In recent collaborative opportunities for our upper school Judaic Studies team, we have emphasized the importance of understanding the relevance of Jewish study to students’ everyday lives. The examples below demonstrate a wide variety of ways in which our teachers guide our students in making meaning out of timeless Jewish ideas.
In Honors Jewish Ethics, high school students are provided with in-depth source texts by way of introduction into a particular category of ethics (medical, business, social, etc). After this introduction, students are empowered to select particular topics that interest them. In their last unit, after a general introduction to medical ethics, the students decided to delve more deeply into the subtopics of organ donation, euthanasia, and abortion. After reading what traditional and modern Jewish sources have to say on the subjects, students apply those sources to modern case studies and then compare the traditional Jewish view to their own beliefs and values regarding these topics.
Our eighth graders are participating in an online Jewish History course through the Online Jewish Studies Consortium. There is a heavy emphasis on creative ways for students to show what they are learning. Most recently they recorded “Breaking News” video segments on a historical event that took place during the Second Temple period. Here are a couple of sample videos:
The high school Moot Beit Din honors course has officially gotten underway. The team has received the case, which revolves around the ethical treatment of animals, and is now researching an exhaust list of Jewish sources on the topic. Students will meet every week to work on their response and some team members will have the opportunity to go to North Carolina in the spring to present their case and compete against day school teams from around the country.
Finally, students in Rabbi Graubart’s ninth grade Judaic Studies class on God, Torah, and Israel recently completed a unit on the book of Job and created a video reflecting their perspective on the book.