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Because of the variety of Jewish backgrounds of our families, we ask all parents to undertake to support our common values. Various rules exist in school, for example, wearing kippot and tzitzit and regarding food that may brought into school (ie. food permitted by the London Beth Din as listed in “The Really Jewish Food Guide”). We want to be confident that all our pupils can mix freely and without embarrassment out of school, and this can only be achieved by parents keeping to certain agreed conventions. You will show your commitment to the aims and ideals of the school by observing the following guidelines:-
Fathers are requested to actively show support for their child’s learning by wearing a kippah whenever on school premises.
Ivrit (Modern Hebrew) is taught throughout the school as a Modern Foreign Language. We believe that the ability to speak and understand Ivrit enhances the understanding of Jewish sources and promotes an attachment to the State of Israel. The study of Chumash is the central element in our Jewish Studies curriculum from Y2-Y6. The Hebrew text is studied in depth to develop textual skills and understanding of the narrative. Children are challenged to think about the story and to note the beauty of the Divine Torah. Throughout our study we draw moral lessons from the text and commentaries. In Kerem, Torah is something that children learn to love and love to learn.
Each week, every class learns Parshat Hashavua (the weekly portion from the Torah) and pupils in Year 6 prepare a D’var Torah that they present to the rest of the school every erev Shabbat.
In addition to the Jewish Studies syllabus, wherever possible, teachers integrate aspects of the childrens’ secular studies with Jewish learning. This enables us to show that Judaism is relevant throughout our daily lives and has much to say about many contemporary issues such as the environment, relationships and our treatment of others. In this way, children see the interaction of Jewish life with the rest of society and are prepared to feel confident in our modern secular world.
The broad-based Jewish studies curriculum aims to instil a deep knowledge and appreciation of Jewish tradition and ethics. There is a strong emphasis on learning Hebrew as the living language of the Jewish people and the timeless language of Torah, our prayers and sacred texts.
Throughout daily school life, we expect pupils to act in accordance with the Jewish values that guide relationships and behaviour.
Through our programmes of study, we aim to develop within our pupils an awareness and love of their Jewish identity and heritage. The teaching of Hebrew and Jewish Studies constitutes about 25 per cent of the school day. Every morning begins with Tefillah which ensures that pupils quickly become familiar with the main prayers and can easily find their way in the siddur. Before lunch, pupils say netilat yadayim and hamotzi (blessings washing hands and before eating bread) and, after lunch, pupils say bircat hamazon (grace after meals).
The Jewish studies syllabus has a variety of elements – Chumash, Dinim, Mishna, the Jewish Calendar, Jewish Living, Tefillah and Parshat Hashavua. Different emphasis is placed on these areas depending on the age of the class. For example, there is a far greater emphasis on the teaching of Hebrew reading in the younger classes, whereas, in older classes, where children have acquired this skill, far more time is spent learning Chumash, Mishna and Biblical commentaries.
Throughout the year, children are taught about the festivals and other important days in the Jewish Calendar. Wherever possible, we celebrate these together, for example on Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim and Yom Ha’atzmaut, and we believe that this ensures that children learn more effectively by providing them with enjoyable experiences. We aim to involve parents as much as possible and we invite you to attend events during the year, such as our Chanukah concert, Purim Seuda, the demonstration Seder and Rosh Chodesh Tefillah.