UJS Curriculum (2021-2022)

GAN KATAN (PRE-PRE KINDERGARTEN) 2 & 3 year old attend with a parent

Goals:  Introduce students to the concept of “What is Jewish”.  

Objectives: The students will: 

1.  know the basic Jewish signs and symbols – where they are seen in our congregations and in our community and how they connect us as Jews.  

2.  celebrate the Jewish holidays as they occur incorporating sounds, sights, smells, tastes and textures.  This class will be held as a parent-child class with parents learning along with their child to help integrate learning into home participation.

Structure: One hour class with parent/guardian every Sunday from 10:35-11:30am

PRE-KINDERGARTEN 4 & young 5 year old

Goals:  Understand the concept of “being Jewish” and having a Jewish identity – develop a connection to the Temple/Synagogue and Religious School.

Objectives: The students will:

  1. using the Shalom Sesame curriculum:  be introduced to customs, ceremonies, symbols and foods of Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. 
  2. be involved in playful activities which will introduce them to the Mitzvot that every Jewish child is expected to fulfill, including honoring your parents, telling the truth, and returning lost property.
  3. Using Aleph Bet Yoga: recognize and demonstrate the Hebrew alphabet.

Structure: 1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis.

Kindergarten through Seventh grade are also using a Schoology platform developed by Jewish Educators called “Shalom Learning”. This is a Jewish Values Curriculum with 28 complete lesson plans providing students with stimulating, interactive hands-on activities to explore and engage with these Jewish values and holidays:

Jewish Values Curriculum from Shalom Learning

KINDERGARTEN 5 & 6 year old

Goals:  Students explore Jewish values and holidays through the senses. Young children experience the sights, sounds, tastes and feels that connect us to Jewish tradition and learning 

Objectives: The students will:

  1. identify the basic symbols of Jewish life and identify when and where they are used.
  2. recognize the ritual items at home and in the synagogue associated with Shabbat and holidays, and identify their purpose.
  3. recite in Hebrew the Modeh Ani, Nitlat Yadayim, Kiddush, and more
  4. begin identifying Hebrew letters and basic Hebrew vocabulary like Shalom, Boker Tov, Slicha, and more
  5. participate in holiday rituals as holidays occur in the cycle of the year with a focus on Shabbat
  6. identify Biblical and post-Biblical characters as they occur in the cycle of the year, and their connection with mitzvot.
  7. demonstrate a basic understanding of Tzedakah and Mitzvot, and become active participants.

Structure: 1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session learning. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis

Grades 1 through 7 will be using the Shalom Learning Schoology curriculum, based on Jewish Values like Thankfulness, Giving to Others and the Land of Israel.    

First Grade

Students will continue to explore Jewish values and holidays through the senses. A variety of hands-on activities and choices give teachers options to personalize the learning. 

Objectives: The students will: 

  1. Over the course of the year, students will learn a number of Hebrew words and simple phrases related to the values and holidays including: Shalom, L’hitra’ot, Tz’dakah, ner, and more!
  2. Students explore T’hillim with the Shema, Chanukah Candle Blessings, Bore pri ha’etz and more!
  3. Through the values-based curriculum, students learn to apply the traits to their everyday life.

Structure: 1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session learning. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis

Second Grade

Shalom Learning’s second grade curriculum explores Jewish values and holidays through literature adn art. Each lesson includes an introduction to an artist, author, or musician. Students createan original piece of work connected to the theme of the lesson in the style of the artist. 

Objectives:  The students will:

  1. Learn all the letters of the Aleph-Bet and two Hebrew words for each letter including: Ahavah, Torah, Tzdakah, Chanukah.
  2. understand that Jewish celebrations and rituals help us express our relationship with God.
  3. learn that we can make the world a better place by performing g’milut chasadim – acts of loving kindness in our everyday lives.
  4. develop basic reading skills by starting Let’s Discover the Aleph-Bet

Structure: 1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session learning. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis

Third Grade – Sixth Grade

In third grade, we incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills that enable students to build positive relationships and make responsible decisions. Through the values, students explore Jewish text, history, tefillah, and holidays.

Objectives:  The students will:

  1. Increase Hebrew learning with one session totally devoted to study of Hebrew
  2. Learn through the Jewish Values how to apply these to their lives at home and in the community
  3. appreciate that each individual act of  kindness brings a peaceful home and world

Structure: 1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session learning. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis. Supplemental Hebrew will be conducted virtually at the discretion of the family and Hebrew teachers. This is in addition to the Hebrew focus during UJS.

Seventh Grade

Enduring Understanding:

Our development as emerging Jewish adults is closely linked to our ethical behavior (middot) and the performance of acts of g’milut chasadim.

