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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.

“Our goal is for students to adopt a lifelong ethic of social responsibility and civic engagement, always in pursuit of the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing our world.”

– Hadas, Rave, Director of Service Learning

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, Little Farm 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 – Tzaar Baalai Chaaim — Caring for Animals

1st Grade – Hidur Pnai Zaken – Respect for the Elderly

2nd Grade – Shmirat Haadama — Preserving the Earth

3rd Grade – Shinooi Habriot  — Honoring People with Special Needs

4th Grade – Le’ovda U’leshomra  – Gardening and Sustainability

5th Grade – Chanoch La Naar Al Pi Darkoh – Literacy for All Children

6th Grade – Ba’al Tashchit – Water and Energy Conservation

7th Grade – Betzelem Elohim – Diversity and Social Identity

8th Grade – Kol Israel Arevim Zeh leh Zeh  — Communal Responsibility

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.