…that there are core tenets each student must know. We also know that it is the particular interests of each student that must be explored and encouraged as it is they who will invite the rest of us to join their journeys.
New York kids have crazy schedules. They are balancing intense pressures from school, extracurricular activities and the constant movement of life in the City. After a full day at school their brains will only absorb things that enter through a “different door”. Accessing these doors is foundational to an SCJ education.
Our classes are filled with engaging activities; music, art, theater and sports are used as integral parts of the learning process. We delve into the richness of the Hebrew language through a physical, fun-filled method we have developed which we call Goof (Hebrew for “body”).
Each child is unique. Each one learns differently, thinks differently and is interested in different things. Each class is therefore structured to meet the particular needs and interests of the child/ren.
- For a student who is big on sports, some of the learning happens through a series of sports games Rabbi Misha has created that actually teach the curriculum; Hebrew Soccer, Hebrew Basketball, Jewish Ping Pong, History Handball and more (all playable in the home!).
- Drawn to music? We use song to explore many concepts. The prayer Mi Khamokha, for example, can be used not only as a springboard to learn about the moment the Jews reached freedom from the Egyptians, but also as an expression of gratitude and faith. The many different melodies of the prayer can be used to teach the history of our people, and the cultures the Jews experienced in their wanderings around the globe.
- Recently a B Mitzvah student recounted that her father meditates every morning, and that she was curious about Buddhism. As part of her exploration of her Torah portion, toward her D’var Torah (where the student shares some words of learning), she and her teacher read together a short text about the Buddha that related to her portion.
- With other students the discussion has led to reading Yiddish literature, Freud, Thoreau, Spinoza, Native American sayings, current newspaper articles and more.
Our students are actively engaged and highly empowered by participating in charting their personal educational course.