Lower School

Judaic Studies Curriculum by Grade Level


First & Second Grade

First and second graders learn Jewish Studies and Hebrew language in an extended double block with an emphasis on developing Hebrew literacy skills as the keys for unlocking Jewish texts. The main content centers on:

  • Heilicher’s Core Values at deeper and age-appropriate levels
  • Parshat Hashavua/פרשת השבוע – highlights of the weekly Torah reading with written reflections moving into reading and analysis of short Hebrew verses.
  • Hagim/חגים/Holidays - Holiday units explore the historical background and modern day customs and traditions related to the mitzvot/מצוות of the holiday using the Tal Am curriculum. Students learn both traditional and modern songs and t’filot/תפילות/prayers of the holidays.
  • T’filah/תפילה/Prayer - Students expand their repertoire of t’filot/תפילות/prayers and write their own personal reflections on new t’filot/תפילות/prayers introduced during these years. A highlight of the second grade year, is the kabbalat hasiddur/קבלת הסידור/Receiving of the Prayer Book program where students receive their first siddur/סידור/prayer book.

Third & Fourth Grade

In third and fourth grade Jewish Studies, text study expands to a deeper level as students analyze and explore the stories of B’reishit/בראשית/Genesis in greater depth and breadth. The main content centers on:

  • Tanakh/תנ׳׳ך/Biblical Hebrew - Students deepen language skills through the independent reading of texts. Students begin to explore larger blocks of Torah text. Units are developed through the following lenses based on the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Standards and Benchmarks curriculum program:
    • Students will become independent literary astute readers of the biblical text in Hebrew.
    • Students will develop a love of Torah study for its own sake and embrace it as an inspiring resource, informing their values, moral commitments, and ways of experiencing the world.
  • Hagim/חגים/Customs - Students continue to be exposed to and explore traditional and modern day customs related to the mitzvot/מצוות of major holidays in greater depth and at age-appropriate levels.
  • T’filah/תפילה/Prayer - Students continue to expand their repertoire of t’filot/תפילות/prayers and take an active role leading services.

Fifth Grade

The fifth-grade curriculum focuses on the book of Sh’mot/שמות/Exodus and develops the skills to understand the textual basis for a variety of commentaries including Rashi/רש׳׳י, Midrash/מדרש, and modern understandings. Students continue to use the basic unit structure and outline of age-appropriate benchmarks under the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Standards and Benchmarks program. Key components of the fifth-grade curriculum are:

  • Units of study: Moshe’s/משה’s/Moses’ early life and Israelite slavery, the burning bush, the plagues, the crossing of the Red (Reed) Sea, and the Ten Commandments.
  • Key values explored: Heroism, the nature of miracles and belief, overcoming challenges, and personal identity and responsibility.
  • Text skills: Understanding how a variety of interpretations are possible from a single text, reading Rashi/רש׳׳י font, and biblical grammar and vocabulary.