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HEA Religious School

Hebrew
Educational
Alliance
Ruach &
Torah

Jewish Learning for Life

It is the Torah that brings us into the synagogue. It is our education that sends us into the world.
The more Torah, the more life, the more schooling, the more wisdom.” (Pirke Avot)
Today's Religious School looks very different from the Hebrew School of the past. New approaches, flexible timeframes and innovative teaching and learning methods are all part of this exciting Jewish learning experience.

HEA is proud to offer a modern approach…Hebrew Educational Alliance Ruach & Torah.  

Who we are and Why choose us:

  • Building Jewish COMMUNITY with kids and their families
  • Inspiring kids to practice Jewish VALUES and actively participate in their Judaism
  • Teaching HEBREW and meaningful Jewish content in fun and multi-dimensional ways

What makes us different?

  • An experience that fosters Jewish community beyond religious school
  • A curriculum that reaches kids in the way they learn best
  • Interactions with the dynamic synagogue community and the practice of Tikkun Olam
  • Foster learning about traditions, holidays, mitzvot and our core Jewish values
  • Intergenerational programming and involvement

This Fall, HEART will proudly offer the ShalomLearning program for grades Kindergarten through 5th grade. Through the lens of mitzvot and values, HEART will teach and emphasize Jewish identity, pride, prayers, spirituality, Hebrew and a connection to Israel through this engaging curriculum.

HEART MISSION
The Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA) understands that our continuation as a community, as a people, and as a faith, depends on the next generation’s commitment to Judaism. HEART is a vibrant, engaging program tailored to suit the needs of our HEA families and provide a strong Jewish educational foundation. We strive to instill in our children a love and appreciation for everything Jewish. In today’s
world we face challenges that demand a wholesome approach to child development. Our goal is to anchor your child’s social, emotional and intellectual growth to Judaism—with the values and ethical
living reflected in our traditions.

HEART’s mission is to support your children to build strength of character with compassion and tolerance from Preschool to Chai School and beyond. Our classes and curriculum are designed to promote a sense of pride and belonging in our Jewish community.



HEART
CORE CURRICULUM
For the Love of Judaism

Our HEART program consists of 5 chambers:  Sunday School (K to 5), Hebrew School (grades 4-6), Mensch Academy (grades 6-7), Chai School (grades 8-10) and HEA Youth Group Programs.  
At HEA your children will find their HEART space.  HEART is a vital part of continuing the heartbeat of the essence of Jewish Life through the central tenets of Judaism, sacred clusters of core values and a Heart to Heart intergenerational-shared mission.  We look forward to current and future generations finding their HEART center with HEA.

CHUGIM ELECTIVES חוגים
In addition to the core curriculum, HEART students will select one Chug per semester.  These creative, hands on opportunities will allow for experiential learning.  The Chugim offer a way for the students to develop and express their love of Judaism through their senses, their passions and by following their heart.

Omanut (Arts)  אומנות 
Create your own ARTbeat  
At the foundation, this elective uses creating art as the means to exploring Jewish text, thoughts, and concepts. This is geared toward the creative seeker and aspiring artist.  Each workshop encourages mindfulness in areas such as our relationships with others, ourselves, the Divine, and the world around us. 

Shira  (Music)  שירה
Feel your rhythm
The music elective will incorporate singing, creating music and finding deeper meaning behind many of the Jewish holidays we know and love. We will spend time with text and sing along to the music! This will be an opportunity for kids who love music to find their voice, while also being exposed to new music to expand their horizons.

Teatron (Theatre)  תיאטרון 
Take center stage
In this theatre elective, students will use their bodies and voices to create characters, stories, and ensemble pieces. Primarily, we will be looking at the stories of the Jewish Holidays and the people within. Students will take a practical approach to the stories by recreating them and putting them onstage for an audience



SHALOMLEARNING
PORTAL 

Values Curriculum:  The ShalomLearning's values-based curriculum explores seven Jewish values and their relevance in our everyday lives. Students will learn to use Jewish sources to make responsible decisions and build positive relationships.

Hebrew Curriculum:  Using the ShalomLearning Hebrew program, we will teach your children to read Hebrew, chant prayers, and understand their meaning. At home, your child can log into the ShalomLearning portal to practice.

Virtual Classroom:  Learning together in a virtual classroom, students will interact with each other in a real-time, teacher-led class. By being able to log in from home (or anywhere), students understand that learning and Judaism happen everywhere, not just in the Religious School.

Click HERE for the ShalomLearning flyer.



