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BESTT Guidelines

- Attendance
- Cancellation of Classes
- Communication from BESTT
- Dress Code
- Drop Off & Pick Up
- Early Dismissal
- Homework
- Lost & Found
- Mitzvah Projects
- Parent/Teacher Communication
- Progress Reports
- Snacks on Wednesdays
- Special Hebrew Instruction
- Special Needs Instruction
- Study with the Rabbis
- Visitation/Guests

Attendance
Regular BESTT attendance enables our students to learn and grow. The BESTT Committee supports parental desires to enrich their children's education over-and-above the framework of BESTT classes and encourages parents to do so by participating in Junior Congregation, Shabbat’s Cool, Shul-Ins.

Students who fall behind due to continual absences may register for one-on-one help on with Eileen Clignett, (see Mark) at their own expense.

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Cancellation of Classes
1. Please check your personal email.

2. All school closings will be listed on the Beth El Website and Facebook page - Beth El Omaha Youth Programming.

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Communication
If you have changed your contact information: mailing address, telephone numbers or email address, please notify the school.

To reduce the budgetary cost of first class postage, the majority of the school’s communication to parents will be through email, BESTT and Hebrew High PIN (Parent Information Newsletter) email newsletter, fliers both posted and handed out, and direct emails. The bulk of the school’s distribution of paper communication to parents will take place on Sunday mornings. Please consider following our new Facebook page - Beth El Omaha Youth Programming for reminders and easy communication. If you have not supplied the office with a current email address, please do so. Should you change your email address during the course of the year, please keep the school informed of the change. If your child does not live with both parents, please make sure that BESTT is also given the updated contact information for the non-custodial parent as well.

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Dress Code
It is expected that parents and students will utilize common sense and follow the guidelines set up by public school districts for appropriate attire to BESTT. If students are not allowed to wear certain types of clothing to public or private school, that type of attire is also not appropriate for our religious school classes. Please read the following for specific guidelines:

Kipot are required head coverings for all male students. Baseball caps and knit hats are not to be worn while BESTT is in session.

This dress code should also be extended to services in the Synagogue. Whether one participates as a congregant, receives an honor or leads services as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, modest clothing is expected.

The school reserves the right to modify the dress code as trends change; however, the following may be considered guidelines for dress, which is deemed inappropriate:

For boys: muscle shirts, see-through clothing, T-shirts with messages or illustrations of drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, illegal substances, violence, death, nudity or profanity, messages which are racist or sexist in nature; pants must cover the buttocks; underwear should not be seen.

For girls: boxer shorts, short shorts, very short skirts, clothing which exposes the midriff, bares the shoulders or which exposes the student’s back or front; see-through clothing, tight clothing or clothing that displays messages or illustrations of drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, illegal substances, violence, death, nudity or profanity.

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Drop Off and Pick Up
It is important that you drop off your child on time for school. Students who come to class on time have more success in mastering the materials being presented and in participating in group projects. There are also fewer disruptions in the lesson when students arrive on time. If you know that you are going to be late, please phone the office to let us know what time we might expect you. Parents are welcome to come into the canteen area and socialize, join our T’Filah assembly in the annex or wait and pick up their child(ren) from the community court.

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Early Dismissal
All early dismissals should be arranged in advance by emailing Mark at mkelln@bethel-omaha.org. We will make sure all of your child's teachers are aware of the request. Parents are required to enter the school office to sign their child out. For safety considerations, under no circumstances will students be permitted to wait for parents in the vestibule or outside. Students will be paged once parents have signed their child(ren) out. This is for student safety and for BESTT accountability. Parents are requested to refrain from releasing their child on their own without the knowledge of the education director.

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Homework
We are learning a foreign language at BESTT. It is so important especially in the primary class (Kitah Gimmel) to reinforce the Hebrew that is taught in school. Make it easy on your students. Please put in the time so that they are prepared to continue with their studies.

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Lost and Found
Please check with the religious school office for any lost articles. Any articles not claimed by the end of the school year will be donated to a local shelter.

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Mitzvah Projects
When a child becomes Bar/Bat Mitzvah he/she becomes eligible and obligated to perform mitzvot. Mitzvot are commandments that guide personal practice and behavior in life. What can your child do to fulfill mitzvot at the age of 12 or 13? Setting the groundwork at this stage in a child’s life helps to secure the continuation of performing mitzvot for the rest of their lives. Examples of mitzvot: ritual, study, prayer, community service.

