At CCJDS, we teach our children that their words and actions have the power to make change in this world. We believe that as they grow and learn academically, so too should our children explore what it means to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others. Through our school-wide, cross-curriculum SHIR HaLev program, students embark on a yearlong service project in the spirit of the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
The name SHIR HaLev comes from the phrase shirut ruchani and translates into “spiritual service of the heart.” Each class focuses on a specific Jewish value and participates in service learning activities that blend seamlessly into their broader curriculum. For example, in Kindergarten the theme is Caring for Animals. In the General Studies classroom they learn about species and habitats and then they take a field trip to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum where 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. These themes come to life in Judaic Studies as well. They explore Tzaar Baalai Chaaim — Caring for Animals through the lens of the biblical stories of Creation and Noah. Another highlight for the students is the canine visitor from ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) 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 dog toys for ARF -- showing that your family's used socks and tennis balls are a dog's treasure!
Lower School SHIR HaLev Projects:
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 – Hafrachat Haadama — Gardening and Sustainability
5th Grade – Chanoch La Naar Al Pi Darkoh – Literacy for All Children
Our goal is for students to adopt a lifelong ethic of social responsibility and civic engagement, to become true mensches always in pursuit of tikkun olam.