HEART
PROGRAMS

Sunday School
Grades K to 5
Sundays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

We utilize the ShalomLearningTM interactive, a values-based curriculum to help children develop a positive Jewish identity. Holidays are taught with an engaging (hands-on) approach and are celebrated in a school-wide setting. We use engaging learning strategies that mirror camp-style fun and encourage family learning with one Family Education event for each grade level. The students participate in a weekly tefilah service and enjoy a new approach in learning Hebrew through action and movement. Hebrew is integrated in every class and we promote love for Israel. God and spirituality are introduced with age appropriate engagements. 

The core values covered throughout the school year: 

Hebrew School
Grades 4-6
Weekly two-hour classes
Wednesdays 
4:30-6:30 p.m.

Classes are created based on students’ Hebrew levels and teach basic Hebrew decoding and progress to mastery of prayers, building to the B’nai Mitzvah program.

Mensch Academy
Grades 6-7
Two year program 

As a continuation of Religious School, B’nai Mitzvah cohorts are engaged in a two-year program with equal emphasis on their Hebrew proficiency and character building. This is a time of transition that that the whole family is a part of.  It focuses on two aspects:  a developmental aspect that is unique to the pre-teen years and a psychological aspect regarding relationships with family and friends.  The family program will include dialogue such as what does it mean to be a teen in today’s world, how does it influence them and so forth.  A family session will be held to open dialogue of what does it mean to be a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?  This will be an opportunity for heart-to-heart conversations to compare perspectives and see alignment.  Skills based discussions will also include things you’ll need to know for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, trope, practical Bar/Bat Mitzvah project ideas, etc. 

Hebrew related studies include learning Torah trope and continued tefilah mastery enabling them to continue to lead services after their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. In Mensch Academy, they delve deeper into concepts of Jewish ethics, bridging developmental concerns typical to this age and Jewish understanding of musar. The 6th grade retreat is designed to build a sense of community and belonging.  Another component of the B’nai Mitzvah program is the investigation into the role of faith, God and spirituality in their daily lives.

Chai School
Grades 8-10
Meets twice a month on Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Dinner included

The High School years is a formative period in our teenage children’s lives, an important time that affects their Jewish identity. To keep our teens involved and interested in everything Jewish, HEA Chai School provides relevant shiurim (classes) that encourage engagement in a safe and welcoming environment. They develop their understanding of the responsibility of being a Jew while embracing the privilege of being one. We encourage exploring their spiritual ideas and connection to the Jewish people, thus fostering a lifelong faith-hold for future stages of life. 

Chai School Siyum/Confirmation takes place at the end of 10th grade. It affirms and celebrates your child’s understanding and commitment to what “Being a Jew” is all about. It also honors them for being a part of more than 85 years of HEA tradition.

Classes are varied based on the interest of the kids.  HEART Chai provides a variety of community speakers with topics to include: Israel Defense League, Anti-Semitism manifestation of hate, Holocaust survivors, multi-faith and “Inter-faithing” presentations which includes Rabbinate panel of different Jewish denominations. These social programs provide a progression and synergy between all elements, strengthen identity and pride and encourage a life-long journey.
There are 18 sessions in the 5780 (2020-2021) school year.  Chai School’s goal is to create a space for teens to connect with each other, building a community of friends.
The 5780 Curriculum is based on 4 units:

Unit 1: On Being A Jew
September – October: Unit One of “Ten Paths to God”, a new curriculum about Judaism and Jewish values based on traditional and contemporary teachings of R. Jonathan Sacks. 

This unit deals with the question of Identity with the following aims: 

  • Consider the placement of their Jewish identity in their overall identity
  • Consider how they are shaped by both their past and by exposure to the narrative of our national past
  • Explore the concepts of: Am Segula / Chosen People; Jewish destiny and national mission; the core values of Jewish society
  • Understand the importance of transmission of Judaism’s core concepts

Unit 2: Many Ways Of Being A Jew
November-December: An introduction to the different movements within Judaism, from Orthodoxy to Jewish Renewal. The unit culminates with a panel discussion from Rabbis representing these diverse movements.

Unit 3: Israel – Between Conflicts and Resolutions
January-February: Unit 3 explores Israel’s role in contemporary Jewish life, it’s history and the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Classes feature guest speakers including the Israeli Shaliach, Community Emissary. 

Unit 4: Multi-faith, Otherness, Anti-Semitism and Hate 
March-April:  This unit introduces the basic tenets of other faiths/religions. Parents are invited to join the students for a “Speed-Faithing” event in which they will have an opportunity to interact with guests of different faiths. This unit also includes the topic of Anti-Semitism, ethnic and religious hate, discussing reasons for and ways to address this problem. 

*All speakers, movies, and panel discussions are presented to 8th - 10th grades together, but class discussions are single grade for age appropriate discussions and activities. 

