Halakhah is education for Jewish living. The purpose of teaching Halakhah in our Yeshivah is to educate our students to be informed, capable and motivated observers of traditional Jewish lifestyles while engaging with a largely secular society.
- Enable and thereby inspire students to live halakhically observant lifestyles by providing them with a breadth of knowledge of Jewish Law in a variety of areas essential to Jewish Life. Familiarize students with key themes, concepts, terms, and personalities in the halakhic process.
- Demonstrate and provide practice for critical Jewish functions such as prayer, Kiddush, visiting the sick, food preparation, Shabbat observance, the marriage ceremony, and visiting the sick and/or mourners.
- Provide halakhic guidance in regards to a variety of contemporary issues such as electricity on Shabbat, organ transplantation, and keeping kosher on a college campus.
The focus of the ninth grade curriculum is prayer. There are two components to this program: the classroom and the minyan. In the classroom, the students learn the philosophical underpinnings of prayer and the laws of prayer. In the minyan component, students pray in a Minyan led by their Halakhah teacher, who explains both the meaning and practice of prayer in an experiential setting.
The focus of the tenth grade curriculum is Shabbat. A variety of topics are covered that span the gamut of Shabbat observance: preparations for Shabbat, Kiddush, forbidden activity, muktzeh, food preparation, electricity, Havdallah, and more. Teachers incorporate a number of hands-on lessons including Kiddush, food preparation, and prayers.
The curriculum for eleventh grade is an eclectic survey of topics from the Yoreh Deah section of Shulchan Aruch. Parental Relations, Tzedakkah, Lashon HaRa, Brit Milah, Shemittah, Tzniut, Business Law, and Mourning are some of the topics addressed.
There are two areas of focus of major topics in twelfth grade are: kashrut and marital relations. Kashrut is addressed from a highly practical standpoint, providing knowledge that is essential to keeping kosher in and out of the home. Marital relations issues include understanding the Jewish perspective on love and marriage. Students are introduced to the concept of family purity, with females meeting well-known Kallah teachers and visiting a local Mikveh.
Because our teachers are teaching Halakhah, they, by definition, provide students with meaningful lessons that they will use for the rest of their lives.
Our goal is for our students to familiarize themselves with the major events, personalities, and trends in ancient and modern Jewish history as well as Sephardic Jewish History. We want out students to appreciate the relevance of Jewish history to their lives and the Jewish world today as well as to appreciate rich and complex Jewish heritage.
Ancient Jewish History from the Persian period to the Talmudic period
In the junior year we study the tragedy and triumph of Jewish history in the classical period. We begin with the Persian period and the return to Zion, continue on to the Hellenistic and Roman periods and conclude with the Talmudic period. We use a variety of sources ranging from primary sources to art and archaeology, to film, to bring our subject to life. Throughout the year we supplement and enrich our regular curriculum with a special “Israel in Wold Relations” curriculum that shows students the clear and important connections between the ancient and modern histories of Israel.
Modern Jewish History from the 17th to the 20th century
In the senior year we study modern Jewish history from the 17th – 20th centuries. Our focus is on the movements, ideologies, personalities and events that transformed and redefined the Jewish world in the modern period. Among the movements and events we study are Hasidut, the Haskalah, the enlightenment and the French Revolution, the conservative, reform, and neo-orthodox responses to modernity, the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel.
Albert Hazan Memorial Program in Sephardic Jewish History
This class explores the fascinating history and culture of Sephardic Jewry. We begin with the history of the Jews in Spain, move on to the emergence of the Sephardic diaspora, and then conclude with discussions of contemporary Sephardic communities. We use visits to religious and cultural institutions around New York City, films, music, and food to bring our subject to life. Trips include the Sephardic Film festival, the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and a day in the Persian community of Great Neck, culminating in an end- of-the- year banquet at Kolbeh. A Sephardic heritage trip to Spain and Gibraltar, or Cuba, or Morocco is also offered.
