SULAM Top 10 Reasons

Leave your Baggage at the Door…
Top 10 Reasons why SULAM is NOT your parents’ Hebrew School
I often talk with families who are investigating Hebrew School options for their children. Temple Chayai Shalom has a reputation for providing exemplary educational opportunities for our members. As a way to get to get a better sense of what people are looking for, I ask them to share a little about their own experience with Hebrew School. Many share the same sentiment: they hated it! Common stories revolve around boring classes, crazy schedules that precluded participation in other activities, out of touch teachers, scary rabbis, behavior issues and more. When I hear how deeply people feel impacted by their own experiences, I am often amazed that they decide religious education is a priority for their own children. The parents I speak to want to know what education at SULAM looks like and if it will be different than their own experiences.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons

10. Opportunities for Formal and Informal Learning for Adults and Children
An expressed value of SULAM is that learning is a lifelong endeavor. We know that some learning happens in a formal setting, in a classroom or in a lecture hall. We also know that some of our most valuable learning happens through experience and interactions with others. We might learn something from the person standing next to us in line at the grocery checkout or from a friend with whom we share a meal. SULAM offers a variety of entry points for adults and children to continue their learning in interesting and engaging ways.

9. Real life Work for Real Life Purpose
Students learn about Jewish life and values in an integrated and authentic way. They do work that is directly related to their lives. Our goal is to help students make connections between our ancient tradition and how the teachings are applicable to modern life. Through our Project Based Learning Model of instruction, students work collaboratively with classmates and experts in a field of study, ultimately presenting a product that offers genuine value to a targeted audience.

8. Strong and Connected Community
SULAM is about building connections to members of the TCS community, to the land of Israel and the people Israel (Jews of the world), and to Jewish wisdom. We offer experiences that foster Jewish identity and social relationships for people of all ages.

7. Empowered Students
Students are very savvy. They have strong opinions about the world around them and about issues they care about. At SULAM we empower our students to be the drivers of their educational experience. We want to hear from them. We value their ideas and encourage them to take the lead, presenting ideas to their classmates – acting as informal teachers. We want them to know that they own their Jewish experience and that SULAM will support and guide them on their journeys.

6. Investment in Professional Development for Teachers
SULAM believes that working with our professional teachers is the best insurance that our students will receive an exemplary education. We work with our teaching staff on targeted areas to improve their practice. We bring in experts in the field as consultants and work as an educational team to create a plan for implementation at TCS.

5. Understanding of What Prayers Mean
Helping students make a connection to the meaning of prayer is just as important as being able to fluently recite the words. Our tradition teaches the importance of the spoken word. In the prayer that opens the Psukei D’zimra (verses of praise) section of the morning service, we say, Baruch She’amar v’haya haolam – Praised is G-d whose word created the world! We want our students to be able to pray with kavvanah, with intentionality, and that can only happen when we take the time to explore meaning and make personal connection.

4. Small Group Instruction
We offer students the opportunity to gain proficiency in learning to read Hebrew in a small group setting. Our curriculum is designed to meet the diverse learning needs of our students. Our teachers and students develop close relationships, and weekly communication with families helps to bridge the gap between home and class.

3. Technology
We have the chance in 2015/16 to be connected to learning and to each other in ways we could only image even 10 years ago. SULAM is committed to connecting students to on-line resources that support and extend their learning at home. We communicate through email, Constant Contact, Facebook and Twitter and are working to create podcasts on subjects that are of interest to our community.

2. Flexible Scheduling
We are proud to meet the needs of busy 21st century families by offering our Hebrew Madorim program on a variety of days and at different times. This model helps to better meet the educational needs of our students while utilizing our space with the utmost efficiency. We work with families to make Jewish education possible, while respecting the fact that people have different circumstances and commitments in their lives.

1. Fun
We use a variety of strategies to create a warm, welcoming, and engaging program. You only need to come into the cafeteria at the Richardson/Olmsted School during our monthly Havdalah community gathering to see this in action. We have students and adults singing spiritedly about waking up a sleeping bird, wishing members of the community a happy birthday in English and Hebrew, and skipping around the room giving “high-fives” to others.


SULAM is interested in meeting members of our community where they are and helping to connect them in meaningful and authentic ways to Jewish learning and living. Come in and talk with families who already participate in SULAM or talk with our faculty and staff. We are always happy to answer questions.