Welcome to OKCJS

Our joint congregational school serves the Jewish children of Southwest Michigan in grades PreK-10, whose families belong to the Congregation of Moses (Kalamazoo), Temple B’nai Israel (Kalamazoo), and Temple Beth El (Battle Creek). Our curriculum includes material that represents the views of both the Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Students attend 3-5 hours a week, depending upon grade level.


The Pre-K-7  Judaism curriculum we learn about Torah, Prayer, Holidays and Jewish values. This year we will be focusing on Jewish values, using materials developed by the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, specifically for this difficult time.

Via five values-focused modules, learners gain a variety of tools that build resiliency and supportive strategies for better managing the challenges that life can throw their way.
The learning approach is a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous learning. The week’s theme is introduced in a synchronous weekly mifgash (“gathering”) and continues at home asynchronously as children delve into module-related content and concepts with a fair amount of independence from the adults in their lives. Lower elementary age children explore them through a curated box of hands-on activities, while upper elementary learners receive engaging weekly challenges.  

While developed with minimal at-home adult responsibility for learning, resources are offered to encourage informal  family conversations.

Learning is anchored in Jewish texts and tales of our past, offering rich understandings of Jewish values that build resiliency and guide personal and communal health and wellness: 

  • sukkat shalom (a shelter of peace)
  • ometz lev (inner strength)
  • g’vurah (courage)
  • k’hillah (community)
  • hesed (loving kindness, tying into hope)

While developed with minimal at-home adult responsibility for learning, resources are offered to encourage informal  family conversations.


Our PreK-7 Hebrew curriculum uses  key cultural words and concepts to build a cultural vocabulary and absorb Jewish values. 

This year in grades PreK-5, we are adding a language acquisition strategy in which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands. 
We introduce Hebrew in a playful and meaningful way, creating a positive first link between children and Hebrew. Hebrew using the latest brain research on learning, providing an aural foundation for Hebrew that opens the door to more facile Hebrew decoding and reading. 

Prayer language is used to develop understanding of key Hebrew words so that students can draw meaning and feel a personal connection to the Hebrew prayer. 
Students in grades 4-7 explore 3-5 musical versions of the prayers and learn to fluently recite and/or chant the prayer using the melody of their home congregation.  Exposure to multiple melodies and the different customs of the three congregations we serve helps our students appreciate the commonalities and differences among the many congregations in their Jewish community.  

We are adding 1:1 Hebrew lessons in addition to our group lessons this year.
In the Library, children will “learn through literature”.  For the youngest children, the Library Director will use picture books to reinforce the school curriculum, teaching general Jewish concepts and the holiday calendar, using a fun, 15-20 minute interactive story-time approach. For older grades, the method changes as the Library Director and students read from and discuss age-appropriate Jewish literature and literary/rabbinic sources. All students are encouraged to check out materials according to reading ability and maturity level.


Students sing songs that reinforce the learning objectives in the curriculum and enjoy seasonal holiday songs and other age appropriate Jewish music.  


Many of our students are the only Jewish student in their secular school. When asked why our school is important to them, they often tell us that it is a place they can be with others who are Jewish like them. Building Jewish community for our children is very important to us. Creating a space where our children can be themselves and learn their role in the wider Jewish community is at the heart of everything we do.

High School

Building on a foundation of the K-7 curriculum, the high school program is constructed upon a 3 year rotating schedule.  The curriculum allows students to enter the program at any point without repetition.  The intent of the  program is to foster a positive sense of Jewish community and a lifelong desire for continuous Jewish learning.  Each year will be autonomous and include three subject areas: 

  1. The Jewish People 
  2. Jewish Values & Social Action
  3. Madrichim Program