CORE CLASSES

​

8th Grade: Holocaust and Human Behavior

We explore “Facing History and Ourselves” Holocaust curriculum which leads students through an examination of the history of the Holocaust, and fosters their skills in ethical reasoning, critical thinking, empathy, and civic engagement. By focusing on the choices of individuals who experienced this history—students are given a lens to thoughtfully examine the universal themes and questions about human behavior inherent in a study of the Holocaust. 

 

9th Grade: Modern Israel

We explore the various aspects of Israel’s history, society and culture and their impact on the founders’ vision for a Jewish state, as well as the challenges that Israel faces today.  Students will be introduced to the many facets of the land, the people, and the cultures of Israel. 

 

10th Grade:Confirmation

Our theme and core idea is "confirming my faith." Students explore their own Jewish identity formation and the questions

What does Judaism mean to me and what does it mean to be a Jew? We focus on both comparative Judaism and comparative religion to help us understand our own Judaism. At this age, our students are in the process of establishing an identity separate from their family unit, and Judaism can play a central role in this process.

 

11 & 12th Grade: Jewish Adulting

In 11th and 12th grades, students participate in classes with our senior Rabbis, Rabbi Alan Freedman and Rabbi Neil Blumofe. In these sessions, students and our clergy discuss issues ranging from sexuality from a Jewish perspective to theology, from preparation for being a Jewish adult on college campuses to Jewish text and beyond.

 
 

ELECTIVES

2021 - 2022

​

The Art of Judaism - Sundays, 1:35 - 2:35 PM

Acrylic Paint, Clay, Mosaics, Comic Books, Film, Ink.

If any of those words catch your attention, then this class is for you.

Join and engage in this dynamic art experience and push your creative talents beginning with learning about the GOLEM through film, comic books, sculpture, music, and the history of this mythical being that protected the Jews of Prague and eventually inspired the creation of the modern Frankenstein. Then, you will create your own visual commentary (midrash) about Torah stories; learn Hebrew calligraphy, develop your personal and symbolic logo on a T-shirt; learn about ancient and modern mosaics and create your own imagery; and finally, enjoy a gallery style grand opening at the end of the year!

 

Club Musika - Sundays, 1:35 - 2:35 PM 

Love playing an instrument or singing? Check out Songleading & Band Club Musika. Practice the intricacies of being a great song leader and teacher, from picking up the energy level of the crowd, to body movement and eye contact. Become more comfortable singing while playing, a valuable skill you can take with you forever. Learn to use your instrument (e.g. flute, keyboard, violin) as part of the song-leading team. Learn the importance of and improve your skills in accompaniment and supporting your fellow musicians as a leading team. Expand your Jewish music repertoire and knowledge.

In order to enroll you must (for instrumentalists) be able to read music on treble or bass clef and have 2 years of experience in school band or 2 years of private lessons. All musicians (vocalists and instrumentalists) interested in participating are asked to send in a video of yourself performing a song of your choosing no later than August 22 to sara.kaye@bethshalomaustin.org. If you are uncomfortable making or unable to make a video, we will hold in-person auditions on Sunday, August 29 from 2-4pm in the Temple Beth Shalom sanctuary. 

Goals:

  • Students will gather repertoire, tools, and leadership qualities to lead a congregation musically

  • Students will gain confidence and comfort on their chosen instrument and their ability to be a part of a musical team

  • Students will have the opportunity to help arrange music and lead music live at services and community events
     

Techniques and Tools for Living a Strengths-Focused Life - Sundays, 1:35 - 2:35 PM 

With the goal of creating a deeper connection to Judaism, this elective helps teens find meaning and purpose by navigating life choices in healthy ways that reflect Jewish values. Using practical Jewish wisdom, facilitated discussions, and a focus on social, emotional, and spiritual learning, this elective addresses the mental health stressors brought on by life’s challenges facing today’s teens.

World Jewish History - Sundays, 1:35 - 2:35 PM 

Learn the big story of the Jewish people, starting from our emergence over 3000 years ago through many twists and turns of history all the way to today. When and how did the Jewish people come about? Did King David exist? Who wrote the Bible? From Masada to Rome to Napoleon to Austin or Tel Aviv today, what's the connection? These are just some of the questions we explore in this class designed to help you understand the Jewish world beyond the synagogue.

 

Torah and Today - Sundays, 1:35 - 2:35 PM 

“Examine it and examine it more for all is contained within it [Torah]” (Pirkei Avot)

While many tend to view Torah as a book about the early history of the Jewish People, the Torah is also a commentary on, and a guide to, current events, whether 4,000 years ago or in 2021. In Today and Today, Students will study the weekly parashah (portion) and take with it the lessons that will help them understand the current events that are happening in their lives, from the COVID-19 virus, to conversations about politics, to what is happening in Israel. 
 

L'Taken Social Justice Seminar - Day and Time TBD

Are you looking for a social justice adventure? We are inviting your teen(s) to join us on a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Social Justice Seminar – a four-day event designed to help Jewish teens discover their power to be effective advocates and a voice for justice in the nation’s capital. We will celebrate Shabbat, visit historic sites, and explore issues of social justice and Reform Jewish responses to them. The teens will find an issue they are passionate about and spend a day on Capitol Hill lobbying our Senators and Representatives. Teens who choose to participate in the L’Taken seminar will also participate in the L’Taken elective weekly as part of jtx, this elective will be taught by Rabbi Steinman of Temple Beth Shalom, who will also lead our seminar.

This year we are planning to be going to Washington Friday, January 21, 2022- Monday, January 24, 2022.
 For more L'Taken information, visit their website.