The Day School Judaics Program stresses a hands-on, interactive, experiential approach to learning about Judaics. Programs are developed sequentially through concepts, skills, and their application. Students utilize research skills, analytical skills and reasoning skills. In addition, the use of print and non-print materials reinforce in class learning. Topics are assigned for each grade level. Whenever applicable, Judaics is integrated into all areas of learning, in all grade levels, throughout the year. Integration efforts are reflected in each subject area curriculum guide, in addition to the Judaics Curriculum Guide.
PreK - Kindergarten
AT this level we focus is on Shabbat and the Jewish festivals and how we observe them. Kindergartners begin to affirm their Jewish identity by learning Torah and the story of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people. Kindergartners begin to affirm their historic bond to Erertz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Kindergartners become aware of their own person, their families, their community, and the community of others. They actively participate in the life of the synagogue through prayer. They learn how to express their feelings and their relationships to God through prayer. They learn Jewish values such as Tikun Olam, (healing the world), through mitzvot, and the giving of Tzedakah.
Judaics is taught in conjunction with the Hebrew program. It includes Jewish Holidays, weekly Torah Portion, Shabbat, Ethics and Moral Values, the study of Israel, and Hebrew vocabulary related to each of these areas. Jewish values stressed in the First Grade curriculum include, Tikun Olam, T’zar Ba’Al Chaim, Ba’Al Taschit, Tzedakah and Gemilut Chassadim (acts of kindness). Students participate fully in weekly T'fillah services. They are often assigned a "buddy" from the 7th & 8th grade who serves as a friend and mentor to them, sitting with them during Kabbalat Shabbat activities and participating with them in various holiday activities, such as Sukkot and Passover.
Judaics is integrated whenever possible into the secular curriculum. Judaic concepts and values are stressed in routine daily activities. In addition, the students learn morning prayers and participate in daily worship in the classroom. The Second Grade learns the weekly Torah portion each week from the Cantor during weekly t'fillah service. The Second Grade shares stories and information about every Jewish holiday. Children play games,learn songs, write stories, and complete many activities relating to the holidays and to Jewish life events. They express their relationship with God through personal prayer, through drawing and through personal writing. They explore their Judaism through participation in the Let's explore Being Jewish series. This includes the topics of Mitzvot, The Bible, Israel: People and Places, Israel: A City Tour, The Synagogue, Jewish Symbols, and The Life Cycle.
Again we integrate whenever possible into the secular curriculum. Judaic concepts and values are stressed in routine daily activities. In addition, the students learn morning prayers and participate in daily worship in the classroom. They continue to express and develop their personal relationship with God. Personal writings, drawings as well as time for reflection encourage spirituality. The weekly Torah Portion is told and discussed once a week during t'fillah service. Students are encouraged to think about how the portion relates to modern life and what it teaches them. Before each holiday, class discussions, games, songs, and written activities provide an understanding of the history, traditions, and liturgy involved in each holiday appropriate for the grade level. Students undertake a close study of Torah stories and the mitzvot that are connected to them. They participate in their first steps into their Jewish history and begin to see how and why this history is important to them.
To begin each day, both Jewish and secular prayers and songs are recited. On Monday and Friday, the students participate in school wide Chapel and Kabbalat Shabbat Services. In the Fourth Grade, Judaics is incorporated into the Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies curriculum, and into all other special subjects. Students learn to associate the topics learned in each subject area to facts about Israel and Jewish Values. The Fourth Grade spends a great amount of time learning the importance of applying Jewish Values to situations that arise in every day life. Because students are beginning the maturation process, it is vital to constantly discuss Jewish principles as related to various social issues and other possible experiences. Discussions help students to continue to develop, to express and to revere their relationship with God and with Israel. Fourth grade students learn about the job of the Sofer and how a Torah is written. They also have an intensive unit on the Synagogue and its importance to their lives and the lives of the community.
Students are more personally involved with Jewish Holidays, Weekly Torah Portions, Shabbat, Ethics, and Moral Values, as well as the study of Israel. Students are taught to view the secular curriculum with a “Jewish mind”. They apply the concepts of Tikun Olam, T’zar Ba Al Chaim, Ba'al Taschit, Tzedakah and Gemilat Hassadim when studying secular subjects and executing decision making skills. They take an active role in developing an implementing school wideTzedakah projects. Students are able to help lead weekly Chapel Services, discuss weekly Torah Portions with members of the clergy and begin to understand the holiday cycle on a more complex level. Students learn about Jewish Life Cycle events, their purpose and meaning. Students are introduced to the study of Torah Trope and begin the process of preparation to become a B'nai Mitzvah.