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**New and Exciting Changes For All B’nai Mitzvah and Post-B’nai Mitzvah Education**
The 7th Grade and Tamid programs are comprehensive educational platforms that will encompass all of the elements of learning previously familiar to NVHC, but with a new structure and feel. These programs aim to build a home here at NVHC, where students are able to push themselves to experience Judaism in a variety of ways, to build a sense of kehillah kedosha (holy community) and to help them discover who they are as Reform Jews in our community.
The 7th Grade program is moving to an all-inclusive and comprehensive educational program, which includes preparation for Bar or Bat Mitzvah, core Judaic studies and community building. This program will take place on Sunday mornings during Kehillat Limmud (9:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.). As students will be attending for 3 hours on Sunday, there will be no additional weekday requirements. Students will be with their Torah Corps groups throughout the morning, as well as being combined with other groups at times. Students will spend half of their time on Sundays learning Judaic topics. The other half of the time will be spent focused on Torah, Haftarah and Prayer skills, (including focus on each individual student’s portion), mitzvot and ethics, and discovering meaning in the Jewish texts that they are leading.
The Confirmation program will remain at 8:30-10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Any student in 10-12th grades, who has not yet been confirmed, may participate. This weekly seminar covers high-level learning based on topics that the class chooses at the start of the year, building toward a Confirmation service or presentation on Tuesday, May 30th 2017. Just as B’nai Mitzvah is a public declaration of responsibility for one’s self, Confirmation is the time when a young person declares publicly, their responsibility for the future of the Jewish community. Students who work as madrichim will be allowed to continue to do so, and will be allowed to miss the first 45 minutes of Kehillat Limmud to be in Confirmation. Confirmation students are welcome and encouraged to attend any and all Tuesday Tamid programming, although it is not required.
8th-12th Grade Tamid
The 8th-12th grade Tamid program will remain on Tuesday nights, from 6:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m., with dinner offered at 5:45 p.m.
The big change will be a weekly focus on one of four major elements: Jewish studies, tikkun olam (social action), social programming, and special activities and elective projects. Instead of including each of these four elements every Tuesday, we have separated them into different weeks. This will provide us with an opportunity to go into more depth and have more time for each of these categories.
The monthly calendar will be as follows:
1st Tuesday- Talmud Torah (Judaics program). Groups will have the opportunity to build on their core Jewish knowledge. Topics could include, but are not limited to, Reform Judaism, Israel, ethics, philosophy, biblical criticism, leadership, and great texts of our tradition. This learning will occur in smaller groups to ensure that topics are addressed in an age-appropriate manner. From time-to-time some, or all, of the grades may learn together if we feel that the students would greatly benefit from this type of learning environment.
2nd Tuesday- Tikkun Olam (social action program). For this program, the students will be involved in various hands-on social action projects. We will work to continue programs in which the students have already been involved, such as the Forest Edge backpack program. We will also work to involve ourselves in a wide breadth of tikkun olam activities that will benefit different communities of Northern Virginia. The directions that these projects take will be determined by the Tamid participants. These projects will address issues of social justice that affect our communities. Not only will the students engage in action, but they will also learn about the Jewish rationale for why their engagement is so important.
3rd Tuesday- Chevrati (social program). This program will serve to focus on community-building for 8th-12th grade students at NVHC. The goal is to provide a specific time and place where these students can gather socially to build on the community that is formed throughout the year. These programs might include, but are not limited to, painting a mural, playing board games and outdoor nature activities.
4th Tuesday- Meyuchedet (special program). This program will look and feel different every month. Twice a year, we will have a book club where we will provide a book, or a selection from a book, for our students to read and discuss. Other special programming might include, but is not limited to, art projects, cooking, community engagement, and guest speakers.
For all 8th-12th grade students (excluding Confirmation), the first Tuesday of the month, Talmud Torah Tuesday (3T), will be required for attendance. This allows the teen community to have critical mass at least once a month, which creates ruach (spirit), cohesion, relationships, and a venue for communicating upcoming opportunities. While we understand that other obligations compete for the very limited time in a teen’s schedule, we would like for them to show a concerted effort to be engaged with our post-B’nai Mitzvah congregational community by attending as many Tuesdays as possible during the month, but prioritizing that 3T week. Our vision is to create a program that has a specific focus each week with the concerted effort of our students attending at least one program a month; we believe that families will be able to make this commitment more easily. Additionally, we hope that in creating this type of programming there will be an exciting and critical mass of teens present, which is necessary to build a kehilah kedosha, a holy learning community.
8th Grade Madrichim Training
8th grade students who wish to serve as madrichim in the future will need to be present on Sundays during Kehillat Limmud. Beginning in November, 8th grade madrichim will attend a madrichim training class from 8:30-9:10a.m., and stay until 12:15 p.m. This will allow them to put into practice immediately the lessons that they are learning. This system will also allow the students to learn from expert faculty, and to follow the role models of the older madrichim. This madrichim program can be likened to the madrichim training that was an elective on Tuesdays during Tamid.
9th-12th Grade madrichim
9th-12th grade students wishing to serve as madrichim will attend Kehillat Limmud on Sundays, and serve in classrooms and with specialists. Additionally, the madrichim will be expected to stay twice a month for lunch, and an additional hour of continuing education (ending at 1:30 p.m.). These training seminars will, in part, build on the madrichim training program. This time will serve as training, learning, and reviewing. It will allow our madrichim to process the experiences that they are having in the classrooms, and will help to build their leadership and teaching skills. In addition, all madrichim are required to enroll in Tamid, and to attend as many of the Tuesdays as possible, with a focus on the Talmud Torah days. (Note, 9th-12th graders who did not take the madrichim training program can still be madrichim, and we will create an alternative training track.)
As we modify the structure of Tamid, we understand that different students will engage in different amounts of the program. A10th grader in Confirmation, and who works as a Madrich, will attend Sundays for 4 hours weekly, and sometimes 5 hours, and also has the option of attending Tamid as well. A different family might opt to only come for that one Talmud Torah Tuesday (3T) each month. Regardless of how each family chooses to engage in the Tamid program, the overall budget for this program remains the same for the congregation. The unsubsidized cost for this program remains $1100.00 per student; however, our lay leadership has decided to provide support for this program from the Selden Dixon Endowment Fund. This makes the subsidized tuition $360 per student, regardless of how frequently a teen chooses to attend the program. Of course, we will be most grateful for any further financial contribution given above and beyond this amount, from anyone who is able to or is so moved. If you have already registered and paid for Tamid, please call and speak with Elaine Bowling to discuss your tuition.