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

School Goals

Goals of Beth Chai Sunday School

  • To provide our students with positive experiences of learning about Jewish history, culture, values and traditions in a humanistic manner as a contribution to the development of their Jewish identity.
  • To encourage independent thinking in all our students, embodying our humanist and Jewish values of respect for all.
  • To encourage our students to apply their new knowledge to their everyday life.
  • To include the following values in all we do: personal responsibility for our actions, respect for all human beings, co-operation, compassion, courage, integrity, peace, justice.

 Goals in the Teaching of the Jewish Holidays

  • For our students to live a rich Jewish life by celebrating the Jewish holidays in ways meaningful to them and their families.
  • For our students to know the symbols, history, and deeper meanings of the holidays.
  • For the holidays to become a context for discussions of Jewish values and an opportunity to exemplify living a life of integrity, generosity, and goodness.
  • For the holidays to provide a sense of joy and connection with family and the Jewish People.

Goals in Teaching Jewish History

  • To foster a sense of connection to the Jewish People.
  • To foster a sense of appropriate pride in the accomplishments of the Jewish people.
  • To help students understand the contribution that Jewish values have made to Jewish survival.
  • To help students understand how the value of tikkun olam has influenced the actions of Jews throughout our history.
  • To foster a sense of empathy for oppressed peoples, for minorities, and for immigrants.

Goals in Teaching Bible

  • To continue to have these stories and texts be an integral part of the students’ consciousness as they have been for generations of Jews.
  • To encourage students to question and interpret the stories, analyzing the actions of the characters and the consequences of those actions, and speculating on how they themselves would have acted or felt in similar circumstances.
  • To include both universal and particular values in these discussions.
  • To use these stories and texts to inform our students about the lives and values of their ancestors.
  • To use these stories and other teachings as a springboard for discussions of morals and the students’ own values.
  • To let our students know that Jews have always interpreted, argued about, and embellished these texts  — that is, to make them aware that Jews do not read the Bible literally.
  • Through all of the above to foster an appreciation of the rich Jewish tradition and a connection to the Jewish people.