Judaic Studies Program

 

JSP

Kindergarten and 1st grade children are immersed in Hebrew language study incorporating art, music, snack, cooking and baking, and critical thinking games to build vocabulary, grammar, and communication abilities, as well as reading and writing in Hebrew. Children embark on a broader and deeper study of Tefillah, with the goal of knowing and understanding the meaning of each prayer and the structure of the tefillot, and comfort with navigating the organization of the siddur.

Kindergarten and 1st grade children are also introduced to the study of Jewish text with a weekly Parsha discussion in which the children ask each other interpretive questions and share their thoughts; these are then collected and sent home for further study with their families. This model is their introduction to text study and is woven throughout their learning of Tefillah, Parsha, Megillah, Hagaddah, and texts related to other holidays.

As children move into 2nd and 3rd grades they begin their formal study of Chumash with a focus on narration, Biblical Hebrew, grammar and Sephardic cantillation. The beginning of their study is celebrated with the whole community at the Torah Reading Ceremony, in which each child chants several verses from Beresheit and receives their first Tanakh from their parents. These years are a bridge between the introductory years and the years of more independent learning. Familiarity and comfort with traditional study is heightened as students examine the Torah text together and in-depth as a community of learners.

Our older children in 4th and 5th grades continue to learn Chumash and undertake the study of Torah Shebe'al Peh (Oral Torah) while guided by both teachers and peers and designed to increase their independence as learners. As students engage in text study they discuss not only literal translation, but also historical interpretation, contemporary application, and meaning for their own lives.

Each classroom community works together to engage in the rituals of daily Jewish life in an open and respectful environment. Like our approach to text study, daily tefillah is a communal experience that blends traditional interpretations and personal connections. Shabbat and Jewish holidays are studied in school to prepare students for celebration at home with their families and in the larger community.