As our students become Bar and Bat Mitzvah, they also explore Jewish history, theology, customs, and traditions on a deeper, more meaningful level. Our 7th-10th grade curriculum guides students from the understanding of prayers, traditions, and holidays they experienced as children to finding their place in the Jewish community as young adults living a Jewish life. These grades build upon one another culminating in a “Kiddushin LaTorah” ceremony in 10th grade.
7th and 8th grade focus on the two most important events in the 20th century for the Jewish community: the foundation of the modern state of Israel and the Holocaust. Our 8th grade class also gives special attention to building Jewish home as our students become the newest adults in the Jewish community. 9th and 10th grade examine Judaism in relation to world beliefs, and explores the many ways people express their Judaism in the modern world.
- Our 7th grade class studies the Torah, Jewish spirituality, and the history of Modern Israel. As students prepare for and become B’nai Mitzvah, they study and discuss the meaning found in weekly Torah portions and in Tefilah through hands-on projects like painting, writing, drawing, and options for class-designed projects. 7th graders can also experience a leadership role by participating in “Brachot Buddies” with 5th grade!
- The theme of 8th grade is “finding our place as a Jewish adult.” This class focuses on building a Jewish home, as well as looking at European Jewish history including before and after the Holocaust. We use art, cooking, and discussions focused on original historical documents to discover more about Judaism in the past and present. Many schools have a unit on genocide studies in the 8th grade, and we support these studies by providing a place to study the impact of Holocaust from a Jewish perspective. Our students are encouraged to learn about Jewish history, their family history, and explore how they can become Jewish leaders as recent B’nai Mitzvah now and in the future. There is also an Israel trip available through the JUF, which is an incredible experience that is unique to the Chicagoland area. 8th graders are also elibile to join our BBYO chapter– this article shows the benefits of joining youth groups like these. They are fun ways to forge life-long connections to Jewish culture and their community.
- In 9th grade, our students learn about the world around them through studying different faiths, and finding a deeper understanding of Judaism. This is a year of asking big questions and engaging dialogue with the community, and more leadership opportunities in our school. 9th graders are also eligible to join Moving Traditions.
By 10th grade, our students are prepared to be leaders in the Jewish community. This year focuses on personal reflection on the meaning of Judaism in our students’ lives, and how our students will celebrate Judaism as they become independent adults in the Jewish community and the world.
At the conclusion of their 10th grade year of Jewish instruction, students will celebrate Kiddushin LaTorah where they lead a special Shabbat service. All students must complete the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah curriculum, and meet designated attendance requirements. In addition, students will be enriching the Shabbat service with creative readings, music, and art or submitting an essay integrating learning from grades 7, 8, 9, and 10. Topics for the project will be pre-approved by the 10th grade teacher.