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Register Here for this Week's ClassInterfaith Interconnections: From Biblical Times to Today

Nafshenu is excited to announce the start of a six-week education program on a topic close to the hearts of our South Jersey Jewish community – how Jews and peoples of different faiths and backgrounds get along. Student rabbis David Goodman and Josh Nelson will be team-teaching the class, which will look at the challenges of interfaith relations throughout Jewish history – from Biblical times to contemporary America.

We’ll look at texts ranging from the Book of Exodus to the early rabbis to posts from online news and blog sites covering: tolerance vs. conflict, intermarriage vs. inmarriage, shared learning vs. going it alone.

** Thursday, January 28th at 7 PM: (after our Tu B’Sh’vat seder) Reb Dovid will start us out with a look at the Bible’s “schizophrenia” on relations with people who have other beliefs and cultures, and how different passages and books show a deep ambivalence about other groups.

** Thursday, February 4 at 8 PM: Rabbi Josh will offer his own experience of being “fluent in two religions” and the challenges and opportunities in interfaith dialogue that arise from the Abrahamic religions’ shared narratives and texts.

**  Thursday, February 11 at 8 PM: Reb Dovid will examine how the early rabbis of the Talmudic era divided the world between “pagans” and fellow monotheists, with different rules for dealing with each.

**  Thursday, February 18 at 8 PM: Rabbi Josh will explore how Jewish practice and law on interfaith issues have been evolving from the medieval period to today, including questions of marriage and worship.

**  Thursday, February 25 at 8 PM: Reb Dovid will bring in a range of contemporary readings on how Jews and those who love and live with them work to form a shared community.

** Thursday, March 4 at 8 PM: Rabbi Josh will wrap up the class with a wide-ranging conversation about what all this means for us as the Nafshenu community.

HADRACHA-GUIDING OUR STUDENTS

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The Hadracha curriculum model utilizes paired grade level groupings to optimize the learning potential of each individual student. Groupings are age appropriate and allow students to learn from one another and create sacred community together.

Classes are held twice each week, Tuesday afternoon and Shabbat (Saturday) morning. On Tuesdays, students in grades two through seven will meet in groupings based on their level of Hebrew language acquisition.  During these sessions, students will be taught both conversational and written/prayer Hebrew. They will also participate in a hands-on elective where they will choose additional areas of study based on their individual interests.

Additionally, students in our teen program will meet with Rabbi Larry Sernovitz to discuss topics that are important to their lives as they navigate the modern world through the lens of Judaism.

On Saturday mornings, students in pre-k through seventh grade will focus on Jewish studies. Students will be guided through experiences to heighten awareness of critical components of Jewish life and the Jewish world, developing their Jewish identities and exploring what Judaism means to them. There will also be a Shabbat prayer experience, led by older Hadracha students and teaching staff, reinforcing their Hebrew language skills. 

 

JUDAIC STUDIES

AREAS OF FOCUS

Grades K-1: Introduction to Jewish Values (Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah, Ahavat Yisrael, among others) and Introduction to Israel (geography, culture, places, and more.)

Grades 2-3: Storytelling - Torah, History & Jewish Heroes

Grades 4-5: Living a Jewish Life- Lifecycle (Brit Milah, B’nai Mitzvah, Weddings, Mourning Rituals, etc.) and Ritual Practice (Shabbat, Kashrut, Havdalah, etc.)

Grades 6-7: Asking Big Questions- Contemporary Issues in Jewish Life -Torah Love, Jewish History (Jewish continuity) & Israel (diving deeper into the creation and conflicts of Israel)

SPECIAL NEEDS

Our Hadracha program is accessible to all students. We are partners with each family - meeting all students where they are and providing enriching Jewish education for students of all abilities.  If needed, our education team will meet with families to develop an education plan based on individual student needs. Please be in touch with us to discuss this further.

HEBREW

Hebrew learning will focus on conversational Hebrew, to align with the natural acquisition of language. Hebrew learning will then progress into written and prayer Hebrew. Students will be given a brief assessment for placement to ensure that they are placed in a grouping that is supportive of their current levels of Hebrew language knowledge.

B'NAI MITZVAH

Students in Nafshenu’s Hadracha program are taught that Jewish life can and should be bold, courageous, and transformative. B’nai Mitzvah is an important part of this journey and an affirmation of Jewish identity. Our students become B’nai Mitzvah in our community during our Shabbat morning services and as a community, we celebrate with them as they begin adult Jewish life.
 

The training for B’nai Mitzvah includes:

  • a comprehensive study of their Torah portion, including rabbinic commentaries and application to modern Jewish life, leading to writing of a D’var Torah (words of teaching);

  • engagement in meaningful social justice work;

  • active participation in our prayer experience;

  • preparation of Torah and Haftarah portions for the B’nai Mitzvah, including the learning of trope (aka cantillation)

POST B'NAI MITZVAH - THE CHAZAK V'EMATZ PROGRAM

After students become B’nai Mitzvah, they enter into the Chazak v’Ematz program, meaning strength and courage. The philosophy of the Nafshenu is that study does not end at B'nai Mitzvah, but rather study continues on and only gets better and more meaningful. This exploration of living Judaism engages our children with contemporary issues facing Jewish life and our world as whole. In our program, our students will address the following topics, among others:

-How can we be Jewish in a modern world?

-How do we respond to the challenges and crises of our time, including education issues, poverty and homelessness, Israel, extremism, and more?

-How can we continue to make Judaism relevant to our lives and not separate from our daily lives?

For our 11th and 12th graders, we will have a college prep program, preparing them to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges of life on a college campus in a Jewish context.

The Chazak v’Ematz program will be taught by Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, along with other teachers and guest speakers.

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781