Hebrew Language & Jewish Studies

It has been said that imbedded in Hebrew is our national, cultural and religious DNA, i.e., Hebrew is more than a ‘foreign language,’ although it is that, too. It has in its phrases and syntax the key to our identity as a people. As such, it is called a heritage language—a language that emphasizes links to our cultural and religious heritage.

 

Hebrew is also a modern language, used everyday in the vibrant State of Israel.

 

Age 3 to Kindergarten

 

Beginning in Early Childhood and continuing through kindergarten, we embark on an ambitious commitment to Hebrew Language Instruction at Lehrman Community Day School within the framework of second language acquisition theory through immersion utilizing the Chalav u’Dvash curriculum.

 

The highlight of Chalav u’Dvash (literally Milk and Honey), structured around school-based vocabulary, is the program’s lovable mascot, a turtle puppet named Bentzi, whom the children adore. Students absorb Hebrew through the games, songs and visuals that make the ‘work’ so much fun. In addition, they learn about Jewish life and tradition through daily practice as well as classes held weekly.

 

Lower & Upper Elementary

 

Lehrman’s grade 1-5 Hebrew and Jewish studies revolve around the well-regarded TaL AM curriculum which integrates both subjects, carefully building a vocabulary that supports each as students practice the four essential skills of language: listening, speaking, writing and reading.

 

From day one the students hear only Hebrew and as they go through the well-documented phases of second-language acquisition, their use of Hebrew becomes more and more active. The entire structure of the Tal AM program is based on the notion that the best learning environment for children is one in which knowledge is acquired through a variety of activities, using each of the five senses.

 

In addition to studying from textbooks, students use music, games and visual aids to learn the Hebrew language and to develop a keen understanding of Jewish concepts and values. Students develop their modern Hebrew and heritage language literacy in a gradual and spiraled process, building new ideas and concepts atop an expanding foundation of knowledge. The program gradually helps foster Jewish identity by allowing children to explore their Jewish roots and traditions in a fun and exciting manner. By making the study of Hebrew and Judaism relevant to the children’s everyday lives, the program enables them to develop a true appreciation of their heritage and understand the need for continued, lifelong Jewish study.

 

This is not your "drill and kill" Jewish Studies—the students are grappling with real-life conceptual issues, while they are experiencing the joys, as well as the tastes, colors and sounds of Judaism.

 

In Jewish Studies the students hear the voice of God—and their souls are changed for it.

1. Shalom: Students become acquainted with the virtual class which serves as a model for their own class. They also deals with everyday life in the classroom, at home and outdoors as Jewish children, and develop the learning skills common to all other content tracks.

 

2. Chag Sameach—Happy Holiday: The Jewish Holidays.

 

3. Ariot Korei ve-Kotev: Development of Hebrew reading, writing and language skills. (For a short Ariot video clip, click HERE.)

 

4. Parashat ha-Shavua—Portion of the Week: Parashat Bereshit and Parashat Shemot.

 

Three inter-related tracks aligned to reinforce the development of learning, thinking and language skills:

 

1. Shanah Yehudit—The Jewish Year, Tov ba-Kitah Sheli ve-Shelanu and Tov ba-Bayit: Daily life in the class, and at home and outdoors.

 

2. Jewish Heritage: Students are taught about the holidays (in English), the meaning of the Tefilot (prayers) as well as Parashat ha-Shavua (the weekly Bible portion read in the synagogue).

 

3. Shabbat and Parashat ha-Shavua

Organized in three discipline-based tracks, aligned to reinforce the development of learning, thinking and language skills:

 

1. Shanah Yehudit – The Jewish Year: The Everyday Life Track:  This unit concentrates on four main themes:

 

a. The Memory Box, which helps students recollect what they learned in the past, and retain new knowledge acquired throughout the school year;

 

b. the rules for successful learning;

 

c. The concept of multiple intelligences, which enable us to think, learn and perform other activities successfully;

 

d. A deeper acquaintance with the students of the virtual class—their distinct characteristics, hobbies etc.—as a model for their own class. The children are also introduced to Ronen, a new student, and experience through him the process of integration and the significance of friendship and acceptance.

 

2. The Jewish Holidays: Students continue to learn about the holidays, (in English), the meaning of the tefilot (prayers) as well as Parashat ha-Shavuah (the weekly Bible portion read in the synagogue).

 

3. Torah: The methodology of the Torah track is aligned with each of the other curriculum tracks, and facilitates learning through multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction in a constructivist process, thus enabling every child to learn, enjoy and love Torah as Torat Chaim, finding the meaning and relevance of the Torah in their own lives. Our goal is to provide the students with an understanding of the unique style of scripture, and develop the skills which will enable them to become independent and avid learners of Torah. In Grade 3 we teach Parashat Bereshit, Parashat Lech Lecha and Parashat Vayera using the MaToK curriculum.

 


 

Three discipline-based tracks, aligned to reinforce the development of learning, thinking and language skills.

 

1. Shanah Yehudit—The Everyday Life Track: The unit focuses on the unique nature of each individual through questionnaires enabling the students to familiarize themselves with their friends’ special qualities and needs, and on building a unified society which is based on accepted rules of conduct, and which also makes room for the individual. In 4th grade, the students become acquainted with Keren, a new student who is wheelchair-bound, and learn how to accommodate people with special needs. The children link the rules of conduct to Jewish values and to selected proverbs of our sages, and learn how to retain the material by classifying it in their memory folder. The central learning skill in this unit is the identification of problems and the process of seeking counsel in order to arrive at a solution.

 

2. The Jewish Holidays are taught in Hebrew class, suplemented by English language discussions of holiday, prayer and Parashat ha-Shavua taught by our Director of Jewish Life.

 

3. Torah: The methodology of the Torah track is aligned with each of the other curriculum tracks, and facilitates learning through multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction in a constructivist process, thus enabling every child to learn, enjoy and love Torah as Torat Chaim, finding the meaning and relevance of the Torah in their own lives. Our goal is to provide the students with an understanding of the unique style of scripture, and develop the skills which will enable them to become independent and avid learners of Torah.In Grade 4 we teach Parashat Vayera, Parashat Chayei Sarah and Parashat Vayetze.

 


 

Hebrew Language: We believe that mastery of the Hebrew Language will promote students’ understanding of their history, culture and tradition, excite them about lifelong Jewish learning, foster a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, cultivate strong ties with Medinat Yisrael (the State Of Israel) and Am Yisrael (The Jewish People).

 

 

The Jewish Holidays: the Director of Jewish Life teaches different aspects of the holidays, the meaning of the Tefilot (prayers) and Parashat ha-Shavua (the Torah’s weekly portion).

 

Torah: We believe learning Torah should instill the children the view that Torah, is a text different in kind, and not only in degree, from every other type of text. It is a sefer kadosh, a sacred text, which the students are encountering, and, hence, the approach they take to reading it is deeper, more inquiring, and more reverent than the way they read other books. In Torah we use the MaTok program. The teacher guides students in developing a virtuoso’s ear and eye for subtleties, and empowers them to think of themselves as living links in the chain of Torah shehbe’al peh by guiding them in a process of hypothesizing solutions to textual issues and, fairly frequently, discovering similar problems and solutions in the Midrash, Rashi, and other parshanim.

 

In grade 5 we teach Parashat Vayeshev-Miketz, Parashat Vayigash-Vayechi and Parashat Shemot. The students also study Jewish history and selected portions of Pirkei Avot -- the Wisdom of the Sages -- a Rabbinic text.

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