The Benefits of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Immersing students in the Hebrew language and exposing them to Judaic Studies in their early educational years fosters Jewish ethics and identity while providing opportunities for a meaningful exploration of Jewish traditions.
Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Middle School
In Judaic Studies lessons at Beth Emet Middle School, a Jewish Day School in Florida, Jewish life and Judaic values are taught and experienced in school through holiday observances, Israel education, Torah studies, life cycle events, and customs, as well as prayers. The connection between Jewish heritage and daily activities in school helps to develop a strong Jewish identity within students in both elementary and middle school.
Incorporating weekly Hebrew lessons enables students to develop a true appreciation of their heritage, and understand the need for continued, lifelong Jewish study. In addition to studying Hebrew and Judaic textbooks, students engage in digital, interactive, and blended learning opportunities at Beth Emet School, utilizing music, games, and visual aids to acquire the Hebrew language and develop a keen understanding of Jewish concepts and values.
Hands-On Judaic Studies Activities
In the 2021-2022 school year, middle school students used their knowledge of Judaic Studies to plan and prepare a special Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration. The Middle School students researched different locations in Israel and became “ambassadors” or representatives of certain cities they studied.
On this special day, Beth Emet students walked into the lobby of the school, “arriving” at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, they checked their Teudat Zehut (Israeli identification cards) and entered the country. Mora Valerie and the Middle School students set the atmosphere to feel as though everyone has just entered Israel, with music playing all around and flag decorations added to the lively ambiance.
This hands-on, real-life experience integrated core subjects and was led by the Middle School students, who explained all about the sites they researched and led the elementary students through the stations. There were activities to participate in that practiced Hebrew memory skills and brought all the lessons learned to life!
Here are some of the stations we visited during this special lesson:
- The Jerusalem Kotel (Western Wall) – The students learned about one of the holiest sites in Jerusalem and wrote a prayer note to put in the wall.
- Haifa – As one of the major cities the students learned about in Israel, it was the perfect place to participate in a Rikudei Am dance (Israeli Folk Dance).
- Tel Aviv – We had a delicious Miznon Lunch (Israeli Foods: falafel, hummus, salad, tahini, and a dessert pita with chocolate).
- Beer Sheva – We visited Abraham’s tent, where we learned about Hachnasat Orchim (hospitality) and had a wonderful pita on the grill with zaatar and labneh. We also got to pin the tail on the camel!
- Tzfat – Known as the city of Kabbalah and Art, where the students created different art projects and learned about the mystical city of Tzfat.
- Har Sinai – Also known as Mount Sinai or the Mountain of Moses, was where we completed an obstacle course to get to the Torah, in memory of when the Ten Commandments were received by Moses.
In addition to the stations, we had kiosks such as:
Make your own orange juice, where we learned all about the communal living and responsibilities of the kibbutz. Here the students squeezed oranges and made their own juice.
The Dead Sea kiosk, where we learned how items stay afloat. Students created their own craft boats and put their knowledge of STEM Education into practice during this experience.
Lessons that Develop Independence Skills
These types of learning experiences help students to develop their independence, learn how to take responsibility, and are memories that will last a lifetime! Beth Emet School has found that the best learning experiences are discovered through a variety of activities, using each of the five senses.
Our Hebrew and Judaic Studies program helps foster Jewish identity by allowing children to explore their Jewish roots and traditions in a fun and exciting way. Learn more at Beth Emet School in Florida.