Gimmel and Dalet
Third and Fourth graders master Hebrew script writing, expand their Hebrew vocabulary. They learn basic 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. They delve into these stories from many perspectives through discussion, debate, artwork and drama. They learn about tthe rites and rituals of a Jewish life cycle. They learn how to bring holiness into their everyday life and build a vocabulary to talk about G-d. They learn the prayers of the amidah and the closing prayers of every service. Students learn Shabbat and holiday music.
Fifth graders 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 master the prayers of the Torah service. Students actively participate in Shabbat prayer and begin to take leadership roles. Students learn about contemporary heroes along with historical figures who worked to make the world better through mitzvot. 5th graders learn all about the history of American Jews and try to understand their own American Jewish identity and that of their family.
Sixth graders polish their Hebrew speaking, reading and comprehension. They learn how to decline verbs of several binyanim (categories), and begin to master past and future tenses. They learn how to chant the Haftarah trope as they move closer to leading their B'nai Mitzvah. Students learn 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 difficulties and conflicts of Israel's 73 years as well as its extraordinary achievements. Most of all, they learn that there are no simple answers about Israel and that the nation is incredibly complex. Students will learn to do a close reading of Torah texts with commentary to pull out relevant meanings.
Seventh graders polish their Hebrew speaking and comprehension. They learn useful vocabulary they will need when they visit Israel. Students will learn the sweep of Jewish history over the past 2,000 years including dispersion from Israel, the early rabbis and their innovations in Judaism, the great Medieval cultures of Jews in Spain, the Rhineland, Provence, Cairo and Baghdad. They will learn about the crusades and anti-Jewish violence and pogroms, the Inquisition and Marrano Jews as well as the new flourishing of Jews in Turkey, the Netherlands and the New World. They will learn about the Enlightenment and the new opportunities available to Jews in Europe and the rise of Reform and Conservative Judaism. They will learn about the methods of the Nazis to turn people against Jews and about the terrible events of the holocaust. Students will learn about post-holocaust mourning and memorialization and the commitment of Jews to protect ourselves and other vulnerable minorities.