The Beverly Goldstick z”l Curriculum for 21st Century Learning

Our religious school is based on four pillars: KnowledgeCommunityFlexibility, and Diversity.  We utilize a curriculum that builds and connects Jewish knowledge within and across grades.  Throughout the course of the year, we study sacred texts and traditions through a shared prism of Jewish values.

VALUES UNITS
All our students study Jewish content related to Jewish values.  The whole school focuses on these values through the year:

Hachnasat Orchim:Welcoming the StrangerSept-Oct
Welcoming the stranger is a commandment repeated many times in the Torah, but how do we live
welcoming as a value?
-Gimilut Chasidim: Acts of Loving-KindnessNov
What are traditional acts of loving-kindness?
-Tikkun Olam: Repairing the WorldDec-Jan
What can we do to make the world a better place?
-Tzedakah: Charity & RighteousnessFeb
How does the tradition understand acts of giving as a responsibility?
-Honor, Respect, and FriendshipMarch
How can we cultivate the social skills and social values that we learn to be good friends and good
community members?
-Kol Israel Arevim ze B’zeh: All of Israel are Responsible for One AnotherApril
What can we do to connect with diverse Jewish communities, make friends, and learn to value each other
in more than abstract ways?

CURRICULUM CONTENT
In each grade, we focus on developmentally appropriate learning in eight content areas:

Sacred Text
We help to build our students’ connection to and love of the Torah, select prophets, historical books, megillot, and rabbinic text.  Multi-modal learning allows students to choose between traditional modes of study, art, drama, and other forms of creative expression, building curiosity around and passion for the texts.

Hebrew
Our students learn Hebrew in the context of meaningful prayer.  A love for Hebrew is developed in the lower grades through movement and song, progressing to increasing familiarity with the aleph-bet through multimodal learning.  Fluency and vocabulary are gained through interactions with sacred texts, in the context of an integrated curriculum.

Prayer, God, & Spirituality
Our school works to create an environment where students can develop a rich, personal relationship with prayer, God, and their sense of spirituality.  We encourage student discussion of tough moral and ethical questions, in the context of the Jewish tradition.  Students learn rituals, traditional prayers, and songs, as well as methods for spiritual seeking and advanced prayer leading skills in the upper grades.

The Jewish Calendar
From learning the symbols and foods of the holidays in the early grades, to engaging in historical and social analysis of holiday observance throughout the Diaspora and Israel in the upper grades, our students develop a rich appreciation of the Jewish calendar.  We love celebrating the holidays, and we are also invested in studying the intellectual, historical, traditional, and spiritual richness of the calendar.

Jewish History
Students at our school engage in Jewish History from a personal, familial, and global perspective.  As students grow they will learn about Jewish History from Mishna to modernity, with additional focuses on Biblical history, American Jewish history and our relationship to Israel, and the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

Israel
Developing an understanding of Israel’s history and culture is an important part of students’ developing relationships with Israel.  Our students’ education on the state of Israel provides a rich and nuanced backdrop for the development of advocacy skills in the upper grades, giving our young people the tools and the confidence they need to discuss Israel with their peers.

Mitzvot and Values
We explore mitzvot and values through study and action.  Our students work with synagogue committees to help actively serve our community through participation in projects like Team Yarok’s green initiatives, making baby meals, and engaging in tzedakah while building meaningful relationships with other kids in international Jewish communities.  Kashrut, prayer obligations, and Shabbat observance are also important elements of our curriculum, as are other ways the mitzvot tie to care of the self and care of others.

Contemporary Jewish Life
From lifecycle events to current events through a Jewish lens to contemporary Jewish communities around the world, our students learn about the richness of Jewish life today, as well as the meaningful ways our tradition helps to frame crucial events in each Jew’s life, from birth to death.

CURRICULUM CONTENT BY GRADE

Junior Kindergarten

Sacred text: 7 days of creation – Hebrew: Hebrew through movement and song – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Blessings, God through love, gratitude, and creation – Jewish Calendar: Holidays through symbols and food, with special focus on Shabbat – Israel: Israel through food and symbols – Mitzvot and Values: Being a good community member – Contemporary Jewish Life: Learning about Anshe Emet with Rabbi Russo.

Senior Kindergarten

Sacred text: Adam and Eve; Noah – Hebrew: Hebrew through movement and song – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Blessings, God through love, gratitude, and creation – Jewish Calendar: Holidays through symbols and food, with special focus on Rosh Hashanah and Pesach – Israel: Israel through food and symbols – Mitzvot and Values: Being a mensch.  Making kippot –Contemporary Jewish Life: Learning about Anshe Emet with Rabbi Russo.

