The Sholem School has increasingly become a magnet for unaffiliated, progressive, secular Jews and intercultural families looking for a vibrant community for themselves and their children. Established in 1952, the school engages children in an exploration of Jewish identity rooted in Jewish cultural literacy and traditions of social justice.
At the Sholem Community, families from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds, Jewish and non-Jewish, feel welcome, and participate in all levels of the organization. We are also proud to be an open and affirming community for LGBTQ families.
The school meets most Sunday mornings during the school year. Sundays, 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Meeting dates are available on our calendar.
The principal and education director, along with a professional staff of six classroom teachers and two music teachers, create a learning environment that focuses on active, project-based learning. Meet our Sunday School staff.
The Sholem Sunday School teaches:
- A curriculum that emphasizes Jewish history, culture and progressive ideals which shape our identity and values as a people.
- Major Jewish historical events through the context of world cultural and political history;
- Jewish culture and why cultural preservation is important;
- The cultural aspects of holidays and traditions;
- A bisl (little) Yiddish and a ktsat (little) Hebrew;
- Motivation for progressive social action from Jewish culture and history;
- Openness to competing ideas and opportunities for students to form their own values through discussion and reflection;
- Creative and analytical modes of expression of self, identity, and culture.
In addition to regular classes, we offer:
- Bagels ‘n Blox, a monthly parent-and-me group featuring song, stories, and arts & crafts, all infused with Sholem’s secular, progressive, Jewish curriculum, made toddler friendly.
- A bar/bas mitsve (Ashkenazic/Yiddish pronunciation) bar/bas mitzvah (Sefardic/Israeli pronunciation) program culminating in a final presentation to the community.
- A youth development program, and teaching assistant positions for 10th – 12th graders.
School Registration and Tuition
We strive to keep our fees as fair and affordable as possible. We have a policy of not turning anyone away for financial reasons. Click here for 2015-2016 School Registration and Tuition.
Parents direct staff selection, curriculum planning, and school policies. Classroom parent volunteers help connect parents with each other, the classroom teacher and the Sholem community at large. Besides a paid school staff, Sholem is run entirely by its members.
As a progressive organization which stresses social responsibility, Sholem encourages students and members to participate in our Social Action Program.
Classes and Curriculum
Below is a summary of the curriculum. You may read a more detailed curriculum description here.
Alef: Pre-K – Kindergarten
Theme: Marking Time Together. Centered around Jewish holidays with an emphasis on both natural and human cycles. This is paired with an exploration of community, family, identity, and cultural heritage.
Beys: First and Second Grades
Theme: Many Ways of Being Jewish. One year focuss on contemporary Jewish cultures around the world, cultivating respect for diversity and a sense of Jewish community. The other year of the two-year cycle focuses on Jewish cultures and folklore ofthe post-Biblical, pre-industrial era, including shtetl life in Eastern Europe, the Golden Age of Spain, and Jewish life in the Middle East and Islamic world.
Giml: Third and Fourth Grades
Theme: Beginnings. One year explores the historical and mythological origins of early humans and ancient Jewish culture and their migrations over time, while the other focuses on Jewish immigration to the United States.
Daled: Fifth and Sixth Grades
Theme: Roots. In-depth exploration of Jewish holidays including their purpose and meaning, their historical context, and their role in our lives today..
Hey: Seventh and Eighth Grades
Theme: Who Are the Jews? The Ancients and the Moderns. Explores Jewish literature, art, music and political life through a close study of the Torah and other ancient Jewish texts, as well as modern secular Jewish literature, culture and history.
Vov: Ninth and Tenth Grades
Theme: Jews in the 20th century, today, and tomorrow. Important events and themes from the 1930s to the present day, including the Israel/Palestine conflict, resistance during the Holocaust, McCarthyism and the blacklist, secular Jewish identity today, and other themes relevant to current events.
Belfer: Eleventh and Twelfth Grades
The eleventh and twelfth grade students participate in the community as belfer, Yiddish for “helper.” These students serve as teaching assistants in the classroom, and help to organize and run the community including helping with the music program, adult events, and more.
Yiddish, Yiddishkayt, and Hebrew, Our approach to language
There are many cultural identities within the Jewish world and within each of our individual families. The curriculum celebrates Yiddishkayt and its influence on American Jewish culture and politics, while introducing children to the varied histories, traditions, sounds, and tastes of Jewish cultures from around the world. The Sholem Sunday School gives children a “taste” of Yiddish and Hebrew, as well as other languages spoken by Jewish peoples such as Ladino, especially through the music classes. Our schedule does not allow for a more comprehensive Hebrew or Yiddish language program. By providing exposure to these languages, it is our hope that students who are motivated to learn more will seek out other opportunities for further study.