Raker Religious School

Temple Solel's Raker Religious School is an environment in which Jewish children and parents can comfortably explore their heritage, history, values and culture. We also provide support for our teachers so that they can explore their own Jewish identities, have a better understanding of Judaism, including holiday celebrations, prayers, sacred books, and God, and evolve professionally as Jewish educators.

We offer two classes for Preschoolers: Ganeinu, for toddlers and parents, meets one Sunday of every month from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm. The class focuses on Jewish holidays through crafts, songs and stories. Parparim, for our Pre-K students, will meet two Sundays per month. The curriculum includes Bible stories, holidays and Jewish symbols and the concepts of mitzvot and tzedakah.

Our comprehensive curriculum integrates Hebrew prayers and Judaic studies for all students, beginning in Kindergarten and through 8th grades. We study T'filah (Prayer), Israel, God, and the Jewish world in which we live. There are many components to these subjects, and none stands alone. They all overlap and are enmeshed! These components include Hebrew, Torah, holidays, mitzvot, ritual, values and history. We believe in a multi-faceted presentation of information designed to engage all types of learners and we are thrilled that our teachers bring to the table a wide variety of teaching styles and skills. Art, music, stories, videos, texts, use of technology and field trips, as well as use of traditional texts, bring our subjects to life. Parents and siblings are brought into the process through family education programs, off-site field trips and guest speaker special events and activities.

All of our students in Kindergarten through 7th grade meet on Sunday mornings. Our 8th graders meet once a month on Sundays for grade specific exploration of Jewish leadership, topics relating to tolerance and contemporary Jewish issues they would like to discuss. Eighth graders are also offered hands-on opportunities with religious school teachers and students as a preview of opportunities available as teaching assistants for 9th- 12th graders. All students in 4th grade through 7th grade also attend classes on Wednesday afternoons. Students in 4th- through 8th grades participate in our annual Temple Solel Youth Retreat, held in October in Prescott, AZ. The Retreat is open to all Temple Solel 4th through 8th grade students, regardless of whether they are enrolled in Raker Religious School or not.

Solel's Teaching Assistant Team is for students in 9th through 12th grades who are interested in assisting teachers in our religious school classrooms. High school students interested in becoming TAs complete an application and are placed based on experience, age preference and classroom need. Training is held in late August and ongoing opportunities to develop leadership skills are offered throughout the school year. Teaching assistants are paid, however students may opt to forego pay and utilize their hours in the classroom for community service obligations. In addition to keeping our teenagers connected to the congregation and Jewish life, we hope the program helps to grow future religious school teachers, as well as future leaders for the Jewish community.

Solel 10th graders come together for Confirmation Class that meets every Tuesday at the community wide Hebrew High School held at the JCC. Rabbi Linder, Rabbi Mills and Director of Education Tricia Ginis teach this class which focuses on how Judaism can serve as a compass, helping to navigate through life. The class will have field trips, a trip to The Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C., for the L'Taken Social Justice seminars and will culminate with a Confirmation ceremony which is reflective of the time spent learning throughout the year.

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