Judaic Studies

/ Academics/ Grades 1-8 / Judaic Studies

Our students learn the foundational Jewish and Hebrew language knowledge and skills they need to be shomrei mitzvot (doers of mitzvot), lomdei torah (learners of Torah), and nurture a life-long love for Judaism as a way of life. We accomplish this by ensuring that our students are fluent in Hebrew language, proficient in reading and understanding Torah, and understand the stories and laws that lead to a vibrant Jewish life.

The importance of Israel in our learning and culture is what makes Hillel Torah unique. The love and pride Hillel Torah shares for Israel is palpable throughout our building every day. We live, love, and learn about Israel from the Hebrew and cultural immersion brought to us by our wonderful Israeli Shlichim and Bnot Sherut to our popular community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut assembly.

Chumash

Chumash is the foundation of our Torah and the lives we live as Jewish people. In the Primary Grades, Chumash is taught Ivrit B’ivrit. Students begin learning Chumash in 2nd grade, with a focus on kriya (reading), dikduk (grammar skills), and havana (understanding). In 3rd grade, they add Rashi and continue to gain confidence in that skill, eventually adding the skill of reading and understanding other Mefarshim during their time in Middle School.

Gemara

Mishna & Gemara 

After a foundation in Torah Shebichtav (written Torah), in Middle School students begin learning Torah She’bal Peh (the oral Torah).  In 5th and 6th grade, students learn Mishna, using the Sulamot Mishna curriculum created by Rabbi Tzvi Rimon, widely used in Israeli religious public schools.  In 7th and 8th grade, students advance to learning Gemara. The goal of these years of Mishnah and Gemara is to expose students to the flow, style, and thinking unique to Torah She’bal Peh. We focus on keywords, concepts, and structures to provide students twith he tools to learn Mishna and Gemara independently.

Ivrit

The Judaic Studies Department is rooted in our nationally-recognized Ivrit B’Ivrit Hebrew language immersion program, taught by Israeli shlichim and native Hebrew speakers. Students cultivate and acquire fluency in Ivrit through the Tal Am (1-5 grade) and B’Shvil Ha Ivrit (6-8 grade) curricula which incorporate multiple learning styles including music, art, games, visual, audio,  and group projects. All learning takes place in the context of a strong connection with the history and culture of Medinat Yisrael.

The Tal Am program is an innovative Ivrit language arts program in the primary grades, which allows for individualized, tailored, and paced learning experiences. Our students and educators benefit significantly from the program’s real-time student progress data to tailor our instruction.

In the Middle School, we have worked with the B’shvil Ha’Ivrit (formerly Neta) creators to incorporate the program’s emerging digital platform, which provides ample opportunities for differentiation, remediation, and review to enrich and expand Ivrit learning opportunities for our students.

Navi & Dinim

Navi: After being exposed to Chumash for a few years, starting in 4th grade, students learn Navi. The students learn Yehoshua, Shoftim, and Shmuel (Aleph and Bet) during their time in Hillel Torah. The goal is familiarity with the story, appreciation of Jewish history, and using it to derive real-life messages for daily living.

Dinim: It’s essential that our students know how to perform the mitzvot daily and throughout the Jewish calendar year. In every grade, we teach the age-appropriate yediot (knowledge), halachot (laws), and minhagim (customs) for that time of year. For each Chag throughout the year, our students come home with excitement for the Chag and a knowledge of what to do and why we do it. In Middle School, we add other areas of Halacha to the Dinim curriculum, such as Hilchot Brachot (laws of blessings) and Hilchot Shabbat (laws of Shabbat).

Tefilla

Tefilla

Tefilla is an essential part of our Judaic Studies curriculum. We begin each day with Tefilla, and teach the tefilot from Pre-Nursery through 8th grade. The goal is for the students to say the tefilot fluently, understand the meaning, and feel excitement and enthusiasm for Tefilla.

In 7th and 8th grade, the students daven in a traditional minyan. This helps to prepare the students for participation at home, in their shul communities. Additionally, boys learn the skills to be chazanim and baalei kriya.

Chesed & Special Programming

Chesed: Chesed is a significant value we constantly emphasize throughout the year. Through the Emuna Shir Weiss z”l Chesed Program we create a hands-on experiential environment where children learn about Jewish values and customs through demonstration, study, discussion, and practice. We provide opportunities for community service, social activism, and involvement.

Special Programming: We enhance formal classroom learning with engaging and fun informal learning experiences to foster creativity and encourage personal expression throughout the year. Chagim are celebrated throughout the school with creative displays, special programming, and school-wide assemblies. Students eagerly look forward to celebrating their learning milestones, such as Kabbalat Siddur, Kabbalat Chumash, and Boker Rashi. The Middle School Maccabiah is one of the year’s highlights for both students and staff.

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