Stephen S. Wise Temple Schools Statement of Philosophy 

Stephen S. Wise Temple Day Schools are Reform Jewish Day Schools dedicated to the continuity of the Jewish people and to the intellectual, emotional, social, creative, physical, and spiritual growth of each child. As part of a Reform Temple, the Schools are committed to individual autonomy in Jewish life, responsibility to the covenant between God and the Jewish people, and tikkun olam (the betterment of the world).

We believe that active involvement in Jewish life adds meaning to the life of the individual and vibrancy to the Jewish community. Judaism is thus a core component of School life. We emphasize a liberal Jewish approach to holidays, rituals and communal worship, the important role of the Hebrew language in Jewish life, a knowledge and appreciation of Jewish texts, and a commitment to Israel. We also stress the importance of learning and living the Jewish ethical values we hold dear, particularly tzedakah (the obligation to give charity), gemilut hasadim (doing good deeds for others) and social action.

We believe that the interplay between Judaism and contemporary American life requires that students become comfortable with their identity as American Jews. The Schools, therefore, endeavor to help students recognize where American and Jewish cultures are harmonious and where they are not, so that they can integrate values and ideas from both cultures in making decisions for their lives. We strive to strengthen children's Jewish and American identities, enhance their human sensitivity, and foster their self-esteem.

We believe  that children should acquire the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for enlightened participation and leadership in society. The Schools, therefore, provide an academic curriculum that develops skills needed for proficiency in the secular curriculum areas of language, math, social studies, science, computer technology, fine arts, and physical education. The emphasis throughout is to help children stretch beyond the basics to develop critical thinking and creative expression in all areas. Our central purpose is to awaken in each child a love for learning.

We believe that each child is a unique individual with unique strengths and weaknesses. The School, therefore, provides a program that challenges each child while maximizing his/her opportunities for success. We seek to nurture the social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual essence of each child by providing a warm, loving environment.

We believe that the teacher is the key to achieving the educational excellence to which we aspire. Teachers are the cornerstone of the Schools' efforts to stimulate Jewish identity, to inspire a love for learning, and to encourage students to become concerned and caring human beings. In partnership with parents and the School administration, teachers accomplish these goals through their teaching, through the open communication they establish with students and their families, and through their actions as role models.

SWAT 07/30/14
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Tisha B'Av 08/05/14
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Tami Weiser for Annual Giving USC Partnership Video
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