Mitzvah training begins approximately 26 weeks prior to the B’nai Mitzvah date. For the first three months students participate in a B’nai Mitzvah prayer class. Following this class, students continue to work one-on-one with a Rabbi or tutor on their Torah & Haftorah preparation. Students are expected to augment this time with self-study at home.

At times, students find that they require additional assistance in learning the material. Should this be the case, we are happy to recommend outside tutors from our approved list. The tutors that we have selected are familiar with the requirements of our program, and have worked effectively with our students in the past. Engaging one of these tutors is done at the family’s expense.

Our policies are embodied in our Parent Handbook.

At the Bridge Family Religion School, we are committed to helping our students become confident and competent Jewish learners.  We seek to enable proficiency in decoding Hebrew words and prayers and empower students to ask thoughtful questions and seek answers about the meaning of each prayer they learn. All of our students will progress through several prayer achievement levels (ramot) in order to grow into engaged Jewish adults. The following options are available to families in the coming year:

On-Site Hebrew
For grades 3–6, our On-Site Hebrew students will be placed into Hebrew classes by grade level. Within each class, students will have the opportunity for individual, self-paced learning as they progress through the ramot in order to learn prayers and become lifelong Jewish learners. Our On-Site Hebrew program also provides our students an opportunity to engage in regular t’filah with our school community.

Alef Bet Class
Our Alef Bet class is a part of our On-Site Hebrew program and is ideal for students who are beginning Hebrew after the third grade. It is designed for older students learning the Alef Bet and basic Hebrew decoding skills. These classes (one on each campus) are intentionally small in order to maximize the individual attention each student receives and help students catch up.

Off-Site Hebrew
As an alternative to our On-site Hebrew program, Off-Site Hebrew provides families with flexibility in scheduling while fulfilling our goal of developing lifelong Jewish learners proficient in Hebrew decoding and t’filah. The Off-Site Hebrew program allows students to learn in small, mixed-level cohorts as they progress through the ramot.

Families interested in Off-Site Hebrew will need to complete an additional form when registering for Religion School. Families will have the opportunity to indicate preferred times and locations for an off-site cohort and we will do our best to accommodate the preferences of each of our families. Cohort placements will be determined by the number of students registered and by teacher availability. Registration for Off-Site Hebrew is incomplete until this form has been submitted.

RISHONIM: PRE-K PROGRAM
Meaning "first," Rishonim offers 4-year olds a sample of Sunday School and allows children to experience Judaism through taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. Experienced early childhood educators will bring Judaism to life by incorporating Jewish values and traditions into the everyday life of a child and their family. Rishonim is open to all members and non-members. Classes will be offered twice a month on our Seattle and Bellevue campuses. For more information, please contact Monica Neiman, 425.559.2575.

LOWER SCHOOL (GRADES K-5):
Religion School begins on Sunday mornings with a T’filah service, which parents are encouraged to attend, and provides grade-level class time with appropriate curriculum topics covering Judaic studies.

FAMILY EDUCATION FOR ELEMENTARY GRADES:
Successful Religion School education involves a strong partnership between the student families and the school. Through family education programs, we strengthen the Judaic knowledge of both students and their families, and empower families to further enrich their lives with Judaism. These programs will be designed to engage both our students and their families, each leaving the session with something new learned and shared. It is imperative for the success of these programs that at least one parent attend each session with their child. Grades K-5 will have one family education program in the upcoming school year.  These will take place during Religion School on Sunday mornings.  Dates are listed on the Religion School Calendar.

Our sixth and seventh graders participate in a two-year program known as Kesher.  Kesher is the Hebrew word for “connection,” and this program is designed to foster stronger connections between the students, their peers, and the TDHS community. Sixth grade continues to attend midweek or offsite Hebrew sessions to build their skills and learn the prayers that they will lead during their B’nai Mitzvah services (Please see elsewhere in the handbook for further information on the B’nai Mitzvah process).

