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Family Handbook: A to Z Guide


An alphabetical overview of all things related to the Religious School…

a
ARRIVAL
The Goldsmith Religious School Building of Congregation Emanu-El is located at 10 East 66th Street. Unless otherwise noted, students enter and leave from this location only. Classes start at 9:30 AM on Sundays and 4 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. Please make every attempt to have your child arrive to school on time. Latecomers should go directly to their first period location without causing any disruption to the class in session.

A-TEEM
A-TEEM: The Assistant Temple Emanu-El Madrichim (Leaders) program provides an opportunity for leadership and involvement in administrative and academic components of the Religious School. A-TEEM is a learning, working and teaching leadership program geared to involve 9th through 12th graders in all aspects of Religious School activities. For more information or to participate, please contact Rachel Brumberg.

ATTENDANCE
It is critical that each student attend class on a regular basis in order to learn the material covered throughout the year. We therefore expect that students be present every week that school is in session. In the event that a student must miss a session, please contact the Religious School office in advance so that we may notify the teacher and arrange for appropriate make-up work as needed. If we are not notified of an absence in advance, please expect a phone call from your child’s teacher to make sure that everything is okay at home.

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b
BAR/BAT MITZVAH
Being called to the Torah as a bar or bat mitzvah provides an opportunity for communal recognition of a major milestone in the lives of our families. Approximately 60 children will celebrate becoming a bar or bat mitzvah this year at Temple Emanu-El. Members have the opportunity of participating either at the public worship service on Shabbat morning or at a private family service that may be scheduled Saturday afternoon or evening. There is no “doubling up”; only one child becomes a bar/bat mitzvah at a given service. Parents may choose a date if their child is enrolled in the Religious School and is at least 10 years old or in fourth grade. To schedule a date, or to ask specific questions about the process, please contact our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Coordinator. To discuss issues related to the preparation and ritual of calling a bar/bat mitzvah to the Torah, including tutoring, please contact Rabbi Amy Ehrlich.

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c
CELL PHONES
Students are requested to keep cell phones OFF during Religious School hours. Should you and your child need to make contact, you can reach each other through the Religious School office: (212) 744-1400, ext. 226.

CLERGY
Through participation in schoolwide events, classroom teaching visits and private tutoring sessions, all members of the clergy play an active role in the Religious School and education of our students.

CONDUCT
Our school is one in which all individuals, whether students or staff members, expect to be treated fairly and with respect. All of our students, from youngest to oldest, are participants in the creation of an environment conducive for learning. Students are expected to be courteous and respectful at all times, to cooperate with teachers, and to follow class rules. In the older grades, students take greater responsibility for setting the classroom norms that allow them to most benefit from each lesson. We expect our students to take their role as stakeholders in the learning experience seriously by arriving ready to fully participate in class each week. If any student’s behavior interferes with a classmate’s ability to learn, we understand this to mean that the student is excluding him or herself from the classroom community.

CONFIRMATION
The High School Confirmation Program, available to high school students in 9th through 12th grades, is a series of eight structured yet informal educational sessions or “steps” over the course of the academic year. Each step in the journey towards confirmation combines text study, experiential education and personal reflection with community- and character-building activities. Students are expected to attend all sessions. The year concludes with the confirmation ceremony, generally as part of the congregational celebration of Shavuot.

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d
DISMISSAL
School ends at 12 PM on Sundays and 6 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. Unless otherwise noted, dismissal is from the lobby of the Goldsmith Religious School Building of Congregation Emanu-El, located at 10 East 66th Street. For the security and safety of all children, parents and caregivers must come into the building lobby to collect their children. No student will be allowed to leave Religious School unescorted or prior to daily dismissal without written permission from the child’s legal guardian. In case of an emergency or a last-minute change, call the Religious School office at (212) 744-1400, ext. 226 for instructions. If a student has not been picked up within 15 minutes of the end of school, the student will be brought up to the Religious School office until a parent or guardian arrives. As soon as you know that your child will require a late pick-up, please contact the office so that we can make proper arrangements. Please note that late pick-up is in the lobby of One East 65th Street. Please see the sections on “Early Dismissal” and “Flash Passes” for related information.

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e
EARLY DISMISSAL
If a student will need to leave school early, please contact the Religious School office in advance by phone or email or send your child to school with a note. Please indicate the time that your child will be leaving and whether or not your child has your permission to travel from the classroom to the lobby unaccompanied. Students leaving early must carry a green flash pass or be escorted by an adult with a red flash pass. Please note that, for the safety of our students, under no circumstances will we allow a student to leave early without written or verbal permission from the child’s parent or guardian.

