Curriculum Details by Grade

Kindergarten

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Kindergarten

This year our class will be taking a journey through the Jewish year. As we explore the Jewish holidays we will place a special emphasis on Shabbat. Kindergarten is important because it will be your child’s first experience of weekly Jewish learning in a formal setting. Students will begin exploring some of the ways in which Jewish holidays enrich our lives. These include marking time for us; connecting us to generations past, present and future and making strong connections to our community.

Students will explore the essential questions of how these holidays add meaning to our lives; how do we make Jewish holidays more meaningful to us and how can students learn to understand the importance of Jewish holidays in our tradition. In Kindergarten, we will approach these holidays through stories and crafts which will begin to lay the foundation for more in-depth study as their Jewish education continues.

In this class, the children will learn about the following holidays: Rosh Hashanah; Sukkot; Simchat Torah; Chanukah; Tu B’Shevat; Purim; Pesach and Shavuot.

A special focus on Shabbat will include making ritual objects that are used to celebrate Shabbat. Each child will have a chance to be our Shabbat Leader and lead the class in prayer.

Other class programs include the Kochav Shel HaShavuah (Star of the Week) Program where each student will have a chance to teach the class about themselves and their family. In addition, the student and a parent will read to the class from a book with Jewish content. As an introduction to the Jewish value of G’milut Chasadim, the students will grow a Mitzvah Tree. As the children practice kindness, respect, and friendship towards one another, blossoms will appear.

Family Ed component:
Kochav Shel HaShavuah (see above)     Back to top.

First Grade

Grade 1 is an exciting year full of Jewish Discovery, Partnership and Doing. Students will be introduced to some of the most basic concepts of Jewish life. It is during First grade that students will be discovering connections as they explore their understanding of God both as individuals and as a community. This may be one of the first times our students have been asked to talk about God and God’s relationship with us in class. The wonderful resource used in Grade One, “Let’s Discover God,” invites students to begin to explore that partnership with God as they discuss such topics as God’s World, Talking to God, and God’s Gift of Shabbat, to name a few. Grade One students will continue to learn about our relationships with Jewish Holidays, Shabbat and the important significance of all of these holidays in our lives and within the context of our relationship with God.

The theme of partnership is repeated and coupled with the theme of Mitzvot throughout the year with our Family Ed Program, “Dov the Bear.” Students will take turns taking Dov or Dova the (stuffed) Bears home and performing a variety of mitzvot with their fuzzy companion. Parents join their children at the Temple to learn about the Jewish concept of mitzvah and about the wonderful mitzvot that can easily be performed at home and about town. The goal of the program is to encourage weekly home ritual practice. Students will be using the resource “Let’s Discover Mitzvot” to explore the richness that performing Mitzvot can bring to all our lives.

The G’milut Chasadim principle learned last year in Kindergarten will continue this year as the children learn that they are God’s partners in the task of Tikkun Olam (Healing the world). They will have the opportunity to develop and participate in a class Tzedakah project.

Family Ed component:
“Dov the Bear”
Students will make items for Dov The Bear

Texts:
Let’s Discover God
Let’s Discover Mitzvot
“Let’s Celebrate” Holiday Series    Back to top.

Second Grade

In Grade 2, students will be introduced to a deeper understanding of the Jewish Values that are the foundations of Jewish life. Students will delve into the vital role that Jewish Values plays in all of our lives while looking at how Jewish Values were seen in the different Torah stories. Students will use the curriculum “Jewish Values from Aleph to Tav” to continue to explore the significance of Jewish Values while beginning to learn their Hebrew letters. Students will learn about covenants, doing good deeds, caring for the world and other values that are fundamental to Jewish life. Students will also have the opportunity to learn different Jewish Values by delving into literature through both Bible Stories and Midrashim (text interpretation).

In addition to the above, grade 2 students will also begin working with Hebrew as they start their first formal connection with Ivrit (Hebrew). This curriculum will help students seamlessly enter next years Kitah Aleph (First year Hebrew class), where they will learn how to read Hebrew. It will also familiarize students’ ears to the sound of Hebrew, as well as build vocabulary which connects them to many things Jewish. It will enable students to become more familiar with some of the nuances of the language.

Family Ed component:
Families will join together to explore Jewish values in our world.

Texts:
Jewish Values Aleph – Tav
Betman’s Book of Hebrew Letters    Back to top.

Third Grade

Third grade is an exciting year with two central curricular units, Israel and the Synagogue. Students will also learn about how the Jewish calendar differs from the calendar they are used to. For the Israel component we will explore Israel’s geography, including its cities, water, natural resources, its people, and its culture. Students will explore Eretz Yisrael as the Jewish homeland and the heart of the Jewish people, Am Yisrael. Students will learn about the modern State of Israel through music, dance, literature, sports, food and language. Additionally, students will learn about key founders in modern history, like Golda Meir, Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, and David Ben Gurion.
The synagogue component will enable students to learn about not only the importance of the synagogue in Jewish life but also about how the synagogue runs. Through engaging interviews and a “tour” of our synagogue, we will embrace our own history (including how our founding families chose our synagogue name), ritual objects, and unique customs. Students will explore the many purposes of a synagogue – as a house of prayer, Beit Tefilah, a house of assembly, Beit Knesset and a house of study, Beit Midrash. Furthermore, students will learn about the roles of Rabbi, Cantor, Education Director, and Temple President as well as the committees and other associated organizations within the synagogue family.
In the Jewish component we learn that there are two types of calendars, the lunar or Jewish calendar and the solar/Gregorian calendar. Students will learn why Jewish festivals begin and end in the evening (erev), how the rhythm of the Jewish year is integrated into our weekly routine and which holidays fall in which Hebrew months
Students will also spend 10 minutes each week reviewing their Hebrew words and letters to strengthen and solidify their Hebrew School learning.

Family Ed component:
Passport to Israel: Students and their families will “visit” Israel to concretize the far-away ancient and modern country of Israel through hands-on experiences. Activities may include an archaeological dig, visiting the Kotel (the Western Wall), eating at a Tel Aviv café, and role-playing kibbutz life.   Back to top.

Fourth Grade

“The Jewish sages teach us that “the world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah, and G’milut Chasadim” (Avot 1:2). These pursuits, study, worship, and deeds of loving-kindness—provide the framework within Jews to build their relationships with God, with one another, and with the world. Accordingly, Torah, Avodah, and G’milut Chasadim serve as the core of the CHAI: Learning for Jewish Life curriculum, providing students with the foundation for a lifetime of Jewish learning and living.” (Adapted from Chai 3)

The foundation for Torah study will be built using Seymour Rossel’s popular text, “The Explorer’s Bible.” Using this tool, students will have access to translations that remain faithful to the original. Students will be encouraged to “tangle” with the text, ask questions, analyze and ponder Biblical text as they try to build bridges from text study to daily life. This type of Torah study has been used for centuries because it engages the student in thoughtful discussion that brings sacred texts to life in every generation.

“The Explorer’s Bible” as a book will offer our students age appropriate text translation that remains true to the text. Students will be participating in biblical dialogue by reviewing classic interpretations of text. Our students will also have the opportunity to create their own Midrashim. Through this, students will make connections between the texts and their core Jewish values. Students will also use their Hebrew knowledge to analyze key Hebrew words and phrases in order to connect with the Jewish texts in a more intimate way.

Students will also spend 10 minutes each week reviewing their Hebrew words and letters to strengthen and solidify their Hebrew School learning.

Family Ed component:
Jewish Values Auction Program
Through the form of an auction, kids will learn and bid on values in a Jewish context

Texts:
The Explorer’s Bible Vol 1   Back to top.

Fifth Grade

In Grade 5 students will continue working with “The Explorer’s Bible” Vol. 2 allowing them to continue the Biblical discussion begun last year in Grade 4. The Explorer’s Bible Volume 2 picks up in the Torah where volume 1 left off and invites students to “tangle” with the text, ask questions, analyze and ponder Biblical text as they try to build bridges from text study to daily life. This type of Torah study has been used for centuries because it engages the student in thoughtful discussion that brings sacred texts to life in every generation.

