Marvin and Rosalie Okun Kalamazoo Community Jewish School
The Marvin and Rosalie Okun Kalamazoo Community Jewish School seeks to develop and strengthen the Jewish identity of its students by sharing the faith, values, ethics, skills, and history of our Jewish heritage in a vibrant, inclusive, caring, and warm environment. Students will be prepared to lead a rich Jewish life at home, in the synagogue, and as members of the larger community.
Jewish education is important because it teaches us – children and adults alike – how to think, act, and live as Jews in today’s society. Judaism isn’t just learning Hebrew or attending Shabat services. Judaism is a living, breathing, modern way of existence. With a quality Jewish education, students at MROKCJS can grow into adults confident in making Jewish choices in their daily lives.
The MROKCJS curriculum includes Hebrew language, Jewish identity and values, and holiday study for our youngest learners. Children in Pre-Kindergarten – second grade receive regular exposure to our library and music curricula, which introduces them to Jewish literature, melodies, and songs.
There are more than 60 children currently enrolled in classes ranging from pre-K to high school.
All grades meet on Sundays during the school year from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Grades 3-7 also meet on Wednesdays from 4:15pm to 6:15pm.
Sunday mornings begin with group Tefilah (prayer), followed by Hebrew study and prayer practice, Judaism lessons and holiday curricula. Wednesday evenings begin with small group prayer practice, followed by study of prayer with our rabbis, Hebrew study and B’nai Mitzvah preparation.
Grades 1-7 use curriculum based on the traditional Jewish “Three Pillars”: Torah (Study), Avodah (Worship), and G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Kindness). Hebrew prayer and reading skills are taught using the Behrman House series of primers and workbooks, which includes Kol Yisrael.
Students preparing for their B’nai Mitzvah study the Shabbat service in-depth, as well as topics like Haftarah (Prophets), Torah (The Five Books of Moses), and Jewish history.
Our high school program is for students in 8th-10th grade. It is led by our rabbis and meets weekly. Students will learn about a variety of Jewish topics in a dynamic setting that blends academics with young leadership training both inside and outside the classroom. Subjects include the Jewish life cycle and Jewish history.
MROKCJS understands that Jewish learning can happen anywhere, any way. Special holiday events, student-led Shabbat services, and guest visitors to our school help bring Judaism out of the classroom and into daily life.
The MROKCJS is a joint endeavor by the Congregation of Moses and Temple B’nai Israel, launched in the fall of 2016 from a desire to have all Jewish children in the community learn together. The school is funded by tuition, equal subsidies from Temple B’nai Israel and the Congregation of Moses as well as generous grants and endowments.
The school is governed by a committee with representatives from both congregations and led by director Nora Chaus.
Classes are held at both congregations and are led by teachers and rabbis.
At the heart we share a sense of Jewish community for our children, a feeling that religious school is a second home, an exciting and engaging time, and a place to find lifelong friends.