Students in grades K - 2 meet on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to noon. The focus for this group is to acclimate our youngest students to general Jewish themes. This includes celebrating and learning about Jewish holidays at appropriate times throughout the year, learning about Jewish life-cycle customs. One of the staples for our students in these grades to to celebrate Shabbat morning Shabbat services. At these services, students participate in and lead their own service. All of our students come up to the bema to help sing along to the concluding prayers of our main service.
Aleph - Gimmel
The students in the Aleph - Gimmel group meet twice week: 4:15 - 6:15 on Tuesdays and 9:00 - noon on Saturdays. Our focus is to begin the process of preparing our students for their bnai mitzvah services. They become comfortable decoding the Hebrew alphabet, engage in Hebrew reading exercises, and practice basic Jewish prayers. Students learn to write in Hebrew as well. Our Aleph-Gimmel students also learn to identify and describe significant Jewish life-cycle customs as well as significant historical events of the Jewish people. We also teach these students the weekly Torah portions -- parshayot -- and how to lead basic aspects of the the Shabbat morning service, including the Torah service. We aim to instill in our students the relevance of Jewish customs and history to their own lives.
Dalet - Hey
The students in the Dalet and Hey courses at Ezra-Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation build on what they have learned during previous years, but these older students also learn to read from Torah (with guidance), participate in basic Hebrew conversations, and learn the deeper themes of the Jewish holidays, life-cycle customs, and historical events. Moreover, our Dalet-Hey students begin to learn trope -- Torah and haftarah cantillation. They also student Pirkei Avot ("Ethics of the Fathers") and the structure of the the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. Each Saturday morning they lead major portions of the Shabbat morning service and celebrate Havdalah every Tuesday afternoon.