Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
— Psalms 133
Connecting to the rhythm of the Jewish calendar deepens our students’ relationship to Judaism and enhances the Denver Jewish Day School community as a whole.
On a weekly basis, students in the Lower Division welcome Shabbat through Kabbalat Shabbat programming. Once or twice a month, the entire Lower Division gathers together with a guest from the community for singing and storytelling to get into that Shabbat spirit; on other weeks Kabbalat Shabbat is held in individual classrooms. In the Upper Division, the entire division gathers together each Friday to welcome Shabbat together. The whole school (both our Lower Division and Upper Division) also come together for special Kabbalat Shabbat programming during the year.
Upper Division students gather twice a year for a community Shabbaton, during which the students and faculty welcome and celebrate Shabbat together including a variety of inspiring programming. Additionally, the full Denver JDS community looks forward to the annual Shabbat Across Denver JDS program each year when Denver JDS families host each other for special Shabbat dinners.
On a monthly basis, Rosh Chodesh (the start of the new Hebrew month) is celebrated in both divisions through songs and special programming. Throughout the year, the Jewish holidays such as Rosh HaShanah, Sukkot, Chanukah, Passover, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom HaAtzmaut are also commemorated and celebrated through a mixture of in-class learning, parent/family programs, and school-wide programming, often providing an opportunity for students from the Lower Division and Upper Division to connect.
As part of our focus on community (one of our Divrei Chaim, Words to Live By), our student body, faculty, and staff is divided into 18 mishpachot (families), which serve as a community within a community. Our mishpachot meet several times over the course of the year for community building programs, socializing, holiday celebrations, and other programs. Through this program, we foster authentic connection between the grades and the divisions and ensure that every member of our community feels a sense of belonging.
Within the framework on our mishpachot, in the Lower Division, our kindergartners and fifth graders are Hebrew buddies to each other. Once a week, the two grades gather to share Hebrew stories and work on conversational Hebrew skills. Additionally, we use our mishpachot to connect students in the Upper Division through our Big/Little Program which partners our older and younger students, creating connections within the division.