How does Jewish Journey Project Barnert Temple (JJPBT) differ from the current educational model?
This unique educational design offers every family tools to plan their innovative, engaging Jewish journey. No two families will have an identical journey. With individualized support from our rabbis and Director of Lifelong Learning, each family can tailor their journey, as they choose from exciting, engaging courses which meet their goals and scheduling needs.
What is my role as a parent?
Mostly, parents are our cheerleaders! If you are excited, so will your children be excited. Our children begin the program in third grade (though many start in Kindergarten!) Parents ensure that students arrive on time to all classes and are picked up promptly and have necessary materials with them e.g., tzedakah money and money to buy snacks at canteen, and their Hebrew books. Parents attend three Sunday LEV (Learning Elevates Values) classes with their children each year. These family learning sessions are designed to “get to the heart” (LEV) of our traditions, building a foundation of Jewish educational content. By being together, we get to know each other better as a kehillah kedoshah, a sacred community.
How will JJPBT support our growth as an interfaith family?
Every family is on a Jewish journey. Through study and experiences in JJPBT and participation in Shabbat and holiday rituals, every family member- Jewish or not – finds something s/he is interested in learning and doing. The entire Barnert Community is committed to making everyone feel welcome and is encouraged to explore Judaism on their own personal journey.
What are Pathways?
Each person’s Jewish Journey is lifelong. Pathways illustrate an educational approach which allows for individual choice WITH GUIDANCE. Our goal is to help families map out a Jewish journey that is personally engaging, meaningful in content, and which includes a balance of topics from five Pathways. Our tradition teaches that the world is supported by three things: Torah (study), Avodah (spirituality and ritual) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of human kindness). To these, we added two other Pathways – Ivrit (Hebrew) and Am Yisrael (Jewish Peoplehood) – which we believe are vital for a well rounded Jewish education.
My child has special needs. Is JJPBT appropriate for my child?
Yes! We are committed to supporting every child’s individual journey. During the advisory meetings, parents should be specific about a student’s individual needs so we can plan together for success. If you believe your child will need additional support, we will work with you along your journey.
How does participating in JJPBT affect my child’s preparation for Bat/Bar Mitzvah?
Every course, LEV class and T’filah (prayer) session is part of the journey that leads to becoming Bat/Bar Mitzvah. Starting in 3rd and continuing through 6th grade, students will be registered for a Hebrew course. Beginning one year prior to their Bat/Bar Mitvah, in addition to Hebrew, B’nai Mitzvah students begin one-on-one training for Torah and Haftarah, participate in prayer (t’filah), and spend time with our rabbis who help each student with her/his preparation. Seventh graders take a Blessings Class in the fall of that year. Families should make every effort to attend Shabbat worship at least monthly, which also supports B’nai Mitzvah preparation.
What happens after sixth grade? Can my child still participate in JJPBT once they entered 7th grade?
Seventh graders meet as a class on Tuesdays, from 5:30-7:30 pm, with dinner as a wonderful social time. The 7th Grade JJPBT B’nai Mitzvah curriculum, as in the 3rd-6th grade Ikar curriculum, is in two semesters. The fall semester includes working on a Mitzvah Mission course during which students will work on that part of their B’nai Mitzvah volunteer requirement and discussion on Jewish ethics. The spring semester includes Holocaust Studies and B’nai Mitzvah Blessings class .
What do you offer for post B’nai Mitzvah students?
Tuesday evenings from 5:30-7:30 pm are all about JJPBT Maayan students, who truly love coming to Barnert. The 8th and 9th graders meet with Sara Losch (8th grade) as we talk, share, and look at their teen lives through a Jewish lens.
Rabbi Steiner prepares 10th graders for Confirmation, also on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-7:30, encouraging students to dig deeper into their Jewish identities and the world in which they live. Eleventh and 12th graders join Rabbi Steiner for Post Confirmation, which meets one evening a month from 5:30-7:00.
Will the courses change every semester?
Some will! Because JJPBT is innovative and flexible, courses change every semester to offer participants the greatest range of options, experiences, and exposure to our five Pathways. We will make every attempt to offer courses again that fill quickly or are very popular.
