Curriculum & Electives

Core Curriculum

We are very proud of our curriculum! It was thoughtfully crafted over several years, by a team of parents and faculty, under the guidance of Rabbi Nat Ezray, and with the support of a NESS (National Excellence in Synagogue Schools) grant administered through Jewish Learning Works.  Our curriculum consists of several components:

Jewish Values – Each grade focuses on a core set of 3 to 5 Jewish values. Our students study the texts, stories, prayers and history of Judaism through the lens of these values.  Mishpacha (family) days focus on one of the core values for the grade.  Each grade also engages in a social action “chesed” project that connects to the values they are studying.

Torah and Talmud – Each grade studies several stories or texts, through the lens of core Jewish values.

Ahavat Tsiyon (Love of Israel) is integral to who we are and how we study.

Prayers – We study the prayers as expressions of our Jewish values.

Hebrew language – Knowledge of Hebrew connects us to Jewish communities of past, present and future generations. By learning and exploring the language of Torah, Jewish prayer and the State of Israel, we develop and strengthen our sense of pride and Jewish identity.


For the coming school year, we are trying something new – electives!

3rd, 4th and 5th grade Hebrew electives

New this year, students in 3rd through 5th grades who are able to read at a basic level will be invited to enroll in Hebrew language electives. Electives will channel students’ interest to make learning Hebrew fun.

NOTE: To benefit from Hebrew electives, a student must be able to read at a basic level. Most new students will be enrolled in beginner reader classes.  Likewise, 3rd graders will need to review over the summer if they wish to enroll in electives.

We will plan the elective offerings based on feedback we receive in the enrollment forms. Current possibilities are:

  • Hebrew through music
  • Hebrew through art
  • Cooking in Hebrew
  • “Aleph-Bet Quest” video games
  • Hebrew games
  • Hebrew grammar intensive
  • Hebrew play (The first play performance will be on Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Hanukah Festival.)

6th and 7th grade Judaica Electives

We believe Judaism is not a set of knowledge or beliefs that resides in books, but rather a way of life.  New this year, 6th and 7th graders have the opportunity to participate in elective classes that aim to weave our Jewish values and language into daily life and interests.  The 6th/7th grade electives are offered on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30PM.

  • Tawonga Nature course
    CBJ is excited to team-up with Camp Tawonga to offer this class. Topics may include: gardening and the Torah’s agricultural laws, outdoor exploration and Jewish concepts of mindfulness, the cycle of the seasons and their connection to the holidays, and so forth.        6th grade students enrolled in this elective will be expected to attend three weekend retreats, together with students from the Camp Tawonga Bnei-Mitzvah program. The retreats will be held at Marin Headlands, on Nov. 11-13, Feb. 17-19, and May 6-7. 7th grade students will be expected to attend only the first of the three retreats (so as not to conflict with classmate’s bnei-mitzvah celebrations.) The anticipated cost for each retreat is $200. This is in addition to the regular tuition costs, although scholarships are available.
  • Girls Group with Dori Ben-David Johnston
    The conversation is different when there are only girls in the room.  This class will be small, so everyone gets to know each other.  The atmosphere will be relaxed and safe for sharing. How can Judaism help you deal with the pressures of life? Possible topics include: friends and frenemies, school stress, peer pressure, dating or not dating, self-image (How do people see me?  How do I feel about myself?), and so on.
  • Current events, viewed through the lens of Jewish values
    The US elections, Israeli politics, the drought and global warming, and whatever else tomorrow’s headlines have in store….How do we understand current events through the lens of our Jewish values?  This lively class will be full of discussion and debate.
  • Cooking in Hebrew
    First translate the recipe, then make the dish. Yum!