EARLY ROOM
Students arriving early will be supervised in our Early Room, beginning at 9:15 AM on Sundays and 3:30 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Early Room is located in Blumenthal Hall, which is one flight down from the lobby. A light snack is available.

EIGHTH GRADE TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS
Al Ta’amod — Don’t be a bystander…bear witness! Eighth graders from Temple Emanu-El, Temple Israel, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and Temple Shaaray Tefila will travel together for this exciting and meaningful trip where we will help rebuild the city of New Orleans, hear from Jewish and non-Jewish residents about Hurricane Katrina, and experience the various cultures of New Orleans, including live jazz music and a voodoo tour. Note: There is an additional fee of $850 for the New Orleans trip, which covers costs for airfare, hotel, meals and activities.

eMANu-el
Put the “man” in eMANu-el! Led by Rabbi Zeidman, eMANu-el is a cutting-edge program just for Eighth Grade guys. This innovative program involves games, movies, sports and looking at what it means to be a Jewish man. It’s about friendship, hanging out, eating and talking. We’ll learn who we are as guys — and we’ll do it outside of the classroom. Have fun, be active and make meaningful friendships rooted in our Jewish heritage. This is your chance to have a great time, connect with friends new and old, and be part of an exciting new program! eMANu-el meets once a month on a day and time chosen by the group.

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f
FACULTY
We endeavor to build a faculty of distinction, by hiring creative, passionate professionals to be our educators, who model the values and ideas of the community and inspire a journey of lifelong learning. Through faculty meetings, supervision, evaluation and professional development opportunities, faculty members will have the opportunity to learn and grow as educators.

FAMILY
We believe that when our students participate together with their families in learning experiences, worship and communal holiday celebrations they get more out of them, make more friends and simply have more fun. In all our programs, we create an environment in which families can explore Judaism together while forging strong connections to the Emanu-El community. And for families with children preparing to become a bar or bat mitzvah, we offer a series of “mini-retreats” in the three years leading up to this life cycle event. There are many opportunities each and every month to learn, volunteer, worship and socialize with other families. If you have any questions, comments or an idea for something that you would like to see happen here at Emanu-El, please contact our Coordinator of Faculty and Family Engagement.

FLASH PASSES
In order to ensure the safe dismissal of our students, we require families to provide on our student registration form the names of any adults who have permission to pick up their child or to indicate that their child may exit unaccompanied. Families will receive a sufficient number of “red” flash passes to accommodate any adults who have such permission. These flash passes must be shown to the security guard upon exiting the building at dismissal. Students who are allowed to leave on their own will receive a “green” flash pass, which must be presented by the student upon dismissal. If a student’s dismissal information changes or if you need additional flash passes, then please contact the Religious School office.

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h
HEALTH & LEARNING ISSUES
We strive to create and maintain a healthy environment. If your child has any special health or learning needs, then please let us know by speaking with someone in the office or by documenting special needs on the registration form.

HOMEWORK
In grades 3 and up, it is typical for students to receive a modest amount of homework each week. For our history classes, students are generally asked to prepare readings in advance. This enables classroom time to be used more efficiently and enriches discussions of the topic at hand. For Hebrew classes, students are asked to review whatever new material has been studied that week, as repetition is a critical component of language acquisition. All students are expected to complete the homework assignments and to come prepared for class after an absence. While the actual time required to complete assignments will vary, if your child is spending an inordinate amount of time doing homework, then you should contact your child’s teacher(s).

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i
ISRAEL TRIP
Temple Emanu-El periodically organizes a trip to Israel that is designed to be equally appropriate for adults and kids, family and friends. We explore Israel from the Negev Desert to the Golan Heights, from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and everywhere in-between. No trip is planned for 2013. However, we encourage you to read our Israel Journal from our most recent trip.

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j
JUNIOR CHOIR
Temple Emanu-El’s Junior Choir was developed to introduce students to the spirited and inspiring Jewish music of our heritage and to help connect them to the Temple and their faith. Junior Choir members perform at various Temple services and onsite events. As part of our Sunday Religious School program, Cantor Lori Corrsin leads our student choir for children who like to sing and dance. This is an extracurricular activity that meets at noon for pizza and song following regular classes. If you are interested in the Junior Choir, please contact Cantor Lori Corrsin.

