As a Jewish educational institution, the MSJE is primarily devoted to teaching the students about the essentials of being Jewish and instill in them a sense of pride. The students are taught about their Jewish heritage, customs, and traditions. The MSJE recognizes that no Jewish education is complete without familiarity with Hebrew. It therefore provides students with a basic reading knowledge of Hebrew.
This curriculum works on the concept that learning should be a sequential experience. Tuned by grade, material is introduced sequentially to develop a knowledge base about Jewish religious belief and practice, culture, history, and Hebrew. In the process of understanding, interpreting, and challenging the materials, Jewish identity and commitment will be enhanced.
K/1: Kitah Gan/Alef
Our youngest students study the holidays through interactive activities such as art projects, songs and hands-on projects. The following are highlights of the curriculum:
High Holiday study (music and preparation of prayers i.e. Shma preparation for High Holiday Services).
Chanukah history, songs and blessings for lighting of the menorah, menorah designing.
Tu BShvat planting, songs, blessings for fruits.
Purim: the period of history when this story takes place.The reading of the Megillah (story of Purim).Songs and activities such as noisemakers, hamantashen.
Passover, the concept of the fight for freedom, matzoh bakery trip, art activity (afikomen bag, seder plate), songs such as the Four Questions.
Yom Haatzmaut through song, celebration of the State of Israel art activity (flag making).
Throughout the year, students will study Jewish symbols through pamphlets that include background, puzzles and art activities such as: Star of David, Mezuzah, Torah, Chai, challah covers, and havdallah sets.
Students will be introduced to the Alef Bet through text. They will practice writing the letters, learning the sounds of letters, and putting letters together to form words. They will be introduced to Hebrew through music (prayer and songs that have Hebrew words dispersed with English.
2nd Grade: Kitah Bet
Our 2nd graders are studying Hebrew letters, forming them into one syllable words. They learn simple words that are useful in everyday life (Abba, Imma, Ach, Achot,Yeled, Yaldah, etc). They also learn beginning prayers in music and in the classroom.
The holiday curriculum is taught hands on, teacher bringing in materials, handouts, puzzles and drawings. School wide art activities include: Chanukah, Tu Bshvat, Purim and Passover.
Lets Discover G-d: A packet of concepts about G-d, Creation, the concept of one G-d (monotheism), Thanking G-d, Shabbat, etc. There are puzzles, word finds and drawing space in these pamphlets, as well as enrichment sheets.
Mitzvot (good deeds): Students are introduced to mitzvot (good deeds and commandments). Some of the topics include respecting parents, peace in the home, welcoming guests, caring for animals, not wasting or destroying the environment and that which is within it, tzedakah, caring about others feelings, the love of Israel, and Tikkun Olam (fixing the world). At this age, children are learning to care for others, and they are becoming empathetic to the world that surrounds them.
3rd Grade: Kitah Gimel
3rd graders are beginning to study Hebrew words and the concept associated with these words and phrases (Shabbat, Shamash, Shma, etc). There are also flashcards that students use to learn words.
3rd graders begin to study Bible Stories. With each story there is a lesson to learn, and games and puzzles to reinforce the story and lesson. Students also role play and thereby connect to these lessons, and apply them to life today.
Students study the holidays through text. They study the Hebrew months, and plot the holidays within the year.Students connect the history of the holidays to the seasons that they fall in. Each holiday, particularly those mentioned in the Torah, have a historical as well as a seasonal importance. In studying the calendar, students understand that the calendar is based upon the moon, and therefore is different from the Gregorian calendar.
Students begin to study about Israel. They learn from a book which takes them on a trip through the cities and towns of Israel. They also learn songs that are connected with Israel, particularly Hatikvah, the Jewish National Anthem.
In music, they are learning prayers such as Shma, Modeh Ani, and Hebrew songs from and about Israel.
4th Grade: Kitah Daled
4th graders study the Jewish holidays through text.Students begin to understand that there are several types of holidays on the Jewish calendar. The oldest Jewish holidays are mentioned in the Torah. These are the same holidays celebrated by our ancestors for many years. The next group of holidays took place after the five books of the Torah. Students begin to understand the historical aspect of these holidays.The third section of holidays is the modern day holidays such as Yom Hashoah, Yom Haatzmaut, and Yom Yerushalayim. Through these three groups of holidays, students understand the time line of Jewish history, and begin to compare the three groups and their common themes.
4th graders study the Jewish life cycle, beginning with birth, brit, baby naming, bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, and funerals. As these students are beginning to understand the journey that they are setting out on. This study is a road map for growing up with Jewish tradition and education.
4th graders are beginning to read prayers, and are constantly reinforcing the lessons that they have learned up to this point. They study look-a-like letters, and develop hints to differentiate between them. They ultimately can recite and read prayers that are used in a Shabbat morning service.
5th Grade: Kitah Hey
5th graders study the holidays, comparing the themes of holidays… fasting, celebrating freedom, fight for survival, atonement, good vs. evil, G-d’s role in these events.
5th graders study Israel, its beginning and from 1948 to present day. They study the Arab-Israeli conflict, the resources of Israel, the homeland, and the wars that Israel has undergone. In music, they learn the prayers and songs of Israel, particularly Jerusalem.
Hebrew for 5th graders includes learning the concept of blessings, that there is a blessing for everything in Judaism, and the importance of the blessings.
6th Grade: Kitah Vav
6th grade studies prayers for each holiday… Kol Nidre, Blessing for Lulav and Etrog, Tallit blessing, Chanukah blessings and Mah Otzur, Megillah blessings, blessings for Tu BShvat seder, Passover seder songs, Torah and Haftarah Blessings.
6th grade studies about Jewish heroes, i.e., Sandy Koufax, Golda Meir, Hannah Senesh, Natan Sharansky, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anne Frank, Yonatan Netanyahu, Albert Einstein, Menachem Begin, Steven Spielberg and more. All these heroes and many more came from different walks of life, but each performed courageous acts which embodied mitzvoth.
7th Grade: Kitah Zayin
7th graders prepare for Bar and Bat Mitzvah by using pamphlets with prayers that teach the essence of the prayer, word building to understand the meaning of the prayer, and chanting of the prayer when applicable.
7th graders study the traditions of holidays including their family traditions. They study the meaning of the holiday, its theme, and where it fits in history. They compare certain holidays, including Purim and Yom Hashoah, Rosh Hashanah vs. New Years Day (American), Yom Haatzmaut and July 4th, Memorial Day and Yom Hazikaron.
Each student selects a mitzvah project that will be worked on leading up to their Bnai Mitzvah, and this becomes part of the Bnai Mitzvah process.
The students learn about how Torah portions are divided up, what haftarah is, and how to conduct a Shabbat service. They study the Hebrew months and what holidays fall in each month. They study Torah portions as the school year begins, and we begin to read the Torah from the beginning (Simchat Torah).