At JQuest B’Yachad our goal is to teach students to become competent and confident prayer leaders and to feel a connection to the Hebrew language as the language of the Jewish people.
To achieve this goal we provide our students with both synagogue and Hebrew experiences that are full of meaning, ritual, and are engaging.
- T’fillot (services): Each time we gather students have the opportunity to pray with the clergy learning both the meaning of prayer (kavanah) and the prayers and rituals of services (keva). As students grow they begin to take on roles leading these t’fillot and strengthen their prayer skills.
- Ivrit (Hebrew through Movement): Students in Grades K-5 learn Hebrew through a call and response curriculum that teaches them basic movement words and classroom objects. The lesson is fun and full of running, jumping, and turning around. After they learn the foundational vocabulary they add holiday and heritage words based on the time of year and their grade. The 15 minute weekly Ivrit class helps our students gain and aural basis for Hebrew and learn Hebrew names for holiday, ritual and syangogue objects. This helps them connect with our religious and cultural traditions, our holy language and the state of Israel.
- Shira (music): Each week our K-3rd graders sing the songs of the Jewish people reinforcing their connection to the language and the holidays.
- Decoding: At JQuest B’Yachad we teach Hebrew decoding (putting sounds to letters) in 4th or 5th grade - once students reach an age where they do not confuse letters/numbers and can easily identify discrete shapes. Teaching students at a younger age can serve to confuse them and they have not had an opportunity to form an aural basis for the language. We teach decoding (putting sounds to letters and blending to sound out words) once a week with online homework for review.
- Prayer Proficiency: Once students know how to decode students then work in a small group by level to practice and become proficient at specific grade level goals, as identified by the clergy. Students are encouraged to practice these prayers at home to reach fluency.
By teaching decoding at an age appropriate grade we increase motivation, minimize confusion and frustration, and have been able to spend the younger grades focused on theology, modern Hebrew, and connections to the syangogue and our students still emerge from our program with a strong ability to decode and a high degree of prayer proficiency.