This unit examines the theme of freedom on Passover and its implications for our lives even beyond the Passover seder.
This unit on Shabbat deals with the various ceremonies and rituals traditionally performed over the course of Shabbat – including candle lighting, kiddush (the blessing over the wine) and havdalah (the ceremony differentiating between Shabbat and the rest of the week).
This unit deals with the multifaceted story and diverse faces of the Passover holiday, and focuses on the idea of telling the exodus story and its significance.
This unit explores the concept of chosenness, and what it means when Jewish tradition says the Jewish people are a “Chosen People”.
This unit on Shabbat focuses on the songs and melodies that accompany Shabbat – during rituals and prayers, as well as modern-day songs.
In this house the “how of shabbat observance” will be explored in all its complexity and diversity among the Jewish people today.
This unit discusses the uniqueness of Shabbat as a day of rest from work and a day that is different from other days of the week.
A unit which deals with some basic underlying questions regarding prayer, including who prays, to whom one prays and the connection between prayer and faith. It also focuses on different types of prayer – shevach (prayers of praise), hodaya (prayers of thanks) and bakasha (prayers of request).
This unit focuses on some of the central prayers in the siddur (Jewish prayer book), including: Birchot ha-shachar (the morning blessings), the Shema, the Amidah and more.
There are several aspects of traditional Jewish prayer that relate to the development of prayer as a fixed ritual, and some that are related to prayer as a ritual that takes place with others. This unit deals with the topic of praying in a minyan (a quorum of ten people), prayer formulas and the importance of intention in prayer.
The Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue on the holiday of Shavuot. The story told in this book is linked to the holiday of Shavuot in terms of the time of year at which it takes place — the time of the wheat harvest. This is also the time of year at which we celebrate Shavuot. In addition to the timing, the content of this book is also related to the holiday of Shavuot.
What are the philosophical underpinnings of Shabbat observance that make it a critical area of religious observance throughout history? In this house this will be explored through the eyes of several contemporary Jewish thinkers.
This unit discusses the various aspects of Seder night – the structure of the Haggadah, the Seder plate, and selected texts from the Maggid section.
We will learn the blessings said for the special foods (the simanim, or signs) eaten on Rosh Hashanah, and their meanings.
In this block we will look at the historical, cultural, and sociological impact of shabbat observance on the Jewish people.
This resource deals with the four main customs on Purim – mishteh (a feast), mikra megillah (reading Megillat Esther), matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) and mishloach manot (gifts to friends) – and the values of mutual responsibility reflected in them.
With the help of a text written by Abraham Joshua Heschel, we will touch upon Shabbat’s essence as a moment in time in which we take a break from the hustle and bustle of the week, rest and connect to ourselves and to the sublime.
Abraham Joshua Heschel compares Shabbat to a “palace in time” – a superior and special place we come to once a week.
This resource deals with the mitzvah of lighting candles on Chanukah and its symbolic significance.
The experience at Mount Sinai is a formative event in Jewish tradition and culture. In this resource, we will explore the description of that event and what that description can teach us about the Torah.
We will become familiar with the Chanukah story and the customs associated with the holiday. We will discuss what we can learn from the story and how it can serve as a source of inspiration in our lives today.
In this block we will look at three sources that compare the experience of observing shabbat to the World to Come (the afterlife).
On Sukkot, it is a mitzvah to be happy. In this resource, we will learn about reasons to be happy on Sukkot and Simchat Torah, and about happiness as a Jewish value.
In the book of Shemot (Exodus) the commandment to keep Shabbat is set in a social and moral context. Shabbat rest is intended to apply equally to every person, regardless of class or socioeconomic status. This lesson will discuss the moral aspect of Shabbat as an inspiration to a more just society.
We will use a Hassidic story to discuss the power of symbols and human actions to create an atmosphere of Shabbat.
We will examine the Kiddush ritual, said over wine and Challah. We will discuss the blessings and the actions they accompany.
We’ll learn about the havdalah ceremony and its different components.
Shabbat offers an opportunity to rest from the hectic pace of the week and to take a fresh look at our lives. We will study a text by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan regarding this aspect of Shabbat.
A selection from Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen”, which deals with the difficulty that forgiving sometimes poses for us.
Rodin’s famous sculpture depicts a person deep in thought. We connect between the sculpture and the process of cheshbon nefesh.
