At Etz Chaim, we are committed to fostering an abiding commitment to and love for Judaism in our students. Our curriculum has been developed to give our children a positive feeling about their heritage as well as the foundation for understanding the three main precepts of Judaism: God, Torah and Israel.
The process of preparing our children to take Torah into their own arms and to hold it close to their hearts has several aspects: Developing and strengthening a firm identity as Jews and adding to this foundation of Jewish identity the structure of Jewish knowledge.
Working under the direction of our full-time professional educator, Anne Stein, the teachers and staff of the religious school are mostly congregational volunteers. Our curriculum has been recognized by the Community Foundation for Jewish Education as one of the finest in the Chicago area. The curriculum for each grade can be found in the Religious School Handbook.
Through the classes in our religious school, we help our students develop a mastery of Jewish tradition, history, Hebrew language, Bible, and Jewish thought. Because we believe strongly that curriculum and teachers can only do part of the job, we have made family learning a priority in the school. Each year we have a variety of programs involving the parents so that the seeds we plant at school can be developed and nurtured at home. When children see their parents actively involved, they see that Jewish education is important, lifelong, and does not end with Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Confirmation.
Jewish youths who know they are Jewish and what that means to them are prepared to take the Torah and hold it close. For them, the Torah can truly be Etz Chaim—a Tree of Life.