BET SEFER CURRICULUM GUIDE
The overall goals of the Bet Sefer Avraham religious school are to: (1) provide and nurture Hebrew and ritual skills; (2) to foster a love of Jewish learning and practice; (3) to create and build upon a foundation of knowledge that will allow students to continue their studies at Midrasha as well as throughout adulthood; (4) to creature and nurture a feeling of Jewish community within the school; (5) to bring families together around the learning of their children in a Jewish environment.
FOCUS: Jewish Holidays, Basic Prayers, Hebrew Letters, Mitzvot, Ethics
Goals: Basic familiarity with the Jewish Holidays, Bible Stories, Basic Prayers (Shema, Candles, Wine and Challah) and Jewish Mitzvot and Ethics (feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, celebrating Shabbat and holidays), kindness to one another, empathy), and exposure to the Alef Bet
Methodology: Students learn through art projects, classroom discussions, Jewish stories, Torah stories, exploration of Jewish holidays, and participation in the Good Cents program designed to teach them about hunger in our community. Students are taught the Alef Bet through song and letter games.
Text: There is no textbook for this class, however the students are exposed to stories in Jewish books every week.
KITAH ALEF: (1ST GRADE)
FOCUS: Hebrew Decoding Readiness, Jewish Holidays, Israel, The First Family and other Torah stories
Goals: Beginning understanding of decoding of the Hebrew language; understanding and identification of Torah stories from Bereishit and Shemot (Genesis and Exodus), primarily dealing with the First Family; further identification with the land and people of Israel; more advanced understanding of the meaning of holidays; continued development in their concepts about mitzvot.
KITAH BET: (2ND GRADE)
FOCUS: Hebrew Decoding, Jewish Holidays, Israel, Torah Stories
Goals: More advanced recognition of Hebrew letters and decoding skills, including vowels and basic vocabulary; deeper exploration of the holidays and Israel.
KITAH GIMMEL: (3RD GRADE)
FOCUS: Hebrew decoding and word recognition; increased Hebrew comprehension through study of vocabulary; more sophisticated understanding of Torah text.
Goals: By the end of Kitah Gimmel, students should be able to decode any Hebrew word. Focus turns to Prayer book Hebrew vocabulary. Students should begin building a basic set of vocabulary words that will lead to comprehension of common prayers. Students will have a deeper understanding of Torah stories as they relate to their own lives. Students understand more about the meaning of holidays and mitzvot.
KITAH DALET: (4TH GRADE)
FOCUS: Hebrew decoding, vocabulary expansion, shoreshim, study of selected prophets through a value focused lens.
Goals: Students will have an increased prayer book vocabulary to aid with comprehension of basic prayers. Students will have a more skilled ability to decode biblical Hebrew. Students will have an understanding of the shoresh (root) system of Hebrew words to aid in comprehension. Shabbat home rituals will be reinforced and understood on different levels. Students will learn about selected prophets, the values that they embody, and the relevance of their stories to today.
KITAH HAY: (5TH GRADE)
FOCUS: Mastery of the Kabbalat Shabbat and Friday evening services; Jewish midrash and bibliodrama; kashrut; Pirke Avot; Jewish Ethical Dilemmas; Israel; Intro to Holocaust.
Goals: Students will be able to individually chant almost all of the Friday night Shabbat service. Students will have an increased Hebrew vocabulary and comprehension. Students will be involved in creating Jewish midrash; will learn the rules of Kashrut and create their own kosher dinner for their families; will study selections from Pirke Avot learning how these sayings are still relevant in our modern lives; will explore modern ethical dilemmas through a Jewish text lens; and will expand their knowledge of the modern state of Israel.
KITAH VAV: (6TH GRADE)
FOCUS: Mastery of the Shabbat morning Torah and Musaf services; Introduction to Talmud, Tanakh, Life Cycle (including mikvah, birth, brit milah, brit bat, b’nai mitzvah, wedding, death and dying, shalom bayit, Jewish funeral customs); learning to navigate a siddur and chumash.
Goals: Students will be able to individually chant almost all of the Saturday morning Torah and Musaf services. Students will have an increased Hebrew vocabulary and comprehension. Students will have a very basic understanding of and familiarity with some of the holy books of Judaism, including the Siddur, the Chumash, the Tanakh and the Talmud. Students will know the basics of Jewish customs as they relate to common life cycle events, understanding the practices that Conservative Jews follow and the meanings behind them. Students will be introduced to text study analysis and will practice using primary sources (Torah and commentary) to think critically.
KITAH ZAYIN: (7TH GRADE)
FOCUS: Public speaking, Holocaust, Israel
Goals: Students will develop better public speaking goals in preparation for delivering a d’var Torah during their b’nai mitzvah ceremonies, using their own Torah portions as the basis. Students will understand ancient and modern concepts of friendship through both modern and ancient text lenses (Pirke Avot). Students will understand factors leading up to the Holocaust from a historical perspective and will interact with survivors in our own community. Students will have a better knowledge of the creation of the state of Israel and its importance to modern Jewish communities.
SHARE A SHABBAT PROGRAM
Students in Mechina through Hay participate in our Share A Shabbat Program where the class leads a Friday night service with increasing responsibilities as students develop more mastery with the prayers. Families enjoy a dairy/vegetarian potluck dinner together to bring the class community together.
Students in Kitah Vav lead the Torah and Musaf services on a Shabbat morning in late April, demonstrating their mastery of the prayers that they will lead during their B’Mitzvah ceremonies. Parents of the students often participate by having honors, reading Torah, or chanting Haftarah. Students provide commentary on the week’s Torah portion. The families and community come together afterwards for Shabbat lunch.
Students in Dalet, Hay, Vav and Zayin, and their families, come together for evening learning sessions at various times throughout the year.
Dalet: Students and their families share one dinner session together and study about the Shema and V’ahavta.
Hay: Students and their families share one dinner session together at the conclusion of the Kashrut module where students prepare a kosher dairy dinner for their families at the synagogue and study together some of the principles of kashrut and its importance today.
Vav: Students and their families share two dinner sessions together. The first is at the conclusion of the Sifrei Kodesh module where students present their learning on the holy Jewish books that have been their focus. The second is towards the end of the Life Cycle unit when students and parents learn separately and together facilitated by representatives from Shalom Bayit, a center working to prevent domestic violence.
Zayin: Students and their families share 3 dinner sessions together, one at the end of each unit of study: Public Speaking (students deliver a 2 minute drash based upon their B’Mitzvah Torah portion); Holocaust (families listen to the story of a survivor within the TBA community and ask questions); Israel (families participate in an Israel identification exercise to better understand the narrative of Israel that they most identify with).