Emanuel Congregation

5959 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60660
773/561-5173 info@emanuelcong.org

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Study :: Religious School

Emanuel families display the Torah at our Simchat Torah 5773 celebration.

Emanuel Congregation Religious School Overview

Updated November, 2013

The Emanuel Congregation Religious School is the Religious school of the Emanuel Congregation of Chicago.  We strive to teach Judaica and the Hebrew language as preparation for a lifelong commitment to Jewish living.  Under the leadership of Alison Siegel Lewin, Director of Education, we serve approximately 200 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade each year.

The 2012-2013 School Year is in full swing!  Class times are as follows:

  • Sundays, 9:30am-12:15pm.  All Grades.
  • Tuesdays, 4:30pm-6:00pm.  3rd-7th Grades only.

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten:  Our youngest students begin their studies by being exposed to all that Judaism has to offer in ways that are age-appropriate for them, including art and music.  These students will learn about Jewish holidays, Torah characters and Torah stories while learning what it means to behave Jewishly and to be part of the Jewish community.  The year is tied together through the creation of each student’s “Mitzvah Tree”, a collection of all of the good deeds a child has done throughout the year.

1st and 2nd Grades:  CHAI CurriculumWe are continuing to use the CHAI Curriculum from the Union for Reform Judaism as our core program for students in grades 1-2.  The CHAI Curriculum is designed to teach “Enduring Understandings” on three major themes:  Torah (the Bible), Avodah (Prayer), and G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness).

In addition to the CHAI Curriculum, we cover several additional topics:

  • Arts:  Every class has weekly music lessons and several visual-arts lessons each year.
  • Torah Stories:  Each class learns age-appropriate stories from the Torah such as Creation, Noah’s Ark, and the Exodus.
  • Hebrew:  We use classroom-appropriate Hebrew words in every grade.  Our 2nd grade students also begin to learn their Hebrew letters.
  • Holidays:  All of our classes celebrate Jewish holidays as they arise throughout the year.

3rd Through  7th  GradesIn the years from 3rd through 7th grades, classes are held twice weekly, taking place on Sunday mornings and Tuesday afternoons.

3rd Grade:  Our 3rd grade students continue to study Judaica using the CHAI Curriculum as described above. This year students will also study each of the Jewish holidays in-depth as they occur throughout the year.  3rd grade also includes the primer level of Hebrew study where students learn to identify, decode, and pronounce the Hebrew language while incorporating basic classroom vocabulary into each lesson.

4th Grade:  Our 4th grade students continue to study Judaica using the CHAI Curriculum as described above. This year students will also study the stages of the Jewish life cycle in-depth.  4th grade students begin to study, in Hebrew, the prayers of the Reform Jewish liturgy.

5th Grade:  Our 5th grade students continue to study Judaica using the CHAI Curriculum as described above. This year students will also study the lessons of the Prophets and Writings in-depth.  5th grade students continue to study, in Hebrew, the prayers of the Reform Jewish liturgy.

6th Grade:  Our 6th grade students explore their relationship with the world around them through the lens of Tikkun Olam, our responsibility as Jews to make the world a better place.

7th Grade:  During their B’nai Mitzvah year, our students return to the beginnings of Judaism and take a critical look at the biblical stories found in the books of Genesis and Exodus.  Torah stories are explored as foundations of Jewish life that influence who we are today and how we interact with the world around us.


Click here for more information:   Emanuel Academy Introduction

Madrichim Program:  During their high school years, our students have the special opportunity to return to the Religious School as role models for younger students while gaining valuable work experience.  Madrichim work either in our classrooms in educational support roles or in the office as administrative support.  These students also receive special learning and personal development opportunities throughout the year.

Youth Groups:  Emanuel Congregation is also home to youth programs for students in grades 5-12.  Together with their advisers and peers, students have opportunities throughout the year to:

  • Socialize with their Jewish friends from Emanuel.
  • Engage in social action projects throughout Chicago.
  • Expand their Jewish learning on topics of their choice.
  • Participate in regional and national Reform Jewish youth programming.
  • Plan and execute the annual Purim Carnival for the congregation.

Contact Information:
Alison Lewin, Director of Education: AlisonLewin@emanuelcong.org
Myra Wagner, Religious School Administrator: MWagner@emanuelcong.org
Office:  773-561-5173

Helpful Information

Parent Handbook, 2012-13, with Monthly Calendar 

5774 School Calendar as of 10.17.13

Faculty Roster

Register for OSRUI Summer Camp for 2013!  For more information, please check the OSRUI website, call 847-509-0990, or email: osrui@urj.org 

2013-14 Membership Application with School Registration Forms, 2013-14
To volunteer for parking lot supervision, please sign-up online: http://vols.pt/kNUSVU