On the custom of Tashlich carried out on Rosh Hashana, in which we symbolically cast off our negative behaviors and actions.
We will learn about what it means to delight in Shabbat, in light of the traditional commentary on the verse “and you call Shabbat a delight.”
We will read the poem “The Shabbat Queen” by Chaim Nachman Bialik to learn about the main aspects of Shabbat and the ceremonies and customs of the day, in the order of their occurrence from Friday evening through sunset on Saturday.
In this resource, we will learn about the lineage of Torah transmission and how we can take part in this chain of transmission and innovate in it.
Diving into the Amidah
In this resource, we will focus on three of the blessings found in the Amidah prayer: one that is national in nature (the blessing for Jerusalem) and two that are personal in nature (the blessing for healing and “hear our voice”). We will explore the significance of each of these blessings in the life of a Jew – as a human and as a Jew, as an individual and as a member of a community.
Light influences and determines the way we see the world, particularly in terms of colors. This is evident in the art of the Impressionist school, including the works of the painter Claude Monet. We will examine how this perspective is connected to various ideas in Jewish tradition.
The Torah is the foundation of Jewish culture and Jewish life. We read from it every week, there is a commandment to study it, and it forms the center of two holidays – Simchat Torah and Shavuot. In this unit we will discuss why the Torah has such an important status in Jewish tradition and what it means for us.
Lighting Shabbat candles is a ceremony that takes place at the beginning of Shabbat and is effectively how we bring in Shabbat.
One of the main goals of Seder night is to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. This is done not only by reading the Haggadah, but rather through a variety of methods – which we will learn about here.
In this block we will explore the overall theme of “rest” on shabbat as a way to maintain the spirit of shabbat.
In this resource, we will learn about the Jewish value of study through familiarization with the custom of Tikkun Leil Shavuot (all-night Torah study on Shavuot).
In this resource we will become familiar with the three main types of prayers: praise, supplication, and thanks, with their distinctive characteristics.
We will read a rabbinic story to discuss the various elements that create a special atmosphere on Shabbat.
In this resource, we will learn about the Amidah prayer, including its characteristics and structure and why it is the central prayer in Judaism.
In this block we will consider the classic Biblical and Talmudic sources for the prohibitions involved in shabbat observance.
In this unit we will consider what it means that humans are created ‘in the image of God’, and what that tells us about the Torah’s approach to the nature and purpose of humankind.
In this block we will explore contemporary approaches to shabbat observance from various streams of Judaism that differ in some way from Orthodox observance.
On Chanukah we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks, who tried to force the Jews to refrain from keeping Jewish practices and leave their religion. In the resource, we will learn about the decrees of Antiochus and the Jewish opposition to them, and we will consider what principles are sacred to us and how they can be maintained in the face of external pressure.
In this block we will consider several contemporary approaches to finding new meaning in the laws of kashrut.
In this resource we will consider the positive aspects of Shabbat observance, including the positive mitzvot involved in an active Shabbat observance.
In this resource, we’ll explore prayer: what is said, to whom it is directed, what we pray for and when we pray. We’ll broaden our view of prayer through the study of the prayer-poem “A Walk to Caesarea” by Hannah Senesh.
In this resource, we will learn about Megillat Esther and the holiday of Purim. We will address the main themes that are found in Megillat Esther and reflected in the customs of the holiday, such as happiness, “Ve-Nahafokh Hu” (all upside down or topsy turvy), concealment and mutual responsibility.
On the holiday of Sukkot, we turn the sukkah, a temporary structure, into our permanent home for the duration of a week. This resource discusses the experience of permanence and ephemerality on the holiday of Sukkot and in our daily lives.
This resource deals with the motifs of things that are hidden and those that are visible in Megillat Esther (The Scroll of Esther) and how these motifs are expressed on Purim through costumes and masks.
In this block we will look at several sources who all approach shabbat as a means to pause and take stock, be present in the moment, and focus on ourselves.
Megillat Rut (The Book of Ruth) tells the story of Ruth’s choice to become part of the Jewish people. In this lesson, we will discuss the significance of Judaism for us and the choices we make surrounding this topic.
In the Book of Ruth (Megillat Rut), kindness (chessed) is expressed in several different ways. This unit discusses the meaning of kindness, how we can be kind, and the importance of kindness in society.
