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Philip Porter Religious School

Come join us anytime!

Temple Beth Abraham's Religious School has long been a special place of learning, connections, and joy for our students. We have a special building on our campus where classes meet and parents linger for conversation, a cup of coffee, and adult learning as well.
Our program has been one of only fifty in the country designated as "Framework of Excellence" schools by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Grades K-2 meet on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Grades 3-4 meet on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.. and Tuesdays from 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Grades 5-7 meet twice a week – Tuesdays from 3:45-5:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 3:45-6:15 p.m.
Our program focuses on middot (developing an ethical personality and habits), Torah, Hebrew language, spirituality and prayer skills, the rhythms of Jewish living, and Israel.

It is never too late to join us!  Contact Noreen Leibson, Director of Education, to talk or meet.


Sunday School

Sunday School is the time for children ages 4 to 7 to come together to learn about Jewish practices and ideas. The content areas are the same in each grade level. The difference is the level of learning, which corresponds to the different developmental level of the students. The content is scaffolded to meet the needs of the learners.

The main content areas are: Holidays, Mitzvot, Bible stories, Hebrew language, and tefillot (prayers and blessings). Students will explore, discover and learn:

  • Jewish holidays including Shabbat and holidays associated with Israel
  • Mitzvot and Jewish values associated with living a righteous Jewish life

  • Bible through stories beginning in the Torah, learning about the characters and values associated in the text

  • Basic blessings and tefillot both in the classroom and in a regular all-school morning service

  • Hebrew Alef-Bet, vowels, and by Kitah Bet, be able to read single syllable and simple words

  • Modern Hebrew through hearing the language in the classroom

Upper Grade Classes

Gimel and Dalet (Grades 3-4)


Using a textbook that offers faithful but accessible translations with thematic connections between the narratives and their daily lives, students will discover the basic Jewish and universal truths embedded in the Bible stories from Creation to the Exodus, and continue to selections from Writings, highlighting their timeless moral and spiritual truths.



Students study each holiday through discussion, song, and story. The major themes and symbols of Shabbat are explored. They will also delve deeper into their study of the Jewish holidays learning historical, biblical, spiritual, and liturgical aspects of Shabbat and each Jewish holiday.



Using questions collected from the children, this unit will help students develop a language and create an environment to talk about God.


Tefillah (prayer)

Students begin to work in earnest on the Kabbalat Shabbat service, learning prayers both through reading, chanting, and rote.




This unit will explore the history of synagogues, ritual objects, and how it serves as a house of prayer, study, and meeting.


Hai and Vav (Grades 5-6)


Shalom Learning is an interactive, values-based curriculum that helps children develop a positive Jewish Identity. The curriculum is not tied to any particular Jewish movement. It’s based on values we all share, like “Using your inner strength to do what’s right,” and “Taking responsibility for your actions”. The curriculum curates resources from BimBam, JChoice, Jerusalem U, and more, to bring learners the most engaging and innovative Jewish educational content, including videos, text studies, blessings, and stories. Holidays, Hebrew, and Torah are integrated into this program.


Talmud Torah

Through the study of different readings from the Torah, students will deepen their understanding of the biblical text using the original Hebrew along with English translation and commentary.





Hebrew is the historic language of the Jewish People. The Torah, Tanakh, and rabbinic writings are written in Hebrew. In the lives of our students, Hebrew is the language of prayer and the spoken language of modern Israel. Students who gain facility in the decoding of and in the language of Hebrew gain an appreciation for and a pride in Jewish legacy and tradition.

Content and Skill Development

An awareness of Hebrew as the language of both modern Israel and the Jewish people, past and present. Students build Hebrew decoding skills best when they begin with the interactive process of learning a simple Hebrew vocabulary reinforced throughout the school. In the process of becoming familiar with spoken and written Hebrew, students will be introduced in the early years (preschool – fourth grade) to:

  • Hebrew words from classroom, home, and community, names of Jewish ritual objects, and meanings of simple Hebrew verbs

  • Whole Hebrew word recognition, Hebrew letter differentiation, simple Hebrew conversation, Hebrew songs

Skills in decoding Hebrew phrases and prayers with accuracy and fluency begin in grades Bet and Gimel.

