Enrollment and Attendence
Do I have to be a member of VBS to enroll my child?
Membership is required for students who enroll in the K-7 program. Membership is not required to attend our special needs OurSpace program.
What does the enrollment process involve?
Before a student can enroll, families must follow the Valley Beth Shalom membership procedures. Please contact the VBS administrative office at (818) 788-6000. Once the membership process is underway, please fill out the ECLC enrollment form. It’s that simple!
Is there an attendance policy?
Yes. Absences undermine the educational and communal objectives that we pursue. It is also particularly difficult to teach a foreign language when students miss days. Therefore, we permit a student up to 10 absences per year. We call families when they are approaching ten absences to discuss the situation and its implications. Students are also responsible for any work missed during an absence.
What if my child is late or needs to leave early?
If a student arrives after the start of the program he or she must check in at the administrative office before proceeding to class. If a parent picks up a child early, he or she must sign them out at the office.
Program and Bar/Bat Mitzvah
How much Hebrew will my child learn?
Students study conversational Hebrew language for forty-five minutes per week. Hebrew is also integrated into Torah study, and weekly prayer is conducted in traditional Hebrew. When students enter 6th grade, emphasis is placed on prayer-based Hebrew in anticipation of Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Are students exposed to the arts?
Absolutely. Studies show that students learn best when exposed to a variety of modalities of learning such as the fine arts, drama, and music. Our approach to teaching holidays is one of doing the holidays. Therefore, students experience the holiday of the month through Jewish arts. Our performing arts and fine arts academies for grades 4-6 also offer opportunities for students to integrate Hebrew and Judaic studies into the arts.
What is the relationship of Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and the ECLC program?
We offer ample opportunities to learn and experience Torah study and the prayer service. Students work independently with tutors and VBS cantors to prepare for their individual ceremony outside of ECLC time. Since the public celebration of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah acknowledges and celebrates accomplishments in Jewish learning, as a minimum requirement, VBS students must be enrolled in formal Jewish education (in the ECLC or a Jewish day school) in order to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Valley Beth Shalom.
My child went to the VBS Day School. Does s/he need to go to ECLC program in the 7th grade in order to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
It is the policy of Valley Beth Shalom that a child must be enrolled in a Jewish educational program throughout the 7th grade to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, whether the child has been in day school or not. The spirit of this policy is to encourage continued study through this meaningful lifecycle event. We find that our former day school students appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to continue their Jewish education. If you have any questions, please contact Natasha Benzaken, B'nai Mitzvah Coordinator, at (818)530-4008.
Are the ECLC Programs kosher?
Yes. We follow the Kashrut Policy of Valley Beth Shalom. Any food that we provide is kosher certified. Also, any food that is shared with others must be certified kosher (e.g., birthday treats). For more information, please consult the Kashrut policy.
What if my child has food allergies?
We are very sensitive to the needs of students with severe allergies. We keep records of students with allergies and their individual needs in order to accommodate any potential food needs.
What happens after the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and the 7th grade?
We strongly support the Jewish tradition’s emphasis on life-long learning and we encourage students to continue their Jewish education. Our VBS Youth Department'sTeen Tuesday program provides students in grades 8-12 with intellectually stimulating and relevant Jewish courses taught by VBS rabbis and educators. Please refer to the Youth Department for further details and enrollment information.
Do you accommodate special needs?
Yes. We pride ourselves on providing one of the model special needs Jewish programs in the country. We have several programmatic options to meet a variety of needs. For more information, visit OurSpace programs website or contact the ECLC administrative office.
Are there youth activities for my child at VBS?
VBS offers an award-winning, active youth group providing social opportunities for students in grades K-12. We encourage all students to participate. For more information contact our Youth Department at (818) 530- 4025.
How can parents get involved?
The ECLC benefits from an active Etz Chaim Parent Committee (ECPC). The ECPC develops fundraising initiatives, supports and coordinates special events, and assists with communications efforts. For more information, please contact the ECLC administrative office.
What if my question isn’t answered here?
We are here to guide you! Please contact our administrative office and we will gladly provide you with more information: (818) 788-3584 or [email protected].