General goals for Hebrew:
By 7th grade, each student will be able to:
- Read Hebrew print
- Identify letters, vowels and their sounds
- Read Hebrew prayers accurately with syllable to syllable and word to word fluency
- Follow along and read prayers comfortably during a service
- the meaning and content of prayers in the Shabbat liturgy
- the order of prayers in the service
- what the prayers say about our relationship to God, Israel, and other Jews
- the history of the prayers
- the present relevance of the prayers to the student’s life
- Develop a core Hebrew prayer vocabulary
- Develop facility at “unpacking” the linguistic elements of the vocabulary (root words, suffixes, prefixes)
- Chant selected prayers from the Shabbat service
- Develop a basic Modern Hebrew language vocabulary and form simple sentences.
Prayer-based Hebrew component:
In 3rd grade, students reinforce Hebrew letter and vowel identification. They progress from sounding out to decoding and reading Hebrew words. Beginning in 4th grade and continuing through 6th grade, students are introduced to the use, format and themes for blessings and the structure of the Shabbat evening and morning services. This lays the foundation for worship throughout each student's lifetime. In addition, 3rd through 6th grade students will begin to build a Modern Hebrew vocabulary to enhance their connection with and excitement about the living language of Hebrew. In the 7th grade, students will explore Modern Hebrew in more depth, as well as learn about Israeli culture.
Introduction to our Sacred Texts and their Relevance in our Lives - Torah* component:
In 3rd grade, students are introduced to the Hebrew Bible through stories of the prophets. Beginning in 4th grade, our Judaic focus will be on the study of Chumash (Five Books of Moses) using the Torah text as our “textbook”. Through the stories contained in the Torah, students will learn the history of our people. They will also discover Torah as a guide to Jewish living. Students’ experience with genuine text study will help them uncover the many layers of meaning, interpretation, and questions that fuel our lively, ongoing dialogue with the Torah. In 7th grade the focus expands to include the study of Pirkei Avot and Mishneh Torah (Maimonides). This exposes the students to additional forms of Hebrew in different contexts.
*Torah can be defined in two ways. The first, a traditional definition, refers to the Chumash (Five Books of Moses). The second expands on this definition to include the subsequent writings and teachings of our tradition. These writings are an interpretation and an outgrowth of the stories found in the Chumash.
All students in Bet, Gimmel, and Dalet classes (4th – 6th grades) will have the honor of leading Shabbat services. Each class will lead a separate service or services during the school year.
We have identified the following goals for our class services, and our developmental program reflects these goals:
- to enable students to practice their Hebrew skills and to lead the congregation in public worship
- to foster a deeper sense of community both within the class (parents/students) and between the class and the rest of the congregation
- to create a meaningful worship experience for the students and their parents while preserving the meaning of congregational worship
- to motivate attendance at additional worship services during the year
All students are expected to participate in class services as they are an important component of our Religious School program. If a student has a serious conflict with the service date(s), then he or she will be required to lead a prayer in a congregational service on an alternative date. Please consult the school calendar for class service dates.
Youth Kehillah (formerly Jr Congregation)
Students in 3rd - 6th grade are also encouraged to participate in monthly Youth Kehillah (youth congregation) services. These services, partially led by the students, offer our students consistent opportunities to worship and socialize with friends from religious school. Youth Kehillah provides another excellent opportunity to practice and reinforce Hebrew prayer skills. All students are invited to attend and tutored students are required to attend these services.
Please click on the following links to learn in more detail about the curriculum at each grade level: