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Mission and Course Info

The Rabbi Joseph & Rosalie Gitin Religious School of Temple Emanu-El exists to provide an educational setting based on Reform principles that instill a positive sense of Jewish culture, values, knowledge, and identity among its students. The Religious School provides: 

  •  A student-centered environment within which students understand Jewish values and develop Jewish identity and connection with other Jews. 
  • A balance of academic and experiential learning of Jewish tradition, rituals, and holidays.
  • Knowledge and experience of t’fillah (prayer) as it relates to both communal and individual worship. 
  • Knowledge and exposure to the Hebrew language, with emphasis on its use in prayer. 
  • Knowledge of and exposure to the culture and current issues in the State of Israel as well as affirmation of our historic bond to the land of Israel. 
  • Activities which promote critical thinking to facilitate making educated and moral Jewish choices. 
  • Opportunities to further the causes of justice, peace, and freedom by pursuing mishpat (justice), tzedek (righteousness) and chesed (acts of loving-kindness). 
  • Occasions for all family members and students to learn, experience, and play together as a team. 
  • Opportunities for families to participate in the life of the synagogue, which include celebrating Shabbat. 

Program Summary 2018-2019

Temple Emanu-El’s Religious School offers an integrated program whereby Hebrew and Judaic Studies are offered for children of all ages throughout the school year, as well as offering our students the opportunity to choose Chuggim (electives) that supplement their classroom experiences.  Kindergarten-3rd Graders, as well as 7th Graders, attend classes taught on Sunday mornings from 9:30 AM -12:30 PM, while 4th-6th Graders attend classes on Sunday mornings (9:30 AM -12:30PM) and Wednesday afternoons (4:30 PM-6:15 PM).  We also offer a special B’nai Mitzvah preparatory class for those students who will be celebrating their B’nai Mitzvah Ceremony during the calendar year of their B’nai Mitzvah.  Several core components of our program are studied each year, with increasing depth, based on the student’s grade and growing level of understanding. In addition, each class has a specific subject appropriate to the grade level. (See below for specifics.) The Hebrew curriculum focuses on prayerbook Hebrew (reading and meaning) and is taught by increasing exposure to letters, vowel sounds, reading and understanding prayer vocabulary, as well as prayer chanting. It is augmented with studying Hebrew words and the blessings associated with Jewish holidays and life-cycle events. T’fillah (worship), a central part of our Hebrew studies, is incorporated into our Sunday and Wednesday Hebrew classes. All students lead either a Family Shabbat Friday Night service, or a Saturday Morning Minyan.  One of the added benefits expressed by many of our students of being a part of Temple Emanu-El’s Religious School program throughout the years is the sense of community that is created.  Students progress through the curriculum with the same children each year and share the common experience of learning about Judaism and learning about their role in the broader Jewish community.  As they transition to adulthood, their values, friendships, and support are firmly grounded.


Religious School begins in the Kindergarten class, where students enrich their understanding of the Jewish holidays and the meaning of t’fillah (prayer). In addition, they are introduced to the world of Torah, mitzvot, ritual practices, tzedakah, and Jewish ethical values. Kindergarten has a special focus on Shabbat. (To enroll in our Kindergarten class, students must be five years-old by September 1, 2018). 

Grades 1-7

As the students grow and mature, they will revisit some of the same topics each year, with an increasing depth of understanding. Additionally, each grade will focus on a particular subject that is appropriate to their age level. For example, the third grade concentrates on the 10 Commandments; the fifth grade class spends the year focusing on Jewish life cycle events and rituals from brit (covenant) to burial; and the sixth grade is taken on a journey as they “Walk the Bible.”


B'nai Mitzvah Preparatory Class Wednesday 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

To become B’nai Mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El, students must be concurrently enrolled in our Religious School program and the B’nai Mitzvah preparatory class during the year of their B’nai Mitzvah.  This class meets for approximately two thirds of the school year. The Rabbi will send a syllabus to students before the first class meets. Four mandatory parent sessions, which meet on Saturdays, take place during the course of this program. For further information, please contact the Rabbi at

Beit No'ar*

Grades 8-12 Sunday 11:30 AM -12:30 PM (classes begins on October 14); Wednesday 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (includes dinner – classes begin Wednesday October 17)- Keeping our youth involved in active Jewish learning after B’nai Mitzvah has always been a challenge. We offer an exciting educational program on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for students in eighth grade and above:

Grades 8-9

Sunday 11:30 AM -12:30 PM - This cohort of students will study on Sunday mornings a 2-year curriculum that focuses on Jews of California around the Gold-Rush times, including the Jews who settled in the Bay Area and San Jose and helped establish Temple Emanu-El in 1861. *Please note that the class will include trips to explore Jewish San Francisco and the Jewish cemeteries in Gold Country for an extra cost.

Confirmation Grade 10

Sunday 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM - This course, taught by Rabbi Dana Magat and Cantor Edmondson, explores the essence of what it means to be a Reform Jew. Confirmation students explore the depths of Judaism. The class culminates with the students writing and leading a prayer service that expresses their hopes, fears, and discoveries. This service takes place on Erev Shavuot after a year of meaningful study with the Rabbi. A Confirmation syllabus and course schedule will be passed out during the first class. *Please note that the tuition listed on the rate sheet does not include the flight to Los Angeles for the retreat. 

Grade 11

Sunday 11:30 AM -12:30 PM - Our 11th grade students will explore a deep understanding about the Holocaust and its effect on Jewish history. *Please note that this class will participate in a group trip to Poland as part of the Bay Area cohort of Shalhevet.  The cost of the trip will be partially underwritten and there will be an additional cost associated with the class.

Grade 12

Sunday 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM – Our 12th grade students will explore the roots of our immigration to this country and its effect on the history of the United States.  As part of the class, topics that relate to current events will be covered.  *Please note that this class will participate in a group trip to explore New York City and the places that shaped the Jewish culture within the city.  This trip will be partially underwritten and there will be an extra cost associated with the class.

Wednesdays are EESY

Each Wednesday from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM, our Beit No’ar students will eat, converse, plan, socialize, and work together as they build a social cohort that strengthens our Senior NFTY Youth Group, EESY (Emanu El Senior Youth).

*Tuition for each student enrolled in Beit No’ar includes the cost of dinners on Wednesday evenings, membership in EESY and NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), and attending one regional NFTY weekend retreat at URJ Camp Newman. 

Mishpacha Sheli (My Family)

Pre-K Family Education – Sunday 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM - A program designed for preschool aged children and their parents who would like a “whole family” experience.  We offer an introduction to Jewish values, holidays, traditions and customs through singing, storytelling, art, movement games and cooking. ***Children must be at least 3 years old by September 1, 2018*** (Class meets 6 sessions throughout the year – September 30, 2018; November 4, 2018; December 9, 2018; January 27, 2019; March 17, 2019; and April 7, 2019).  Register Here.

If you have any questions, please email the School or call (408) 292-3223.

Thu, June 20 2019 17 Sivan 5779