L'mala and L'mata (Grades 3 - 6)

In grades 3-6, we offer two complementary learning blocks which are called L’mala (upstairs) and L’mata (downstairs).

L’mala is the classroom-based learning block during which students work on Hebrew reading and concepts, Shabbat liturgy, Torah, Holidays, Israel and Jewish history.

L’mata is the experiential learning block during which students in grades 3-6 have a weekly musical tefillah (prayer) session, large-scale programming, Jewish values lessons, and various interactive electives.

The combination of classroom learning and experiential opportunities allows children to experience Judaism in different ways and to find a path to which they can connect.  Our program received recognition from the Washington DC edition of the Slingshot Guide.


  • Students in the classroom-based block for grades 3-6 have two educational components: Jewish Studies and Hebrew. Incorporated into both is the goal of building Kehillah (community) and a positive relationship to one another, to Temple Beth Ami, and to Judaism.

    In Jewish Studies, students explore Torah, Holidays, Israel, and Life Cycles as part of a 4-pronged spiral curriculum. Using this approach, students revisit key topics utilizing various methodologies during their Machane TBA education. As students progress, the complexity of topics increases and deep new learning takes place. Concepts in Jewish history and spirituality are addressed.

    Hebrew goals for grades 3-6 begin with a focus on letter and vowel recognition, decoding and reading fluency. As the Hebrew curriculum advances, students study key prayers related to Shabbat, holidays and lifecycle events with the goal of achieving decoding fluency. Students are introduced to Torah cantillation, liturgical melodies, and the service structure in an interactive and lively way.

    Our grades 3-6 Hebrew program is tailored to reflect and dovetail with the Jewish Studies lessons in terms of introducing vocabulary, appropriate liturgical prayers from tefillah, and Torah texts whenever appropriate.

    L’mala Faculty:

  • The l’mata block has two basic parts. First, the entire group (all of grades 3-6) meets in the sanctuary for ruach (a spirited song session) and tefillah (prayer). With the Cantor and Teen Song leaders, students learn Jewish songs and liturgy in an energetic, music-filled session. Next, the morning will take one of 4 paths.

    1. Tochniot (large scale programs) – These programs range in topic and might include holidays, history, Jewish eco-farming, Israel, or other relevant Jewish subjects.
    2. Choice chugim (elective classes) – Students choose from a list of several possible classes.
    3. Chugim (grade level activities) – Among other activities, we have “ask the rabbi”, art, Israeli Dance, and Jewish movement with specialists and clergy.
    4. Kitah (individual class time) – Finally, each grade has a middot (Jewish values) lesson.

    The L’mala and L’mata blocks are designed to complement one another with a goal of students achieving confidence in their Jewish education, competency in Hebrew prayer, and a strong sense of Jewish identity and community.

    Kehillah Events – Monthly community-building programs held on a Sunday morning after Machane TBA from 12:30-2:00 PM.

    L’mata Faculty:

  • Our school is extremely proud to have one of the longest-standing synagogue inclusion programs in the DC Metro area which serves students of all abilities. The Atzma’im program is available on Sunday mornings. This cohort of students is fully included among their peers and is supervised by a highly-trained Inclusion Coordinator and aided by a team of trained student madrichim who provide one-on-one support and assistance. This program represents a partnership between families and Machane, and students participate in a capacity which works most effectively for their individual needs.

Erev Machane – Two immersive camp style overnights that take place on Saturday evening-Sunday morning. The program is designed to strengthen the connection between the curriculum, the Machane TBA staff, student peers, and the Temple Beth Ami community. This year, Erev Machane will take place on the following dates:

  • October 27-28, 2018
  • March 16-17, 2019

Shabbat Family Experiences – Machane TBA is pleased to offer our “Family Shabbat Experiences” for students in grades Pre-K-6. Once per year, grade-level families are invited to celebrate Shabbat at the Temple together with our faculty and clergy.  The evenings may include a dinner, family activity and/or participation in a service. Please refer to the following for your grade-level Shabbat Family Experience:

  • 3rd Grade – students are presented with their siddur at this meaningful service – November 2, 2018 from 6:30pm – 8:00 pm
  • 4th and 5th Grade – 4th Graders help lead the Shema from their seats and they observe in preparation for next year as 5th Grade leads much of the service – March 1, 2019 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • 6th Grade – 6th graders exhibit their “Parasha Projects”, which are an exploration of their respective Torah portions for b’nai mitzvah, and they help to lead the Shabbat Torah service – April 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Learn about Jewish camping, social groups and Israel experiences.