Each grade is guided by some developmentally appropriate essential questions (see below) that help focus the teacher in accomplishing their yearly goals.  As well, each grade is assigned a piece of text from Pirkei Avot that serves as the yearly class theme.

Kindergarten Al Tistakel B’kankan (Pirkei Avot 4:27) – “do not look at the flask but at what it contains…”

Essential questions:

  • What does it mean to be Jewish?
  • How do I make my days and weeks holy?
  • Why is it important to help other people?
  • What is tzedakah?
  • How does all this fit in with my family?
  • What is Hebrew and how do I learn this language?


1st Grade Hafoch ba va’hafoch ba d’choloh ba (Pirkei Avot 5:25) – “Turn it {the Torah} over and over, for it contains everything.”

Essential questions:

  • How is the Torah my story?
  • What can I learn from the Torah to help me live and act in the world today? 
  • How can learning about my ancestors teach me about how I might act in the world?


2nd Grade Im Ein Ami Li Mi Li (Pirkei Avot 1:14) – “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

Essential questions:

  • What is a sacred community?
  • What is holy work and who does it?
  • How is my synagogue a holy community?

3rd Grade Al Shlosha D’varim (Pirkei Avot 1:2) – “The world is sustained by 3 things: Torah, worship, and acts of loving kindness.”

Essential questions: 

  • What is prayer?
  • Is the Torah divinely created or divinely inspired?
  • How does praying and doing acts of loving-kindness (g'milut chasadim) help the Torah come alive?
  • How do we infuse our days, weeks and years with meaning and connections? (Jewish calendar)

4th Grade Im Ein Kemach, Ein Torah (Pirkei Avot 3:21) – “Without sustenance, there is no Torah…”

Essential questions:

  • Why does Mt. Sinai matter to me?
  • Was I there?
  • How is Torah still being revealed in the world? 
  • How am I a teacher of Torah? How do I live Torah?
  • What is my connection to the people who came before me?


5th Grade Ten Lo Mishelo (Pirkei Avot 3:7) – “Give God what is God’s, since you and all that you have are God’s.”

Essential questions:

  • What do our Prophets of old have to say to me and my world?
  • How can they inspire me to act courageously and righteously today?
  • What is Tanach and why is it different from other books?
  • How can prayer affect what I do?
  • How can prayers come off the page and out into the world?
  • How are our prophets like Jewish superheros, fearlessly outing injustice, insisting on action, daring to dream?

6th Grade Lo Alecha HamLacha Ligmor (Pirkei Avot 2:16) – “It is not up to you to finish the work, yet you are not free to avoid it.”

Essential questions:

  • How am I connected to my people through time and place and purpose?
  • How am I connected to Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel), Am Yisrael (the people of Israel) and Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel)?
  • What is the connection between the Israel of today and the Israel of the Torah?


7th Grade Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah (Pirkei Avot 4:2) – “…for a Commandment pulls along a Commandment and a transgression pulls along a transgression.”

Essential questions:

  • Who am I now?
  • Who do I want to become? 
  • How might my sacred community, rituals and texts inspire me to reach my full potential? 
  • How might my community support my family and me as I prepare for the transitions and transformations ahead?
  • What does it mean to be a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?


CBT continues its successful program of inviting young adults who have become Bar or Bat Mitzvah to assist in our Religious School.

Students in Eighth Grade and above are eligible to become madrikhim, literally, “guides.”

We will help these role models for younger children to develop as leaders and teachers through participating in an ongoing regional training program, facilitated through the Contra Costa Midrasha’s (our regional teen education program) grant from the Brenden Mann Foundation.   As part of the training program, they will be responsible for establishing personal growth goals, be expected to attend the mandatory trainings, they will learn the skills necessary to act as adjunct instructors in conjunction with the classroom teacher, and they will create and implement a lesson as part of their final project.

For the madrikhim, this guidance and experience in our school will impart to them valuable skills for later life. In addition, these young people who work as support staff for the Religious School are an essential asset to our synagogue community, and we are delighted to have them with us.

The teens who participate in the madrikhim program can earn community service hours for their time, as well as a salary for those in grades 9-12.

CBT is very fortunate to have generous contributions from our congregants to assist students needing learning accommodations. Since each student needs an individual plan, contact the school director as soon as possible so that a plan can be ready for the first day of school. 


In person meetings are always welcome! Please stop by and say hi!