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236 Kane Street / Brooklyn, NY 11231 / 718 875-1550

Our Philosophy and Curriculum

Educational Philosophy

Hebrew
Hebrew is a key component of our curriculum. We teach both prayer Hebrew and Modern Hebrew in our classes. Although students will not become fluent in the short time they are with us, we do stress all components of the language; reading, writing, speaking and understanding. In Kindergarten and first grade, students are exposed to the Hebrew letter and vowel system and begin to build a basic Hebrew vocabulary, which increases each year as they move through the grades. In second grade, students learn how to read and write in Hebrew. Third grade is dedicated to insuring our students have a solid foundation in reading and writing, after which they move to understanding basic stories and mastering simple grammatical concepts. Fourth through Seventh grade continues to build on the students’ Hebrew through speaking, listening and reading increasingly rich and complex texts.

T’fillot
Students learn about prayer and pray both in their classroom and with our Tfillot specialist. We primarily focus on the students gaining fluency with the Saturday morning service. For each T’fillah students are to encouraged to know how to: Sing or chant the prayer; Identify key Hebrew words within the prayer; Explain where the prayer is chronologically in the service; Make personal meaning of the prayer

In 5th through 7th grades students also learn Torah troupe (cantilliation) and participate in several student led Torah services. All grades also grapple with the big ideas of God, why people pray and what prayer means to each individual.

Tanakh / Bible
All of our students study the stories of the Bible. In Kindergarten through 2nd grade these stories are part of the general Jewish curriculum and are taught in conjunction with holidays or Jewish values. Beginning in 3rd grade, students undertake a more serious and systematic look at the Tanakh, using both primary and secondary sources. We also encourage our students to explore how these ancient texts can speak to our modern lives. The Parsha Ha’Shavuah (weekly Torah portion) is taught each week during Shabbat youth services.

Holidays
Jewish holidays are taught using a spiraled curriculum, meaning students learn about the holidays each year at increasing levels of sophistication and depth. For example, at Hanukkah, the kindergarten class learns about the menorah, and each student will make one in class to take home. Third graders will become fluent reading and singing the candle lighting blessings and the Ma’oz Tzur. And sixth graders will examine the texts associated with Hanukkah and discuss why the Book of Macabbis is not part of our traditional biblical cannon. Additionally in Kindergarten and first grade we focus on the concept of Kodesh and Chol, holy and secular, focusing specifically on Shabbat. Our 4th graders undergo a year long study of the Jewish calendar cycle, exploring how the calendar functions and the summer holidays and commemorations that are frequently not taught during the school year. We also celebrate many holidays together as a school community: family meals in the Sukkah, Hanukkah parties, grade-level and school-wide Shabbat dinners and Tu B’shvat seders.

Jewish History and Values
We strive to help our students learn about and choose to live a life of Jewish values. Values are infused through our approach to education, from the way we greet our students as they enter the school, to collecting tzdekah in the classroom, to the lines of communication we have established between teachers and parents. Specifically, students in the early grades learn about Jewish values and Derekh Ertz (the Jewish way to act.) In the upper grades (4th-6th) students study the sayings of Perkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) and consider how these sayings can inform their thoughts and actions. Jewish history is focused on in the 5th- 7th grades.

Israel
Our students learn about Israel throughout their years here. We hope to develop the initial spark of a lifelong relationship with the country and her people. Students learn about Israel’s culture, geography, history and politics. In 5th or 6th grades, students undergo a year long study of Israel. We strive to make Israel come alive for our students so that in the future they want to travel to Israel and spend time creating their own connection to the Jewish state.

Arts & Culture
We know that students learn in a variety of ways: orally, in small group interaction, kinesthetically, individually, though the arts and visually. In order to insure all our students learning styles are met, we integrate music, literature, poetry, art and movement into our everyday classes.

Curriculum: Roshanim through Zayin

Roshanim
Young children love experiencing the joys of the Jewish holidays, hearig the tales of our matriarchies and patriarchies and singing the songs and prayers of our tradition. The early childhood years are a wonderful time to being to, “Teach it to your children” as we are taught in the Shema. At this age children are sponge-like, ready to soak up Hebrew, Jewish values and holidays all keys in building strong future Jewish identities.