First Grade

Sacred text: Stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs – Hebrew: Letters and Sounds – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Kabbalat Shabbat.  What does God do for us, and what do we do for God? –Jewish Calendar: Holidays throughout the year: core stories – History: Where do Jewish people live now and how did they get there?  Family stories – Mitzvot and Values: Loving your neighbor as yourself.  Welcoming guests – Contemporary Jewish Life: Synagogue symbols & meeting synagogue staff.

Second Grade

Sacred text: Stories from Genesis through Exodus, with focus on the 10 Commandments –Hebrew: Letters and Sounds – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Kabbalat Shabbat.  What does God do for us, and what do we do for God? – Jewish Calendar: Holidays throughout the year: practices and traditions.  Second grade will emphasize Shabbat, and students will help lead the Tu B’shvat Seder – History: The Diaspora, stories through history and family – Mitzvot and Values: Ten Commandments.  Honoring parents.

Third Grade

Sacred text: Introduction to the Weekly Parsha – Hebrew: Reading Letters and Vowels – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Havdalah & Maariv.  Introducing Kavanah: prayer with intention – Jewish Calendar: Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, and Pesach: deep dives with text and history – History: Biblical history, from ancestors to entering the land – Mitzvot and Values: Kashrut – Contemporary Jewish Life: Birth and the Lifecycle.  Brit milah, Simchat bat.  Make a baby meal.

Fourth Grade

Sacred text: Jonah, Esther, and Ruth – Hebrew: Reading Fluency in the Siddur – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Shabbat Shacharit.  Struggling with God & Searching for God – Jewish Calendar: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim, and Shavuot: deep dives with text and history – Israel: Geography and Maps of Israel and Neighbors.  Israeli Customs & Culture – Mitzvot and Values: Prayer Obligations – Contemporary Jewish Life: Conversion.

Fifth Grade

Sacred text: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings – Hebrew: Prayer Vocabulary & Reading Fluency – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Shabbat Morning Prayers; Mourner’s Kaddish, Kiddush, Ein Kelohenu, Aleinu, & Adon Olam.  Different Names of God, Different Jewish Images of God – Jewish Calendar: Shabbat Deep Dive; Prayer, Text, Traditions & Practices – History: Biblical History: Kings of Israel, Exile, Diaspora, Construction & Destruction of the Temple – Mitzvot and Values: Visiting the Sick, Shabbat Observance, & Lashon Hara – Contemporary Jewish Life: Weddings.

Sixth Grade

Sacred text: Weekly Parsha – Hebrew: Prayer Vocabulary & Reading Fluency – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Torah & Haftarah Service.  Trope.  Personal Images of God & Hard Questions about God – Jewish Calendar: Holiday-Specific Prayer & Liturgy.  Hallel.  Melodies & Sounds of the Holidays.  Nusach – History: American Jewish History – Israel: Israeli Folk Songs & Popular Culture Today – Mitzvot and Values: Social Justice, Feeding the Hungry, Saving a Life, Clothing the Naked. Leket, Shichecha, & Peah: the commandments of leaving enough. Tallit & Tefillin – Contemporary Jewish Life: American Current Events Through a Jewish Lens.  Conservative Judaism.

Seventh Grade

Sacred text: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel – Hebrew: Basic Modern Hebrew Conversation – Prayer, God, and Spirituality: B’nei Mitzvah Prep.  Hard Questions about God – Jewish Calendar: Months, Lunar Issues, Leap Years.  Tisha B’Av & Tu Bishvat – Israel: Israeli & Zionist History Overview – Mitzvot and Values: Team Yarok, PIP – Contemporary Jewish Life: Lifecyle Events & Death: Funeral, Shiva, Chevra Kadisha.  Israeli Current Events Through a Jewish Lens.

Eighth Grade

Sacred text: Introduction to Rabbinic Texts – Hebrew: Basic Modern Hebrew Conversation –Prayer, God, and Spirituality: Weekday Minyan Prayers.  Methods for Spiritual Seeking – Jewish Calendar: Focus on Israeli Holidays.  Yom Ha’atzmaut, Yom Hazikaron, Yom HaShoah.  Differences in American and Israeli Holiday Practices – History: Mishna to Modernity (Including Anti-Semitism & Holocaust) – Israel: Advocacy Skills – Mitzvot and Values: Sex & Sexuality, Being an Upstander – Contemporary Jewish Life: Denominations.  USY.