With August more than half over, the school-supply shopping sprees, first-day fashion decisions and maybe even a little last-minute summer reading are underway. Even if some kids are less than excited about the end of their relative freedom, they have much to look forward to when it comes to new faces and revamped curriculums at their local Hebrew schools.

Temple Chai Religious School in Phoenix is rolling out the innovative Hebrew in Harmony curriculum, which integrates music, technology and prayer. The program was chosen after a two-year search. Designed by Behrman House, a leading publisher of Jewish educational materials, lessons or “individual modules” are built around a single prayer. Featuring prominent Jewish musicians, the program uses music to engage students emotionally, while teaching them Hebrew and other topics. The school is also adding a number of new electives, including Krav Maga, the Israeli martial art. The first day of classes is Sunday, Aug. 20.

The Chabad Hebrew School housed in the Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Chandler welcomes Rabbi Tzvi Rimler to the staff as its new director of programming. The school has a host of fun and educational activities in store for students this year, such as holiday gift cards and menorah-making, olive oil press demonstrations, a Sukkah Hop and a Chanukah Carnival. Classes start Sunday, Sept. 10.

The Chabad Hebrew School in the Chabad Lubavitch Center in Phoenix has seasoned and enthusiastic teaching staff using experiential learning and hands-on activities to bring a sense of fun to Judaic supplemental education. The school’s Aleph Champion program gets students reading Hebrew like pros. Classes are held on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The first day will be Sept. 5.

The Torah Day School of Phoenix, a full-time school housed at Beth El Congregation, is welcoming several new staff members. Noach Muroff joins the school as the eighth-grade Judaic studies teacher, with Jill Kessler as a consultant focusing on the general studies curriculum and best practices. Kessler recently stepped down as head of school at Pardes Jewish Day School. Also joining the team are first-grade teacher Rabbi Yisroel Yakov and head of preschool Mindy Tesser. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 21. JN

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