The overarching goal of Roshanim is to help the students feel natural and create personal meaning “being and doing Jewish” at Kane Street Synagogue, with the Roshanim group, and also at home with their families. They will continue to see their Jewishness naturally, as part of who they innately are.

During the class our youngest students will be introduced to Hebrew, Holidays, Bible stories and Jewish values through song, movement, arts and crafts and celebrations. The class will give them a taste of the wonders and riches our religion offers.

Kindergarten – Gan
Hebrew

  • Students will be able to explain that Hebrew is: A modern language spoken by Jews around the world and in Israel; The holy language of the Jewish people; The Jewish language of prayer; An ancient language which was used to write the Torah
  • Students will develop an interest in the Hebrew language through the use of games, songs, and art projects.
  • Students will be able to: Identify most of the letters of the Hebrew Alef-Bet and articulate the corresponding sounds for each letter.
  • Students will begin to create a Hebrew vocabulary of 25 basic words

Israel
Students will be exposed to Israel as: The Jewish homeland & a Jewish state; A country Jews around the world have a unique bond with, and a fun, exciting and important place to visit

Holidays

  • Students will be introduced to the holidays as they occur throughout the year.
  • Students will be able to identify the symbols and ritual objects of each holiday and match them to the appropriate holiday

T’fillot

  • Students will talk about what prayer is and why we pray.
  • Students will learn about the basic ideas, people and objects of the synagogue including Synagogue, Torah and Rabbi
  • Students will become familiar with the concepts of Kodesh and Kol
  • Students will become familiar with the concept of Brachot
  • Students will learn the meaning and practice the brachot for foods eaten in the classroom
  • Students will learn about the concept of Shabbat: A Day of rest; The choreography of a traditional Friday night dinner and the accompanying Bracha (prayers) over candles and wine, and for washing and bread.
  • Students will learn the basic meaning and be able to sing the following t’fillot: Modah Ani; Mah Tovu; Sh’ma (first line only)

1st Grade – Alef
Hebrew

  • Students will be able to explain that Hebrew is: A modern language spoken by Jews around the world and in Israel; The holy language of the Jewish people; The Jewish language of prayer; An ancient language which was used to write the Torah
  • Students will develop an interest in the Hebrew language through the use of games, songs and art projects.
  • Students will be able to: Identify all of the letters of the Hebrew Alef-Bet by name; Articulate the corresponding sounds for each letter; Explain that Hebrew is read from right to left; Explain that Hebrew is created with letters and vowels and that the vowels are found over and under the letters
  • Students will build their Hebrew vocabulary to 50 words

Israel
Students will discuss: How Israel/Israelis celebrate the holidays in modern day Israel; What was happening in historic Israel during the time of each holiday; What they believe Israel/Israelis look like and compare their beliefs to actual pictures of Israel; What it means that Israel is a Jewish country; A place where all Jews can call “home”; A place to where we can all visit; A place to practice Hebrew; The idea that Israel and specifically Jerusalem are very important holy places that we face when we say our t’fillah.

Holidays

  • Students will discuss the concept of holy days; why we have them, what they give us, do we need them
  • Students will discuss at least one main reason for each holiday as it occurs throughout the year.
  • Students will be able to identify the symbols and ritual objects of each holiday and match them to the appropriate holiday

    God

    • Students will begin to grapple with the concept of God.
    • Students will discuss the following God concepts: The Jewish people’s covenant with God; A Personal God: images & understanding; How and why we perform mitzvoth; How we talk to God; How we can act in God’s image

    T’fillot

    • Students will discuss what prayer is and why we pray.
    • Students will continue to deepen their understanding of Kodesh and Kol
    • Students will learn the meaning and practice the brachot for foods eaten in the classroom
    • Students will learn about the concept of Shabbat, reviewing the Friday night meal and focusing on Havadallah
    • Students will be able to explain the reason behind Havadallah, specifically: Saying goodbye to Shabbat; Transitioning from Kadosh to Kol; Object of Havadallah: Candles, wine & spices; Elijah, the prophet
    • Students will learn the basic meaning and be able to sing the following t’fillot: Sheheheyanu; Modah Ani; Mah Tovu; Sh’ma (first line only); Adon Olam

