The Thursday Hebrew curriculum continues with the students reaching the highest level of Hebrew prayer reading competency, cantillation, and vocabulary. As well as practicing reading and chanting prayers, the students will come to understand the spiritual meaning of those prayers.
In addition, the students will explore the values found within their Torah and Haftarah portions. They will analyze these texts for plot, meaning, and significance in their lives. Students will use Torah and Mitzvot in learning to accept the responsibility of becoming a Jewish adult and dealing with decision making in today’s world as they prepare to become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. They will also study one of the two text books, which uncover underlying and important values from the Torah which help us confront modern dilemmas. Each student will create their own Parashah Magazine that is related to their Torah portion. Using their imagination, the students may include pictures, games, short stories, etc., in order to bring greater understanding to how the portion may affect them and others. Students will, from time to time, chant a small bit of their Torah portion and present a basic overview of their portion and thoughts about their sermon in class. This will provide opportunities to elicit ideas for the sermon from fellow classmates. Within both the prayer and Torah components of the 7th grade, students will be able to formulate, from the Jewish values found there, what it means to become Jewish adults.
As holidays approach, students will briefly examine how Torah and Haftarah portions were chosen for certain holiday themes. They will also delve into the holidays of Purim and Passover more deeply than in previous years. They will look closely at the Purim story, with an eye towards teaching its themes to the younger religious school students. As we get closer to Passover, our seventh graders will focus on the Haggadah and transition from being the students to being the teachers and leaders of our Hebrew School Model Seder.
In the second semester, the seventh grade students will be in charge of two main programs during the holidays of Purim and Passover. Towards the end of the year, students will have an opportunity to discuss, explore, and sample the origins of chocolate and its connections to Judaism. We will examine Jewish values and ethics, environmental responsibilities, and the role that chocolate plays in Judaism through the book On the Chocolate Trail.
It is so important that our students understand that their education does continue after their celebration of becoming B’nei Mitzvah. This seventh grade curriculum on Thursdays and Sundays reinforces the prescription that continuing education is a vital component of an adult Jewish life. Throughout the year, the students will learn to participate in the life of the synagogue and Jewish community as adults.