Community Service

We believe that as children grow and learn academically, they should also develop the passion and skills to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others. At CCJDS, one of the ways we empower our children as changemakers is through our Kindergarten-8th grade, cross-curricular service learning program.

What is Service Learning?

Service learning blends traditional community service with the power of project-based, experiential learning. It engages students in study, action and reflection to solve real world problems and gain deeper understanding and skills. Our program is called SHIR HaLev. SHIR is an acronym for shirut ruchani and the name translates into “spiritual service of the heart.”  Each grade-level focuses on a specific Jewish value and service learning activities blend seamlessly into their broader curriculum.

SPOTLIGHT on Kindergarten Service Learning: Caring for Animals

The Kindergarten service learning theme is Tzaar Baalai Chaaim — Caring for Animals. In the General Studies, they learn about species and habitats and take field trips to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Oakland Zoo and the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). They see the impact of human actions on the natural world – both the harmful impacts such as displacing wild animals and the restorative impact of the museum as a haven for injured animals. In Judaics, they explore Caring for Animals through the lens of the biblical stories of Creation and Noah.  Students love hosting a canine visitor from ARF that teaches them about dog safety and introduces them to the idea of a therapy dog who brings comfort to a human friend — something young students understand intuitively. In the spring the K students take great pride and joy in organizing a school-wide collection of toys for ARF — showing that your family’s used socks and tennis balls are a dog’s treasure!

SHIR HaLev Grade-Level Themes:

Kindergarten Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim – Taking Care of Animals – צַעַר בַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים 

1st Grade – Shmirat Ha Guf – Healthy Lives, Healthy Choices – שְׁמִירַת הַגּוּף

2nd Grade – L’ovda U’leshomra – Work the Land, Feed the World – לְעבְדָהּ וּלְשׁמְרָהּ

3rd Grade – V’ahavta L’reacha Kamocha – Honoring People with Special Needs – וְאַהֲבָתָ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹך

4th Grade – Tikkun Olam – Appreciating Heroes in our Community – תִּקּוּן עוֹלָם

5th Grade Chanoch La Naar Al Pi Darkoh – Literacy for All Children – חֲנֹךְ לַנַּעַר עַל פִּי דַרְכּוֹ

6th Grade – Bal Tashchit – Climate Justice – בַּל תַּשְׁחִית

7th Grade – B’Tzelem Elohim – Diversity and Social Identity – בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים

8th Grade – Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh L’Zeh – Communal Responsibility – כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַרְבִים זֶה לְזֶה

The culmination of the service learning experience is the 8th grade ambassadorship. After exploring the different grade-level projects and the Jewish values on which they are based, the 8th graders have the opportunity to return to a project that resonated the most with them and mentor younger students doing that work.