    2nd Grade – Bet
    Hebrew

    • Students will be able to: Identify all the Hebrew letters and vowels with their corresponding sounds; Write all the letters and vowels in the Alef-Bet; Decode words & simple sentences
    • Students will grow their basic Hebrew vocabulary to approximately 75 words

    Israel

    • Students will deepen their knowledge of Israel and discuss what it means to have a Jewish state.
    • Students will learn about the main centers of population in Israel and their unique personalities.

    Holidays

    • Students will discuss each holiday as it occurs throughout the year.
    • Students will discuss how each holiday is celebrated both in the house as well as in the synagogue

    Derech Ertz/Being a Mensch

    • Students will learn about the concept of Derech Ertz as the right way to act and a mensch as someone who takes action and affects the world in positive ways.
    • Students will learn about: How Jewish sources can help us make ethical decisions; V’ahavta l’reacha kamocha (love your neighbor as yourself); B’tzelem Elohim (we are created in God’s image); Sh’mirat Habriyut (guarding one’s health); Talmud Torah (Jewish learning); Sh’lom Bayit (peace in the home); Dibbuk Haverim (value of friends); K’vod Habriyot (respect for all people); Derech Eretz (good manners); Klal Yisrael (support for the world Jewish community); Tzedakah (righteousness)
    • Students will discuss several Midrashic and Talmudic stories in order to learn basic Jewish lessons on Derech Ertz

    Tfillot
    Students will learn the basic meaning and melody for the t’fillot: Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Bracha over torah study; Sh’ma & Va’ahavta; Adon Olam

    3rd Grade – Gimmel
    Hebrew

    • Students will: Undergo an intensive review of the Hebrew letters and vowels in order to enable the students, in the future, to identify each letter and vowel, by name and sound, without hesitation; Will read and translate words, simple sentences & short stories; Begin to write simple, grammatically correct Hebrew sentences; Will increase their Hebrew vocabulary to approximately 100 words
    • Students will be exposed to the following concepts found in the Hebrew language: Singular and plural noun construction; Masculine and feminine word construction; Root words; Question words: who, what, where; “Yesh Le/Ani Le” construction; Pronouns: I, you, he, she; Prepositions: from, in, the, and, to; Verbs: to live, to go, to want, to cry, to sing, to love, to eat, to work; Vocabulary for Jewish holidays

    Jewish History
    Students will explore Jewish history from the beginning of our history, the covenant between God and Abraham through the story of Masada and the writing of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Holidays

    • Students will learn the basic meaning of each holiday as they occur during the calendar year.
    • Students will learn the brachot associated with each holiday.

    Tfilot

    • Students will be able to read prayers in Hebrew
    • Students will review the concept of Brachot and practice reading the Brachot for: Shabbat & Holidays; Mitzvot
    • For each prayer, students will: Understand the basic meaning of the prayer; Be able to read and sing the prayer; Explain the place of the prayer in the Shabbat morning service; Identify key root words
    • Students will learn the following t’fillot: Eyn Keloheinu; Sh’ma & 1st paragraph of V’ahavta; Mi Chamochah

    Tanakh

    • Students will study the narratives of Bereshit and Shamot from the creation of the world through the exodus from Egypt.
    • Students will develop a connection between themselves, their current life situations and the stories of the Tanakh
    • Students will be encouraged to examine the P’shat (the basic meaning), D’rash (interpretation), Remez (core concept) and Sod (hidden or mystical) for each of the narratives.
    • Students will investigate the meaning of the Brit between God and the Jewish people.
    • Students will be able to define the terms: Tanakh/Chumash, Parsha, Midrash, Beresit, Shamot, Genesis, Exodus and Brit.

