Jewish Day School
The Jewish Studies Program
The Jewish studies program of the day school consists of a minimum of fifteen hours per week of classroom instruction.
Fluency of Hebrew reading and conversational ability in simple Hebrew is often attained by the end of the second grade. By that time too, a day school child will be quite familiar with the traditional synagogue service. Hebrew grammar and composition, Jewish history, and the laws and customs of Jewish life are studied in the lower grades and continue to be studied at every grade level.
The study of the Hebrew Bible is begun by the third grade. The goal is to complete major portions, if not the entire text, of the five Books of Moses and Early Prophets before the end of the eight grade. In the fourth or fifth grade, the child will be taught to read the special Hebrew script in which many of the biblical commentaries are printed and the child will be introduced to the study of the famous biblical commentary known as Rashi. Time will be allotted to a summary or review of the weekly Torah portion read in the synagogue and the major lessons derived from it.
In the fifth or sixth grade, the study of Mishnah will be introduced. It is through the Mishnah that the student is introduced to Talmud.
The very few pages of Talmud studied by the end of the eighth grade are mostly intended as an introduction to its thought processes and to acquaint the student with the basic method of studying Talmud.
The fifteen or more hours a week devoted to Jewish studies (as opposed to the three hours currently offered by other Jewish institutions) provide a realistic basis for a child to learn to understand and speak Hebrew fairly well; to acquire a basic knowledge of Bible, Jewish law, and Jewish history.; and to develop insights into Jewish values. It provides the elementary ground work for more advanced Jewish studies
Since Jewish values are not actually taught as subject, but are drawn out of the classical sacred literature of the Jewish people, the day school student who studies the sacred literature is also more apt to be influenced by the Jewish value system.