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“Call them not your children, call them your builders.” - Talmud

BCRS provides the dynamic, experiential learning opportunity students and parents both appreciate.

Bet Chaverim Religious School
8930 Old Annapolis Road, Suite C
Columbia MD
Sundays, 9 AM - Noon

Overview

Bet Chaverim is dedicated to creating lifelong Jewish learners. We don't read about Judaism, we practice our Judaism. We gather on Sunday mornings and begin with a student-led Shacharit service. Our students learn to navigate the siddur, and stand in front of their peers with confidence.

Perhaps most important though, is that our students know the meaning behind the prayers, why we pray, for what we are asking God, and what part of the ancient choreography still remains today.

Vibrant, immersive Jewish education lasts a lifetime. It goes beyond simple Hebrew reading and preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Judaism does not just take place in books, get talked about in the past tense, or become a weekly chore causing a child to skip out on something "more fun." Jewish education is a part of who we are.

After an enthusiastic davening, we break into groups to learn and practice Hebrew reading. Our goal for our students is not just to be able to follow along in a siddur, but to read the prayers and appreciate their meaning.

We do not merely learn about holidays at Bet Chaveirm—we celebrate holidays. We go apple picking, decorate our sukkah, participate in Shabbat and holiday services, start Pesach with a chocolate seder and so much more. Textbooks are minimal, as experiences are valued.

We are extremely proud to be bringing back our electives program this year. Our students will be able to choose from art, current events, Israeli music, Jewish stories from around the world and a myriad of other choices, which allows them to take ownership of their Jewish learning.

A key component to Bet Chaverim Religious School is that we learn together with our families. Throughout the year, parents, siblings, grandparents and special adult friends are invited to join us for hands-on activities, a Sukkot hike, or a challenging game of Romans and Rabbis for Lag B'omer.

We welcome you to join us in our learning community. Arrangements to visit are always available and we continue to follow COVID-precautions.

Join us where religious school is not a "chore" but an investment in Jewish living for tomorrow!

 Bet Chaverim Religious School…

  • Provides classes for children in grades K through 7.
  • Is solidly rooted in the learning and practical application of Jewish values.
  • Offers dynamic, engaging monthly family programming and service projects centered around Jewish values, culture, and tradition, as well as Shabbat, Jewish holidays, and Israel.
  • Emphasizes Hebrew fluency and comfort with religious services.
  • Approaches religious school experiences through highly innovative, creative, project-based, deeply meaningful and relevant teaching and learning practices and experiences.

Core Values

Students focus on these core Jewish values:

  • Teshuvah - taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • B'Tzelem Elohim  - honoring the image of G-d in ourselves
  • Gevurah - using one's inner and outer strength
  • Achrayut - making the world a better place
  • Hakarat Hatov - seeking joy and being grateful
  • Koach Hadibbur  - understanding the power of words
  • Shalom - helping to create a more peaceful world

All grade levels focus on the same value, so children within families can discuss and share with each other. Kick-off and final events for each unit involve family programs, so parents and children can share the joy of experiencing Jewish learning together, as well as with our greater school community.

BCRS also incorporates family and youth programming throughout the year. We encourage participation to help the students feel a part of our Jewish community.

Education Director Rabbi Faith Cantor

Rabbi Faith Cantor joined the Bet Chaverim family in 2018 as Education Director and Principal of the Religious School.  She introduced a highly experiential curriculum across all grades that brings summer camp-style learning into the classroom, with an emphasis on hands-on activity and fun.

Previously, Rabbi Cantor served as the Rabbi Educator at Baltimore’s Beth El Hebrew Congregation.  She also has been an educational consultant for parents of children with developmental needs and was appointed to the Maryland State Council Child Abuse and Neglect.

A native of Anaheim, California, Rabbi Cantor was active as both a student and counselor in Camp Ramah, where she developed her experiential, non-textbook approach to Jewish learning.  She was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City where she also earned her Master’s Degree in Education. 

Eligibility & Tuition

While Grade 2 is open to the entire community, Bet Chaverim requires families of all students in Grades 3 - 7 to become members of the congregation.

All program and supply costs are included in the tuition. Field trips may be an additional cost. Bet Chaverim Religious School tuition per student:

  •  Grades K - 2 : $1125 (Member) & $1425 (Non-Member)
  •  Grades 3 - 7*: $1290 (Member). Bet Chaverim requires that families of all students in Grades 3 - 7 are synagogue members.

Register for BCRS at BCRS Registration Page

Bet Chaverim offers financial assistance if needed. Please contact the Bet Chaverim Youth and Education Committee Chairperson at BetChaverimReligiousSchool@gmail.com.

B’nai Mitzvah

The transition of a child into an adult member of the Jewish community is a time of great joy, and Bet Chaverim’s B’nai Mitzvot process allows families to prepare with certainty and as little stress as possible.  For young people, the process begins in earnest in the sixth grade at BCRS, and continues through Grade Seven.  During these years, students are strongly encouraged to attend Shabbat and holiday services as often as possible.  Families are encouraged to begin planning even earlier - dates are assigned during the Fourth Grade - and our B’nai Mitzvot Manual offers clear guidance and support.  Of course, the rabbi, school staff, members of the Education Committee and other congregation members are eager to assist in every way.

Some key points:

  • To be eligible, the student must be enrolled in BCRS or receive other approved formal training, such as attending a Jewish day school, starting in Grade Three.  Other situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the rabbi and the Youth & Education Committee.
  • B’nai Mitzvot preparation is emphasized in BCRS’ sixth and seventh grade classes, which focus on prayer, Hebrew fluency, Jewish identity, the connection to Israel, community service and performing mitzvot.  Students and families meet with the rabbi to help prepare.
  • The student is expected to lead the congregation in key prayers, and to say the blessing for the reading of the Torah.  The student also should read (chant) the appropriate Haftorah for that week.
  • Students are expected to do a “Mitzvah Project,” that is a community service activity, chosen in consultation with the rabbi.  An explanation of that project will be shared with the congregation by the student at the time of the bar or bat mitzvah.
  • Students also prepare and deliver a D’var Torah, that is, a discussion of the Torah portion for the week of the event.  The “Mitzvah Project” may be discussed in the D’var Torah where appropriate.
  • Non-Jewish family members are invited to participate in every aspect of the ceremony except for the reading of the Torah.   They may accompany Jewish family members to the bima and participate in the ceremonial handing the tallit to the student.
Mon, November 28 2022 4 Kislev 5783