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Fall 2020 Update

As we look ahead to fall, we wanted to let you know that we are delaying school registration until late July/August when we have a better sense of what the fall will look like.  Currently the lifelong learning team and youth education committee is working on two plans.  The first is our in-person program with some exciting new options we look forward to sharing with you in the coming months. The second is a plan in the event that we cannot be in person or cannot be in person in large groups.  This plan focuses on developing connections between our students and families and finding the ways in which Judaism can be meaningful during these times. Yes, some options will be virtual and synchronous, but others will include activities families can do at home or other asynchronous ways in which students and parents can connect.  

Sunday Religious School (K-8th Grades)

Har HaShem’s Sunday morning Kindergarten-8th grade religious school program enables students to develop a foundation of and appreciation of Jewish learning as part of a vibrant, active community. Sunday morning students spend time together learning the grade level curriculum, participating in Hebrew Through Movement sessions and a weekly t’filah (worship experience), and creating bonds that we hope will last a lifetime. These bonds can be enhanced by family participation in our annual grade-level family education programs and the many youth group (3rd grade-high school) and holiday events. 

Students get to experience an organic celebration of Jewish time and Jewish community as they join together for a family style snack, birkat hamazon (the blessing after a meal), and kitot kef (other fun Jewish cultural electives). Our energetic faculty lead these programs, creating a camp-like atmosphere of Jewish community and expression above and beyond the classroom experience. 

Hebrew Learning (3rd-7th Grades)

At Har HaShem, we have an Individualized Hebrew Tutoring Program. Students studying towards b’nai mitzvah must participate in Hebrew prayer learning. In addition, our Sunday morning religious school students receive an additional Hebrew boost through our Hebrew Through Movement Program and our weekly t’filah (worship) services. 

Individualized Learning Program

(For 3rd-7th grade families enrolled in the Sunday Religious School)

In our individualized Hebrew program, families take ownership over their child’s Hebrew journey, creating a learning plan in partnership with Har HaShem staff. In an initial meeting with the Director of Lifelong Learning, families discuss goals, the child’s learning style, and the role that they hope Hebrew and prayer will have in their child and family’s life. Families choose from four customizable Hebrew learning options. Once the option is selected, the Director of Lifelong Learning will help the family engage a m'amein (tutor/mentor) to work with each child. The more expansive the family goals, the more tutoring time will be needed. All options include Hebrew decoding (the process of reading Hebrew by sounding out letters and vowels through the Let’s Learn Hebrew Program), Saturday morning prayer preparation, and memorization of Torah and Haftarah portions. Families participating in the individualized program are also required to attend at least one worship service each month during the academic year. 

8th Grade Machon Program

Eighth graders have the opportunity to participate in machon, the madrichim-in-training program. Madrichim comes from the Hebrew word "to lead" and is the title given to the high school students who assist in classrooms. Machon will meet every Sunday morning when Sunday Religious School is in session, dividing their time between their own learning and interning in a classroom. During their learning sessions, they will explore classroom teaching, being a Jewish role model for younger students, and developing their own leadership style. At the conclusion of the year, they will have the opportunity to apply to be madrichim (a paid position) during 9th grade and above. Machon students are special in that they have committed to continuing their own Jewish learning and sharing their expertise and enthusiasm with younger students.

8th/9th Grade Intensives

Fall Semester Rotation Year 1: Jewish Takes on Hot Topics

Spring Semester Rotation Year 1: Abraham’s 3 Religions

Fall Semester Rotation Year 2: The Jewish Image in Film, Literature, and Culture

Spring Semester Rotation Year 2: Holocaust: How it Has Shaped Our People and Left Us with a Legacy of Responsibility

Over the course of two years, students rotate through these four course. They are an opportunity to delve into issues of interest to the students that enable them to grapple with Judaism - its past and present. They will help them understand the world around them and make sense of their place as they navigate the issues they confront in their middle and early high school years.

Confirmation (10th Grade)

Confirmation is a lifecycle event at the conclusion of 10th grade. Students will affirm their Jewish beliefs by building upon the B'nai Mitzvah experience in which they have individually agreed to accept the responsibilities of being a Jewish adult. This group experience allows students to confirm their commitment to the Jewish community. Confirmation culminates with a Shavuot service that celebrates students' learning and highlights the affirmation of their Jewish identity. In Confirmation, we will build on students' Jewish foundations by using classic and contemporary Jewish sources to address contemporary issues facing our teens: relationships, peer pressure, a connection to God, their power to heal a broken world, and much more….

