8TH GRADE CURRICULA:
Tanach: Authority and Rebellion
How did our ancestors accept God's authority? What happened when they rebelled? Which of them tried to bargain with God? What happened when they took the law into their own hands? What were the results when they abused authority? Is civil disobedience a Jewish tradition?
Rabbinics: Pirke Avot
With the Jewish people's future hanging in the balance, the sword of Rome poised over its neck, the Sages prepared a time capsule, Ethics of the Fathers, encoding within it essential wisdom of our people. Who is wise? Who is a good friend? How can we avoid sin? What is the right balance between self-interest and self-sacrifice? Which is more worthwhile: study or action? What is the meaning of life?
History: From Beginnings to 1700
When does Jewish history begin? How did a tribe transform itself into the dynamic and creative Jewish people? How did the Jews survive conquest of the Land of Israel again and again? What kept the Jewish people, permanently torn from its soil, dispersed to many lands, from perishing? What happened when the exiled Jews confronted the challenges of persecution and assimilation?
Siddur: Prayerbook Hebrew the Easy Way
Designed for those who can read words in the siddur but do not know what they mean, this course builds a solid siddur vocabulary and introduces siddur grammar so simply that everyone can understand. By the end of the year, essential vocabulary of Jewish prayer and basic forms of Hebrew grammar used in the siddur will be mastered.
9TH GRADE CURRICULA:
Tanach: Sh'mot (Book of Exodus)
The Exodus drama informed and shaped the culture and religion of Israel. How does the story of liberation and revelation influence our ethical
and social consciousness? What details did ancient Sages add to the spare Biblical text? What insights did scholars of the Middle Ages draw from it about God's relationship to
Israel and the world? How have modern commentaries expanded our grasp of the character and role played by Moses?
Rabbinics: Introduction to Mishnah
The letters of the Hebrew word mishnah in a different order spell neshamah, which means soul. Mishnah is called the soul of Judaism, the first and most vital codification of the Oral Tradition that transformed Judaism. Mishnah addresses all aspects of Jewish life -- civil and criminal law, marriage and divorce, Shabbat and festival observances, rules about food and the Land of Israel, and spiritual purity.
History: Modern Jewish History (1700 to present)
In what ways did "emancipation" in Europe affect the Jewish people? When and where did Jews prosper and when and where were they persecuted? What effect did citizenship in modern nation-states have on Jewish identity and community? How did the Jewish people meet the challenges of large scale immigration? How did the Holocaust impact communal life and consciousness in modern Israel and the Diaspora?
Siddur: Weekday and Shabbat
What are the building blocks of weekday and Shabbat services? How do they fit together? What words and phrases from the Tanach are incorporated into siddur texts? How does the siddur express Rabbinic theology, ideas and values? How do weekday and Shabbat prayers give voice to basic existential questions about our lives as Jews?
10TH GRADE CURRICULA:
Tanach: Prophets and Leadership
What type of leader would step into the breach left by the death of Moses? Priests, judges, kings and prophets appeared. Who would unite the people? Who would lead them in battle? What qualities of leadership did judges and early kings possess? What were their faults? What set the prophets of Israel apart? What were the decisive moments in their lives? Who would preserve the Covenant between God and Israel?
Rabbinics: Mishneh Torah
Is gossip ever permitted? Is chicken really meat? When must we listen to the words of a prophet? We will have the opportunity to ask these questions and many more as we explore the teachings of one of Judaism's greatest sages, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam), in his epic work, the Mishneh Torah.
History: American Jewish History
Between 1881 and 1924, millions of Jews streamed into America. What brought them here and what did they leave behind? How did life in America change Jewish self perception and the role of Judaism in their lives? Why did the large-scale immigration end? Find out the answer to these and other questions about this great change in Jewish life.
History: The Zionist Idea
What is Zionism? How did atheist revolutionaries and Orthodox rabbis, bankers and refugees, visionaries and hard-nosed realists, turn Zionist dreams into a Jewish State? How do their differing views of Zionism, and the choices they made along the way, impact the conflicts and challenges facing Israel today?
Why are Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, the pilgrimage festivals of the Jewish year, called the "seasons of our joy"? What changes are made in services on these and other holidays? What prayers and rituals show our elemental link to the Land of Israel? How do the Shalosh Regalim focus on our redemption from slavery, the responsibilities of living with the Law, and the fragility of our individual existence in a fixed natural order?
11TH GRADE CURRICULA:
Tanach: The Five Megillot and Jonah
Passion. Grief. Loyalty. Despair. Courage. Compassion. These primal emotions are the subject of The Five Megillot and Jonah. How do these feelings fit into our relationship with God? What do these texts teach us about our relationships with one another?
Rabbinics: Life Cycle
When does the Jewish life cycle begin? Does it ever end? Why does Elijah the Prophet get a chair at a Brit and only a cup of wine at the Seder? How has Jewish life in America shaped the concept of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah? Is it possible to have a Jewish wedding without a rabbi? Explore Jewish law, lore, and custom related to life cycle events.
History: History of Modern Israel
From the British White Paper of 1939, which withdrew promises made in the Balfour Declaration, to independence on May 14, 1948, what events led to the rebirth of the State of Israel? How has Israel faced unceasing threats to its existence from the War of Liberation to the Second Intifada? During Israel's first 65 years, how has Israel met political, economic and social challenges from within? (First of two semesters. Continued in Grade 12.)
Siddur: High Holidays
The liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur centers on three themes: sovereignty, memory, and redemption. Why are they connected with one another? How are repentance and forgiveness related to these themes? What does the sovereignty of God mean to us? What is the purpose of sounding the shofar? Why have a holiday for God to judge us once a year? Why do we repeat the litany of sins over and over again?\
12TH GRADE CURRICULA:
Tanach: Tehillim (Psalms)
Psalms are more than beautiful literary compositions; they are essentially human documents. They reflect the challenge to remain faithful to ideals in the face of oppression, the doubts created by the success of evil-doers, and the inner struggle against despair. They also express joy, hope, gratitude and praise. These feelings are not limited to one people or one age. They are recurrent and worldwide. This is the unfading appeal of Tehillim.
Rabbinics: Contemporary Questions/Timeless Answers
Is it reasonable to believe in God? What's the difference between concluding that God exists and believing in God? What do we mean when we speak to God? Does the problem of evil make us revise our idea of God? Who decides what is the correct way of Jewish life? What is special about the Jewish people? Can we still believe in the coming of the messiah?
History: History of Modern Israel
From the British White Paper of 1939, which withdrew promises made in the Balfour Declaration, to independence on May 14, 1948, what events led to the rebirth of the State of Israel? How has Israel faced unceasing threats to its existence from the War of Liberation to the Second Intifada? During Israel's first 64 years, how has Israel met political, economic and social challenges from within? (Second of two
semesters. Continued from Grade 11.)
History: Headlines and Headliners
What issues face American, Israeli, and world Jewish communities today? Is Israel to be a Jewish state or a state of Jews? What implication does this have for Israeli law? What is the American Jewish community's relationship with Israel and how has it changed in the last twenty years? How do we assure that there will be American Jews in 100 years?