We encourage a lifelong fascination with, and love for, our Jewish heritage through fun, hands-on learning in multi-aged classes.
The goal of the JCS Sunday School is to expose our students to the vast scope of Jewish life over 4000 years on six continents and to engender in them an appreciation for Jewish history, culture and ethics. Learning is participatory and active. Students dance, sing, create art, cook, and hear and tell stories. We hope to encourage a lifelong fascination with, and love for, our Jewish heritage. Many of our students come from homes of mixed cultural backgrounds.
Preschool meets 8 times during the academic year, from October to May, during times marked on our calendar. Children attend with their parents to experience hands on Jewish learning. Class themes revolve around the holidays and Jewish values. Children are introduced to the Secular Jewish celebrations and rituals.
K–3 and 4–7 students alternate between a Core Class and an Arts and Culture Class. In Arts and Culture, activities are connected to Core Class curriculum through cooking, art, music, and conversational Hebrew. All students learn about and do activities revolving around holidays, understanding Secular Humanistic Judaism, and family history. Core classes include games, stories, and holiday celebrations. The school year ends with final presentations.
The K–3 2019–20 curriculum begins by exploring and observing the High Holidays through a Secular Humanistic lens. We then look at ancient times in Israel followed by an exploration of Jewish values through Bible stories. Students will also learn the history of tzedakah and how to practice it in their lives.
The 4–7 2019–20 curriculum begins by exploring and observing the High Holidays through a Secular Humanistic lens. Then we focus on Jews in Europe, including shtetl life, migration, and immigration. In addition, students discuss anti-Semitism and persecution. Sixth and seventh graders also begin and continue their B’nai Mitzvah work.
The JCS Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is a unique and meaningful experience for the young adult and their families. Candidates work very hard for two years to earn the privilege of becoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah. In addition to regular Sunday school studies, they prepare four major presentations based on community, historical, cultural, and personal topics. These are presented at class meetings outside of regular class time. Students are also required to perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service, preferably in projects where they can see visible results of their endeavors.
Individual and group Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies are open to the membership. They include talks by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student, participation by the parents and community members, and lots of singing. The ceremony marks a meaningful transition from learning directed by others to self-direction in education as well as ethical thinking.
Tzofim have the unique opportunity to broaden their participation with JCS and to work together to help the Greater Ann Arbor Community. Tzofim develop their skills as socially responsible Jewish leaders. This program is designed specifically for junior high and high school students.