Is there a minimum number of students needed in each class?
Yes. There is a minimum registration of 10 students per course. Some courses might be larger.
It sounds so different. What will students be asked to do?
JJPBT is an educational and experiential program, not a traditional religious school. We will ask students to prepare for sessions and to participate fully. Courses might involve writing reflections about Jewish experiences, recording an interview, practicing skills at home, having Shabbat dinner and reflecting on the experience. Active engagement will result in a student acquiring TAG points toward scholarships in support of Jewish activities. The awarding of TAG points also helps you to assess your child’s progress on her/his Jewish Journey.
How do children acquire Hebrew skills in JJPBT?
There is no doubt that we all learn best by doing. While children begin formal Hebrew learning in third grade, learning to read the Hebrew alef-bet, they also learn to read and chant important prayers. All students in grades 3-6 will take a Hebrew course. In 3rd grade, students learn the alef-bet and all of the Hebrew vowels. In 4th-6th grade, students have different course options, all designed to support an increase of Hebrew reading fluency and prayer proficiency in an environment most comfortable to their particular learning style. Students who cannot make it to the Temple have an option to learn Hebrew online with a tutor. Called the Hebrew Homepage, this option must be approved by the Director, and will incur an additional tuition.
Every student will be registered for Hebrew studies on either Sunday mornings, Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons. As in the past, we remain flexible for families who may need to switch from one day to the other during the year (due to scheduling conflicts). Participation at weekly Shabbat worship provides students (and parents) with a wonderful feeling of comfort and familiarity.
I have an idea for a course. I know someone who would be great at teaching a course. Who should I contact?
One of the greatest resources available to JJPBT is you! Tell us all about your ideas, please! If you have an idea for a course or know someone who does, please contact Sara Losch at: SaraLosch@Barnerttemple.org
Policies & Procedures
What is the JJPBT attendance policy?
Active participation is essential to student progress. Children must be present to learn, interact, contribute, and grow. JJPBT participants are expected to be in attendance at 80% of each session in order to receive credit. If your child will be absent for a session, please contact the faculty member for that course. If your child misses several sessions, faculty members will contact you with the expectation that some part of the experience will be made up at home. Families are also expected to attend three Sunday morning LEV (Learning Elevates Values) Classes per year. Each focuses on one of three Pathways, specifically: Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim. Each will be designed to accommodate learners of all levels and will be highly engaging and interactive.
How does JJPBT handle drop off, pick up, and supervision?
JJPBT courses start and end on time. Parents are responsible for coordinating the drop off and timely pick up of their children from course locations. Teachers will supervise students during class and at dismissal.
Registration & Costs
My child wants to take a course this fall, but it doesn’t fit our schedule. Can she/he take the course in the spring instead?
Because JJPBT is innovative and flexible, our courses change each semester in order to give participants the greatest range of options and experiences. Though we cannot guarantee that courses being offered in the fall will be offered again in the spring, we will make every attempt to regularly offer courses that fill quickly.
Will my children be able to attend on the same schedule, even though they are in different grades?
Yes. We are committed to making classes available for different grades on multiply scheduled days and times to assist families in creating a schedule that makes their busy lives easier.
Is it possible for our children to take both Hebrew and one other course on one day of the week?
Sunday classes work for us. Will there be options for Sunday courses?
We have to register for courses so early! What do we do?
We recognize that families have complex and busy schedules, subject to change after registration. We will ask you during your Advisory Sessions to do your best to plan a schedule that works for your child. If your schedule does change, contact us, and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please know that some courses will be full, and we may be unable to add your child to a fully subscribed course.
Is it possible to join mid-year for that semester?
Yes, we love to have new people join us. Contact us to discuss registration, how to get your child up to speed on what she/he has missed, and tuition.
How will Religious School tuition be affected by a more flexible program?
Every family will pay a flat tuition rate based on their grade. This tuition affords you up to three courses for the child – one of which is Hebrew. LEV (Learning Elevates Values) Classes are included in your flat fee.