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The Community School for Jewish Learning

honoring the legacy of Irv and Edna Newman

A Bigger Community
B'nai Israel is proud to co-sponsor the Community School for Jewish Learning - known as "J School" - alongside Congregation Ner Shalom of Cotati. By joining together, we have built an exciting, engaging and diverse student body and parent community. We offer our children a strong peer group, critical mass in their classes, fun, friendship, Hebrew, history, art, nature and tzedakah.

Educational Goals
In J School, we help our young people learn Jewish values, increase their Jewish literacy, deepen their sense of spirituality and build lasting friendships with their classmates.

Our younger grades study mitzvot, Torah stories and holidays, and learn basic Hebrew reading. Our older classes learn Hebrew prayer, Jewish values and Jewish history, all in a way that allows them to bring their own life experience to bear in understanding what our tradition means to them. We use art projects, dramatics and engagement with nature in order to bring Judaism alive.

The 4th-7th class also prepares Bar/Bat Mitzvah students through learning prayer, melodies, Torah trope, and ways to understand and relate to Torah text. (J School is also open to young people who have chosen not to have a B-Mitzvah ceremony. Understanding the role of an adult in the Jewish community and in this world is relevant to all our kids.)

High schoolers who participate in our Torah Lishmah class (meaning "learning for its own sake") explore areas of Jewish interest that they choose. Over the past years this has included mysticism, Biblical history, messianism, Hebrew poetry, folklore and humor. This class, taught by Reb Irwin Keller, is typically held in a café over hot chocolate. (Perks of growing up.)

Special Needs Track
J School is proud to offer a special course of engagement for young people with severe disabilities and their families. Now in its sixth year, the Celebrations Program, in partnership with the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, offers a pioneering program for children and teens with special needs who cannot comfortably participate in a traditional religious school setting. Click here to find out more about the "Celebrations" class and community.

Where, When & How
J School runs from kindergarten age through high school. Grades K-3 meets Sunday mornings, 9:30-12:00. Grades 4-7 meet Sunday mornings plus Thursday afternoons from 4:00-6:00. Our high school-age Torah Lishmah class meets twice monthly. Sunday mornings begin with our musical and innovative Tefilah Circle. Parents are invited to stay and be part of Tefilah Circle. The new school year opens on Sunday, August 24, 2014. Please join us. (And you are welcome to try out the school whatever time of the year you first stumble across us.)

You can download registration materials as a printable PDF or in MS Word format. For more information on J School, contact Rabbi Meredith Cahn by e-mail at school@bnaiisrael.net or by phone at (530) 414-4985. And don't let money stop you. Tuition scholarships may be available for families who need them.