At MJDS, students do more than learn about Judaism… they live it! The prevailing culture at MJDS reflects the many expressions of Judaism and the diverse dimensions and aspects of Jewish cultural life. Within our school, Jewish art is displayed on the walls, Jewish music is heard in the hallways and Jewish values are integrated into every facet of school life – from Hebrew class, to gym, to science. We create a culture committed to the values of mitzvot (commandments), acts of hesed (kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world).
The joy and sanctity of Shabbat are marked each Friday in school in anticipation of the start of Shabbat.
We celebrate the coming of Shabbat with a weekly Shabbat Sing from 8:10 - 8:45 a.m. and classroom Kabbalat Shabbat celebrations for students in junior kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle school students prepare to welcome Shabbat with a communal Kabbalat Shabbat program each Friday morning. Teachers and community leaders often join us for middle school Kabbalat Shabbat.
A connection to and a love for the State of Israel is an integral part of MJDS. Celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) is an exciting time at our school.
We are fortunate to have a shin-shin (representative) from Israel who volunteers at school to help foster this connection. This program brings Israeli teenagers, recently graduated from high school, to Milwaukee where they devote a year of service to the Jewish community before beginning their formal military service in Israel. They share their culture with the students at every grade level. Students learn Israeli dance, participate in the Walk for Israel and collect donations to plant trees in Israel. As a culminating educational, religious and cultural experience, eighth graders and staff chaperones travel to Israel each year.
Students gather for tefillah (prayer) every day. And on Torah reading days, tefillah is held in the Beit Midrash (chapel). Each year, through our scope and sequence curriculum, students build upon their repertoire of prayers. Student prayer leaders call out pages and serve as role models for the entire school. They recite a set kevah (liturgy) and they learn the kavanah (meaning) of the prayers. On Torah reading days, students in the older grades have an opportunity to read from the Torah scroll. In this egalitarian service, boys are required to wear kippot (head covering) and girls are encouraged to do so if they desire. Tallitot (prayer shawls) are available for students who have become B’nai Mitzvah. Students learn about the practice of wearing tefillin, and are encouraged to wear them if they choose.