Woodbury Jewish Center is proud to boast one of the largest religious schools on Long Island with a student population of 200 children and a faculty of 19 dedicated and innovative teachers. In the fall of 2002, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism presented the religious school with two awards recognizing the school for creative programming and Cantor Cohen’s Tefillah CD for a wonderful teaching aide for prayer instruction.
Students attend kindergarten, grades 1 and 2 one day per week. They are introduced to Jewish holidays, Bible stories, Hebrew letters and vocabulary, prayers, music and Israeli folk dancing. Their learning is experiential. The students create holiday projects, dramatize stories in the Torah and use different media (including baking) to learn letter sounds. They learn about mitzvot and enjoy their annual visit to Gurwin assisted living facility to entertain and bring gifts to the residents.
Children are required to be enrolled in religious school by grade 3 to qualify for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Students in Alef through Hey attend twice a week and follow a prescribed curriculum culminating in moving up exercises at the end of grade 7. The curriculum includes Hebrew, history, holidays, tefillah, music and ethics. Our Hebrew program includes enrichment classes for students highly motivated and academically gifted, as well as a reading club for students requiring reinforcement instruction. Students are consecrated during the Alef year of instruction and receive their siddur. Age 13, boys and girls become B’nai Mitzvah, sharing the same responsibilities for leading the service, rendering the Haftarah and delivering a speech on the significance of the weekly Torah reading.
Following Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students enroll in the community Hebrew high school, attending one evening per week. The program focuses on current Jewish issues, values clarification, ethics from the Bible and challenges facing Jewish teens. Our post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah graduates are also invited to become student teachers—assisting in the classes with young children, tutoring Hebrew and helping in the school office.
Children with special learning needs have the opportunity to receive a Jewish education at WJC. Special education classes, having small class registers, meet once a week for Hebrew, history, holidays and music. This program is available to students in grades 3-7 and culminates with a Bat/Bat Mitzvah.
WJC prides itself in the success of its children’s services: junior congregation for students in grades 3-7, youth congregation for kindergarten through grade 2 pupils and a Tot Shabbat group for pre-kindergarten youngsters. Students are required to attend a minimum of 10 services, but many attend many more. When students earn 10 service credits they become “minyanaires.” Students who attend 18 services become members of the Chai Club and upon attending their 25th service are admitted to the Zahav Club. A bowling party, miniature golf outing and a movie and dinner reinforce student achievement.
The success of the religious school may be measured by the high percentage of students who earn placement on the Honor Roll and Merit List for academic excellence. Three times a year, students and parent attend an awards’ assembly. Excellent attendance and punctuality are also recognized at these times.
Parents take an active role in their child’s religious education and Jewish experiences. They serve on the Education Committee, in the Parents Association and on the Youth Activities Committee. Many attend P.A.C.E. (Parent and Child Education) programs and adult education classes. They volunteer in the game room, assist in the office and take an active role during special programs for the children.
Woodbury Jewish Center Religious School provides a successful learning program and an enriching Jewish experience for its children because our clergy are involved, our lay leadership support the highest goals and standards for Jewish instruction, our teachers are caring and innovative and our students approach Jewish learning with respect and responsibility.
The goals of our Religious School are to prepare our children for life as practical functioning Conservative Jews who are skilled in Hebrew prayer reading, have an understanding of and feeling for Jewish rituals and ceremonies, recognize their place as a link in the history of our people, and are sensitive and committed to Jewish causes the world over. These goals are realized via a multi-interest approach to learning which includes texts, songs, arts and crafts, audiovisual materials, field trips, family programs and guest speakers.
We also stress the observance of Shabbat with special programs tailored to every age group including Nursery Age Shabbat (pre-K); Youth Shabbat (K-2nd grade); and Junior Congregation (3rd-7th grade). Special incentive programs offer positive encouragement which fosters participation. Students who attend 10 services become Minyanaires and are invited to a Super Bowl Party at Syosset Lanes. Those attending 18 services participate in a Chai Club Miniature Golf Tournament and children who attend 25 or more services join the Principal at the Movies and for dinner.