Religious School Guide

Our Values and Goals

The Dor Hadash Religious School provides Reconstructionist Jewish education in an after-school setting for children of grade-school age through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Some post-Bnai Mitzvah programs are also held.

We provide a caring learning environment focused on those ingredients that each family will need to engage in the lifelong process of being a responsible Jew.

We promote true equality within the Jewish tradition; a sincere regard for other religions and cultures; an appreciation of the divine in the world around us and in each one of us; and continuing evolution of Jewish commitment.

More specifically, our aims are:

  • To teach prayer and study as expressive and creative modes of spirituality,
  • To present Torah as the continual, creative and sacred search for meaning in life,
  • To encourage active, egalitarian and responsible participation in the Jewish community,
  • To view mitzvot as our obligation to hallow all life through acts of social justice and compassion,
  • To explore the diverse Jewish understandings of God and the search for holiness that underlies them,
  • To foster knowledgeable ties to the land and people of Israel.

The Dor Hadash Religious School began as the Reconstructionist Children’s Study Group in 1987 and was later known as Dor L’Dor. It is now closely integrated with Congregation Dor Hadash, a member-led, open and welcoming congregation affiliated with the national Jewish Reconstructionist Communities (JRC).

Synagogue Membership

All families with children in the Dor Hadash Religious School are required to join Congregation Dor Hadash. Much of our Jewish learning takes place in the context of synagogue worship and holiday celebrations. The Dor Hadash Congregation also provides a substantial subsidy to the school. Membership information is available from Jean Hartz, the Dor Hadash Adminstrator, at admin@dorhadash.net.

Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is both critical to and a great strength of our school. Parents usually welcome the opportunity to take an active role and interest in their children’s education, as well as to help with the operation of the school. Parents, please talk to your children about what they are learning, incorporate that learning into your family life, help them with homework, and attend Congregation services with them.

Teachers will contact parents via email with updates on what their children are learning and ideas for discussions between parent and child.

Class Attendance

Class attendance is crucial to achieving the goals of the curriculum. If your child must be absent from a class, please contact the teacher concerning missed assignments and preparation for the next class.

Synagogue Attendance

Synagogue attendance is an integral part of Jewish education, which cannot take place in a vacuum. All students and families are encouraged to attend services on a regular basis. Classes participate regularly in family-oriented Dorot (“Generations”) services on the second Saturday of each month–leading prayers and singing songs they are learning in class. Our graduates often return as service leaders. At the Dorot service, children up to age 9 have their own service with Harriett Green for one hour.

Student Evaluations

Student evaluations are performed by the classroom teacher to determine if each student has progressed appropriately. If a student needs help to meet the requirements, the teacher and principal will work with the student and parents to provide assistance.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation

Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation will take place only after a student completes at least four years of approved Jewish education, and by arrangement with Dor Hadash Congregation. Students who attend another Jewish school during these years are expected to attend the mitzvah class at Dor Hadash during their Bar/Bat Mitzvah year.

Our students frequently experience their Bar/Bat Mitzvah studies and accomplishments as a tremendously positive time of growth and connection.

A student who becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah before the end of the school year in June is expected to complete the required classes during the remainder of the year.

Meeting Places

Meeting places are often in our families’ homes. This serves as a reminder that Jewish learning should permeate our lives at home. Courtesy and respect for the host home are expected.

Meeting Times

Most classes meet once a week for 2 hours, 34 weeks of the year, following the public school calendar and observing the Jewish holidays. Gan/Aleph meets for 90 minutes every other week, and the Mitzvah class meets for 90 minutes every week.

Homework

Our class time is limited. Homework is therefore a part of the learning process. When homework is assigned, please help your child be prepared and learn.

Books and Materials

Please help your child to be responsible for always bringing their books and their folder to class. Teachers will let students know what other materials they need.

Discipline

Occasionally, disruptive student behavior in class becomes a problem. When this occurs, the teacher, principal, parents and student will confer to discuss options for better behavior and agree upon a plan of action to preserve a productive learning environment for the class.

Tuition

If special circumstances require alternative payment plans, please contact the school treasurer, Jim Rosenberg. Some scholarship money is available – contact our school treasurer for details. Tuition is non-refundable after the first class, and students who begin late are expected to pay the full tuition.

Shabbat Dinners and Holiday Celebrations

We have Shabbat potluck dinners for classes and combinations of classes throughout the year. Dates are on the calendar and watch for email announcements. Full-school picnics and holiday celebrations will also be held. Don’t miss the Hannukah On Ice celebration on December 2nd.

Mitzvah Projects

The School will provide opportunities for the students and their families to work on mitzvah projects throughout the year.