Education Profiles


“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
—Albert Einstein

 

PORTLAND JEWISH ACADEMY
6651 SW Capitol Hwy.
Portland, OR
pjaproud.org | 503-244-0126

PJA students from 6 months through 8th grade thrive in an academically excellent environment that honors the whole child as it nurtures and inspires positive Jewish engagement, respect (kavod) and responsibility for the world.

“We are raising mensches – good people who think for themselves and work for the world,” says PJA Principal Merrill Hendin.

From the time they are very young, a child’s ability to inquire is nurtured. Students can explore areas of interest and make connections through PJA’s project-based program. A strong foundation in academics, ethics and values poises them to be leaders and learners in high school and beyond.

As a community Jewish day school, PJA’s integrated, project-based learning spans all subject areas. PJA’s arts program includes music, visual arts and drama. The Maker Space supports classroom learning and provides a place for students to explore, create and innovate. The new Learning Commons combines library and media arts, and provides flexible learning spaces. Physical education includes active games and team sports.

The school garden is one example of integrated learning. Students watch their seeds grow into food they can eat, use in cooking class, donate to those in need, measure in math and science classes, and write about in Hebrew, Spanish or general studies classes.

PJA’s strong, project-based focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) allows students to make real life connections.

PJA has incorporated anti-bias education and inclusion that ties in closely to the school’s Rodef Shalom (Pursuers of Peace) curriculum, which looks at constructive conflict through the lens of Jewish text and middot (values).

Collaborative and integrated learning gives students the foundation to “think for themselves and work for the world.”

 

MAAYAN TORAH DAY SCHOOL
2900 SW Peaceful Lane Portland, OR
PortlandJewishDaySchool.org
503-245-5568

Maayan Torah Day School has recruited a new rabbinic teaching couple, Rabbi Shalom and Chaviva Skolnik, to Portland to enhance the middle school.

Last year’s academic growth included a “Hands on Science” program that was a huge success. “The kids were enthralled with more science-related experiences,” says Principal Aviel Brodkin. “You could hear them ooh and ahh while conducting experiments!”

Accredited by AdvancED, Maayan offers academic excellence in Judaic and general studies for children from 18 months through eighth grade.

“Children in our school feel that they love being Jewish and this begins with experiences that start in our preschool,” says Brodkin.

That vibrant Jewish atmosphere with a focus on Torah study, Israel and living as Jews continues through eighth grade. “Maayan” is Hebrew for a spring of water; at Maayan, teachers seek to instill in each student the love of Torah as a wellspring in their lives.

In addition to the rich Jewish environment, Maayan offers a learner-centered education prioritizing students’ active involvement in acquiring knowledge.

“Our preschool builds ideas and imagination, teaches kids how to be a friend, and how much joy there is in learning,” says Brodkin.

In elementary school, teachers use the most current best teaching practices to engage students.

“Our students score high in academic areas because we use small groups to challenge students on multiple levels,” says Brodkin. “Parents speak of the sincere care of staff for students and individual attention. … Surveys showed that a majority of families spoke of how happy they are with their children’s development as above-grade-level readers and writers.”

“Good education and positive classrooms can inspire students to reach goals that they never before thought possible,” says General Studies Coordinator Rhonda Depew, who has an endorsement in early elementary special education. “Education has a way of opening new worlds of possibilities to students.

 

CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
1972 NW Flanders St.
Portland, OR
bethisrael-pdx.org/education
503-222-1069

At Congregation Beth Israel, students learn Jewish values and ideas, and then they put them into action.

Every year CBI’s high school students travel to Washington, D.C., to participate as lobbyists with the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. This year, our efforts focused on economic justice and climate change.

But putting values into action isn’t just for our oldest students. “Our teachers, clergy and staff are dedicated to partnering with families to create meaningful and joyful Jewish learning experiences,” says Education Director Ben Sandler. From pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade, as CBI students engage in ideas and draw values from Jewish texts, they become more connected to Judaism and each other as they apply those Jewish values to improving our world.

CBI’s pre-k through fifth-grade program is an arts-integrated curriculum that combines Jewish culture with core curriculum and Hebrew language studies. Through drama, music, visual arts, stories, and dance, our students build community, celebrate together, and explore their own ever-changing Jewish identities. Each week our learning community participates in a lively Mispacha Minyan, a family service with our dynamic clergy who integrate storytelling, humor, learning, dance, and music into the prayer experience.

“Our dedicated, engaged, and energized teachers and students, clergy, parents, and staff make CBI’s Religious School special,” says Sandler. “The people create a Jewish educational setting that is welcoming, interesting and fun.” CBI also has outstanding opportunities for teens to cultivate leadership skills and to connect socially with their Jewish peers throughout the Pacific Northwest: NFTY-affiliated senior and junior youth groups, Madrichim program, and Camp Sababa, our teen-led day camp.

