TaNaCh (Bible) study at Hillel is guided by our active participation in the national Jewish Day School TaNaCh Standards and Benchmarks Project. The two standards which focus TanaCh instruction at Hillel throughout grades 2-8 are:
- Students will become independent and literarily astute readers of the biblical text in Hebrew
- Students will develop a love of torah study for its own sake and come to embrace it as an inspiring resource, informing their values, sense of moral commitments, and ways of experiencing the world.
In seventh grade, students study the books of Jonah and Ruth, and selections of Joshua, Shoftim (Judges), and selections of Shmuel Aleph and Shmuel Bet. The overarching theme is different manifestations of leadership; students:
- learn about alternative ways to manage personal struggles.
- connect Biblical themes of self-reflection and personal responsibility to the high holiday season, and their own self-development.
- explore the origin and effects of the civil war between the supporters of David and Saul.
- analyze the political, religious and interpersonal implications of the development of the Davidic dynasty.
Additionally, TaNach study of Jerusalem is part of an integrated Social Studies unit on capital cities, and is part of the students’ preparation for their Washington, D.C. trip.
Ivrit (Hebrew Language)
Seventh graders further develop their knowledge of and attachment to Ivrit through the integrated study of Hebrew language, grammar and literature.
- Students learn how to conjugate five types of verbs into past, present, and future tense.
- Students study how to conjugate prepositions, learn the feminine and masculine forms of numbers, and continue to strengthen their writing skills.
- Students speak Ivrit exclusively.
- Students explore both classical and modern literary texts relevant and interesting to middle school age children.
Students deepen their personal connection to Israel through study, discussion, and activities based on the geography, current events and culture of the State of Israel.Life-cycle
Students relate to the major Jewish life-cycle events through the study of the rituals and customs, and the key concepts embedded in them.Jewish History
Seventh graders trace the events in Jewish history from the Biblical Age through the Rabbinic Age.
- Students explore the concept of leadership and its many forms.
- Students read and talk about the development of post-biblical Judaism.
- Students assess Israel's interaction with the Roman Empire, and learn about factionalism and its consequences.
- Students draw parallels between the lack of unity among peoples throughout history and struggles around the world today.
Seventh graders continue to develop their knowledge of Oral Torah through further study of Mishnah and introductory Talmud/Gemara access skills. A wide range of topics are explored, all with a focus on helping students understand, “How can I be modern, American and Jewish?” Students also have experiential holiday-themed programs.Minyan
Students participate in a variety of minyan experiences throughout the week. These include middle school-wide services on Torah reading days, small advisory minyanim, and classroom and grade level services. Students benefit from a comprehensive minyan enrichment program, dedicated to enhancing their spirituality and bringing our school’s Jewish Core values to life. Additionally students have the opportunity to develop their synagogue and leadership skills by serving as chazzanin and organizing the 7-8 minyan as gabbaim.
Students also participate in the Choice Minyanim. They periodically choose one of more than ten types of minyanim. Options include creative writing, discussion, movement, meditation, parshat hashavua, art, chazzan skills, tefillah meaning, sing-along, "Minyan Rox!", tefillah games, and an outdoor minyan! Additionally, students prepare and lead many tefillah and Torah-based activities at their shabbaton at Tamarack.