Jewish Life & Learning
In everything you do you encounter sparks full of life and light, aspiring to rise toward the heights. You help them and they help you.
— Rabbi Isaac Avraham Kook
Judaism at Denver Jewish Day School is not simply a subject to be learned or a religion to be practiced, but a way to live, guiding us in our interactions with each other, with our community, and with the world. Our approach to Jewish life and learning provides many pathways and entry points, combining experiential and academic learning opportunities, weaving the culture and spirit of Judaism through all aspects of the school and encouraging our community to experience Jewish life together.
Our Divrei Chaim, or Words to Live By, are chesed (kindness), yosher (integrity), sakranut (curiosity), kehillah (community), and tachlit (purpose). These five principles guide all that we do at Denver JDS, acting as our core concepts. We also focus on a set of middot (Jewish values) as the basis of our Denver JDS community. Values such as kavod (respect), derech eretz (way of the land), tzedek (justice), and koach hadibur (power of words) help us to foster relationships with each other and develop character within individuals. Our Divrei Chaim and middot are infused throughout all classes in both divisions through setting up the classroom community, planning divisional programming, and implementing social emotional curriculum in addition to serving as a lens through which to view various questions in academics classes. Additionally, the middot are put into action through service learning opportunities like the Helping Hands program in the Lower Division and the Tzedek program in the Upper Division.
Tefilah (prayer) at Denver JDS give students the opportunity to reflect while developing emotional dispositions such as kindness, curiosity, integrity, and purpose (also our Divrei Chaim), allows students to explore their relationship with God and spirituality, provides an added space to connect with the community, fosters the skills needed to be a part of a prayer community and be knowledgeable about the meaning of the tefilot (prayers), and enables students to appreciate different modalities of prayer within the American Jewish community. Students in the Lower Division engage in tefilah each day, focusing both on the skills and practice of the prayer services as well as on finding personal meaning within the words. Additionally, once or twice a month, all Lower Division students gather together to a special Kabbalat Shabbat program (welcoming of Shabbat). Students in the Upper Division are given a choice in how to engage in tefilah, with different siddur-based options on some days as well as the opportunity to cultivate their own literacy and explore personal meaning on other days. On Fridays, all students in the Upper Division gather together to welcome Shabbat as a community.