Knowledge of the basic vocabulary of the siddur and understanding the Hebrew of frequently used prayers.

An understanding that the Torah is written in Hebrew and that its meaning is best understood with the ability to recognize words in Hebrew.

Hebrew and Prayer across the grades

Gan Katan

Children will be introduced to Hebrew language through hearing key words/phrases spoken by their teacher to them. In the Sunday school program, teachers will implement, “Hebrew Through Movement”. The Hebrew used by the teacher will be in command form, such as “jump to the window”. This helps students internalize Hebrew rather than memorize Hebrew.

This way of teaching Hebrew is based on natural language acquisition. The use of the infinitive is highlighted so that students are not confused by gender and number agreement. Students will also be introduced to hearing Hebrew through a student friendly Morning Prayer service.


Reading readiness program that includes introduction to Hebrew letters where students will learn to recognize each Hebrew letter by its sound and its name. Hebrew will also be accessed through our prayer curriculum, which includes blessings and basic morning prayers. The teacher will use Hebrew to build the students’ Hebrew lexicon. This will happen through classroom instruction, Hebrew sight words, singing and Morning Prayer service.

Alef (Grade 1)

Students will continue with a reading readiness program progressing in their letter recognition. They will be able to identify Hebrew letters by sound and name and through finding letters in different Hebrew words. They will continue to learn blessings for Shabbat, eating foods, and holidays. They will participate in the Morning Prayer service. Modern Hebrew will be incorporated into the classroom through classroom instruction, singing, and Hebrew Through Movement.

Bet (Grade 2)

Students will be introduced to Hebrew vowels and begin to decode single syllable “words”. They will continue their exposure to the use of Hebrew in their classroom and be expected to use some of the Hebrew. Blessings and the Morning Prayer service will support their Hebrew skills. Hebrew Through Movement is a part of their curricular content.

Gimel/Dalet (Grade 3-4)

After a quick review of the letters and vowels, students will move into a Hebrew textbook as they learn to decode multi-syllable words. Students will spend classroom time practicing their Hebrew reading. At the same time, they will be immersed in a rich Hebrew language environment where they will learn many Hebrew words and phrases and be able to build and articulate short but full sentences in Hebrew. Students will also use the Shabbat Siddur to learn key prayers from the Friday evening service.

Hai (Grade 5)

It is expected that by the end of Dalet, the typical student is reading with fluency, which is defined by knowing all letters and vowels, being able to decode multi-syllable words and reading without hesitation. Should a student not be at this place, a decision will be made by the school director regarding what support is needed.

Students will continue to work on their prayer skills by focusing on the last part of the Friday evening Shabbat service.

In addition to prayer Hebrew, students will study Torah using Hebrew and English text. The Torah study will begin with Creation. This part of the Hebrew program will also involve a study of the meaning and teaching of the Torah story. Trope will also be introduced.

Vav (Grade 6)

At this point, the focus of Hebrew for prayer will shift to the Saturday morning service.

Hebrew in Torah will focus on aspects of the Moses narratives as well as each student’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah parasha. Modern Hebrew will be brought back in through a Hebrew Reading book, Shiri HaLama, Part 1. Students will learn use of Hebrew pronouns, verb agreement, and increase their Hebrew vocabulary.


Zayin (Grade 7)

The Zayin Hebrew program is designed to apply the student’s reading skills to read Torah text, Modern Hebrew books and continue with their Shabbat morning repertoire. Modern Hebrew will include Part 2 of Shiri HaLama, and other resources

Extracurricular Practice and Support

Keter Ivrit ("Crown of Hebrew")

All students in Gimel-Vav will be encouraged to participate in the Keter Ivrit Reading Program. The purpose of the Keter Ivrit Program is for students to increase their Hebrew reading proficiency through practicing Hebrew reading at home and to become more familiar with specific prayers in our services.

Learning how to read a new language requires many hours of practice and immersion. Learners need much more than 3-4 hours per week to become proficient. Keter Ivrit has been developed to support each student in his or her progress. It gives both the parents and the teachers another way to assess student advancement.

Mon, April 6 2020 12 Nisan 5780