Beth Chai: The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist CongregationBeth Chai: The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation

The Beth Chai Sunday School, Pre-K—8th Grade

School Overview

Our goal at Beth Chai is to encourage the development of a positive Jewish identity in our children by teaching Jewish history, culture, values, and traditions in a humanistic manner. As humanistic Jews, we want our children to know and understand traditional Judaism without feeling compelled to conform to any prescribed standard of practice or belief. We want our children to relate what they learn about Jewish history, culture, and values to their own lives. Our unique curriculum integrates history, ethics, and celebration into an age- and developmentally-appropriate program at each grade level from pre-kindergarten through the 8th grade, the final year being a Post-Mitzvah program for older children. Under the leadership of Education Director Roni Rosenthal, an active parents’ council, and eager and committed faculty, the school stresses equally the Jewish and humanist values of taking responsibility for our own actions, respecting all human beings, showing compassion for others, maintaining one's integrity, and working for tikkun olam (repair of the world).

Each school day begins with a half-hour congregation-wide music and song assembly, followed by a two-hour class session during which music, literature, art, dance, film, writing, and discussion may be used to engage children in activities that help them relate curriculum content to their lives in meaningful ways. Learning of Modern Hebrew, integrated throughout the school day, is geared to familiarity with simple spoken language. A short refreshment break is shared with parents and Adult Education participants.

The school is managed by the education director, acting as principal. However, it operates as a cooperative, with adult family members sharing volunteer responsibilities for refreshments, holiday celebration planning, and other tasks. Parents are welcome in the classroom and may be requested, and scheduled, to assist in their children's classes periodically. For each child a parent or other designated responsible adult must remain on campus during class time.

New students are always welcome at Beth Chai.  
For more information, contact Education Director Roni Rosenthal via email at education@bethchai.org.

Congregational membership is required. Please visit our Membership page for more information, including  fees.

Additional school information, including tuition rates, is available on our online registration site.