    4th Grade – Dalet
    Hebrew

    • Students will: Review the Hebrew letters and vowels; Continue to develop their Hebrew reading, translating and speaking skills; Begin to write simple, grammatically correct Hebrew sentences; Increase their Hebrew vocabulary to approximately 125 words; Read short stories in Hebrew
    • Students will be exposed to the following concepts found in the Hebrew language: Singular and plural noun construction; Masculine and feminine word construction; Root words; Question words: who, what, where; “Yesh Le/Ani Le” construction; Pronouns: I, you, he, she; Prepositions: from, in, the, and, to; Verbs: to live, to go, to want, to cry, to sing, to love, to eat, to work; Vocabulary for Jewish holidays

    Holidays

    • Students will undergo an intensive study of the Jewish calendar year.
    • Students will learn the Hebrew months and the order of the Jewish calendar year.
    • Students will develop a deeper understanding as to the meaning of each holiday though the use of Tanakh, Talmudic and contemporary sources
    • Students will discuss the historical reasons for each holiday

    Tanakh

    • Students will study the stories of Judges, Kings and Prophets both from the original text and from The Explorer’s Bible.
    • Students will develop a connection between themselves, their current life situations, and the stories of the Tanakh
    • Students will be encouraged to examine the P’shat, D’rash, Remez and Sod for each of the narratives.
    • Students will be able to define the following terms: Tanakh/Chumash, Parsha, Midrash, Megillah, Kings, Judges and Prophets of Israel.
    • Students will be able to differentiate between Torah and Tanakh as well as explain the three components of Tanakh: Torah, Writing and Prophets.

    T’filot

    • Students will continue to develop their familiarity with Shabbat morning prayers while practicing their Hebrew reading skills
    • For each prayer, students will: Understand the basic meaning of the prayer; Be able to read and sing the prayer; Explain the place of the prayer in the Shabbat morning service; Identify key root words
    • Students will be able to define the following vocabulary words: Sharachit; Minyan; Bracha
    • Students will learn the following prayers: Baruchu; Maariv Aravim (briefly); Yotzer Or (briefly); Shema + V’ahavta (review); Mi Chamochah; Brachot for foods, holidays and Shabbat; Kiddush

    5th + 6th Grade – Hey Vav
    Due to student enrollment, 5th and 6th grade is a combined class this year

    Hebrew for 5th

    • Students will continue to develop their Hebrew reading, translation, and speaking skills while dealing with complex combinations of gendered nouns and verbs
    • Students will continue to develop efficiency at writing grammatically correct Hebrew sentences with gendered nouns, verbs and adjectives.
    • Students will increase their Hebrew vocabulary to at least 150 words.
    • Students will become competent in the following concepts/vocabulary found in the Hebrew language: Lach/Lacha + Yesh Li pronoun structures; Prepositions: with, from; Question Word: why; Vocabulary: Colors, holiday vocabulary for spring holidays; Verbs: to stand, to draw, to be, to call, to speak, to read, to take, to eat, to think

    Hebrew for 6th

    • Students will continue to develop their Hebrew reading, translation and speaking skills while dealing with complex combinations of gendered nouns and verbs
    • Students will continue to develop efficiency at writing grammatically correct Hebrew sentences with gendered nouns, verbs and adjectives.
    • Students will increase their Hebrew vocabulary to at least 200 words.
    • Students will become competent in the following concepts/vocabulary found in the Hebrew language: Shel Le pronoun structures; Question Word: How many, which; Vocabulary – time words, Jewish values, numbers; Verbs – to go down, to be, to love, to see, to sit, to want, to sleep, to go, to run, to give, to put

    Holidays
    At each holiday students will briefly review the holiday, adding a new layer of personal meaning, and focus on the torah portion or biblical text associated with that holiday: Rosh Hashanah / Genesis 22:1-24; Yom Kippur / Jonah; Sukkot / Leviticus 22:26-23:44; Simchat Torah / Deuteronomy 34:1-7 + Bereshit 1:1-2:3; Hanukkah / Book of Macabbis; Purim / Esther; Pesah / Exodus 12:21- 15:26

    Tanakh

    • Students will study the stories of Judges, Kings and Prophets both from the original text and The Explorer’s Bible.
    • Students will develop a connection between themselves, their current life situations and the stories of the Tanakh
    • Students will be encouraged to examine the P’shat, D’rash, Remez and Sod for each of the narratives.
    • Students will be able to define the following terms: Tanakh/Chumash, Parsha, Midrash, Megillah, Kings, Judges and Prophets of Israel.
    • Students will be able to differentiate between Torah and Tanakh as well as explain the three components of Tanakh: Torah, Writing and Prophets.

