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​Teaching Jewish Time: Shabbat and the Tishrei Holidays

A basic course in the program: Studies toward a Specialization Certificate in "Teaching the Cycle of the Jewish Year."


Judaism places a strong emphasis on the sanctity of time. Through the observance of numerous holy days throughout the year, we celebrate our spirituality, our past, and the unique nature of the Jewish people. As we look to teach our students about basic Jewish principles, nothing is more important than a sense of familiarity with and connection to the Jewish calendar and the holidays throughout the Jewish year.

In this semester-long course, we will study the first half of the Jewish Calendar beginning with the concept of sanctity of time, and then look at strategies to teach the individual holidays, beginning with Shabbat, and proceeding through the Tishrei holidays.

Throughout our lessons, we will intersperse different teaching strategies, looking for ways to engage students in active learning to make the teaching of the Jewish calendar not only informational, but fun and engaging as well.
The Internet provides a wide range of resources on the Jewish year and the Jewish holidays, so we’ll share many relevant websites with each-other, as well as online teaching resources, webquests, videos and other digital material you’ll be able to use in your classroom.

The course will be conducted in English. While we might utilize Hebrew texts, there will always be translations in order to facilitate learning.

Topics of Study:

We’ll begin by studying the fundamental structure of the calendar, looking at ways to teach about the sanctity of time to our students, beginning with Shabbat and then proceeding to the first four holidays of the Jewish year, which take place during the month of Tishrei.

1. The Jewish Calendar Structure – Lunar calendars vs. Solar calendars
2. Shabbat: The Nature of Shabbat, Shabbat observances and practices, Shabbat rituals and prayer and more
3. Rosh Hashanah: Meaning, Symbols, basic concepts and stories
4. The Ten Days of Repentance
5. Yom Kippur: Repentance and Renewal; Forgiveness; Yom Kippur practices
6. Sukkot: We’ll analyze the series of holidays called the “Shalosh Regalim” – the three major Biblical holidays, and their connection to each other in Jewish tradition
7. Simchat Torah: What are we celebrating, and How can we make it Meaningful?

Course Requirements:

Lessons will include opportunity for response and feedback. Students are asked to participate in the online forum to discuss the lesson studied during that week. In addition, each semester there will be at least two (2) online videoconferences, as well as four assignments to desire lessons around the material that we’re studying.

 Developer and Lecturer


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