CCJDS Middle School students help to plan, implement and lead service learning projects -- activities that benefit our community and provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning and personal growth for the students involved. They embark on these projects with confidence and enthusiasm because they recognize that their words and actions have the power to inspire younger students and make change in this world. 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.” Based on specific Jewish values, SHIR HaLev activities blend seamlessly into the everyday curriculum of each class. For example, the 6th grade service learning theme is Water Conservation. Students research current water usage statistics and educate the student body. In Judaic Studies, they learn about the significance and symbolism of water in Jewish history and in the Torah. In science class, they take water samples of the local reservoir to determine cleanliness and water supply. They also spend a day along the East Bay Shoreline removing non-native plants.
Middle School SHIR HaLev Projects:
6th Grade – Kol Tzameh lechu l’Mayiim — Water 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 all the different grade-level projects and the Jewish values on which they are based, the 8th graders have the opportunity to choose the project that resonated the most with them and mentor younger students doing that work. 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.