- Jewish Education
- Judaic Studies
- Mechon Hadar
Ground-Breaking National Program Takes Heilicher Judaic Studies to New Level
By Etan Weiss, Jewish Life and Hebrew Director
Heilicher is proud to have been chosen as one of four Jewish Day Schools piloting a cutting-edge program called the Mechon Hadar Standards for Fluency in Jewish Text and Practice. The Hadar Standards, developed in partnership with Mechon Hadar and the Beit Rabban Day School, is a ground-breaking educational resource that articulates a vision for fluency in four key areas of Jewish Day School education (Tanakh/Bible, Torah She-Be-Al Peh/Rabbinics, Tefillah/Prayer, and Jewish Practice). The program helps schools formulate a portrait of a graduate that has acquired the skills, mastered the content, and cultivated a commitment to the future of Judaism.
The standards are based on educational research and reflect the wisdom and creativity of leaders in the field of Jewish Education—practitioners, field experts, and consultants. What makes this a perfect match for Heilicher is that the standards are at the forefront of Jewish Education, the philosophy and underpinnings represent a truly pluralistic approach, and they provide a roadmap for developing a sequenced program where content and skills are built upon from year-to-year.
This past June, three of our Judaic Studies faculty members (Elena Levitt, Chana Kupetz, and myself) attended a week-long training at Mechon Hadar on the standards and their implementation. Chana is coordinating the Grades 1 through 3 Jewish Studies faculty in the implementation of the Tefillah/Prayer Standards and Elena is coordinating the implementation of the Torah She-Be-Al Peh/Rabbinics Standards in Grades 6 through 8. Additionally, our participation in the first cohort comes with mentorship from the standard’s author, Lisa Exler and monthly collaborative updates with the other schools piloting the program.
“It is exciting to see that we are already reaching Tefillah goals and milestones at each of the 1-3 grade levels that in previous years may not have been covered at all,” says Hebrew and Limudei Kodesh Teacher Chana Kupetz. “It is my hope that each of the students will cultivate their own relationship with prayer and what it means to them, while increasing their fluency and depth of knowledge of Tefillah.”
Read more information on the Hadar Standards.
Thank you to Heilicher alumni parents and community leaders Judy and Jerel Shapiro, whose gift to Heilicher made participation in Mechon Hadar possible.
Increasing the depth and breadth of our Judaic Studies (Limudei Kodesh) program is a pillar of the school’s Heilicher ‘20 Strategic Plan. Read more about it.
After graduation, Heilicher alumna Simone P. encountered an uncomfortable situation at basketball camp. She decided to take a brave step to educate the camp about Jewish history related to an unintentional, yet offensive, long-standing camp practice.
New this year, on Monday mornings, we will have an All-School T’filah (prayer) service in the Dolly and Edward Fiterman Theatre. Our students will chant Torah each week. We’ll celebrate birthdays and milestones. And we’ll have a place to pray, whether that means working on our character, connecting with God, reflecting and/or rejoicing.
As a gift to her eighth-grade class for graduation, Ms. Weiss gathered student reflections and crafted them into a poem. These words of inspiration will stay with her students for years to come.