Students will hopefully have a stronger sense of Jewish identity and Jewish pride after they graduate that will serve them well on the college campus and in the workplace. They will also be able to use and apply the critical faculties they developed in analyzing the many historical primary sources we read in both ancient and modern Jewish history.
The Talmud program is designed to give students the textual skills necessary to be lifelong Torah learners. They hone their critical thinking skills while analyzing the sugyot they study. The cognitive goal is to learn how to interpret the Gemarah, to read with confidence and to gain a deep understanding of the language of the Talmud. The program is designed to prepare our students to study independently, to learn in chavrutot and for entry into the finest yeshivot in Israel. The affective goals are for our students to feel that they are a part of the Jewish Masorah, the chain of Torah that began with Moshe on Har Sinai. We aim for our students to appreciate the great value that the Talmud plays in this chain of tradition. Students may choose to be enrolled in a more in depth Beit Midrash Talmud track, which meets twice a day.
The Jewish philosophy program is designed to give students the opportunity learn and to think about core Jewish beliefs. The course is based on the thirteen principles of faith of the Rambam (Maimonides). Three main topics are discussed, which include God, Torah and Man using traditional sources but with the goal of making these concepts relevant to the students. Additional relevant topics include science and religion, Ta’ame Hamitzvot, and ethics and morality. Students will be able to understand and conceptualize traditional Jewish beliefs and apply them to their contemporary lives.
The Tanach department has three overarching goal sets (summarized by the acronym A.S.K)
Affective Goals- Internalizing the morals, values and messages imparted by the Tanach
Skill Goals- Developing textual skills
Knowledge Goals- Deepening the understanding of the content being studied
These three groups of goals work together harmoniously to create a program which is rich in content, rigorous in developing important skills and inspired by the values and lessons that are a fundamental part of the Tanach.
The 9th grade Tanach program is a two semester program. During the first semester we study Sefer Shemot in depth with the goal of developing students’ textual skills, to hone their ability to read and analyze the text with a keen eye for contextual questions and difficulties. During the second semester students study Sefer Shmuel Alef, focusing specifically on parallel stories within the sefer, as well as parallels to narratives in other parts of the Tanach.
The 10th grade Tanach program is a two semester program. During the first semester we study sections of Sefer Bamidbar with particular stress placed on understanding the commentaries of Rashi. Here students learn how to identify textual complexities in order to anticipate Rashi’s questions, and better understand his answers. During the second semester we study portions of Nevi’im Achronim (The Later prophets), in particular the prophecies of Yeshayahu. Some time is also spent learning selected parts of Sefer Tehilim. The second semester offers the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of sophisticated Biblical prose and poetry.
The 11th grade Tanakh program is a two semester program for students who chose to take an Accelerated Tanakh course, and one term program in Bible. Students who chose to take double Talmud instead of Accelerated Tanakh only have one semester of Tanakh.
In Accelerated Tanakh, the students learn the books of יונה, אסתר and רות. The emphasis is on textual analysis, and evaluating the differences between commentators, or Midrashim. The discussion in class is intended to sharpen the student’s ability to do critical and comparative reading of text.
In Bible, the students learn חומש ויקרא. Most of the time is devoted to the פרשיות of קדושים and בהר, with their wealth of values and morals.
In the 12 grade, students learn multiple chapters from all parts of the Bible, administered by Hebrew University. This gives students the opportunity to get a breath of knowledge in the Tanack.
The Tanach department is committed to instilling a love of learning Torah, so that students will leave high school with the desire and ability to continue learning Tanach in a meaningful way. We are committed to developing the required skills to learn Tanach independently, as well as offering a suitable breadth of knowledge, so that students are familiar and comfortable with the broad concepts and narratives contained within the Tanach. In doing so, we allow students to leave high school with the confidence and capability to begin a life-long journey of Tanach study.