The opportunities for Jewish engagement and learning never end. Even after bar and bat mitzvah, our teens are encouraged to continue their studies in both formal and informal - but always engaging - environments. Please browse our "chai" school offerings, below!
On Sunday, most of our 8th through 10th grade students volunteer their mornings from 9 am to 11 am helping out in our younger Religious School classrooms as Madrichim (leaders). They nurture the next generation of students in Judaics and Hebrew alongside our wonderful volunteer teaching staff. Through their example and enthusiasm they inspire our younger kids to see that Jewish education can be exciting and should continue beyond 7th grade.
BCRC's 8th through 10th Grade students embark on their own program of studies on Sunday morning from 11 am to 1 pm in a fabulous experiential and intellectual program we call "Lunch and Learn". They share a lunch meal together, which is an opportunity to socialize. The learning part of the program is an exciting three year rotating curriculum:
Questioning values and exploring ideas is part of growing up from teenager to adulthood. Our students explore values together in a way that they never could imagine in their younger religious school years. They learn and discuss ethical dilemmas and Jewish values by watching vintage episodes of The Twilight Zone. They become the judges, by acting out and adjudicating court cases using Jewish law and their opinions as guides. They learn and discuss the Jewish perspective around sacred choices that will confront them in their lives, such as sexuality, eating, piercing and tattoos!
"Wherever you go there is always someone Jewish..." goes the popular Jewish camp song by Larry Milder. We explore who we are as a community and how we are interconnected. We begin at home with learning how a synagogue operates by setting up a Temple-within-a-Temple. Then, through speakers and attendance at special events our students learn about our partners, Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and secular, in the surrounding NoVA and Washington DC community. Finally, we connect with Reform Jews and Jewish communities throughout the world. As the song goes, "You're never alone when you say you're a Jew..."
Our students create a timeline as they survey Jewish history, from Biblical times to modern day America, by team-crafting their own creative presentations. Then, beginning with a visit to the Holocaust Museum, our students become "film critics" watching movies about the Holocaust and recording their reviews. Finally they embark on an exploration of the history of Israel using the international interactive online and in-person curriculum from the Diaspora Museum "Israel: The Vision and Venture of the Jewish People." Following the history backdrop, they become acquainted with Israel Now through music, speakers, and potential travel opportunities to our Jewish homeland for themselves.
In 10th or 11th Grade (depending on enrollment), our students study for Confirmation, declaring their dedication to further study of Judaism. Convening with our rabbi, they attend a retreat, using hands-on informal education activities to explore and understand the service, the Torah portion of the Ten Commandments, the book of Ruth, and what Judaism has come to mean to them. In addition, our Confirmands embark on a Confirmation trip of their choice and budget, which contains a learning theme that relates to their special Confirmation service. Finally, with knowledge and enthusiasm, they devise and write their own special Confirmation service, which takes place around Shavuot.
In some years, the schedules of our 11th and 12th graders allows them to meet on a monthly basis with our rabbi to creatively study Torah (the Mo or the five books of Moses) and to combine it with Joe (coffee at Starbucks). We re-offer this opportunity every year in the hope that our students can find a mutually agreeable time to get together.