This lesson explores the tension between the concepts of divine providence and human free will and therefore responsibility to self well-being. If there is divine providence at an individual level, does this mean we can rely on God’s protection if we are worthy or do we still have a responsibility to look after ourselves?
In this block we will consider the connections between Shabbat and the Creation of the world.
In this block we will consider the connections between Shabbat and the Exodus.
When the Sages formalized the Jewish prayers, they used fixed turns of phrase that we may call “prayer formulas” (or prayer coinages). In this resource we will study some of these formulas and understand their importance.
In this resource we will become familiar with the prayer for the State of Israel, which was composed just after the establishment of the State.
Receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai is a formative event in Jewish tradition and
culture. This resource discusses this event and considers in what ways its memory
has been meaningful for Jews throughout the generations and down to our own
A basic first lesson about the holiday. We will familiarize ourselves with the various aspects of the holiday by becoming acquainted with its story and diverse names: Passover, Springtime Festival, Feast of Matzah and Holiday of Freedom.
Traditional Jewish prayer involves set language and is recited at set times. Alongside this, Judaism also values intention and feeling in prayer. In this resource, we will explore the tension between routine and intention/feeling, as well as how routine and intention can complement one another.
On the seventh day, God rested from the work of Creation.
The seventh day of Creation was designated as a day of rest — Shabbat. From the description of Shabbat in the Creation story, we will learn about how God rested and we will explore how we rest from our weekday routines.
In this resource, we will draw a parallel between two descriptions of the Chanukah story: The historical description found in the Book of Maccabees versus the Talmudic account describing the miracle of the oil jug. We will deal with the question of how each narrative contributes to our understanding of the story as a whole, as well as our own personal connection to the holiday.
Prior to embarking upon intercity travel, it is customary in Jewish tradition to recite Tfilat Haderech (the traveler’s prayer) and bless ourselves that we will reach our destination in peace and joy.
In the “Are there health benefits (for body and soul) to keeping kosher?” block the potential physical and spiritual health benefits to observing the laws of kashrut were considered. In this block we will explore possible sociological, psychological, and ethical reasons behind the laws of kashrut.
What does it mean to keep kosher? There are a multitude of complicated laws that are the starting point to answering that question, and in this lesson we will look at their sources.
God promises a special relationship with the Jewish people. That He will love and protect them, and ensure they are prosperous and safe. But is this relationship unconditional? Is it a privilege or is there responsibility that comes with these blessings?
Eliahou Eric Bokobza’s piece entitled “Sukkot” evokes thoughts about the nature of permanence and ephemerality in Jewish life.
In this resource, we will learn about a text that expresses beliefs that have been central to Jewish tradition over the course of history and in Jewish communities around the world.
In this resource, we will learn about the Four Questions section of the Haggadah. We will become familiar with the examples that appear in the text and explore the significance of asking questions on Seder night.
The poem describes a situation in which it is hard to say “I’m sorry”, and raises the question whether one needs to be explicit in saying sorry.
We’ll learn about the blessing for sons and daughters that is said in many families on Friday evenings.
We’ll become familiar with the Kiddush blessing that is said on Friday evening. We’ll look at the concept of kedusha (holiness), in general, and the kedusha of Shabbat, in particular.
Maimonides’ words deal with the command to forgive a person who has asked for forgiveness.
On the origins and meanings of the mitzva of hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
Following Maimonides’ words, we learn how the shofar awakens us to do cheshbon nefesh (soul-searching) and teshuva (repentance).
O. Henry’s story teaches that having undergone a process of cheshbon nefesh (soul-searching), regret and teshuva (repentance), even a criminal can become a good person.
A selection from the Mishnah which teaches the importance of asking forgiveness before Yom Kippur
We will learn the Viduy prayer, in which we confess to our sins using the plural – together with Am Yisrael.
The story of Chanukah in the form of a fictional diary of a girl who experienced the events. To be translated by the teacher.
A template for the “From Generation to Generation” resource which presents the different stages in the development of the Jewish tradition (Torah, Midrash, Rabbinic Commentary). The students are invited to add their own ideas as the next link in the train of tradition.
A template for the resource "Hidden and Revealed: Central Motifs of Purim” – about the various layers of ourselves that we hide and who we allow to see them.