POST-B'NAI MITZVAH MEETINGS:
It is important that each student continues their connection to Temple in ways that best fit their needs and interests. To best achieve this, students will have a Post-B’nai Mitzvah Meeting around or after their bar/bat mitzvah in 7th grade. Students and parents will have the opportunity to visit Chai School, 8th grade, and speak to current madrichim.

Following the B’nai Mitzvah experience, students start a new chapter of learning at Temple. We have several programs that create meaningful social and educational experiences for Temple teens. Eighth Graders in particular have the choice to attend class on Sunday mornings at our Seattle campus, or on Tuesday nights in a combined program with Temple B’nai Torah.

Livnot Chai is a community program in which Temple partners with with Temple B’nai Torah, Herzl Ner Tamid and Beth Shalom. We also offer a Hadracha program and TDSY and TDSY as points of connection to all Temple 9-12th graders. The mission of these programs is to inspire and nourish enthusiasm for lifelong Jewish learning. We want to support young adults in discovering and affirming their Jewish identity through building upon spiritual and moral foundations. It is our goal to guide teens towards building fulfilling lives for themselves, practicing life-long Jewish learning, and sustaining Jewish traditions in years to come. We look forward to partnering with you, their parents, in meaningful ways that will reinforce these values and life lessons.

Hadracha Program: Sunday (Bellevue/Seattle), Wednesday (Bellevue), Thursday (Seattle).

Students in 9-12th grade have the opportunity to work as madrichim, “guides”, in the Bridge Family Religion School. Working as a Madrich(a) is a paid work position at Temple. While madrichim do aid teachers in simple tasks, their responsibilities go beyond the administrative duties suggested by the term “teachers’ aides.” As madrichim, they guide younger students toward a positive Religion School experience by demonstrating their involvement, their skills at collaboration, and their initiative.

Within the program we offer different tracks that allow teens to specialize in various aspects of the school: Music/Songleading, Art, Library, Technology, and Classroom. The program structure creates a unique and meaningful way for teens to have a spiritual connection, education component, and work experience. Students interested in participating in the Hadracha Program should contact Leah Levy at llevy@tdhs-nw.org or (206) 315-7422. Space for the program may be limited.

Livnot Chai Eastside: Tuesday evenings, 6:00pm-8:30pm, sessions held at the Bellevue campus (fall semester) Temple B’nai Torah (spring semester)

Livnot Chai Seattle: Thursday Evenings 6:30pm- 9:00 PM sessions held at Congregation Beth Shalom

The goal of Livnot Chai is to make Jewish engagement relevant and transformative so that Jewish identity becomes intrinsic to self-identity.  By placing participants in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, exploring the arts, Jewish text, and engaging in dialogue about pluralism and religious difference,  students experience the ways Jewish values can inform everyday decisions as they move through their own lives in college and beyond. Livnot Chai attempts to extend the reach of Judaism, moving religious practice from the synagogue toward communal organizations and extending learning from the classroom toward action. From Seattle to Issaquah and beyond, the program expects to ultimately provide an opportunity for Jewish youth to gather and engage in an exciting multi-denominational learning environment.

The Livnot Project began its inaugural year in 2012 with students from Herzl-Ner Tamid and Congregation Beth Shalom.

The Livnot Project was a new model, offering a creative and innovative approach to 21st century Judaism and Jewish education. After a successful first year, we began exploring the possibility of integrating the Livnot Project and our existing Chai School. In addition to expanding our Bellevue program, specific focus was given to adding a Seattle-based option that would provide high quality education, meet the needs of our community and include ongoing presence from our Temple Rabbis. By joining forces, Livnot Chai can offer something for everyone; a convenient location, fantastic teachers, a critical mass of students from a variety of backgrounds and an experiential and flexible learning environment.

Students enrolled in Livnot Chai and/or the Hadracha program are invited and encouraged to participate in class trips, Confirmation (10th grade) and Graduation (12th grade). Class trips include the 8th grade trip to Los Angeles and a social justice seminar for Sophomores at the Religious Action Center in DC.