Students will learn about who the prophets were within the context of our ancient Jewish history as well as great leaders who are considered “modern day” prophets. Students will explore the definitions and roles of prophets as well learning to differentiate between historical and literary prophets. Students will also explore the concept of a false prophet. The prophets often spoke out against social injustice. Today the role of fighting against injustices is everyone’s responsibility. Students will wrestle with the role of modern day heroes and the idea of modern day “prophets” who have helped with Tikkun Olam (repairing the World). Students will complete a research project of a modern day “prophet” and will compare this person with one of the Biblical prophets. Students will have the opportunity to present their research to the class.

Students will also spend 10 minutes each week reviewing their Hebrew words and letters to strengthen and solidify their Hebrew School learning.

Family Ed component:
Parents and students will be involved in designing and making Wimples that will be used for their respective Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s.

Texts:
The Explorer’s Bible Vol 2     Back to top.

Sixth Grade

In grade 6 we will learn about Jewish immigration to the United States, celebrate our 350+ years in America, and understand the importance of embracing Jewish Values that we have learned from our past and incorporate them into our present. Students will understand that all of our ancestors immigrated to the United States. Beginning with the earliest Jewish immigrants to the New World, students will explore the American Jewish experience including our own family histories. We will explore questions such as “Why did the Jews leave Europe and where did they go? What did they encounter, what difficulties did they face, and how did they succeed?” Throughout the year we will relate the answers to these questions to modern Jewish life helping to bolster the students’ love of, and pride in, Jewish life.

During the year, students will follow the journey of Jews coming to America. We will also study the role of Jewish writers and artists in 20th century America. Students will discover that Jews have made contributions to American life in a variety of disciplines including the arts, education, science, technology, finance, commerce, retail, and politics. Students will look at the role Jews played in Civil Right Movement and also the role Jews played in Israel and how Israel impacts Jews in America. Students will choose a person from Jewish history to study and present tot eh school. In addition, our class will explore Judaism’s Great Debates and will reflect on the importance of both Values and Ethics in our history.

The class will also participate in the Kallah, a day to learn how we are dependent on one another in the Jewish community, as part of their preparation toward becoming bar- or bat-Mitzvah.

Students will also spend 10 minutes each week reviewing their Hebrew words and letters to strengthen and solidify their Hebrew School learning.

Family Ed Component:
Bar/Bat Mitzvah orientation with Rabbi Perry
Parents and students learn about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process     Back to top.

Seventh Grade

In Grade 7 our focus moves away from the “public” Jewish calendar which centers around festivals, and into the “private” Jewish calendar which is the life cycle. We will explore how Judaism marks the most important and holiest milestones in our lives through ceremonies that center on birth, maturity, marriage and death. Students will learn how life cycle events keep us connected to the Jewish people, to God, and to Torah. We celebrate these moments in the public realm and in the private realm—both in family contexts and with other Jews in community, which deepens and enriches these celebrations. Students learn that as they move through their moments of passage, they are not alone; the entire Jewish people are with them.
When a new baby enters a home, he/she also enters into the Jewish people through marking our enduring brit (covenant) with God. Boys enter the fold with Brit Milah (Covenant of Circumcision) and recently girls are welcomed with a naming ceremony (called “Brit Bat -daughter of the covenant). The beginning of formal Jewish education is celebrated with the public ceremony of Consecration, celebrated during Simchat Torah. Adolescence brings becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah, with which students can most identify, as they are steeped in preparation for when they reach this milestone. Students grapple with their Jewish identity and personal theology as they prepare to celebrate the group ceremony of Kabbalat Torah (accepting the Torah/Confirmation), which is aptly held on Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the receiving of Torah at Mount Sinai.
Students next consider relationships through dating, choosing a potential mate, and marriage. We focus on the laws, traditions and rituals related to Jewish marriage. Students will have the opportunity to create their own Ketubot. Students will learn that from the Jewish perspective, death and dying are seen as being a part of life and living and also about the rituals of death, burial and mourning. Students will explore a variety of practices and traditions that accompany the process of death and mourning, as well as delving into the variety of Judaism’s beliefs about life after death.
The first Jewish life cycle event experienced by those who choose to become Jewish is conversion. Students will examine the history of conversion to Judaism, the conversion process and rituals, and significant issues pertaining to conversion in contemporary Judaism.

Family Ed component:
Students will travel to both Mayyim Hayyim and a Funeral Home in Brookline MA

Text:
The Time of Our Lives: A Teen Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle

 

Back to top.