11th/12th Grade Seminar

Over the course of two years, students will take the following courses, taught seminar-style, and will participate in an educational travel experience.

Course 1 - Examining Our Own Judaism Through the Lens of Others: A Program of Interfaith Dialogue and Service to Prepare Students for Life Beyond High School

Through encounters with others, our teens will hone their own Jewish beliefs and raise up their unanswered questions. The teens will also have an intensive unit on Israel as part of their training to feel able to enter the very challenging conversations taking place on college campuses now. The seminar concludes with a service-learning trip to Los Angeles in partnership with Tzedek America.

Course 2 - Our Responsibility as Jews: Human Rights and Civil Rights

This seminar will challenge teens to explore the world around them through the Jewish lenses of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness). They will examine American History, Civil Rights and human rights.. They will explore past and present Jewish responses to these issues, including those that are current and feel most relevant to the students. They will stretch their thinking and empathy, understanding that Judaism has a long tradition of standing up and speaking out for others as we are all created b’zelem Elohim, in God’s image. Students will participate in a Civil Rights journey through the American South during the second semester, where we will see and experience the places and themes covered in class.

Israel Experiences

We encourage our high school students to have a significant Israel experience to help them explore their connection to the land and people of Israel. Some of the programs include: The Israel Study Tour, NFTY in Israel, and NFTY-EIE. The Israel Study Tour (IST) is a five week program in Poland and Israel the summer following 11th grade. This program of the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education is for Denver and Boulder area teens. Students have the opportunity to do learning and build connections prior to their travel. NFTY in Israel is a similar program to IST, but connects teens to our national teen youth movement, NFTY. NFTY-EIE is a semester-long program in Israel that enables high school students to immerse themselves in the richness of the land, culture, people, and history of Israel, all while earning high school credit.

Noah Andrew Cohen Scholarship

Noah Cohen(May 11, 1982 – August 14, 2004)

There are people who enter this world with tremendous gifts. Some are bright, others compassionate; some search for meaning, others strive for success.

Noah Cohen, a student here at Congregation Har HaShem, embodied all of these qualities and more! Noah grew up here and was in Rabbi Deborah Bronstein’s Confirmation class where he appreciated the discussions, debates and the learning.

Noah was liked and respected by peers and adults. He was a successful student, an avid reader, and a positive role model. One of Noah’s teachers even thought of him as noble for his graciousness and generosity.

Like many teens, unfortunately, Noah began to face struggles. While he wanted to be a part of something meaningful, he also battled with depression and mental illness. In Confirmation class, he found a safe place to explore ideas, to seek out meaning, to be his authentic self.

When Noah was only 22 years old, he took his own life.

His parents, who love him, and his community, who remembers him fondly, established this scholarship fund to remember him and his gifts. One of those gifts was the value he placed in his search for meaning.  We encourage our Confirmation students to apply for this scholarship by submitting entries that reflect their search for meaning. We remember Noah as a young man who was a seeker and we encourage our students to be seekers, too. 

Scholarship Award Winners

Noa Greene - 2019

Finalists: Sophie Frankel; Lucy Atwell (writing) and Lucy Atwell (art)

Jordan Zicklin - 2018

Molly Kodish - 2017

Maggie Atwell - 2016

Aaron Keller - 2014

Application Information

Who is eligible: 
Confirmation students at Congregation Har HaShem. The scholarship will not be based on financial need. 
The Rabbi, Cantorial Soloist and Director of Lifelong Learning will serve on a committee to review submissions. This group of people may be expanded to include others with their unanimous agreement.
Students should submit an essay that is between 400-600 words; or an artistic presentation which can include: painting, drawing, photography, music composition, or video production. All submissions need to respond to one of these questions:
How has one of your most significant challenges brought meaning into your life?
What brings meaning to your life?
How do you search for meaning in your life?
In addition, these questions need to address how Judaism - in any of its authentic aspects (spirituality, learning, community, social justice, etc.) plays a role in the response to the questions above.
Scholarship awards:
A $500 scholarship can be allocated from the Noah Cohen Scholarship Fund for one student per year. The scholarship is for use towards a program that will encourage the student to seek out meaning through Jewish experiences. This scholarship can be used towards a NFTY program, a program within the Union for Reform Judaism and Religious Action Center, a Jewish summer camp experience, an Israel Summer experience, a Jewish teen or college student seminar or conference, or other Jewish programs with the approval of the rabbi. 
Fri, August 7 2020 17 Av 5780