Curriculum – She’arim Hebrew School

Mission

She’arim is a community of multi-aged learners with a mission of engaging Judaism as a portal: for creativity, for meaning-making, and for personal agency. Our name means “gateways,” and we offer transformative Jewish life experiences. We do so through a variety of soul, mind, and body-focused modalities.

Pillars/Values

She’arim believes in three pillars around which our curriculum is based:
Judaism
Family
Fun

She’arim is a community, where relationships play as important a role in learning as facts. She’arim values the close-knit community of students and their families – She’arim is like one big family, and that closeness is one of its great assets.

Along with Judaism and family, She’arim believes it is ultimately important for children to have enjoyable and meaningful moments at Hebrew school. Beyond any facts and words a child may learn in She’arim, we want to impart a love of Mishkan Ha’am’s community and a love of being Jewish.

She’arim meets once a week, on Thursdays, from 4-6pm.

6-year Curricular Goals

Here is what we hope our curriculum will accomplish over the course of six years of Hebrew School education.

  • Jewish Living Skills and Celebrations
    • Familiarity with the critical Jewish lifecycle events, and holidays that are a part of the “Jewish way of life.”
    • Exposure to the Jewish background, information, and texts necessary to make important Jewish decisions about personal and communal celebrations and observances.
    • Understanding of historical basis for primary Jewish holidays and texts associated with these holidays. Including: Megillat Esther, Ruth, Exodus, Eicha, etc.
    • Finding new meaning in old traditions. “Try New Old Things!”
      Understanding of the process of Jewish study; ability to sustain independent learning.
    • Understanding of what it means to be a Reconstructionist Jew specifically – students will gain an explicit understanding of what Reconstructionist community and history means.
  • Jewish Texts – Sources and Applications
    • Familiarity with range of Jewish texts reflecting Judaism as an evolving religious civilization.
    • Deeper knowledge of selected core Jewish texts.
    • Ability to utilize Jewish texts as sources for moral decision making.
    • Familiarity with texts addressing the challenge of living in two
    • civilizations.
  • Values and Ethics
    • Knowledge of the “values of spiritual peoplehood”, including: Hebrew, hiddur mitzvah, kedushah, menschlichkeit, tikkun olam, chochmah, tzniut, machloket.
    • Deeper knowledge of or special “ownership” of one of the values of spiritual peoplehood, demonstrated by using that value in real decision-making.
    • Understanding of the close relationship between the ethical dilemmas learners face, the resources of Jewish tradition, and their own resources for moral decision-making.
    • Development of a set of “Jewish lenses” that can be used to see and analyze the moral dilemmas that come out of being a participant in American and world civilizations.
  • Hebrew
    • The ability to use Hebrew as the language of prayer.
    • Awareness of Hebrew as the “living language” of the people of Israel and the land of Israel.
    • Ability to use key Hebrew values vocabulary of Jewish tradition as a resource for Jewish and ethical living.
    • Appreciation of the diversity of Hebrew literature: Bible, Mishnah, Parshanut, contemporary Hebrew literature. Mastery of short, selected sections of this literature.
  • Prayer and Spirituality
    • Ability to recite fluently critical prayers in Hebrew. (See our complete curriculum for the full list). Includes: Friday night, Saturday day, weekday, Passover, other holidays.

Classroom time will usually have the following structure:
4-4:30 Hebrew
4:30-5 Group tefillah
5-6 Judaics

We’d love to tell you more about what a special learning experience She’arim provides. Feel free to send us an email at mishkanhaam.shearim@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.