October 16, 2003
Breathing New Life Into Reform Curriculum
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Reform movement has introduced a new religious school curriculum. This fall, several religious schools around Los Angeles have incorporated Levels 3 and 4 of the CHAI: Learning for Jewish Life program, which consists of materials appropriate for third- and fourth-graders, and can also be adapted for different age levels. Earlier levels were made available last year.
The new program is a product of the New York-based Union of American Hebrew Congregations (the umbrella organization for the Reform movement) and is designed so that synagogues can incorporate it into already existing curricula. About 10 percent of Reform congregations around the country are currently using some part of the new materials, which include both a Judaica program and a Hebrew program.
Congregations using the new materials include Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles, Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, Sha'arei Am in Santa Monica, Temple Beth Torah in Granada Hills and Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes. -- Sharon Schatz Rosenthal, Education Writer
USY Quintet Learns Leadership in Israel
Five lucky Los Angeles high school graduates hopped a plane to the Holy Land on Sept. 8 to participate in United Synagogue Youth's Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel. Among the 51 students accepted into the national program were Aaren Alpert (Valley Beth Shalom in Encino), Lena Silver (Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes), Ari Taff (from Valley Beth Shalom), Jennifer Lorch (Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills) and Elisheva Netter (Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles). The Southland natives will spend the next nine months studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, touring the country, volunteering and learning leadership techniques. -- SSR
JNF Provides Water, Water Everywhere
Jewish students around the country and in Israel are making a splash at their local bodies of water. Jewish National Fund has received a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to provide hundreds of water-monitoring kits to Jewish schools in both the United States and Israel so that students can participate in World Water Monitoring Day, an effort to educate the public about the importance of water.
From Sept. 18-Oct. 18, students will visit designated streams, rivers, lakes and coastal areas to test for dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity/clarity and temperature. Students will then enter their findings into a global database. Both World Water Monitoring Day and Shemini Atzeret, a water holiday where Jews in Israel and around the world pray for rain for the coming harvest, will both be celebrated on Oct. 18. Incidentally, the date also marks the 30th anniversary of the American Clean Water Act.
Local schools participating in World Water Monitoring Day include Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School and Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles. -- SSR