Our Judaic Studies curriculum covers major content areas of Jewish holidays, Torah, Jewish history, Tikkun Olam (social justice), and Israel. Students engage with materials and concepts at a developmentally appropriate level, with a focus on engaging and relevant experiences.
Our preschool aged children (ages 3-5) meet once a month to learn about the Jewish holidays, Torah, and Jewish values through stories, songs, food and crafts. This is an invaluable opportunity for the children to form friendships and connect to the Jewish community. (This program is a parent & child or a drop-off option.)
Our mixed age group of young learners get an introduction to Hebrew using a mnemonic system designed to help students connect Hebrew letters and vowels to sounds through stories, and eventually begin to decode Hebrew words. Students also interact with Torah stories and the Jewish holidays with developmentally appropriate activities and experiences.
Through Project Based Learning, our students engage with a variety of materials and resources as they investigate a Jewish “Big Question.” This “Big Question” changes according to the topic explored each semester.
A semester-long PBL is called “An Expedition.” Expeditions strive to connect our students to our rich tradition, grounding them in traditional texts and helping them to consider modern-day implications. Each expedition is designed around a guiding question and has clear learning targets. It builds on the passion of our students and teachers as well as bringing in experts from the field and/or allowing for outside field work.
As we strive toward excellence, our students learn how to give and receive feedback and incorporate this feedback into their final product. Students have the opportunity to share their work publicly, becoming “experts” as they educate others.
Finally, our Project Based Learning model allows for reflection. The American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey contends that “we do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” We take this to heart and incorporate reflection into everything we do.
The following topics are studied through PBL:
Grade 3 – Torah and Bible
Grade 4 – Jewish time and Jewish values
Grade 5 – Jewish History
Our 6th graders study Shabbat morning prayers during the Hebrew portion of the class. In the Judaics portion, they learn to navigate the Humash (the book form of the Torah), understand the difference between Torah and TaNa”Ch (i.e. Bible), discover and analyze various Jewish values, and explore Jewish spirituality — through these lessons, students are encouraged to form their personal connection to Judaism.
Students in 7th grade focus on two main area of study: Jewish Life Cycle and Mitzvot. As students prepare to celebrate B’nai Mitzvah, they explore what it means to be Jewish through examining the various rites of passage in the Jewish life cycle. In addition, through the B’nai TELEM curriculum, students explore a variety of social justice issues of concern in our communities and how Jewish values and wisdom address these important topics. Throughout the year, students participate in field trips and welcome visitors who share wisdom relating to the topics studied.