What if you could learn 5000 years of contextualized Jewish History in a thought provoking and memorable way in three class periods? It’s something we’re working on here at NSHA as we welcomed back Mr. Ronnie Halibard and his Jewish History in a Flash program this week. The program was custom made for NSHA and individualized for each of our three Middle School grades. Our students will encounter a different aspect of the program in each of their years at NSHA MS. The high energy programs integrate animated presentations with student participation.
Our Sixth graders met for three days learning about the major events in Jewish History including visual memory cues for each time period. The Seventh grade program built upon the prior year’s curriculum. Moving beyond specific events, they learned about the continuity of Judaism through major historical events with a specific focus on the transmission of Torah as the method of ensuring Jewish destiny is perpetuated. In this context we learn about written and oral Torah, commentators, religious movements and Yeshivot, globally. The last segment of the program, led the Eighth grade beyond transmission and into a study of the Land of Israel with a specific focus on the last 120 years.
For Mr. Halibard, who travels the world teaching Jewish History in a Flash to children and adults, the inspiration for the program comes back to offering an effective way to build Jewish identity through knowledge and appreciation of Jewish history: He hated learning history all his life and had a hard time taking in information through rote memorization. The goal of Jewish History in a Flash is to make it become real and personal coming back to who we are living as a modern Jew. The idea is to drive home the major time periods as a springboard for all the other topics they learn in Jewish and Secular history.