If you are the parent of a 6th or 7th grade student and would be interested in finding out about initiating a personal mitzvah project, please contact Mark Kelln at 402-492-8550 to arrange a program.

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Parent Teacher Communications
Open lines of communication will be maintained throughout the religious school.  Parents should feel free to contact their children’s teachers or Mark to discuss any concerns about a child’s success in the religious school.  Teachers will keep parents informed about classroom activities and expectations through letters or email.  At any time, should a parent desire a conference with a teacher or the Education Director, please call the school office to arrange a convenient time.

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Progress Reports
Progress Reports are issued twice a year. Each teacher will write a short narrative about your student and let you know about their progress in class.

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Snacks on Wednesdays
Snacks will be served from 3:45 pm-4:10 pm. Snacks need to be finished before students enter their classrooms at 4:15 pm sharp. Exceptions will be made for OPS students arriving late.

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Special Needs Instruction
In order to best serve your child’s educational, emotional and physical needs, the Education Director must be informed about any special needs your child may require. Whether the need be physical, dietary, emotional, medical or educational, please provide as much information as possible about your child’s condition. All information will be kept strictly confidential. The parent of any student who has an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) from secular studies is requested to provide an updated copy of that IEP to the Education Director to be kept in the child’s records each year and each time the IEP is updated. Special educational accommodations noted in the secular report will also be implemented in the child’s religious school studies when possible to better serve the child. Without an IEP, detailed instructions or a doctor’s note, it would be difficult for us to implement accommodations for a student and a disservice to the student may result. Open communication between the home and our school best serves the needs of all students. Students with documented special needs or those students who encounter difficulty learning Hebrew may receive additional instruction with our special needs coordinator, Eileen Clignett. Speak with the Education Director if you would like to discuss the opportunities available.

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Special Hebrew Lessons
For those students who need a little extra help mastering their Hebrew reading and don’t have an IEP, our very own Eileen Clignett is available to help your students in private lessons.  We can help you arrange for lessons either during the school year or over the summer. This is very important if your student is struggling especially as a rising 6th and/or 7th grader. There is a subsidized fee associated with this extra instruction that you are responsible for. There is a subsidized fee associated with this extra instruction. Please see Mark if you may want your student to participate. Please  contact Mark if you may want your student to participate.

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Study with the Rabbis
Any student who wants to take the time to learn with the various Rabbis in Omaha has the opportunity to do so. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and study with all the clergy in town. If this is something that interests you, please contact the Education Director and we will help you get set up.

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Visitation/Guests
If students desire to bring a guest to BESTT, please contact the Education Director in advance. Permission will be granted if the guest is a respectful participant in the classroom. Permission will be granted on a first come first served basis so that unexpected students in the classroom do not overburden teachers. Parents are welcome to visit our classrooms. As a courtesy to our faculty, advance notification prior to the visit is requested.

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YOUTH SCHOLARSHIPS & GRANTS FOR JEWISH SUMMER CAMPS AND ISRAEL TRIPS

Beth El Synagogue Service Grants
A Jewish living experience is the perfect complement to formal Jewish education. To enable our young people to go to Jewish camps or Israel programs, Beth El has established the Service Grant Program. Any full members holding a primary membership with Beth El Synagogue and are registered at BESTT or Hebrew High can receive a grant to attend an approved program and "repay" the grant with service to Beth El during the following school year. Applicants for Israel programs need to provide service in both the year before and the year after the service grant award. We hope to teach young people the importance of community service through the Service Grant Program while encouraging participation in Jewish experiential programs. When our young people take part in such programs, both the children and Beth El benefit from the experience. We encourage your child's participation in these programs. Service hours equate to 1 hour per $100 received for students entering grades 8-12. Service hours equate to 1 hour per $200 for students entering grades 3-7. All families, regardless of financial need, are eligible for these grants. An application for the summer of 2023 will be available in January, 2023. We will have a meeting to learn about how to repay service grants on Sep 11, 2022 at 12:15 pm. All service grant applications are due by Friday, March 24, 2023.

Passport to Israel - Beth El Synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Omaha
Please don’t forget to make your contribution for 2022-2023
The Passport to Israel program is available from Beth El Synagogue for any full members holding a primary membership with Beth El Synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Omaha. We encourage EVERYONE to contribute to this savings plan.  By putting away a small amount every year, which is then matched by both Beth El Synagogue AND the Jewish Federation of Omaha at the time of an approved trip, you guarantee your child the opportunity to go to Israel. We encourage our students to go on USY Pilgrimage or any of a variety of Israel programs.  It is an experience of a lifetime and we hope you won’t miss out on this opportunity.