Please contact Education Director Ben Sandler, Director of Youth and Young Family Engagement Chelsea Ferguson, or Education Administrator

Sarah Reiter to learn more about our Religious School and Early Childhood Education communities, classes, youth group opportunities, and family education.

 

THE NASHIRA EDUCATION PROJECT
Congregation Shir Tikvah
7550 NE Irving St., Portland
shirtikvahpdx.org
503-473-8227

Shir Tikvah was founded 15 years ago. The education program has grown from a handful of students to more than 80 between the ages of 5 and 13. The independent, progressive approach appeals to Portland families who are looking for a connection with other Jews and a place for their children to learn at their own pace and level.“We had the rare opportunity to create a program from scratch, which allows us more flexibility to adjust our teaching based on who walks through our doors,” says Education Director Katie Schneider. “What appeals to one set of kids might not work the next year. We want to nurture a life long love of Judaism and Jewish learning.”

The Nashira Education Project meets for classes on 18 Sundays a year at the Tucker Maxon School on Southeast Holgate Street, a space Shir Tikvah rents to accommodate the size of their group. The focus for younger students is holidays, stories, art and oral Hebrew. As they grow, the curriculum broadens to include Hebrew reading and project-based learning around mitzvot, tzedakah, history and Jewish culture. While kids are in class, Rabbi Ariel Stone leads a parent discussion group. “It’s that kind of direct access to her and each other that builds strong connections between families,” Schneider says.

Throughout the year, families gather at the synagogue building just north of Glisan for Shabbat and holiday celebrations. B’nai mitzvah students meet with tutors for a rich, individualized experience as they look forward to being called to the Torah for the first time.

Nashira Education Project classes start in October. For more information, contact education@shirtikvah.org.

 

CONGREGATION SHAARIE TORAH
920 NW 25th Ave., Portland, OR
The Carl Preschool:
thecarlschool.com | 503-226-6131 ext. 107
Education Program:
shaarietorah.org | 503-226-6131

“Shaarie Torah is a tight knit community; we know each and every family by name,” says Education Director Dorice Horenstein. “We thrive on the joy of being Jewish through learning stories from our past and infusing them with the influences of current events.”

Congregation Shaarie Torah, a Conservative synagogue in the heart of Northwest Portland, offers education programs for children, teens, adults and families. Weekday preschool, weekend religious school and exploration program, Wednesday night middle and high school classes all aim to foster Jewish identity and values.

Our Portland Jewish Explorers program invites children, grades Kindergaten-5th grade, and their parents to explore Portland with a unique Jewish twist! An out-of-the-box experience, we guide children out of the classroom and into environments that intrigue and excite, inspiring them to connect their Judaism to the broader world. From farm trips, safari adventures, yoga and storytelling, we’ve got something for everyone to enjoy.

“Engaging both parents and children, we seek to increase knowledge of our sacred texts, while teaching their relevance in today’s world,” says Horenstein. “Above all, we strive to foster in each member the ability and desire to live a Jewish life, a commitment to tikkun olam (repair the world) and a sense of joy in experiencing all that our heritage has to offer.”

 

KOL SHALOM CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
1509 SW Sunset Blvd., Ste. 1E
Portland, OR
kolshalom.org/childrens-education/
503-459-4210

Kol Shalom provides a Humanistic Jewish education for children. The purpose of our program is to enable students to:

• make meaningful and enjoyable connections to Jewish culture and heritage from a humanistic perspective
• learn Jewish history, ethics and traditions including holidays
• establish connections and relations with other Jewish children

Kol Shalom provides classes for 5- to 10-year-olds, which meet two Sundays per month at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. We also offer a two-year mitzvah program for students 10 to 12 years old. Classes for this group meet one Sunday per month at the Kol Shalom Center with outside of the class requirements. Tuition costs per year per student range from $125 to $300. Membership is required for the mitzvah program.

Many of students’ parents are from mixed cultural and religious backgrounds. While our education is Jewish, we respect other cultures. We teach open-mindedness and critical thinking.

Kol Shalom welcomes all who identify with the history, culture and fate of the Jewish people. We offer a way to be Jewish without requiring belief in a supernatural being or adherence to prescribed rituals. Our program does not include worship or prayer. We foster community by celebrating Jewish holidays, festivals and lifecycle events; providing education for all ages; and supporting social justice.

Kol Shalom is an affiliate of the national Society for Humanistic Judaism and has served the Portland metro area for more than years.

