Jewish Life and Learning

Two students and their teacher read Torah

At Community Day School, students do more than learn about Judaism—they live its rhythms and values every day. CDS is a vibrant, inclusive community that celebrates the Jewish diversity of our families while helping our students connect through a common language and shared heritage. In an inspiring and joyful environment, students study Jewish texts and become knowledgeable about Jewish ritual practices through hands-on experiences that create cherished memories. Children are always encouraged to ask questions as they begin their personal Jewish journey filled with meaning and value.

View more details about our Hebrew and Jewish Studies curriculum

Tefillah (Prayer)

1st Grade students at Siddur Ceremony

Tefillah (Jewish prayer) infused with mindfulness is core to the life of our school, and we devote time and space to the spiritual growth of our students in the course of our very full days. Graduating CDS students are skilled at participating in and leading daily, Shabbat, and festival prayer services and family celebrations; equally important, they establish meaningful and lifelong connections with those experiences.

Israel

A student paints an Israeli flag

Developing a deep and enduring connection to the land of Israel is an integral part of a Community Day School education. Many Hebrew and Jewish Studies faculty at CDS are Israeli, and we are fortunate to have Shinshinim (volunteer Israeli youth emissaries) at school who share their love and knowledge of Hebrew language and Israeli culture with students at every grade level. As a culminating educational, religious, and cultural experience, the 8th Grade class and staff chaperones travel to Israel for two weeks each spring.

Facing History and Ourselves

A student works on an essay on Martin Luther King Jr Day

CDS is a Partner School in the Facing History and Ourselves’ Innovative Schools Network in recognition of the school’s leadership in social justice, human behavior, and Holocaust education. Facing History teaching strategies and lessons are integrated throughout the school in an age-appropriate way in history, language arts, library, and other disciplines. They are also part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming and integrated into service-learning opportunities for CDS students.

Chagim (Shabbat & Holidays)

Students dance at full-school Kabbalat Shabbat

CDS steps to the beat of the Jewish calendar, imbuing in children a sense of the sanctity of Shabbat and the Jewish holidays and their place in our tradition. Students wave the lulav and etrog in the Sukkah. They wear costumes on Purim and learn to read Megillah. They study the Haggadah on Pesach. They observe Yom HaZikaron with gratitude and solemnity. And they celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut with Israeli song and dance.  

Ivrit (Hebrew Language)

Students read Hebrew on Passover

A growing body of research supports the powerful impact of learning two languages on a child's cognitive development. From Early Childhood through Middle School, our immersive and engaging Hebrew program connects students with their centuries-old heritage and also uniquely prepares them to think critically, communicate, and work in our 21st-century world. Students in Grades 1-4 use the iTalAM digital interactive blended learning program to personalize Hebrew language instruction.

Rabbinics

A student concludes 5th Grade Torah reading service

At CDS, we teach ancient Jewish texts and the ideas of the Rabbinic tradition, with the vision of connecting our students as modern-day links in a 3,000-year-old interpretive chain. The study of the Tanakh and other Jewish texts also provides opportunities for existential grappling with fundamental questions of human life. The deep learning inspired by our Rabbinics curriculum grows our students' spiritual and academic curiosity and helps them become independent thinkers and problem-solvers.