In second grade, the children learn about the Jewish Calendar, its basic makeup (lunar and solar), the names of Hebrew months, the Jewish year, chart their (current) Hebrew Birthdays as well as determine when Holidays are celebrated, and how they relate (or not) to our secular Gregorian Calendar.
Their text, “My Jewish Year” contains 12 Lessons...one for each of the Jewish Holidays. The students read aloud about “How We Celebrate” and “Why We Celebrate” in the home as well as in the Temple/Synagogue. These lessons include an in depth look at the customs, ceremonies, and history of each holiday, and each chapter contain stories (midrashim), exercises, art projects, games and a Holiday Dictionary. This book is one to be used and treasured well beyond 2nd Grade Shalom School.
Torah, Avodah, and G'milut Chasadim serve as the core of the new CHAI Curriculum: Learning for Jewish Life. These pursuits of study, worship, and deeds of loving-kindness will provide the framework in which the class will build upon in their relationship with God, one another, and with the world around them.
The three sections of CHAI are organized into nine lessons each. The Second Grade study of Torah embraces the Book of Exodus (Sh'mot), with each lesson focusing on a small aspect of a particular portion (parashah) and how the children may draw a direct connection between Torah study and their lives. For example, students will equate making their own mezuzahs with an understanding of their own freedom to be Jewish in America: and that our American freedoms can be compared to the Israelites who marked their homes as a signal they were to be freed from bondage in Egypt. They will also understand that the mezuzah always serves as a reminder of God’s presence.
The study of Avodah (prayer) is explored by the children’s discovery of the meaning of prayer and its sacred connection to God, community, and self. Students will be taught to understand how prayer, ceremonies, and celebrations affect their world, our belief in one God, being created in God’s image, as well as how to see, talk, pray, and thank God. The class will learn to chant the Shabbat blessings, the Sh’ma, the Modeh Ani, and Blessings of Thanks.
The Jewish concept of G'milut Chasadim (personal acts of loving-kindness) will give your child the basis of what this means to them, their family and friends, as well as how to participate in performing these mitzvot in their everyday lives. Our class will make cut-out fruit containing the words: “My Act of G’milut Chasadim Was…” which students will fill in and add to a tree or barrel poster each Sunday of class, thus encouraging your child to do these acts daily. CHAI lessons are taught through interactive learning, working together, story telling, discussions, many art projects, and take-home workbook journals. This curriculum provides students with the foundation for a lifetime of Jewish learning and living.
The “Shalom Uvracha” text instructs students how to begin mastering the Hebrew alphabet through the study of individual letters, vowels, and Heritage words. The book is set up to help the children decipher Hebrew letters quickly: e.g, how only three Hebrew letters can make up a word such as Shabbat. The book contains fun exercises for easy letter recognition and learning. Continuing with our practice of prayer, the Blessings over the wine (juice), bread (snacks), Shabbat candles and/or holiday observances are recited and sung each Sunday during “Nosh-Time” (our little snack), which the children always enjoy. Art, music, and games play an important role in their weekly activities by reinforcing and enriching what is learned in the classroom.
Time allowing, we have discussions on various Jewish topics including Israel, Jewish art and celebrities, kosher food, friendships, and celebrations at home.