The Heilicher Jewish Studies program strives to inspire young adults to take joy and pride in their Jewish identities, approach Torah and the study of all Jewish text rigorously and analytically, and commit themselves to active Tikkun Olam/תיקון עולם/Repairing the World.
As a kehillah/קהילה/community day school, Heilicher fosters a nurturing environment where students engage with and are exposed to a broad range of Jewish belief and practice. Our students lovingly explore, develop, and wrestle with a personal relationship with God and Israel. Students embrace their roles as members of the Jewish people and as global citizens. Through respectful dialogue, exchange, and a spectrum of shared inclusive experiences, students refine and better articulate their own opinions while they develop the critical skills of interacting and coexisting with people of different backgrounds, ideals, and customs.
These objectives adeptly prepare our graduates to be the future leaders of our people, poised to pass on our values to the next generation.
Jewish Life and Ritual Practice
Jewish rituals and practices are an integral part of daily life at Heilicher. Students say blessings before eating snacks, join together in Birkat Hamazon/ברכת המזון/Grace After Meals, celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat/קבלת שבת at the end of each week, and mark the holidays throughout the year. Jewish life is enriched throughout the year by special experiences and holiday assemblies. We partner with families and synagogues to enhance the Jewish life of our students.
Hagim / חגים / Jewish Holidays
The study and observance of Jewish holidays is woven into the Judaic Studies curriculum throughout the school year. At each grade level students explore the historical background, rituals and customs, prayers, and ethical understandings of the holidays, and they acquire Hebrew vocabulary associated with the different holidays. We also form community around celebrating holidays together in a manner that is respectful and incorporates a variety of Jewish beliefs and practices.
T’filah / תפילה / Prayer
Students experience prayer services and the study of prayer texts 2-3 times a week. This occurs in a variety of settings and groupings, including by class in homerooms, and by grade levels in the Beit Knesset/Sanctuary. The t’filah curriculum focuses on prayer fluency and meaning making. As students move through the grades, they become comfortable participating in and leading services at school and at synagogue.
One of the main hallmarks of a Heilicher graduate is their commitment to living the values learned and imbued throughout their time at Heilicher. We develop a commitment to active engagement in Tikkun Olam/תיקון עולם/Repairing the World, through grade-level and school-wide programs providing opportunities for students to focus on community service. Grade-levels choose organizations to support and the weeks-long service work culminates in an evening program of hands-on service projects for the entire Heilicher community. Through integrated service learning and mitzvah education, we aim to affect change and live out Heilicher values, working towards Tikkun Olam/תיקון עולם/Repairing the World.
Our goals for community engagement are to:
- Create meaningful connections between learning, mitzvot/commandments, and servicing our community
- Reinforce Heilicher's core values in an integrated way
- Cultivate responsible, aware global citizens
- Deepen appreciation of what we have
- Position Heilicher as an important force for change within our community
- Make volunteerism and community involvement accessible for Heilicher families
Hebrew Language and Israel
Hebrew Language - Our Hebrew curriculum is designed to nurture the development of Hebrew proficiency and the ability to function adequately in order to negotiate for meaning at age-appropriate levels. Students develop meaningful Hebrew speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in order to convey and interpret meaning for coping with real-life situations. The Hebrew skills our students learn serve as a key for unlocking and relating to Jewish text, and affiliating with the global Jewish community, our tradition, our history, and our connection to the modern State of Israel.
Israel and Jewish peoplehood - Our curriculum strives to imbue a sense of connectedness wherein students see themselves as members of a broader Jewish community connected to Jews living here, in Israel, and around the world. Students explore the historical connection between the land of Israel and the Jewish people. They also study the history of Jews in the Diaspora. They learn about different aspects of life in Israel such as geography, famous personalities and politicians, the arts, and modern Israeli holidays.