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This year, our school will be partnering with the Institute for Southern Jewish Life in structuring our school's curriculum. Over the course of many years -- and with updates and revisions each year -- the ISJL has brought together national experts on Jewish education and child development to put together a rich, multi-modal, spiraled curriculum for both Hebrew and Judaics taught in the context of a synagogue religious school. We are grateful to have a local resource that has been able to focus so many resources (over $6 million!) on creating the best Jewish learning opportunities out there, and are eager to lean into this framework while bringing our community's values and priorities into every classroom.

The "Big Ideas" for each grade level are listed below, but if you have more detailed questions (e.g. in what grade do students learn the four questions?), please email Kate Hennessey at

Kindergarten: The Kindergarten portion of the curriculum focuses primarily on Jewish holidays and stories from the Torah. Using those two content areas as a backdrop, other areas like mitzvot and Jewish values are introduced as they pertain to holidays and the Torah. Students are exposed not only to what Jews do, but also why we do these things. The K curriculum, while illustrating many of our practices, is not entirely experiential -- students are expected to understand the holidays and stories that they are learning about. 

First Grade: In first grade, students will be learning more about mitzvot and how they can impact their everyday lives. They will begin their exploration of God through a variety of activities and experiences. They will continue their exploration of Jewish holidays, but learn about them through the certain mitzvot that are associated with each holiday. 

Second Grade: As students mature, they will delve deeper into their exploration of Jewish life, gaining greater skills an dknowledge of the rubrics of Jewish life. This year, the students will explore th eJewish community and their role in it. They will be exposed to a variet of activities that demonstrate the community in the synagogue through holiday celebrations, lifecycle events, and symbols that identify Jewish people and places. The students will begin their exploration of Israel as a Jewish homeland. 

Third Grade: The reading skills of third graders have progressed to the point where they are able to gain insights into the values and messages of the Torah. Students' spirituality will deepen as they develop Jewish God-concepts and contemplate their relationship with God. Students continue to increase their appreciation and understanding of Jewish holidays.  

Fourth Grade: Students will continue their exploration of Jewish spirituality, gaining insights into the meanings of th estories in the Prophets and Writings, and developing an understanding of what it means to be a partner with God or a person who brings more godliness into the world. Jewish holdiays continue to be explored with increasing sophistication as students learn the history of the different Jewish holidays and the values they express. 
Fifth Grade: In the fifth grade, we see a clear maturation of the students. They are ready and able to explore concepts of an intellectual and emotional natur. The curriculum meets their abilities and developmental stage with discussions and activities related to the Jewish lifecycle and milestones. They continue to learn about Israel and recognize that there are Jewish values and experiences that link Jewish people together. 

Sixth Grade: As students prepare to become b'nai mitzvah, they delve deeply into Jewish sources to critically examine the Torah. every week, students will study either one or multiple Torah portions. The lessons follow the order of the Torah, beginning with Genesis and ending with Deuteronomy. As they read, students will work with five main themes in the Torah: Family relationships, Leadership, Miracles and Revelation, Mitzvot that relate to people's relationships with other people, and mitzvot that relate to people's relationships with God or the godliness in the universe.  

Seventh Grade: Through an in-depth exploration of the Prophets and Writings, this year's course of study provides an opportunity for students to visualize their role in the greater community. As students prepare to become b'nai mitzvah, they explore how closely connected prayer and service were for the prophets in the Tanakh. This year contains an element of self-exploration in the form of several options for Long-Term Projects that allow students to become intimately connected to specific content areas.  

Our Hebrew education program groups children by skill level rather than grade in school. Children advance as they demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to be successful in the next level of engagement.

Hebrew Primer: First exposure to Hebrew letters

Hebrew 1: Hebrew letters reviewed and reinforced

Hebrew 2: Letters are reviewed through writing, reading exercises and real Hebrew vocabulary.

Hebrew 3: Focus is on decoding: putting the Hebrew letters and vowels together to make sounds, words, and phrases. The goal is for all students to be able to sound out Hebrew words and phrases with relative ease by the end of this year.

Hebrew 4: Focus is on prayers said in the home and on identifying Hebrew roots to better understand prayer vocabulary.

Hebrew 5: Focus is on prayers said in the shul, exploring the structure of prayer, and when prayers are recited.

Hebrew 6: Focus is on the Torah service and concluding prayers.

Hebrew 7: Review of prayers, service leading skills, in-depth look at the origin and meaning of prayers.

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784