On various occasions during the year, whole families have the opportunities to learn together, celebrate holidays, and participate in Shabbat services with other families and the TCS community.
See below for descriptions of a few of those opportunities.
In an effort to build community and to give our students a trajectory of the Torah narrative, we begin each Sunday SULAM session together in the sanctuary with “Taste of Torah” – a closer look at the weekly Torah portion. On teh first Sunday of each month, Havdalah and monthly birthday celebration will follow. On non-Havdalah days, this gathering is followed by Shirah – an interactive and joyful Jewish singing led by our Cantorial Soloist, David Rothberg. Parents are encouraged to join the students for these weekly gatherings.
Havdalah literally means ‘separation’. It is also the name of a ceremony that separates Shabbat from the rest of the week. Although traditionally Havdalah takes place on Saturday night it can be performed as late as Tuesday. The blessings recited during Havdalah are intended to use all five senses – tasting the wine, smelling the spices, seeing the flame of the candle and feeling its warmth, and hearing the blessings.
At the first Sunday session of every month our entire school community gathers together in the sanctuary for Havdalah, to sing songs and to celebrate the birthdays of the month. Each grade level has the chance to lead Havdalah at least once during the year.
Parents are invited and encouraged to attend this special community gathering with their children.
On non-Havdalah Sundays, students gather for a festive Shirah (music) session with David Rothberg, our Cantorial Soloist. Shirah offers an opportunity to practice prayers learned in the Hebrew Madorim and delve into their meaning and relevance, as well as become familiar with Jewish music.
Jewish holidays are celebrated as a community with experiential programs. Some holidays have a student only component while others are community wide.
Here are some examples of our holiday programs:
- On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we offer children’s programming during the adult services. These programs include a children’s service as well as interactive and educational activities. For more information about these, check your High Holy Day materials which are mailed in late summer.
- “SULAM in the Sukkah” is an educational program on Sukkot which meets on the eve of teh holdiay at our temple Sukkah. It incorporates learning about the traditional practices of Sukkot (such as Lulav shaking, Sukkot blessings and Ushpizin inviting) with a community pot-luck dinner and a temple wide Sukkot service.
- Simchat Torah celebration offers an educational program followed by a holiday service as a community with full student participation.
- Chanukah is an opportunity for celebrating not only the blessings of light and miracles, but also the Consecration of our 2nd graders. We enjoy a community dinner, light our Chanukkiot (Chanukah menorahs) together and perform a moving consecration ceremony to welcome our 2nd graders into “Limmud Torah” – the study of Jewish traditions. A school wide educational program is also offered during a Sunday morning.
- Tu Bishvat is celebrated as a school to mark the traditional “Jewish Arbor Day”.
- Purim is the festive celebration of Jewish life saved from an evil plot. We mark it with a joyous community celebration complete with a “Purim schpiel” and carnival.
- A Passover educational program is offered for the whole school community.
- Shavuot holiday is an opportunity to celebrate receiving at Torah at Mt. Sinai. At TCS we also celebrate the Confirmation of our teens after they complete a year long study with Rabbi Ken.
On two Sundays during the year, the SULAM community gathers together to volunteer for local area charities and organizations. Sorting or making food for a local pantry or homeless shelter, no-sew blankets, birthday boxes, pet toys and more – we have an activity that you’ll enjoy participating while helping a cause that appreciates our efforts! Check the temple calendar for specific dates and more information.