The SJCC Early Childhood School is an inclusive community. We approach Judaism from a pluralistic perspective with great focus on the customs, traditions and holidays of the religion. We naturally integrate Judaism’s middot and mitzvot, or morals and values, in our classrooms and schools and we believe Judaism’s core values are truly universal.
Our families and faculty members come from varied backgrounds. Our children come from homes where one parent is Jewish, both parents are Jewish, and where neither parent is Jewish. We have faculty members of both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. Our families and faculty members come from a variety of countries and backgrounds that lead to a wealth of cultural knowledge and a diversity of languages. We believe this diversity is what brings our community together and Judaism is a common ground for us to be united culturally.
Here are a few values or middot that serve as the foundation for the work of our school:
Shalom Bayit (peaceful home) This value teaches that everyone deserves to live in a home of respect and peace, where varied practices and beliefs are honored. For our school community, the concept of Shalom Bayit provides a foundation of respect and understanding, ultimately creating a “home” in which everyone is valued.
Tikkum Olam (repairing the world) This value teaches that it is everyone’s responsibility to act thoughtfully with the best interest of our world in mind. This value is all-encompassing and ties into many of the ongoing projects in which our classrooms engage.
G’miliut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness) This value teaches of each individual’s responsibility to perform acts of kindness, elevating those who need of love and support.
K’hillah Yarukah (green community) Through our community’s focus on recycling, composting and sustainability, we aspire to live as a green community. We live this value at school; many of our families follow similar practice in their own homes.
Tzedakah (charity) Through the giving of tzedakah, in all its various forms, our children and families help those in need through meaningful donation and charitable giving.
Talmud Torah (the value of learning) Each day learning our students’ knowledge is nurtured. A true love of learning is cultivated in our students, as we believe that we are all lifelong learners.
These values are just a few examples of how Jewish values are truly universal and speak to all of the members of our community, regardless of personal religious background.
Another aspect of Judaism that helps to shape our school’s identity is the celebration of Jewish holidays. We follow the Jewish calendar and observe its major holidays. From weekly Shabbat and Havdallah celebrations to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, Tu B’shvat, Purim, Passover, Yom Ha’atzmaut, and Shavuot, the Jewish holidays are significant. Each holiday is celebrated through learning its history and participation in cultural traditions: food, song, dance, and the creation of ritual objects. The way we explore the holidays leaves room for everyone to identify with some aspect of the story or traditions.
Our approach to Judaism is complemented by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Both Judaism and Reggio Emilia believe in honoring the individual in the context of a strong, inclusive community. Cultural identity is very important to both Judaism and Reggio Emilia philosophy. Thus, our all inclusive approach is built upon the two major pillars of our school: Judaism and Reggio Emilia.
It is our hope that children and families in our school will be inspired to form a strong, meaningful Jewish identity through authentic experiences.