Frequently asked questions
Who are the stakeholders?
Congregation Beth Shalom and Congregation Rodef Shalom’s Boards are committed to providing a stellar supplemental Jewish educational program for our children. Involvement by representatives from our school community will be essential to this process.
How did J-JEP come about and why?
Lay Leaders and the Rabbis of both congregations began meeting in 2011 to discuss venues and opportunities for collaboration between the two congregations. During the course of discussions the leadership recognized that there were opportunities for adult and youth collaborative programs. The leaders along with the Rabbis constitute what is known as J-JEP’s Steering Committee.
The leadership team collaborated to develop ways that the religious school experience could be enriched by integrating our children in a Joint Jewish Educational Program.
Why did this collaboration begin? Who approved it?
Rabbi Bisno wrote an article about Courageous Conversations that appeared in The Jewish Chronicle. Rabbi Bisno called upon Jewish organizations to seek ways to work together. Beth Shalom’s Former Rabbi, Rabbi Werbow, and the leadership of Beth Shalom have been meeting with groups to seek collaboration in the community at large. Both Congregational Boards approved the initiatives of seeking to collaborate with one another with an eye towards integrating our religious schools.
How did the two congregations begin collaboration?
During the 2011-2012 school year, the two communities brought their 7th grade classes together on Sundays for Judaic classes. During that year they studied Jewish Ethics, History and Culture and participated in Social Action activities. The following school year we brought together all of our Kindergarten through 7th grade students for Sunday Religious School programming.
Has this program been successful? How do we know the program works?
Yes, it has been a positive experience for the participants and their families.
We continuously survey our students regarding program satisfaction, improvements that can be made, and interests they have in Jewish education. We also measure our program’s success through attendance rate, which is stellar.
What is the role of the J-JEP committee?
The primary task of the J-JEP committee is to act as an advisory panel for the Director on the topics of: Visioning for JJEP, Parent engagement, Marketing/community presence, Serving as a representative body for parents of each respective congregation, and analysis of program effectiveness.
Who hires the teachers?
The Director hires the teachers.
Who decides the curriculum?
The Director of the school is ultimately responsible visioning, planning, and analysing the curriculum with guidance from the Rabbis.
Who is eligible to participate in this school?
All Beth Shalom and Rodef Shalom members are able to participate in J-JEP; however, membership in either congregation is not required. J-JEP participants that are not members of either host congregations pay a community fee in addition to tuition.
Will our students learn the various perspectives held by our respective movements?
Educators and students are able to engage in honest discussions that are respectful and inclusive. More unites us than divides us. Yes there are distinctions between our movements but there are also differences in how each of us practices and the beliefs we hold. In an age appropriate manner we endeavor to address all issues in an open, pluralistic and egalitarian fashion.
Is there a role for families?
Yes families are always encouraged to become involved in their children’s educational process and families will be invited to become engaged in the school.
What about Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs and classes?
The Bnai Mitzvah program is separate from J-JEP. Youth will continue to study with their respective Rabbis and educators in their own synagogue or temple.
When and where are classes held?
All K through 7th grade JJEP students meets on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 12:00 at Rodef Shalom Congregation for Religious School.
We offer four different Hebrew options for JJEP participants beginning in 2nd grade:
Family Hebrew, Sundays at Rodef Shalom, 8:25am-9:25am
Conversational & Liturgical Hebrew, Tuesdays & Thursdays at Beth Shalom, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Liturgical Hebrew, Wednesdays at Rodef Shalom, 4:30pm-6:30pm
What about youth programming?
Youth programming will continue to be organized by both congregations. However, all J-JEP participants are invited to participate in the youth programming at Rodef Shalom and at Beth Shalom. Please contact Yael at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Marissa at email@example.com for more information.