CURRICULUM: Aleph-Bet Home is a friendly introduction to the Hebrew alphabet through open-ended art and dramatization. The letters are transformed into exciting characters living in a 3-D 'house'. The students help dress the puppets and decorate the 'house' as their story unfolds.
Whenever appropriate, mitzvot are introduced (such as hospitality, when 'letters' come to visit). We expand on the mitzvah theme through story and crafts.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: We aim for the student to gain a sense of comfort with the aleph-bet letters, and feel as if the letters are his/her 'friends.
CURRICULUM: The children are introduced to Torah (Bible) through an understanding of Breishit's (Genesis) storyline. The Biblical narrative is taught as the students sit around a story mat, using 3-D Bible characters to bring the information to life. A creative scrapbook is designed weekly.
CURRICULUMS OBJECTIVE: Since this will be the class first Hebrew School encounter with Torah, we want them to identify with the saga - and thus with the text.
Grade 1: EXODUS
CURRICULUM: We continue our Biblical journey with the Book of Shmot (Exodus). (There is an adequate review of Genesis for students who join the school at this juncture.) The material is taught through exercises - with a special focus on introspection - using a Let's Look... Let's Think... Let's Do... series.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: This course conveys the historical flow - slavery, liberation and receiving the Torah - which culminated in our birth as a nation. The student begins to understand the dynamics which framed our formation as a people.
Grade 2: MARVELOUS MIDOT & MANNERS
CURRICULUM: Marvelous Midot and Manners is a selection of twelve inter-personal mitzvot. The course is 'packaged' as a treasure hunt, as students search for the keys to being a mentch. Activities, bulletin board and an artistic scrapbook all reflect the searching-for -a-treasure theme.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: Students may assume that the Torah only addresses ritual aspects of life, like Shabbat and Mezuzah. This course conveys the idea that Judaism is a total lifestyle - a holy way of life. Torah defines both human/G-d and human/human conduct. Judaism wants us to be meaningful and holy humans - not angels.
From 3rd grade onwards, students attend class twice a week. As such, two courses are required for each grade.
Grade 3: MY JEWISH HOME
CURRICULUM: My Jewish Home is designed to discuss the mitzvot involved in creating a Jewish home, such as Kosher, hospitality, etc. Mitzvot are introduced in a large classroom 'home' which is built together with the students.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: The students grasp that the home is the center of Jewish life - home is where the soul is. Some of the concepts included in this course have been referred to in the previous years curricula, but definitely warrant repetition.
CURRICULUM: The students progress in their Biblical awareness, as they study the Book of Bamidbar (Numbers). (There is an adequate review of Genesis and Exodus for students who may have only joined the school at this juncture.) After leaving Egypt, the Jews spent forty eventful years wandering in the desert. Through role-playing, drama and thought provoking exercises, the students achieve a firsthand appreciation of those events.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: If the Exodus was our birth as a nation, the desert-period was our adolescence. The class explores this often-tumultuous period so that they can grasp the dynamics which shaped the Jewish nation as they prepared to enter Israel.
Grade 4: TORAHPEDIA
CURRICULUM: This course comprises22 bite-size lessons. TORAHpedia is a cleverly constructed curriculum, focusing on one mitzvah for each letter of the aleph-bet. Using a bright and engaging activity book, the students have fun as they learn 22 fundamental Jewish lessons.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: TORAHpedia's activity book places special emphasis on Mitzvot Are For Action! TORAHpedia brings real-life relevance to key Jewish concepts, demonstrating how Torahs lessons are applicable to the students actual lives.
CURRICULUM: We begin our journey of History 1. This covers the Jewish peoples entry into the Land of Israel through the Purim story. The lessons take place 'out of the box'; as such, the student never fills in stencils, etc. The student does, however, create certain artistic renditions of the lessons, which are posted on the class bulletin board.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: In order to know where one is headed, one must know from whence one came. In addition to covering the historical facts, we cover many Judaic concepts that have not been touched before, such as: prophecy, the definition of wisdom, true friendship, etc.
Grade 5: TORAH! MITZVOT! ACTION!
CURRICULUM: Torah! Mitzvot! Action! Racing Towards a Life of Meaning is designed to cover the weeks Torah-portion. Torah - refers to the basic story line; Mitzvah - refers to a related mitzvah; Action - refers to a practical behavior-modification gleaned from the lesson.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: This course serves as a review of the Torah portion (studying it a deeper level than the first time around), and adds a bottom line dimension through the Mitzvah and Action categories. The students realize that, in the final analysis, all of our study should yield lessons in self-improvement.
CURRICULUM: We continue our journey through the ages with History 2, which covers the era of the Jews under Persian rule and continues through the writing of the Talmud.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: In addition to studying the history of our people, this course attempts to frame the unfolding of Jewish law - post-Sinai.
Grade 6: LIFE CYCLES
CURRICULUM: The Life Cycles curriculum begins with each student giving birth to a set of twins - a male and a female. Over the course of the year, the student guides his/her children through various life-cycle events (birth, bris/baby-naming, bar/bat mitzvah, etc). The material is recorded in a creative tri-fold binder.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: We aim to familiarize the student with the Torahs perspective of these important events, and to give them a working understanding of the specific ceremony's nuts and bolts.
CURRICULUM: The Aseret Hadibrot course focuses on many lessons which flow from the Big 10.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: The student grasps how each of the commandments is relevant to real life. For example, in discussing Do not steal, we speak about corollaries to the mitzvah: e.g. wasting someone's time.
CURRICULUM: Kavanah Counts! delves into the meanings and design behind the weekday and Shabbat prayers. The course also includes a general overview of synagogue dynamics and structure. And, in the context of all prayers going through Jerusalem, we discuss the lands intrinsic holiness.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: We aim to create a sense of comfort within the synagogue setting. Once the student understands the procedures, there's a greater chance for interest and involvement.
Grade 7: WALK OF FAME
CURRICULUM: Torah's Lessons for Life from The Walk of Fame is comprised of 25 Biblical personalities - not necessarily good people, not necessarily Jewish - but all with a lesson to teach. The student's work is recorded through photographs.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: The course focuses on the lives of particular personalities, enabling the students to brush up on history basics as well as g lean new life-lessons. For example, the lesson on Noah focuses on the Torah's perspective of how to criticize; the lesson on Yosef focuses on how to maintain one's moral fiber in an amoral environment. All lessons relate to the student's very lifestyles.
As part of each lesson, the student has the opportunity to use a real Chumash (Bible), giving him/her a feel for reading from the actual text.
MENU FOR JEWISH LIVING
CURRICULUM: This curriculum is entitled 'Menu for Jewish Living' as it indeed describes the ingredients for being a mentch. It comprises 20 selections from Pirkei Avot - the teacher having the option of using the actual Hebrew text as a reading assignment.
CURRICULUMSOBJECTIVE: Pirkei Avot is full of colorful anecdotes of how to be a 'mentch'. However, to avoid lessons remaining in the classroom and having no effect on home behavior, there is great focus on'ma-aseh b'poel' - bottom line: how did this lesson make me a better person?
In keeping with the food theme, the home-behavior assignment is entitled 'The Take-out Counter' as it serves as a reinforcement of the proper behaviors studied in class that week. The student fills out recipe cards and places it in a menu box. At the beginning of the next class, the student determines whether he'd/she'd incorporated the positive behaviors as resolved to. The material is reinforced through a food-related exercise.
Chabad Center of Northwest New Jersey • One Torah Way • Rockaway, NJ 07866 • 973-625-1525