The study of Tanach is central to the education of our students. Our Tanach curriculum is divided by semester: in the Fall, students study Chumash, and in the Spring, they study Navi/Ketuvim. As will be outlined further below, course offerings are not only sequenced by grade, but also differentiated by level in order to best meet the needs of each of our students.
9th Grade Chumash: Shemot
In this course, we will delve into the study of Chumash Shemot, also known as “The Book of Exile & Redemption”. Through a close examination of the text, we will follow the journey of Yaakov’s family as they transform into a nation, from their struggle in slavery to the attainment of freedom, the journey to Sinai, the receiving of the Torah and mitzvot and the building of the mishkan. The sefer offers us a unique opportunity to explore deeper understandings of fundamental concepts such as slavery and liberty, the foundational experience of Ma’amad Har Sinai, and lessons in leadership and delegation of responsibility. Moreover, we will analyze human labor and its connection to bringing about G-d’s presence in the world.
9th Grade Navi: Yirmiyahu
We will delve into an overview and selection of chapters from the Navi Yermiyahu, one of the Nevi'im Achronim. Through our study, students will gain an appreciation for the unique language and poetic style of this important book. Yermiyahu's journey is a challenging one, as he was chosen from birth to be a Navi and warned the inhabitants of Yehudah and Yerushalayim of the dangers of their actions. Despite numerous challenges and struggles, including being on trial before an angry mob and thrown into jail, Yermiyahu's positive messages of rebuilding and returning to Eretz Yisrael shine through. In our study, we will explore the themes of perseverance in the face of adversity, the importance of prophetic warnings, and the ultimate message of hope for the future found in Yermiyahu's prophecies. "ושבו בנים לגבולם" will take on a deeper meaning as we discover the significance of returning to our homeland.
Through the course of their study, our students develop a deep understanding and appreciation for Talmud study – its principles, methodologies, and law. Beyond developing their reading and comprehension skills, students develop training in analytical reasoning and logical argumentation, and learn how to navigate and debate complex legal and philosophical matters.
In order to create a vibrant, unified and collaborative community of Torah learning that cuts across classes and grades, the entire school learns the same masechet (tractate) of Talmud (although, of course, teaching is tailored to be grade-appropriate).
This year, we will be learning Masechet Sanhedrin, primarily the eighth chapter (פרק בן סורר ומורה). In the course of study, we will explore life and death dilemmas in halacha and the complex moral and legal issues that arise in such situations. Selected sugyot (talmudic topics) include:
בן סורר ומורה: the rebellious son
בא במחתרת: standing your ground
רודף: the right to self-defense
מצות הצלה: how much personal risk must one take to save another person
יהרג ואל יעבור: what ought a Jew die for?
קים ליה בדרבה מיניה: criminal punishment
To meet the personalized needs of each of our students, we offer four Talmud tracks per grade.
9th-11th Grade Hilchot Kashrut
This course provides a comprehensive exploration of the halachic principles and practical applications of Kashrut. Students will gain an understanding of the underlying halachic framework that governs Kashrut and how it relates to contemporary issues and challenges. Students will also explore “bigger questions” like how the laws of kashrut impact our religious lives and Jewish identity. Through close reading and analysis of primary texts, students will develop critical thinking and legal reasoning skills as well as practical tools they can use to navigate the complex world of Kashrut in their daily lives. By the end of the course, students will have gained a deep understanding of the principles of Kashrut and developed the skills to apply this knowledge to real-world situations, both inside and outside the kitchen.
9th Grade: 13 Principles of Faith: Exploring the Foundations of Jewish Belief
Students will have the opportunity to study the Thirteen Principles of Faith as formulated by the Rambam, providing students with a deep understanding of the fundamental tenets of our faith. Through textual analysis, discussions, and critical thinking exercises, students will explore the philosophical underpinnings and theological significance of each principle, as well as the debates that surround each one of them. Students will examine how these principles intersect with broader philosophical and theological inquiries, contemplating their implications on the nature of God, human existence, free will, and the purpose of life.
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