Passport to Israel is open to Omaha Jewish youth for funding a future Israel peer program. Money deposited, which can begin as early as kindergarten, is matched by the Jewish Federation of Omaha and Beth El Synagogue to a maximum of $2,000 each. Matching funds are also available from Beth El Synagogue. Sign-up available year-round. This is a risk-free opportunity to grow $2,000 savings into $6,000!

Eligibility requirements for the grants include: (a) applicant must be a resident of the Omaha metropolitan area; (b) applicant, or the applicant’s family, is a donor in good standing to the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Omaha; (c) applicant agrees to provide - within one month of return from the program - an article and pictures of the experience for publication in the Jewish Press. Contact the Community Engagement and Education Office at the JFO for more information or to participate.

Jewish Experience Grant - The Jewish Federation of Omaha
Jewish Experience Grants is a program which provides a $2,000 non-need grant to families to encourage attendance at a Jewish summer residential camp. Program requirements include (a) the child’s attendance at religious school the year prior to and the year following the camp experience; (b) the family is a contributor in good standing to the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Omaha; (c) the program must be a summer residential Jewish camp recognized by the Jewish Federation of Omaha; and (d) the camp session is a minimum of two weeks.

Israel Experience Grants - The Jewish Federation of Omaha
2022-2023 The Israel Experience Grant is a one-time grant of $1,500 for students in grades 9-12 or young adults ages 18 to 25 for an approved Israel experience. An additional stipend of $1000 is provided for the bi-annual community teen trip to Israel.  The grant may also be used for domestic airfare for participants in any Birthright Israel trip.  

For additional supplemental aid, please contact Allison Newfeld, Executive Director

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Friedel Jewish Academy Students & Graduates (Grades K-7)

We are so proud of our Friedel Jewish Academy Beth El Synagogue members!  We know that Friedel gives them the finest day school Jewish Education available in Omaha, Nebraska. Learning at Beth El Synagogue is an essential part of every child’s Jewish Education. The BESTT experience will compliment and build on the skills learned at Friedel.  They will learn to be community leaders, get to know their clergy members and feel at home in their synagogue.  It will assure your students that Jewish life doesn’t end at Friedel graduation but continues with Jewish learning, youth group activities and participation in synagogue life.

BESTT is very important for their Judaic knowledge, socialization and making sure that they are part of our synagogue community. This year we are implementing a new values curriculum that we know the Friedel students will enjoy. Last year we had nearly full participation by our Friedel students and it was a marvelous year. We want our Friedel students to take advantage of all the Beth El Synagogue Talmud Torah (BESTT) programs.  Friedel students have the following opportunities to study at Beth El:  
•    Sunday morning Kindergarten – Grade 2
•    Jr. Congregation on Shabbat Mornings – Grades 3-7
•    BESTT classes on Wednesdays and Sundays Grades 3-7

To be eligible for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Beth El Synagogue, a student must have been enrolled at BESTT from Grades 3-6 (and attending 2 days per week on a regular basis). Friedel Jewish Academy students are expected to attend BESTT. Kindergarten-Grade 2 students should be here on Sunday mornings. Grades 3-7 should be here on Sundays and Wednesdays.

In addition, ALL STUDENTS must be enrolled in 7th grade, regardless of when the B’nai Mitzvah occurs.

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“Tichon Transfer” (end of Grade 7)
Tichon Transfer (formally known as Graduation) is a stepping up from Beth El Talmud Torah to Hebrew High. It is a joyous occasion that marks the culmination of a child’s elementary Jewish education. 7th grade students join the 12th grade to lead portions of the Shabbat service on Friday, May 5, 2023.

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Hebrew High - Grades 8-12
Tichon is the Hebrew word for high school. Hebrew High is Wednesday nights starting at 6:00 pm with
dinner followed by 6:30-8:00 pm classes. This year we are excited to partner with Temple Israel to offer great educational and social experiences for our teens. Students from Beth El and Temple Israel will meet together the first and third Wednesdays most months. Students will be at their home synagogues for learning the second and fourth Wednesdays. First semester will be hosted by Beth El. Temple Israel will host the second semester.

Hebrew high bill be primarily taught by the education directors, youth directors, and clergy from Beth El and Temple Israel. Please see the Hebrew High School section for more information, including Merit Scholarship and the Madrechim program.

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Sun, September 25 2022 29 Elul 5782