Eighth graders will go beyond the classroom to learn about themselves as Jews within the context of the larger Tucson community. They will explore the possibilities for social action by volunteering with various organizations and finding ways to act on issues they care about. Students will also examine their own religious practices within the contexts of other Jewish and non-Jewish traditions. They will visit, host, and interview speakers from Orthodox and Conservative synagogues as well as churches, mosques, etc., to discover religious similarities and differences. Their teachers and rabbis will facilitate hands-on activities to help them integrate their observations about both Social Action and Comparative Religion. On Tuesday afternoons, students will also have the opportunity to learn conversational Hebrew from our Shinshiniyot (Israelis doing a year of community service), and to learn how to become Madrichim (Teacher’s Aides) by assisting and leading younger children.

The 7th and 8th grade students from Temple Emanu-El and Or Chadash will conclude the year with a 4-day trip to the Jewish community of Los Angeles, visiting museums, Jewish shops, a kosher deli, and Disneyland. There is an additional charge for this trip. To defray the cost of the trip, the 7th and 8th grade students and their parents will participate in fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Parents are required to provide transportation to and from field trips either individually or by carpool and are invited to attend most field trip activities. All field trips will allow for an introduction period as well as a question and answer period, with time for “debriefing” as needed. Many of these field trips will challenge the students’ preconceived ideas and stir feelings and thoughts that will need to be further discussed as time permits.

Madrichim Training is an optional course that will be held on some of the “off” Sundays during the year. Students who opt to take the Madrichim course will be asked to attend a Leadership Skill Building Camp that will include First Aid and CPR certification, learning to write activity plans and participate in hands-on volunteer opportunities that will be facilitated by the staff of the Jewish Community Center to culminate the year. There is an additional cost for taking this training.

At the end of this training year, students will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to apply for any open aide positions in our Religious School.