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k
KIPPAH/YARMULKE
Temple Emanu-El is a Reform Jewish congregation. When it comes to ritual traditions, we support personal choice based on learning, reflection and experimentation. In that spirit, students in our Religious School experiment with the wearing of kippot and other Jewish traditions. Kippot are available for use in our prayer spaces, so that students and parents will have the opportunity to make their own choice about whether to wear one or not each time they enter a prayer service. Students always are welcome to bring their own kippah from home. Senior Rabbi Joshua Davidson notes: “The kippah...a custom, not a commandment...instills humility before the Almighty, reminding us of God above.” Learn more about Temple Emanu-El’s approach to ritual from Rabbi Davidson’s Rosh Hashanah 2013 sermon »

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l
LIBRARY
Temple Emanu-El’s Stettenheim Library is open during Religious School hours. We invite parents and caregivers to spend time in the library and make use of the library’s online computers, study carrels and gracious Klau Reading Room. The Stettenheim Library maintains a collection of more than 13,000 items focusing on materials about Jews and Judaism. The library provides Judaica materials and relevant programming to enhance the religious and intellectual life of the congregation’s members and staff. The children’s book collection serves children from toddlers through the teens as well as their parents. Through class visits to the library, teachers and our librarian, Elizabeth Stabler, utilize appropriate books and media to expose the Religious School students to Jewish holidays, Israel, Bible heroes, folktales, fiction, the Holocaust, contemporary biographies, mitzvot and other Jewish values. The library also has a media collection including recorded books, DVDs and videos, and music CDs. Please consider becoming a library volunteer while your children are in Religious School. Contact our Temple Librarian for more information.

LOST & FOUND
Lost-and-found items are kept in the Religious School office. If an item is found without identifying information, then please bring it to the Religious School office. If you lose something, then contact the Religious School office as soon as possible, and we will make every effort to recover the lost item.

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m
MAILINGS
We endeavor to keep you informed about all that is going on in the school and our programs for Emanu-El families, but at the same time we try to limit the amount of paper we use over the course of the year. If you would prefer to receive the majority of our communications by email only, then please indicate this on your registration form, or contact the Religious School Office. Please remember to update the office if your contact information — particularly email address — changes.

MEMBERSHIP
In order to register a student for the Religious School of Congregation Emanu-El, the student’s legal guardian must be a member of the congregation. For membership information, please contact the Temple Office or download an application.

MITZVAH CORPS
The Mitzvah Corps program is a wonderful opportunity for seventh and eighth graders because it helps students find immediate relevance to their Jewish studies. Mitzvah Corps students put Jewish teaching into practice by participating regularly in hands-on community-service opportunities. In this program, students will learn how to make the world a better place based on Jewish teaching and then volunteer with reputable organizations that confront important social issues affecting the world today. Students gain a sense of self worth, community and Jewish identity by working together and following Jewish teaching to make the world a better place. For more information, contact our Youth Director.

MUSEUM
The Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica of Temple Emanu-El features three galleries of Jewish art, religious ornaments and Temple memorabilia that are noted for their striking beauty and rarity. Our teachers and Senior Curator Elka Deitsch create a hands-on, interactive experience using the museum’s collection to explore Jewish history and tradition. Using the resources of the museum and the Temple, we seek to enhance the classroom experience for our students as well as strengthen their link to Emanu-El’s history.

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o
OFFICE HOURS
During the school year, office hours for the Department of Lifelong Learning are:
• Sunday 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
• Monday 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
• Tuesday 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
• Wednesday 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
• Thursday 9:30 AM – 5 PM
Please note that we are closed on Fridays and Saturdays
as well as legal and Jewish holidays.

During summer vacation, our office is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30 AM – 5 PM and Friday, 9:30 AM – 3 PM.

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p
PARENTS ASSOCIATION
Our Religious School has had a long history of active parent participation and dedication. The Parents Association is the forum for parents to work with the clergy and the staff of the Department of Lifelong Learning to plan, publicize and run activities for synagogue families of Religious School age. Events that have been organized by the Parent Association in the past include Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations, informal gatherings in the homes of congregants and the annual Purim Carnival. Our hope is that for every class in the school, one or two parents will volunteer to serve as “class parents,” supporting the participation of other families in their grade and also providing a means by which all parents may voice suggestions and concerns about our programs. The agenda for the Parents Association is set by the Parents Association Steering Committee. Their primary concern is to build community among the families of the school and the synagogue. To get involved, please contact the Parents Assocation.

PHOTOGRAPHS
Throughout the year, both in class and at special events, we take photographs of our students and their families. These photographs are used for our end-of-the-year slideshow at our closing assemblies. We also post photographs of school and family activities on sections of the congregational website. It is our policy to not identify any children by name in our materials. If you do not wish for Congregation Emanu-El to use photographs of your child on our website or in our publicity, then please indicate this on your registration form or contact the Religious School Office.

