May 20, 2024 |

Dear 7th Grade TIN Parents

Posted on September 12, 2017

Dear 7th grade TIN parents,

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year at Temple Israel of Natick!

My name is Katie Hamelburg, and I am going to be one of your student’s teachers this upcoming year. I will be teaching the joint 6th and 7th grade on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, along with our fabulous aid, Amy Pelz. I am really looking forward to joining the Temple Israel of Natick community, and working with your family this upcoming year!

I am a new Boston resident, having recently moved from the Washington, DC area. I am thrilled to be joining the Metrowest Boston Jewish Community, as the Pre-teen Engagement Coordinator. As such, I will be teaching throughout the Metrowest area, and working with pre-teens both in and out of religious school.

I recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Jewish and Middle East studies, with a special focus in Hebrew Education. I have worked with middle-school aged students for the past several years, serving as a youth group advisor throughout the DC area, and serving on the senior education and t’fillah team for Seaboard Region Kadima (middle school) and USY (high school). I am really passionate about making Jewish education unique, accessible, creative, and engaging, and am truly excited for this upcoming year.  

A lot of information is included below about our class for the upcoming 2017-2018 year. Please be sure to read to the end, and note our off-site walk to the Natick Community Garden this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we will be utilizing the Telem curriculum, a social justice centered curriculum created by the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council). Throughout the year, we will be studying various local and global social issues, discussing each through a Jewish lens, exploring our role as Jewish teenagers in social justice, and actively participating in service projects related to our studies.

At 5:30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6th graders will have a special trope class with Cantor Ken. During this time, the 7th graders will have their own unique 7th grade program, during which they will develop projects guided by their own interests.

At the end of each unit, pre-teens from throughout the Metrowest area will join together for hands-on service learning on Sunday mornings, during religious school time. This will be an incredible opportunity for our pre-teens to get to know other pre-teens in the area, and work to apply our studies to society around us.   

Important notes for the school week:
Students and families will be provided a homework calendar. For returning students and families, homework will follow a similar model to last year. More details will follow next week.
Please have your student bring a dairy or parve snack each day. Remember: our synagogue is a nut-free facility, so please ensure that snack is nut-free as well.

I am thrilled to be working with these pre-teens, and am truly excited to see this year begin to take shape!

Some dates to be aware of:

Tuesday, September 12th and Wednesday, September 13th are the first Tuesday and Wednesday classes! For both 6th/7th grade classes, we will be walking to the Natick Community Garden on the property of the Presbyterian Church at 99 Hartford St, which is two blocks from Temple Israel.  We will be learning about the garden and the impact it has on our community.  This is a wonderful hands-on introduction to our exciting curriculum. We will be leaving for the garden close to the start of Hebrew school, so please make sure your student is on time to Temple Israel so they don’t miss introductions.  Students should also wear clothes they can do a little gardening in. We will be back to the synagogue before 6pm.

Sunday, October 15th is tentatively our first service date. More information will follow about the service program, but please make sure your student is in Hebrew school this Sunday.

Sunday, November 19: the Director of the Telem and B’nai Telem Program at the JCRC, Barry Glass, will be giving a presentation to parents about B’nai Telem program (the basis of our Tuesday/Wednesday curriculum).

If you have any questions throughout the year, please feel free to contact me at

I am really looking forward to working with your student this upcoming year!

Shana tova, and looking forward to speaking with you soon.

All the best,
Katie Hamelburg

Katie Hamelburg l Metrowest Boston Jewish Community Pre-Teen Engagement Coordinator