Gross Schechter Day School’s Hebrew/Judaic Department developed a program that strives to teach each student the Jewish way of life and to offer each student the knowledge & understanding of Jewish laws and customs, the ways of Torah, and comfort with the Hebrew language. The program is designed to raise students with enough pride, love, and knowledge to become leaders of their future Jewish communities.
The language goal is to teach comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills needed for communication, appreciation of literature and culture, and study of Jewish texts.
The Bible classes introduce biblical concepts as the basic source from which Jewish normative teaching ultimately flows. We teach Bible as “Torah” – as a book of Jewish teaching.
All in all, the program is built to teach Jewish children about themselves.
1st Grade Judaics
The first graders study the shacharit (morning) service in detail – describing the different types of prayers and their meaning. We explore prayers that express joy; prayers of gratitude to God; prayers which request something of ourselves, our families, and all the Jewish people; and prayers that praise God. We learn the proper way of reading the prayers and practice many beautiful melodies to sing them. We stress that all Jews, everywhere, are united by the common thread of prayer.
In the latter part of the year, our class celebrates our efforts by participating in a Kabbalat Hasiddur (receiving a prayer book) program. Students each receive their very own siddur, one they will use every day until they enter middle school in 6th grade. Every siddur is inscribed with special wishes from the school and the student’s family and adorned in a cover made in advance by each student together with his or her parents.
The children’s families are invited to the Kabbalat Hasiddur program, and we all share in this proud moment. Last year, 32 students navigated through the service with joy, respect, and self-confidence. Prior to the actual service, each student shared a thought about prayer.
As the children’s proud teacher, I express my wish for them – May they retain the feeling of awe, respect, pride, and deep commitment to prayer that they have displayed in our class this year!
My heart-felt wish is that the sincerity and light in these children’s eyes remain the same as the pages of their siddurim become well-worn with use, throughout their lives!
Ann Sportas, Teacher, 1st Grade Judaic Studies