PLACEMENT
Students will be placed in classes according to grade, class size and previous Hebrew background. To build classroom community, we endeavor to honor students’ requests to be placed with friends. Final decisions regarding placement are made by the Director of Lifelong Learning. Those wishing to discuss their child’s placement should contact the Religious School Office.

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r
RECYCLING
Each classroom has a box for paper recycling. Plastic and glass recycling will continue to be collected in the blue recycling bins located in the Religious School classroom hallways.

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL DINNERS
Throughout the school year we hold Shabbat dinners open to Religious School families and their guests. These dinners provide an opportunity for our community to meet and socialize. Dinners are appropriate for all age groups, and age-appropriate activities for the students (such as Israeli dancing, art projects, story telling and games) are offered at each dinner. There is a modest fee for these meals ($35 per family before the registration deadline, $50 after the deadline has past), and reservations are required.

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL WITH HONORS
Religious School With Honors was created to acknowledge the important part our students play in the Temple Emanu-El community above and beyond the time that they are with us for our regular weekly program. We know that living in New York City provides many opportunities to do just about anything you want at any given moment. And, we appreciate that so many of you choose to join Temple Emanu-El for events outside of Religious School hours. This is our way of recognizing your ongoing commitment to our community.

To qualify for Religious School With Honors at Congregation Emanu-El, students in grades K-6 must fill out the Application Form and submit it to the Religious School office for approval. Students need to earn five points to achieve Honors status; forms may be submitted as soon as this is achieved. Points are earned by attending Temple events outside of Religious School hours or by participating in certain programs.

ROSH HODESH
For girls in seventh grade, Rosh Hodesh is a “girls only” group that meets monthly on or near the new moon to munch, talk, do ritual, learn, and feel comfortable, Jewish and good about ourselves. Rosh Hodesh meets one Sunday evening a month.

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s
SCHEDULE
The Religious School schedule is as follows:
• Sundays, 9:30 AM – 12 PM, Kindergarten – 6th Grade
• Mondays, 4 PM – 6 PM, Kindergarten – 4th Grade
• Wednesdays, 4 PM – 6 PM, 5th through 6th Grades

Our Mitzvah Corps, Lirdof Tzedek and Confirmation programs have separate schedules; please visit the Emanu-El website for the full calendar for the year.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS
Closings as a result of inclement weather are broadcast on WCBS Radio (880 AM) and appear online at www.cbs880.com as Congregation Emanu-El in Manhattan. We also notify Religious School families via email; please make sure that we have your current email address on file. Or, parents may call the Religious School office at (212) 744-1400, ext. 226.

SECURITY/SAFETY
All security procedures are enforced strictly at all times. Please be advised that our security officers have the right, at any time, to inspect any individual as he or she enters or exits either the Marvin and Elisabeth Cassell Community House (One East 65th Street), the Temple Sanctuary (Fifth Avenue and 65th Street) or the Goldsmith Religious School Building (10 East 66th Street). The Religious School provides security and safety supervision for students arriving/departing by bus or by car, as well as for students arriving by foot to 10 East 66th Street. The Temple cannot maintain security for those students being dropped off or picked up at any other location.

SENIOR YOUTH GROUP
The Senior Youth Group provides a great way to make friends, experience Jewish cultural identity and live Jewish values through a wide variety of events ranging from a dinner at Sammy’s Roumanian Restaurant to a “Midnight Run” around NYC tending to the homeless. Students report a direct correlation between their level of participation and feeling connected with friends and the larger Emanu-El community.

SENIOR YOUTH GROUP BOARD
Temple Emanu-El’s Senior Youth Group Board is the heart of our Grade 9-12 community. This select group of teen leaders meets regularly to organize and run activities for their fellow high school peers. In doing so, these students develop leadership skills, strengthen their Jewish identity and values while making lifelong friends.

SHABBAT KODESH
At Shabbat Kodesh, worship in Hebrew is made accessible though lively music and English explanations. The service is similar to the tefilah conducted in our Religious School each week and enables our students to build a prayer community with their families, friends and other Emanu-El members. Services are followed by an Oneg Shabbat with food, drink and time to socialize.

SLEEPOVERS
An exciting new tradition within the Religious School is the annual sleepovers at the Temple for fifth through eighth graders. At each event, students enjoy a wonderful celebration of staying up late, making new friends, bonding with existing friends, and experiencing a Jewish holiday and their Temple in a new and truly unique and meaningful way. These events always are talked about for months, and they help build a strong bond among classmates.

SNACK/FOOD
A light snack is provided for all students in the classroom during school and in the Early Room prior the start of school. Students also may bring a small snack from outside, preferably to be eaten prior to the start of the school day. Because of food and airborne allergies, we endeavor to keep our building free of nuts and foods containing nut products. Please note that food and beverages are not permitted in the Lowenstein Auditorium or in the Temple Sanctuary.

