In early times when the Temple was the center of Jewish life, Jews did not go to synagogues, and there were no prayer books as we have today. Instead, people mainly walked three times a year to the Temple in Jerusalem and expressed their gratitude to G-d in the form of a sacrifice. This was the way to connect with the creator together with giving donations to the Temple, to the priests, and to those who were in need.
One of the most interesting requirements to those who arrived at the Temple to celebrate the Holiday was an interesting request: “You shall rejoice before the Lord your G-d” (VESAMACHTA LIFNEI ADONI ELOHECHA). Apparently, it was not so important, according to the Bible, to know what people brought to the Temple, or what kind of gift or sacrifice they made. However, it was really imperative for the Bible to state that everyone should have a joyful experience when they “see” G-d.
In essence, our holy experience of learning our tradition should be just that. Our students should come to their Modern Temple here at Temple Sinai, and enjoy the learning process. To enable this positive experience, we diligently worked to install an innovative curriculum that incorporates rich materials for each grade. Our Curriculum is based on the Chai Curriculum (Union for Reform Judaism) and on other modern workbooks, websites, and internet applications. We utilize hands-on activities, visuals, advanced learning strategies, enhanced skills, and the newest technology to turn learning into a joyful experience. The diverse curriculum includes holiday activities, grade level services, assemblies, Tikkun Olam (healing the world projects), Tzedakah, and many other valuable educational products that teach our young generation to grow with positive values and strong tradition. In order to continue and serve our diverse community in a highly professional manner, we emphasize differentiation and individual attention in the classrooms, as well as outside the classrooms, by our Hebrew Specialist and our enrichment and support team. Our learning journey is the core of our mission, and we ensure that our students experience high-quality education.
Maimonides (RAMBAM), one of the greatest Jewish philosophers of all time, explained that the shofar that we blow every day during the Month of Elul serves as a spiritual alarm clock, to “Wake up sleepers from their sleep”. If the summer was a time to nourish our physical needs and “charge our batteries”, Fall comes right after to remind us that our spiritual needs are equally important. And for the students, it is a wake-up call for growth, both spiritually and academically.
The Mark L. Haberkorn Religious School is an integral part of our synagogue, where all students and families develop a positive Jewish identity based on Reform Jewish principles through relevant experiences within a supportive educational environment that creates a compelling reason to be Jewish.