Bible Studies – Chumash and Navi
The intensity of the Judaic Studies Program requires advanced levels of logical and sequential thinking skills and raises the ethical consciousness of the students. The teaching of Jewish values is introduced at the earliest of ages and reinforced throughout the grades. The study of Torah begins early on with the study of the weekly Torah portion. By way of dramatic play and crafts projects, the youngest student learns to assimilate the lessons of theTorah for our time.
The Chumash (the Five Books of Moses) is introduced at the end of the first grade, as students begin to master Hebrew reading skills.
Throughout their study of Torah, students are presented with the challenge of utilizing original text material.
In second and third grade emphasis is placed on the book of Bereshit (Genesis) as the origins of the Jewish people unfold. In third grade the students begin the study of Rashi commentary and begin to analyze the language, structure and meaning of Biblical Hebrew. In fourth grade focus is placed upon completing the book of Bereshit and beginning the book of Shmot.
In fifth through eighth grades the students begin a program that allows them to study each book of the Torah each year, so that by the time they graduate they would have exposure to all Chamisha Chumshei Torah ( the entire five books of Moses).
The study of Navi is begun in the fourth grade and the books of Joshua and Judges are completed. In each of the succeding grades one book of the first prophets is studied and completed. Thus, students who graduate our school will have completed all Neviim Rishonim. (Joshua,Judges,Samuel 1 and 2, and Kings 1 and 2. In addition they would have completed the books of”Yonah” Esther” and Ruth”.
Mishna Talmud Studies
Beginning in 5th grade, students are exposed to the inspiring world of the Mishnah (Oral Torah). By studying the Mishnah , the students gain insight into the Jewish holiday cycle.
Beginning in sixth grade and continuing through eighth grade, students study the Talmud from the original text.
Mastery of language and Talmudic logic are key componets of the curriculum that explores moral dilemmas, civil law and interpersonal relationships.
Students in these grades also study a daily concept of Jewish Law (Halacha Yomit) curriculum as well as a “general Jewish knowledge” (Yediyot Klaliyot) curriculum, culminating with an exit exam that all students must pass at the end of their study at our school.
Ultimately, academic success is determined by a student’s command of language arts. Because of its importance, language arts and related topics are integrated throughout the curriculum.
In the early grades, children are encouraged to write and “publish” short stories. Beginning in kindergarten, they present or perform original and published plays and keep daily journals. First and third graders host an “Authors Tea”, reading for the visiting parents the “published” books that they have written and illustrated.
Second graders read original compositions and poetry at their annual Teddy Bear Tea. Along with reading texts, the students learn spelling, phonics and handwriting.
The intermediate and middle school Language Arts curriculum includes sophisticated anaylsis, synthesis, and evaluation of written works. Classic works of literature, such as The Pearl, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn and selected short stories, are introduced in seventh and eighth grades. The curriculum is often integrated with other disciplines. Writing skills are stressed in all the grades with emphasis
on creative expression and descriptive form.
Located at the very center of the school, the Hebrew Academy library serves as the school’s “hub”, with children passing through throughout the day. Many opportunities allow for interaction among the different grades. For example, each first grader is paired with a fifth grade “book Buddy” for the purpose of reading and discussing special library books.