STUDENT COUNCIL
The Religious School’s Student Council has been meeting since 1965, and Rabbi Zeidman serves as advisor. The Student Council consists of student representatives from grades 4 through 6. Rerpresentatives meet approximately once a month on Sunday mornings, prior to regular class sessions. The council acts as a voice of student opinon, takes responsibility for the selection of recipients of the school’s tzedakah collection and organizes the student newspaper, The Prophet’s Voice.

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TEEN BENEFIT COMMITTEE
From venue to invitations, teens arrange every detail and put together a fabulous party for themselves and their friends while raising money for a fantastic charitable organization. The Temple-sponsored Teen Benefit is completely planned, produced and attended by teens. The planning committee is open to all Emanu-El high school students (grades 9-12). Committee members are required to attend all meetings, work on their designated responsibilities, present ideas to the committee, sell tickets and contribute enthusiastically at all times. Although the committee works hard throughout the year, monthly group dinners and a successful spring event make it a worthwhile investment. Community-service hours may be available. Committee meetings begin in the fall. The Teen Benefit is open to all high school students.

TEEN VOLUNTEER WEEKEND
Every year, high school students from Emanu-El participate in a weekend-long volunteer experience. In 2009, we traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild a great American city. In 2010, we volunteered in New York City. In 2011, we traveled to the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC. And, in 2012, we helped rebuild houses damaged by tornadoes in Birmingham, Ala. Information about our 2013 trip will be forthcoming.

TEFILAH/WORSHIP
An integral part of the Religious School curriculum is tefilah (worship). Our goal is for our students to become familiar with the Reform liturgy, to understand the prayers and their meanings, and to be able to pray in a variety of Jewish communal settings. Each Religious School session for grades 3 through 7 includes tefilah. Students in Kindergarten through second grade begin to learn the prayers through their music curriculum. Parents and other adult members of a student’s family always are welcome to join us for tefilah.

TIKKUN OLAM
Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) offers Temple members of all ages a wide variety of opportunities to volunteer to help those less fortunate in the community. Information about Mitzvah Day and other programs can be found on the Temple website. Questions should be directed to the Tikkun Olam Committee.

TUITION/REGISTRATION FEES
For the 2014-2015 school year, annual tuition for each child enrolled in the Religious School is $1,125. (There is a $50 discount for families who return registration forms and payment before July 31, 2014). This includes all costs for books and supplies. These fees support all of the family-oriented programs organized by the Department of Lifelong Learning, including Shabbat Kodesh services, our youth groups and the Congregational Purim Carnival. All fees associated with the Congregation Emanu-El Religious School are nonrefundable. All billing issues are handled by the Temple’s membership office. Fees for registration in the Religious School are in addition to membership dues. Please note that in order to hold the date on our calendar, any child who is becoming a bar or bat mitzvah at Congregation Emanu-El must be enrolled in our Religious School.

TZEDAKAH
The mitzvah of charitable giving is an integral part of our Religious School program. Our goal is for our students to see themselves both as advocates for organizations whose work they value and as young philanthropists. Tzedakah is collected weekly during school. Recipient organizations are chosen by the Student Council.

TZEDEK LEAGUE (8th Grade Mitzvah Program)
At the end of seventh grade, students who became Mitzvah Messengers (by earning 18 points in Mitzvah Corps) choose one issue to explore in depth. By choosing one mitzvah for study, volunteering with the same organization throughout the year and studying timeless Jewish wisdom about the issue, students develop their ability to be leaders and inspire the Emanu-El community to respond to the issue they’ve chosen. Tzedek League (“Pursuit of Justice”) includes direct community service along with learning and reflection sessions. Students also run fundraisers, educational campaigns and communitywide events. The program concludes with students meeting with local government officials to advocate on behalf of the organization they selected. For more information, contact our Youth Director.

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VOLUNTEERING
There are so many events that go on in the Religious School and Temple over all, sometimes we need a few extra hands. Not only can volunteering result in much needed help to the Temple, it also can strengthen your connection to the Emanu-El community. If you are interested in learning about the many opportunities to volunteer in the school and beyond (preparing mailings, assembling holiday gifts, running a booth at the Purim Carnival, helping with registration, chairing an event, working in the library, ushering during High Holy Days, Mitzvah Day projects and more!), then please contact Rachel Brumberg.

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WEBSITE
Up-to-date information about our programs and calendar can be found on our award-winning Temple website. Download materials, learn about upcoming events and read weekly Torah commentaries.

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