The seventh grade curriculum builds on the previous years of Jewish education. For seventh graders, the CHAI Curriculum explores, in age-appropriate, more mature, ways, the three strands which were recognized by ancient rabbis as the keys to the world: Torah (Jewish learning focusing on controversies and struggles of the personalities in Genesis and how those stories can provide lessons which can apply to the way we live), Avodah (worship emphasizing a more mature look at several holiday and service themes and using them as guidelines in our daily lives), and G’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness showing how Jewish values can help teens and adults deal with issues which may directly impact their lives). In the year when our children reach Jewish adulthood, the seventh grade CHAI Curriculum hopes to inspire children to answer the call to be an active Jew as many of our ancestors did: Hineini, here am I. Specifically, with the seventh grade CHAI Curriculum, students use age appropriate activities to tackle topics including: Torah (Cain and Abel, Abraham and relationship with God, the Binding of Isaac, Rebekah and her relationship with Isaac and their children, and Jacob and his struggles) Avodah (Jewish life cycles, Jewish holidays, and Jewish identity) and G’milut chasadim (Friendship, Bullying, Language, Attitude, and Anger Control, and Tzedakah). In all topics, the curriculum is designed to relate Jewish teachings and values into real adolescent life. The seventh graders meet twice a month for two and one-half hours and several teacher-made activities not related to the CHAI Curriculum will be included. . As appropriate throughout the school day, various blessings will be taught in an effort to help students recognize that holy moments happen numerous times throughout each day and that our Jewish culture and heritage influence us in both subtle and obvious ways as we live our daily lives. Adolescence is a time of questioning. By the end of the seventh grade, it is hoped that our children will leave with a lot of questions and a thirst to seek answers, especially those which Judaism can provide. It is also hoped that they will have a greater appreciation for the beauties of life, beginning to recognize “a hundred blessings a day” and the holiness to be found in our daily lives. Ultimately, it is hoped they will be better prepared Judaically for the challenges of their teen and college years as well as their adult lives.
Eighth graders study Jewish responsibilities toward the natural environment; Judaism and Christianity, and the Holy Writings and Jewish spirituality, with emphasis on the Book of Job. In alternate years, eighth and ninth graders jointly experience the enormity of the Holocaust, including a Shabbat weekend in Washington, D.C. and a trip to the HolocaustMemorialMuseum.