Highlights of the Middle School Jewish Studies Curriculum
On March 9th, Zach Mann, Chair of the Jewish Studies (JS) Department and Ira Glasser, Chair of the History Department and Israel Trip Coordinator, spoke to middle school parents about the Jewish Studies program at RSS.
As part of the ongoing Talking Heads series facilitated by divisional leaders, these open presentations are meant to foster a deeper understanding of both day to day experiences in our classrooms, as well as the underlying planning and purpose that goes into the program as a whole.
During the Jewish Studies presentation, Dr. Mann outlined the mission of the Middle School JS program and emphasized the academic skills our students develop through the curriculum. He articulated how the study of the Jewish people and analysis of Jewish texts, including Tanach, intersect with the disciplines of English, history and science. Mr. Glasser demonstrated how the 8th Grade trip to Israel serves as the culmination of the JS program and, indeed, a student’s career at RSS.
Throughout the presentation, they articulated their desire for the Jewish Studies program to help students lean into difficult questions - while reading the Torah, discussing Jewish history, contemplating their personal religious practice and analyzing current events in the United States, Israel and throughout the world. Central to the program is the Reform Jewish concept of "Informed Choice;"students are exposed to a plurality of Jewish perspectives while exploring content deeply. Armed with this knowledge, students ultimately make decisions about how they wish to express their Jewish identity.