    T’filot

    • Students will continue to build on their Hebrew reading skills by practicing the Shabbat morning prayers.
    • Students will be able to identify the three parts of the Torah service: taking the Torah from the ark, reading the Torah and returning the Torah to the ark
    • Students will be able to explain when we read from the Torah, what a parsha is, and on which holiday we start and finish the Torah cycle each year.
    • Students will be able to explain what an aliyah is, how many there are in each service and practice having one.
    • Students will be able to explain what the haftorah is
    • Students will be able to define the following vocabulary words: Haftorah, Aliyah, Parsha, Ba’al Kriah, Tikkun, Troupe, Maftir, Bimah, Hagbahah, G’lilah
    • For each prayer, students will; Understand the basic meaning of the prayer; Be able to read and sing the prayer; Explain the place of the prayer in the Shabbat morning service; Identify key root words
    • The students will learn the following prayers: Eyn Chomocha/Av Harachmon; K’mitzion/Lach Adoni; Brachot for the Torah and the Haftorah; Zot Hatorah; Etz Chaim He; Aleinu; Kaddish; Eyn Keiloheinu; Prayer for the State of Israel; Ashrei

    Israel

    • Students will learn the history of Israel (from the 1800’s until today), its geography and culture.
    • Topics may include: Zionism;The Balfour Declaration/British Rule; David Ben Gurion, Rav Kook, Theodor Hertzl; The Five Aliyot/The Kibbutz movement; The Declaration of Independence/War of Independence; Henriette Szold, Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin; Jewish immigration from around the world, including the later Ethiopian immigration; Six Day War; The Intifada / The peace process/ Palestines & Israelis; The map of Israel/geography; The food, music and general culture; Life and culture in Israel today, specifically related to children their age; Army life in Israel
    • Special attention will be given to Israeli culture and current events
    • Students should be able to articulate: Where Israel is located and describe her neighbors; Their opinion on whether or not it is important / necessary to have a Jewish state in the world; What Israel has meant to millions of Jews around the world both before and since the founding of the state; What Israel means or might mean in the future to them and their family.

    7th Grade – Zayin
    Hebrew

    • Students will connect to Israel though the Hebrew vocabulary of her sites and people.
    • Students will be exposed to a vocabulary of 250 words.
    • Students will practice basic grammar including: Present tense; Root words; Masculine and feminine nouns in the singular and plural
    • Students will compose simple sentences in Hebrew.
    • Students will practice oral conversations in Hebrew.

    Jewish History

    • Students will study Jewish history from the early Israelites to US Jewry during the 1900s.
    • Students will consider how their lives compare with the lives of our ancestors
    • Students will be able to discuss how each generation adapts Judaism to its time and place, and how the decisions of previous generations influence our own lives and decisions.

    Holidays

    • At each holiday, the students will discuss what it means to celebrate this holiday as a B’nei Mitzvah, an adult member of the Jewish community.
    • The students will engage in discussions concerning how they wish to become a practicing and participating member of the Jewish community.
    • Students will engage in discussions and offer their opinion on community: What is a community/ What makes a community; What is a Jewish community; What are the obligations of its members; Does a person need a community; Why and how is Judaism a community based religion; What is the value of a Jewish community; What does their Jewish community provide them

    T’filot

    • Students will learn the Mussaf service and be able to fill the role of the “cantor” and the congregation.
    • Students will learn Torah troupe
    • Students will discuss the Haftorah: Where the Haftorah comes from; What the historical significance is; The specific Haftorot of the class members
    • The students review the following prayers: Berkot Hatorah; Berkot Haftorah; Order of the Torah service; Mussaf Amidah; Ashrei

    Final Project
    Students will complete and present an end of the year project, reflecting on their eight years of Hebrew School.

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