Judaic Studies Curriculum

Our Judaic Studies Curriculum covers major content areas of holidays, Torah, history, Tikkun Olam (social justice), and Israel. Students engage with materials and concepts at a developmentally appropriate level, with a focus on hands-on and relevant experiences. 

Young Explorers
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)

Grades K/1 – Torah Play
Using the highly regarded “Torah Play” story-telling method, children explore the rhythm of the Jewish year and have the unique opportunity to delve into the stories of our tradition, placing themselves in the action and making a personal connection to the characters and events that are at the foundation of Judaism.  Holidays, mitzvot, and customs are also explored through experiential learning.

Grade 2 – Introduction to Hebrew Reading
Using a mnemonic system designed to help students connect Hebrew letters and vowels to sounds through stories, second graders learn to decode Hebrew words. In addition to their focus on Hebrew reading mastery, students also interact with Torah stories, explore the traditions of Jewish holidays, and celebrate them as a class community.

Grades 3-5 Sundays – Project Based Learning
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, Psycholgist 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 on a rotating schedule: Torah, Israel, Jewish Ethics, Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), Jewish History and Jewish Time.

Grade 6 – My personal Jewishness
Our 6th graders learn to navigate the Humash (Torah in book form), understand the difference between Torah and TaNaCH (full Jewish bible), and connect with their personal relationship to God as understood by the Jewish tradition and their personal interpretations. Students also explore the story of Jewish life in America through their own family’s story and other resources.

Tefillah (Prayer) / Shira (Music)
On an alternating schedule on non-Havdalah Sundays, students gather for a dynamic morning (shacharit) prayer experience with Rabbi Ken or a festive Shirah (music) session with David Rothberg, our Cantorial Soloist. Both of these offer opportunities to practice prayers learned in the Hebrew Madorim as well as delve deeper into personal and meaningful prayer and familiarity with Jewish music.

Generosity is one of the hallmarks of Jewish life. Tzedakah, Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness), and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) are core Jewish values. Though often described as charity, tzedakah literally means ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’. A tzedakah box is available in the lobby at Center school every Sunday, and during the week at TCS as well. Once a month we announce the organization that will benefit from the collections. We hope that you will help us to benefit a variety of organizations by sending Tzedakah in with your child. Even a few coins go a long way! Thank you in advance.

Grade 7 – B’nai TELEM
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.