Siyum\Confirmation Class 5780:
Grade 10
Instructor:  Rabbi Gruenwald

Siyum\Confirmation Class has an added emphasis on personal reflection and responsibility as they contemplate their role in assuring our continuation as a community, as a people and as a faith. Prior to class beginning, the Confirmation Class students will write a one-page essay answering the following question: “What does confirmation mean to you?” The paper should be emailed to Sherry@HEAdenver.org prior to the first class. 

HEA Youth Group Programs
Grades 3-12
Open to any Jewish youth (HEA membership isn’t required)

All HEA Youth Programs are open to any Jewish youth, regardless of synagogue or other Youth Group affiliation. Our goal is to provide fun-filled activities that build relationships while fostering a sense of belonging.



HEART
EDUCATORS 

Meet the heart and soul of our program 
As you teach, you learn.  (Jewish proverb)

Sherry Grinsteiner, Director of Education and Rabbinic Intern
Sherry is a Sabra, born and raised in Israel in a traditional orthodox home and is a veteran of the IDF where she served as an officer of a teaching unit. Hebrew is her first language and she is versed in all aspects of Jewish liturgy and rituals. Sherry has over 25 years of experience as a Hebrew and Judaic teacher in various synagogues, schools and Jewish institutions, working with children and adults of all ages. She served as a Program Development Consultant and Lead Teacher with the Mizel Museum, and as the Director of Kohelet Hebrew School in Denver Colorado. Sherry was also a faculty member of the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education, teaching Hebrew, Jewish History and Israeli Literature courses. Sherry has been a member of the HEA for eighteen years and took much delight in her work as a B’nai Mitzvah tutor and as the HEA’s ritual director for Shabbat and holiday services.

Sherry expresses her love and commitment for Jewish life and teaching with the excitement she brings to her work. She especially loves engaging with the teachers, and the students and their families, sharing with them the richness of Jewish culture, literature and language. Sherry has been actively completing her final training to become an ordained Rabbi in January 2021.

Jennifer Zucker, Assistant Director of Education and B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator
Jenn holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Miami and recently completed two additional certificates: Project Management (2019) and Event Management (2020).  Jenn has always volunteered within Jewish education and Jewish organizations. Starting as a teen teacher’s aide in religious school, she also taught 1st grade and 8th grade religious classes in Houston, TX and was a constant figure on the HEA Preschool Parent Committee for 8 years and on the Religious School Parent Committee for 10 years.  In 2018, Jenn jumped back into the nonprofit world and ultimately landed again at the HEA on the Education team. A member of the HEA for 20 years, Jenn bakes challah and is the 2006 HEA Sisterhood Kugel Cook-Off winner.

Rabbi Marlene Richter (5th grade and Hebrew)
A reverse snow-bird, Rabbi Richter moved to Denver in 2007 after living most of my life in South Florida. I retired from a career in Judaic education that included roles as a Religious School Principal and as a Jewish Day School Principal. I love children and keeping them interested in Judaic studies. I've been teaching at the HEA since 2007 as a B'nai Mitzvah tutor and Religious School educator. Additionally, I just completed my Rabbinic ordination in summer 2020.

Bill Geller, Instructor (4th grade)
Bill Geller has been a member of the HEA since moving to Denver from California in 1996, has been married 25+ years and has two daughters - both of whom became Bat Mitzvahs at the HEA. Before teaching Religious School for eight years, he led Junior Congregation for 9 years - for grades 2-6 and regularly attends the traditional service. 

Bill grew up Reform in Phoenix but became Conservative, following his wife's tradition, and has especially embraced the morals, values & ethics of the faith. He was a camp counselor for many years while in high school & college, lived in Prague, Czech Republic for 2 years (March 07-March 09), has visited Israel 4 times and brings all of these experiences to the classroom. 

Josh Newmark, Instructor (2nd grade and Hebrew)
Originally from Palm Springs, California, Josh’s family moved to Denver in 1997. Long time members of the HEA, he had his bar mitzvah here. Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in English Creative Writing from the University of Colorado-Denver, and because of this, one of his favorite hobbies is to write children’s books and short stories. 

This will be his 14th year teaching religious school at the HEA. Josh has also tutored multiple subjects on Tutor.com for a number of years. He has participated in the Stanley Teacher Prep Program and received a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Adams State University with an emphasis on Culture and Diversity. Josh also works at the Toyota Landcruiser Club at Coors Field, which allows him to show off his love for sports.  He’s a huge baseball fan! 

