Judaic Studies

Judaic Studies

The Hebrew High School of New England offers an extensive Judaic studies program that exposes students to a range of our most sacred texts and ideas. We have a carefully tailored curriculum that supports all students regardless of prior Jewish knowledge and aims to give them the skills to continue their Jewish learning beyond high school. Our classes are enhanced by a stimulating program of informal Jewish education and cultural activities, tzedakah and other community service opportunities. Many of our students attend a variety of gap-year Yeshiva and Seminary programs in Israel.

Judaic Studies Course Descriptions

Chumash (Torah)

Students study all five Books of Moses (Chumash) over a four-year cycle:

  • Bereishit (Genesis)
  • Shemot (Exodus)
  • Vayikra (Leviticus) and Bamidbar I (Numbers)
  • Bamidbar II (Numbers) and Devarim (Deuteronomy)

We aim to teach translation and analytical skills that allow students to understand the text and apply the ethical lessons of the Torah to their daily lives. Students have the opportunity to study Midrashim and commentaries by medieval and modern commentators.

 

Talmud (Rabbinic Literature)

The Talmud Department strives to inculcate our students with a recognition of the Talmud’s significance and how its lessons shape every aspect of Jewish thought, Jewish ethics and Jewish law. The Talmud, through its teachings and format, sets the foundation for building successful Jewish communities and instills caring and respect for God’s laws and all of humanity. It ignites a passionate love of learning, fosters higher critical thinking skills and contains within it the knowledge that Jewish leaders require for leading the next generation. We encourage students to engage in debate and analysis in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the text and of their peers’ perspectives. In order to facilitate this, students are given the opportunity to study b’chavruta, with a peer, during class time.

Students study a selection of masechtot (tractates) from Zeraim, Moed, and Nezikin. 

 

General Judaic Studies:

HHNE also offers a range of general Judaic studies:
  • Jewish Ethics
  • Jewish Philosophy
  • Jewish Law
  • Haggadah
  • Nach
  • Jewish History

Mechina (Preparatory Judaics Program)

Our Mechina program introduces students with limited Jewish knowledge to the beauty of Torah and Jewish tradition by studying Hebrew, Chumash (Bible), Tefillah (Prayer), and Jewish law and thought, with focus on textual skills such as translation, understanding, and interpretation.

Students study Parshat HaShavua (weekly Torah portion) in order to understand the role of Torah in Jewish life and become familiar with the text, teasing apart verses, translating and understanding their context. Students begin to delve into how important commentators such as Rashi and Ramban explain the text.

Prayer is a central component of what it means to practice Judaism. Students focus on navigating the Siddur (prayerbook), the prayer service, its history, ritual, and developing a connection with God.

A life which revolves around Judaism is filled with meaningful life cycle events and guidelines for daily living.  Yediyot Klaliyot (general Jewish knowledge) is required in order to develop a deep understanding of Judaism.