Beth Judah Religious School, Class by Class Overview
For many children, our Sunday School is their first exposure to Jewish experiences in an ongoing basis. We tell the basic stories of our people that are contained in the Torah in a two year cycle. Students learn the joy of Shabbat and holidays through activities, art, song and just doing. The Hebrew letters are taught as well as words that begin with each letter, creating a Jewish life vocabulary that becomes familiar to each student. The regular practice of mitzvot(what we are commanded by God to do) through tzedakah (charity) and gemilut hasadim (deeds of lovingkindness) creates the framework upon which all Jews build their lives.
Kita Bet – 2nd Grade
Using the introduction of Hebrew letters as a foundation, we continue with twice per week instruction in Hebrew language, learning that it is a tool that unlocks so many doors – prayer, study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot. Our pre-primer will move them into reading readiness. They will study the Torah in the weekly portion format that it is currently read in synagogues, thus acclimating to the annual cycle of the Jewish year and moving beyond disconnected stories to a lengthy narrative. Their understanding of the calendar will also impact Jewish holidays and the regular rotation of the year.
Kita Gimel – 3rd Grade
We focus a great deal on Hebrew language skills – the ability to recognize all letters and vowels, to put them together into syllables, which are the building blocks of prayers. The students are introduced to Israel and the special people and places that make up the country, developing a love for the land. We begin to delve more deeply into the Torah. Jewish holidays continue to connect like dots to the special times of the years
Kita Dalet – 4th Grade
We expand our Bible studies to include the Prophets and the Writings, the 2nd and 3rd sections. Refinement and polishing of Hebrew skills continues, as we begin to use more and more prayers as sources for reading skills as well as increasing the comfort level in the synagogue. Students learn their place on this planet and how they must partner with God to make this place just a bit better. We introduce some basic elements of the Holocaust as well.
Kita Hey – 5th Grade
We continue to hone and refine our Hebrew language skills, increasing the familiarity with prayers along the way. We learn about the call to social justice from the biblical prophets and apply their thinking to the modern world.
Kita Vav – 6th Grade
We focus intensively on the land of Israel – her people and her places – using the latest materials to offer our students an insider’s view of the land. They develop an affection for the land that many take to the next level by visiting Israel with their families upon becoming a b’nei mitzvah. We return to the portion of the week and apply higher thinking skills to learn ways that the Torah applies to us each and every day.
Kita Zayin – 7th Grade
As our students become b’nei mitzvah, we continue to provide them with Jewish life tools. We delve into genealogy so that each student is placed within the spectrum of Jewish history. We look at an assortment of biblical commentators on the portion of the week. In opposition to the word “tolerance”, which has connotations of “tolerating” others, we teach respect through understanding using scenarios that remind us that the United States, albeit having made good progress, still has a great way to go until the day that all citizens respect each other.
We teach that actions speak louder than words, and create an environment where our students create personal meaning by engaging directly in the performance gemilut hasadim – deeds of lovingkindness.
Kulanu: High School for Jewish Studies
We continue and grow our connection to the Jewish people in local, national and global ways as our students continue their studies. Beth Judah is proud to partner with the Board of Jewish Education and host Kulanu bi-annually.
Her students range from Pre school age children to senior citizens. She acquired her BA in child education, from The State Teachers College Seminar HaKibbutzim in Tel- Aviv, Israel, she is involved in Jewish education in various community schools and Jewish agencies, teaching Jewish studies, Hebrew, and Folk dance.
Israeli born, and currently residing in Margate NJ with her husband and 4 children, Iris is continuing to educate herself and keeping up with the current dances by attending Israeli folk dance workshops in Philadelphia Pa and NY. Iris is also offering a folk dance class in the Jcc in Margate. Seeing an opportunity to teach the Hebrew language and history through dance.
7th Grade Teacher
Neil Brandt has three college degrees a BA in History from the Pennsylvania State University, MA in Education from Beaver College, and an MA in Holocaust/Genocide Studies from Richard Stockton College. For 29 years I taught junior high Social Studies in Atlantic City public schools. For several years I taught 2nd year Hebrew at Beth Israel. Since 2008 I have taught World Religions and Introduction to Philosophy at Atlantic Cape Community College. Since 5771 Hazzan Myers has coerced me to teach the Zayin class at Beth Judah.
Kindergarten-1st Grade Teacher
Amanda Stevens is our new Sunday school teacher at Congregation Beth Judah. She was born and raised in Havertown, PA, where she received here teaching license in Hebrew studies from Gratz College. Amanda also completed her bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2009 from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY and is currently student teaching here in South Jersey for the completion of her Masters Degree in Special Education. In her free time Amanda likes to be on the beach, play sports and attend Phillies Games.
Pre-School – 6th Grade
Kim Schwartz began her career at Beth Judah in 2004 with the opening of Beth Judah’s preschool (when she officially became “Morah Kim”). ? She has taught in our religious school for 6 years, ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. She is also currently serving as our Kadima youth group advisor. Her greatest passion is empowering children to live happy, healthy, successful, spiritual lives in her job as a religious school teacher and as a wellness coach at Calabro Chiropractic in Linwood.
4th Grade Teacher
Sharon Leavy (nee Trackman) was born in Rahway, New Jersey, and moved with her family as an infant to Margate, where she attended the Margate public school system. At age 8, music became a very big part of her life when she learned to play the flute while attending Eugene A. Tighe School, earning a place in the All-South Jersey Orchestra. She continued playing throughout her four years at Atlantic City High School and performed in every musical group offered. She continued her musical ambition in college playing for the Scarlet Knights Marching Band and Wind Ensemble, and in 1987 earned a B.A. at Douglas College, Rutgers University.
In 1991 she met the love of her life and was married in 1993 to Sanford Leavy, also from Margate. Together they have raised two teenage sons, Jacob and Joshua. The family spends a great deal of time getting personal with nature, taking hikes locally throughout South Jersey and along the Appalachian Trails. Sharon’s energetic personality and passion to inspire people to get fit came together in 2003 when she started teaching water aerobics. Almost ten years later, she can still be found motivating her classes five mornings a week at the AtlantiCare LifeCenter in Egg Harbor Township.
When her children were young, Sharon wanted to be more involved in their religious education, and in 2002 started teaching Sunday School at Beth El Synagogue in Margate. Her passion for teaching our Jewish youth took on a new life and in 2004 she also headed Beth El’s Tot Shabbat program and became their Kadima advisor. She joined Congregation Beth Judah’s teaching staff in 2007 where she currently takes an active role inspiring her Kitah Dalet (4th grade). Whether teaching the elderly or the youth, Sharon brings her good-natured personality to all of her classes.