Objectives:  The students will:

  • develop a personal sense of Jewish identity through Torah and prayer 
  • apply Jewish ethical behavior (middot) and gimilut chasadim to become Jewish adults and members of the community
  • investigate the significance and customs of Jewish lifestyle events
  • explore issues that teens face in daily lives using debate and role play

Structure:  1st hour session learning, 30 minutes Tefillah, 2nd hour session learning. Art and Music incorporated on a monthly basis. In addition, students study Mussar, Mindfulness and meditation. 

Eighth Grade:

Objectives:  The students will: 

  • discover the journey of the Jewish people including Sephardic development and traditions, introduction to Yiddish, traditional foods, dance and music  
  • evaluate the concepts of bigotry and prejudice and investigate the historical events that led to the Holocaust
  • gain an understanding of the events that led to the Holocaust, with a visit to the Holocaust museum to reinforce their learning experience
  • develop social action projects to help them understand their personal responsibility of Gimilut Chasadim. 

Structure:  2 hours of instruction and discussion with ½ hour Tefillah. Art, Music, Mussar study, Meditation, Mindfulness included monthly.

Ninth Grade and Tenth Grade taught concurrently 

Core 1:  Israel – The students will develop an understanding of the significance of the Jewish state of Israel.  It will enable our children to have an educated discussion, to defend the Jewish position, and to develop a connection with Israel.  We will be using a newly developed curriculum called the David Project.    

Core 2:  Students will examine Jewish immigration to America and its influence in our lives using the art of photography.  We will use a curriculum called “The Jewish Lens” which focuses on Jewish values and Jewish communities worldwide through photography.  Each student will develop a sense of Jewish identity using their own photograph to tell their story.  Students in ninth grade travel to New York City and are introduced to Jewish immigration and culture.

The students will be introduced to World religions – the basic beliefs and practices. The students will be able to analyze and compare the similarities and differences between each religion and Judaism, in an effort to help develop understanding and tolerance.  Students will visit different local congregations – Hindu, Moslem and Christian, to meet with religious leaders and observe different  rituals and traditions.   

During the second semester the students will focus on the questions that teenagers often have about Jewish life, reading articles from a variety of texts as a way to begin conversations. 

What is the role of atheism in Judaism and Jewish culture. What is the “Messiah?” Why is there some anger toward Jews? What is the Jewish stance on the afterlife?Did the stories from the Torah actually happen?  Are we a religion or a nation or a people? Should I care about Israel? What do Jews think about souls? Do I have free will or is there a plan?  If there is a God why is there so much suffering in the world?  What is the meaning of life?  Does prayer work? Should I care about being Jewish?  

Structure:  there will be a two hour core class, ½ hour T’fillah. Art, music, Mussar, Meditation, Mindfulness and field trips focusing on both Judaism and comparative religions and cultural experiences included. 

Tenth grade students will have separate tracks with their own congregation to prepare for Confirmation.


Our 11th and 12th grade students are an important part of our education program, acting essentially as student teachers for our staff.   Details of this program are headed by our Cantor-Educator, David Fair and Madrichim Coordinator, Shelby Denhof. 

Structure: They will have the opportunity to work as an aide in the classrooms of younger students, taking part also in the Tefillah session.  

As a theme for our school this year we will focus on Middot – Jewish values, and how we can all put them into actions.  Each month we will focus on a different value.  The students will work with their teacher, classmates and occasionally family, to learn about each value, and how they can embrace the Middot into their own life’s purpose.

The Hebrew Curriculum: Texts and Objectives

  • Pre-K, K, and 1. Letters aurally, a word or two or three with each letter. 
  • 2nd grade. “Phonetic Hebrew Decoding.” Learning letters, selected vowels, and short letter combinations. 
  • 3rd grade. Torah Aura “Tiyulim.” Practice combining letters into words.  
  • 4th grade. “Z’man Likro.” Reading fluency, increasing vocabulary.  Siddur curriculum: Shema, Bar’chu, Ma Nishtana, En Keiloheinu, modeh ani, Mi Khamokha, oseh Shalom. 
  • 5th grade. Behrman House “Harmony in Hebrew.” Fluency in reading unfamiliar words, Siddur curriculum: Birkot Hatorah, Avot V’imahot, V’ahavta, Aleinu. 
  • 6th grade. Behrman House “Harmony in Hebrew.” Fluency in reading prayers, Siddur curriculum: G’vurot, haftarah berakhot, Kedushah, Yotzer Or. 
  • 7th grade. Wednesday Hebrew program, Siddur Hebrew/Haftarah practice. 
  • Supplemental prayer list for Early Sunday or Wednesday Hebrew:
    • Al Shelosha D’varim
    • Eitz Hayim Hee
    • Tallit Berakha
    • Candle-lighting Berakha
    • V’Shamru
    • Ein Kamokha (Torah service)
    • Vayehi Binsoa
    • L’kha Adonai
    • Kaddish
    • Adon Olam
    • Kiddush
    • Ma’ariv AraviM