The shehecheyanu prayer in our tradition thanks God for “giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this season.” In our learning community at Solel, it feels as if we have arrived at a shehecheyanu moment. After over three years of listening to our community, researching best practices in Jewish education, experimenting with new ideas, engaging our students, and finally forming a curriculum committee to consult with an expert, we are ready to begin this year with a new name, a new logo, and new learning goals and essential questions for each grade.
Our educational program for children in Pre-Kindergarten through Twelfth grade will be called Lev Solel, the heart of Solel.
The heart represents the way we approach education – through the lens of love, acceptance, and recognizing the importance of building relationships within the classroom. The Hebrew letters “lamed” and “vet (bet)” are the first and last letters of the Torah, which represent our commitment to Torah learning and Jewish values. In our logo, the “lamed” creates a path through the heart, acknowledging that we at Solel are pathfinders, and at Lev Solel, we hope that our teachers serve as guides as well, supporting each child on their Jewish journey.
Our curriculum is based on the principle that learning must have depth, relevancy, and authenticity, and must help students feel engaged, connected, and joyful.
Our professional development this year focuses on bringing responsive classroom techniques, including morning meetings, and project-based learning into the classrooms.
We strive for students to feel a love of Judaism, to make strong Jewish life choices, and to want to continue their Jewish learning beyond their school years. Community building, Jewish values, and a commitment to Tikkun Olam provide the foundation upon which our school is built.
In third grade, our students explore Jewish community. In fourth grade, we look at what it means to be Jewish around the world, including Israel.
In fifth grade, we assess what a Jewish life looks like. In sixth grade, we ask what our responsibility is in a just and fair society.
In seventh grade, we look at what role we have as leaders, and finally, in the teen program, we explore how we can choose to live and impact the world based on our Jewish values and identity.
Of course, our youngest learners look at where it all begins, and will also benefit from our grant this year to study mussar (ethics) for children in the classroom.
We are truly excited to begin another year of learning together at Lev Solel. We are so grateful to everyone who has partnered with us on this journey, and especially to Susan Kaden for her wise guidance, to Susan Fireside for generously designing our logo, to Lou Hellebusch for leading us through the next phase, and to the most amazing parents, students, teachers, staff, and Clergy team imaginable. Thank you for your trust, your patience, and your support as we continue Solel’s enduring commitment to Jewish education.
Director of Congregational Learning