Gimmel (Grade 3) and Dalet (Grade 4)
Third and Fourth graders are growing more social and enjoy collaborating on longer term projects. We encourage them to dramatize what they are learning and create long-term art projects. Students master Hebrew script writing and expand their Hebrew vocabulary. They learn basic Hebrew grammatical rules, distinguishing singular and plural, masculine and feminine and becoming more confident in speaking Hebrew. Students learn about each of the stories from the book of Genesis and Exodus in third grade and continue learning about the Judges and Prophets from Tanakh in 4th grade. They delve into these stories from many perspectives through discussion, debate, artwork and drama. They learn about the rites and rituals of a Jewish life cycle, how to bring holiness into their everyday life and build a vocabulary to talk about G-d. They learn the prayers of the shaharit morning service and amidah adding to their previous mastery of the Musaf service (last year). Students learn Shabbat and holiday music.
Hey (Grade 5)
Fifth graders love a challenge. We try to challenge them to connect with the long history of our people and learn brand new facts and grapple with complex ideas. Students continue to build their Hebrew speaking, reading and comprehension skills using more sophisticated stories. They improve their grammar and build their vocabulary of Hebrew words. Fifth graders learn the prayers of the shaharit morning service and amidah adding to their previous mastery of the Musaf service (last year) and the Torah service (learned in 3rd grade) Students actively participate in Shabbat prayer and begin to take leadership roles. Students learn about first 3 millennia of Jewish life and history noting the greatest contributions and heroes as well as the challenges and conflicts. They create artwork and sing songs based on the teachings of the most respected sages, and learn about the relationship between Torah, Midrash, Talmud and other formative Jewish literature.
Vav (Grade 6)
Sixth graders are actively grappling with selfhood and identity. We help them see themselves in the arc of modern Jewish history and connect to important ideas and movements. Students polish their Hebrew speaking, reading and comprehension. They learn how to chant the Torah trope as they move closer to leading their B'nei Mitzvah. Students learn about Jewish identity in the 20th and 21st century. They consider why Jews at the end of the 19th century needed a homeland, study the early years of Jewish nation-building in Palestine and the creation of the Israeli state. They learn about the massive immigration to the United States from Eastern Europe and the incredible contributions Jews made to American society. Students discuss the difficulties and conflicts of modern Israel as well as its extraordinary achievements. Students also learn about the roadblocks American Jews have overcome, the successes and failures of Jews in America since World War II and how Jewish life came to be what it is today.
Miftan (Grade 7)
Seventh graders love to be contrary and ask very difficult questions. We give them ample opportunity to challenge conventional thinking, wrestle with Torah and consider what they would do in ethical conundra. Students polish their Hebrew speaking and comprehension. They learn useful vocabulary they will need when they visit Israel. As they begin seeing their b'nei mitzvah as more and more real, we guide them in learning how to study Torah critically. They encounter commentaries by a range of sages and scholars. They consider the most interesting passages of the parshiyot (portions) assigned to them for b'nei mitzvah.
Students will learn about the Holocaust. They grasp the power of propaganda and dehumanization techniques, learn to identify these, and compare the Nazis approaches to those used today. Students will learn about Final Solution and its engines, about Righteous Gentiles and the many forms of resistance waged against the Nazis. They will explore post-holocaust mourning and memorialization and how to use our knowledge to protect ourselves and other vulnerable minorities.
Students will also explore contemporary ethical conundrums, learn to express their points of view more articulately, listen to and respect other perspectives, and hone their debate skills.