Judi Marcus, Instructor (Hebrew)
Judi graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Master in Elementary Education. She has taught at DJDS, Hillel and Denver Public Schools.  In Denver she has been teaching Hebrew school since 1976 and adult Hebrew classes since 1989.  In 2007, Judi started working with HEA students with special needs.  She also started her own business in 2007, Hand-in-Hand, that works with seniors.  

In her free time, Judi makes “blessing” bags for the homeless and indulges in her hobbies of traveling, flower gardening and reading.

Nofar Simpkins, Instructor (Hebrew)
Originally from Israel, Nofar has a degree in Social Work and Psychology.  She also has years of experience private tutoring in Math and English as well.  Moving to Colorado has been a great new experience. Nofar enjoys hiking especially in the mountains. The most difficult part was getting used to how different the weather can be from day to day during the same week, let alone season.

Nofar loves educating kids, especially teaching them Hebrew, sharing her beautiful language is a special blessing.  She’s looking forward to teaching at HEA and getting to know the students.

Rebecca Geboff (Mensch Academy Instructor)
Rebecca Geboff is excited to start her journey as the Mensch Academy Educator for the 2020-2021 school year! Rebecca was raised in Orlando, Florida where she was an active member of her synagogue’s youth group and Jewish community as well as a loyal fan of Mickey Mouse and all of his friends! In 2013, she received a BS in Elementary Education at Florida State University. During her college years, Rebecca served on the Hillel board and participated in many community service organizations. In the Fall of 2020, she will graduate from the University of Colorado Denver with a MA in Education Leadership.  

From working as a Jewish summer camp counselor to teaching in Denver Public Schools, Rebecca believes in creating opportunities for Jewish youth to learn, share, and discuss meaningful topics with one another. She is thrilled to be a part of HEART community and can’t wait for an incredible year!

Shira Reiss, Instructor (3rd grade on Sundays and Hebrew on Wednesdays)
Shira Reiss attended Hebrew University in 1976-77 during the time of the Entebbe rescue and Sadat’s visit to Israel to make peace.  The entire experience had a huge impact on her life. When she returned to Mich State Univ. to complete her studies in the area of Speech and Language Pathology (SLP). She moved to NM and worked as an SLP all over the state that included Indian Pueblos, but also taught Hebrew and Judaic studies at a synagogue. 

In 1988, she moved to NYC to attend Hebrew Union College where she met her husband, and ultimately moved to Colorado in 1992 with her family. She continues to work as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Aurora Public Schools and is happily teaching now at HEA where she can share her love of Judaism and Hebrew.

Hillary Marcus, Instructor (Kindergarten)
Hillary grew up in the Denver Jewish community and has been teaching at the HEA Religious School since 2018. They also teach pre-kindergarten at HEA. Hillary is an alumni of Young Judaea Year Course and also served in the Israeli Defense Force from 2012-2014 as a Madricha for the Sar-El program. They currently serve as the education chair for the Rocky Mountain regional board of Jewish National Fund Futures. Hillary is fluent in Hebrew and passionate about helping foster a sense of Jewish identity in children.



HEART
SPECIALISTS

Yosh Hooper (Art Specialist)
Yosh studied international affairs and Jewish studies at The University of Colorado at Boulder then went on to receive his MA in Jewish Education, Nonprofit Development, and Art Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City. During his time at JTS, he was part of the artist residency program. Learning from Tobi Kahn and working at Jewish Art Museum provided him with a foundation to start putting his passions of Torah and the arts into specialized programming. While in Jerusalem, he studied at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, where he received a certification in experiential education and ran community studio workshops in Nachlaot and other Jewish related programming. For the last two years, he has served as the art director for the Ramah in the Rockies Omanut (Arts) program and trains Jewish art educators in his style and approach.

Cantor Arielle Green (Music Elective)
Cantor Arielle Green grew up as an active member of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA, where she found her love of Jewish music. Cantor Green received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester in music and environmental studies and her Cantorial Investiture and Masters of Sacred Music from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. During her time in school, Cantor Green served as the cantorial intern at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. 

Alexa Wynschenk (Theatre Elective)
In 2014, Alexa Wynschenk received a BA in English and Theatre Education from UNH. Then I received my MA in Applied Theatre from University of London: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I’ve been a theatre educator for 5 years. I spent 8 years as a staff member at JCC Ranch Camp in Elbert, CO.  Currently, I am the theatre arts teacher at Campus Middle School.


At HEA your children will find their Jewish HEART space, their way. HEART is a vital part of continuing the heartbeat of the essence of Jewish Life through the central tenets of Judaism, sacred clusters of core values and a Heart to Heart intergenerational-shared mission.  We look forward to current and future generations finding their HEART center with HEA.

Sat, July 11 2020 19 Tammuz 5780