Overview of Youth Programming
Kindergarten is a celebration of creation, as students are invited to discover all that is holy in the world around them by making contributions to the “Natural Wonders” table with a weekly round of “Show and Kvell.” Students also build on their emerging Hebrew vocabulary through dedicated weekly Hebrew class and frequent song sessions.
First Grade marks the formal introduction to Jewish learning with Consecration, where students receive their very own illustrated Torah during Shabbat services. Students explore Jewish holidays, ritual objects, heroes, and synagogue life. Shabbat observance includes a Shabbat backpack that goes home with a new student each week.
Second Grade begins a two-year cycle of Torah study. Hebrew lessons are supplemented through midrashim, or stories, that relay Jewish values to each letter of the aleph-bet as well as the chance for weekly online practice.
Third Grade continues the discovery of ancient Biblical stories. Students will also learn related Hebrew vocabulary as they explore ideas of God and humanity, and the ongoing interaction and covenant between us all.
Fourth Grade begins a journey into the land of Israel, where students encounter the people, places, food, and other cultural and historical experiences that have shaped our Jewish homeland. Our 4th graders conclude this year as hosts of the community-wide 1st grade program “Shalom, Israel!” ~ a virtual trip to Eretz Yisrael.
Fifth Grade concentrates on Jewish middot (values) and how the teachings of the Jewish prophets apply to modern-day life. Students will consider the dual role of prophecy ~ to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable ~ paying particular attention to the call of our congregation’s namesake to “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.”
Sixth Grade explores the Shabbat morning service and the sacred process of studying Torah. Whether or not students plan to participate in the official B’nai Mitzvah program, all students become Bar or Bat Mitzvah at age 13. Here, students learn the history and symbolism behind the prayer service, as well as critical tools for reading and interpreting Torah texts. Parents participate in several sessions, learning to join with their children and “come to Torah together – b’yachad.” Students also look to historical fiction and the ketuvim to support their understanding of Jewish tradition and wisdom.
Seventh Grade focuses on the power of living a life of mitzvot, as encountered through the rich Reform tradition of “informed choice.” Students consider the commandments conceptually; the question of what it means to be “commanded;” and the challenges and rewards of observing certain commandments to their secular lives Students will plan and participate in several social action projects over the course of the year. Additionally, students and parents participate in the URJ’s Sacred Choices sexual ethics program.
Eighth Grade incorporates a photography curriculum called “Jewish Lens” as a unique way to interpret and apply the teachings of Torah. Students create and publish their work in order to share with the larger congregation.
Ninth Grade applies Jewish ethics to current topics such as cloning, the death penalty, euthanasia, etc.
Tenth Grade (Confirmation) is a special experience through which students are challenged to reflect upon how they define and practice their Judaism while also engaging with traditional and comparative texts from other faith traditions. Students conclude the year by leading a special Shabbat morning service and traveling to New York City.
CHAI Society (11th & 12th) keeps high school students engaged beyond Confirmation as madrichim and through MiTY (youth group) membership. Eleventh graders have a special opportunity to travel to Israel with other teens from the larger Nashville community in the “Get Connected” program.
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs at Congregation Micah are individualized with tutoring geared to the specific needs and talents of each young person.
When a child becomes thirteen years of age, he or she is considered "responsible for the commandments." What does that mean? It means that a child takes his or her place in the chain of Jewish tradition, and assumes responsibility for his or her actions and thoughts in the Jewish community.
Believe it or not, this happens with or without a bar/bat mitzvah ceremony. So, why bother with the ceremony? A bar or bat mitzvah ceremony is a time for a child to stand before his or her community and make a statement - an intentional statement of pride and integrity.
The Religious School is part of the larger Micah community. One does not need an invitation to celebrate as part of the community at a bar or bat mitzvah. In fact, it is perhaps even a greater mitzvah to come and support a child who is taking on this responsibility - just come as an unconditionally loving and supportive member of the community. That's what it is all about…see you there!
Micah Midweek is a great opportunity for our 4th – 6th grade families to worship and study with our rabbis while preparing to lead services in honor of their bar or bat mitzvah. Hebrew classes, minchah service, and pizza dinner are all included following the schedule below:
Midweek Schedule (Wednesdays):
4:30 - 5:20 "Cohort Class" with the Rabbis
5:20 - 5:40 Minchah Service - everyone is welcome
5:40 - 6:00 Dinner and Birkat HaMazon
6:00 - 7:00 4th and 5th Grade Hebrew Class