 

CONGREGATION NEVEH SHALOM
2900 SW Peaceful Lane, Portland, OR
Neveh Shalom ALIYAH program:
nevehshalom.org | 503-293-7309
Foundation School Preschool:
foundationschoolpdx.org | 503-293-7307

At Neveh Shalom, our goal is for children to feel at home in Judaism. From birth through high school we offer innovative and engaging educational experiences that nurture our children’s hearts, bodies and minds. Beginning with Tot Shabbat and Foundation School, our youngest learners are immersed in a joyful Jewish environment. Leah Conley leads Foundation School’s programs for children ages 12 months through pre-K. Kindergarten through 6th-graders in our ALIYAH program enjoy a large and vibrant youth community, led by our Director of Congregational Learning Mel Berwin. Hebrew, Jewish building blocks, mitzvot, lifecycle, holidays and electives such as music, arts, dance and Jewish history D&D are all part of the varied and active curriculum. Shabbat and holiday programming continues through the elementary ages leading students to the awesome milestone of becoming b’nai mitzvah.

Students in 7th-12th grades continue learning and social connection through in-depth conversation in Tichon, Neveh Shalom’s Wednesday night program for teens, and USY, which offers trips throughout the Northwest to connect with Jewish peers. Intergenerational and inter-communal programs bring together members across demographic groups and expand our children’s and families’ connections with each other. Our teachers care about the success of each student and create a learning environment that supports every child in his/her learning as well as in building a strong community of friends. Our program is dedicated to the inclusion and participation of every child in our community, so that all students can learn with and from each other.

 

BEIT HAVERIM RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
1111 Country Club Road
Lake Oswego, OR
beithav.org
503-310-9184

Beit Haverim offers an integrated interactive curriculum.
Classes meet most Sundays, 2:30- 4:30 pm.

Key components of our education program are: Avodah – holiday customs and rituals; Torah text and stories; G’milut Chasadim – living a mitzvah-centered life; Brachot – blessings; Middot – values t’fillah prayer and service; Tikkun Olam – social justice; and Midrash – storytelling and living history.

Bubbeleh Class Pre K-K: Belonging to community and developing positive Jewish identity. We provide age appropriate exposure to Jewish holidays, stories, music, song and crafts with time for unstructured play.

Grades 1-2: Building a relationship with Jewish faith and culture. Students experience and connect with Torah, mitzvot, holidays, customs, rituals and Jewish values.

Grades 3-4: Exploring connections with faith, history and Jewish prayer and practice: Students deepen their connection to Torah and connect to the community through mitzvot and tzedakah projects.

Grades 5-7: Inquiry, critical thinking and creative expression. Students examine Jewish history, ethics and values.

Confirmation Class: This Jewish enrichment class for post b’nai mitzvah students is led by Rabbi Alan Berg.

Hebrew is taught in every class; however, there is a dedicated Hebrew class for grades 4-7 from 4:30-5:30 pm, which includes our b’nai mitzvah preparation. A weekly T’fillah service is a part of our education program. This brief worship service lets students participate in synagogue prayers and find personal meaning in them.

Adult Studies: While students are in class, parents often meet in the Fireside Room for bagel chat, learning opportunities and social time.

 

HAROLD SCHNITZER FAMILY PROGRAM IN JUDAIC STUDIES
University of Oregon
Susan Campbell Hall, Rm 311
5273 University of Oregon • Eugene, OR
541-346-5288

Established in 1998, the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Oregon is an interdisciplinary program that provides a broad liberal-arts background in an intimate small-class setting. Graduates find careers in a wide range of professional fields from business and high-tech to law, communications and nonprofit administration. The program also prepares students for graduate work in Judaic studies, religious studies, archaeology and anthropology, as well as rabbinical and cantorial schools.

By its very nature, Judaic Studies touches all aspects and dynamics of the human experience, and is open to any and all students who wish to engage in the life of the mind. From Einstein to Kafka, from Messiaen to Lazarus, from Seinfeld to Silverman, our program illuminates the contributions Jewish artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers have made to world around them.

Most of our courses fulfill general education requirements, and several of our students opt to have a double major or minor in Judaic studies. Students can enhance their studies through participation in the university’s study abroad program, either in Israel or in countries in Western and Eastern Europe. The University of Oregon maintains reciprocity with Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technion in Haifa. Judaic Studies faculty and study abroad advisors are available to ensure that college credit is granted for coursework at any of the accredited programs in Israel and Europe.

Our world-class faculty includes professors from diverse disciplines: anthropology, art history, comparative literature, English, geography, German and Scandinavian, folklore, history, landscape architecture, music, philosophy, political science, religious studies, romance languages, sociology, and women’s and gender studies. Topics of study include American Jewish Cultures, Jewish Humor, Contemporary Jewish Literature, Holocaust Studies, Medieval Spain, Women and Judaism, Jews and Christians through the Centuries, Bible and Early Judaism, among others.

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