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Am Yisrael SJS' Mission Statement, Guiding Principles & Goals

Mission Statement

The Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies (SJS) is committed to creating a warm and nurturing environment in order to transmit a positive and meaningful religious and moral identity to its students. Following the guidelines of the Conservative Movement, we are committed to being a progressive Jewish learning community that aims to instill Jewish literacy, a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and encourage lifelong Jewish learning.

A. Guiding Principles: Virtues and values are of central importance to everything we do at SJS. The way we act; who we are; what we stand for; how we respond; how we view life and the world around us; our personal qualities, attributes and traits – all these reflect the degree to which we embrace our Jewish values:(1) The recognition that each human being is created in God’s image. (2) The prohibition of passivity when it comes to saving life -the highest obligation that overrides nearly every other law. (3) The need to act with kindness and mercy towards all God’s created beings. (4) The obligation to act respectfully towards others and preserve their human dignity. (5) The habit of seeking peaceful resolution of conflicts. (6) The undertaking of activities to repair an imperfect world. (7) The duty to give to meet the needs of others.

B. Top 10 goals for our learners:(1) Teaching them to appreciate Jewish values. (2) Helping them acquire the skills and absorb the attitudes necessary to engage in Jewish prayer. (3) Demonstrate how to reflect on Jewish moral and ethical values.(4)Illustrate the value of the legacies and lessons of the Jewish past(5)Teach them to understand the lasting importance of the teachings and lessons of the Hebrew Bible (TaNaKH). (6) Recognize the significance of the Hebrew language. (7)Impart the importance of the State of Israel and take pride in its accomplishments. (8) Build a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and an awareness of the challenges we face and how to do our best to overcome them. (9) Experience the importance of the social services provided by the local and global Jewish community. (10) Cherish the customs and rituals associated with Jewish holidays, Shabbat and life cycle events.

C. How we reach our Top 10 Goals: (1) Through the use of dynamic curricula, educators and modes of learning that reach today’s learners they find it meaningful to their lives. (2) By providing a solid foundation of Hebrew reading skills and giving our students a level of comfort with this skill. (3) Studying the Torah and other Jewish narratives and deciphering their meanings and applying these lessons to our lives. (4) Analyzing Jewish figures from the past, present and future and making sense of what they teach us. (5) Emphasizing the power of reoccurring of Torah and Haftorah study throughout life. (6) Teaching the meaning of recurring Hebrew words throughout their years at SJS, including prefixes and suffixes. (7) By bringing the sights, sounds and culture of our Jewish homeland to Am Yisrael through poignant short video clips, shared anecdotes, singing, commemorating and celebrating Israel. (8) Teaching our Jewish history incremently through the years. (9) Encouraging our learners to become passionate about tikkun olam. (10) Demonstrating the joy of chanting from our sacred Torah and becoming actively familiar with as many Jewish rituals, celebrations and commemorations as possible. 

Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781