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The Chavurah System and Fostering Community

Our learning programs are organized as follows.
Z'raim, or Seeds - ages 3+
Midor L'Dor, or Generation to Generation - Kindergarten, Grade 1
Shorashim, or Roots - Grades 2-5
Gesher, or Bridge - Grade 6
Hineini, or I am Present - Grades 7-8
Teen Chai - Grades 9-12
Kehillah/Community is an essential value at Congregation Etz Chayim. We strive to create a sense of belonging to a community and of responsibility for each other. In our youth learning programs, this finds expression in multiple ways, including opportunities for families to learn together in our Kol Bo (All School) Family Days and grade-level Family Days, our Chevruta Buddy System, sharing responsibilities for hosting an oneg shabbat, weekly shared snack and recess, shared dinners for our older students and more.
To foster a sense of identity, connection and community, students are grouped according to age/grade. Each group, or chavurah, is given a name.
Our preschool students are Z'raim, Seeds. Our Kindergarten and 1st grade students are known as Midor (short for midor l'dor, from generation to generation). 
Chavurah names for students in grades 2-8 are based on Shivat Ha-Minim, the seven plant species found in the Land of Israel that are mentioned in the Torah in Deuteronomy 8:8.  Students receive their chavurah name when they move from Midor and enter 2nd grade.  Each chavurah has a logo associated with their chavurah name.  Students continue with their chavurah identity until the end of 8th grade at which time they pass their name along to the rising 2nd grade students. Students who join our program after 2nd grade automatically  become members of the chavurah for their grade-level.
Students in grades 2-5 are part of our Shorashim, Roots learning community. Students in grade 6 enter our  Gesher, Bridge program which enables them to span Shorashim and Hineini, our middle school program.
 Learning continues for our high school students in our Teen Chai program.
For the 2023-24 Year of Learning (5783-5784):
Grade 2   Chavurat Tamar (Date Palm)
Grade 3   ChavuatT'einah (Fig)
 Grade 4  Chavurat Chitah (Wheat)
Grade 5    Chavurat Seorah (Barley)
Grade 6    Chavurat Gefen (Grape)
Grade 7    Chavurat Zayit (Olive)
Grade 8    Chavurat Rimon (Pomegranate)
Additional Ways We Create Community
Parents are encouraged to be active members of the EPA, the Etz Parent Association. The EPA organizes social events and holiday celebrations for families such as the Sukkot Dinner, Latke and Taco Dinner and Summer Etz Game Fest. Many parents also volunteer at the Purim ETZtravaganza. 
Each fall, families who will be celebrating Bar and Bat Mitzvah at Etz Chayim in the following calendar year,  participate in the Bar/t Mitzvah Family Class. Throughout the Bar/t Mitzvah year, families find many opportunities to connect with each other as they learn together, help at the Oneg Shabbat after each Bar/t Mitzvah and support each other in various ways.
For our middle school students,  the opportunity to share dinner together on Wednesday evenings maintains  connections to each other and to the broader Etz Chayim community.
At times of need and in celebration,  our Etz Chayim community becomes one extended family. Our students learn the meaning of the expression kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh/all Jews are responsible for each other by observing and participating in lifecycle events such as welcoming and naming new babies, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, funerals and attending a shiva minyan.
Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784