Baltimore Education Initiative for Teens of Reform Judiasm
Curriculum

A BEIT RJ student will:

  1. Have a general knowledge of the great books of Judaism
  2. Know how to find answers to their questions and have the enthusiasm and interest to do so
  3. Feel empowered to continue Jewish studies and participate in Jewish life post high school
  4. Have a general knowledge of Comparative Judaism and Comparative Religion
  5. Have an understanding of, an appreciation for, and a commitment to the State of Israel
  6. Recognize the importance of a communal Jewish experience
  7. Want Judaism to inform their decision-making and their life
  8. Recognize that Judaism is relevant, timeless, and dynamic
  9. Have a respect for tradition and an openness to change
     

Core Curriculum

8th Grade - Jewish Values (Middot)

9th/10th Grade - Confirmation

  • Each congregation plans their own Confirmation Class Curriculum.  This is a two year curriculum culminating in the Confirmation Service at each respective synagogue.  

11th-12th - Packing "Jewish" for the Real World

  • What are your plans after high school?  Wherever you end up in the “real world” you may find yourself wondering or being asked questions about your religion. It may be as simple as what is holiday “y”, or why do Jews “z”. It may be more complex like where does Judaism stand on “x”. The purpose of this course is to help students find the answers to questions they didn’t even know they had (until they were asked). Since we will have two hours together, we will vary topics and will also be exploring the history of Zionism and Israel. Bring your questions and curiosity to this student driven course.


Past Electives (8th-10th Grade)

Fall 2015

  • Music and Leadership: Songleading 101: Do you love music? Do you want to develop your leadership skills applicable to all areas of your life? If so, this elective is for you! We will learn how to teach a song to a group, how to craft song sessions and services, how to work with co-songleaders, and much more. We will use instruments, but you do not have to play an instrument to sign up.  There will be opportunities to songlead for the BEIT-RJ community.

  • When Is Hanukah this Year?#jewishtime#pinterestprojectfun:  How is it possible that you can  actually celebrate 2 birthdays each year? Why does the Jewish day begin at Sunset?  Exactly how does the Jewish calendar work? In this class you will develop an understanding of how time plays an important part of Jewish life. Through discussions, class activities and Pinterest projects, you will discover what makes time so sacred for the Jewish people AND you will learn exactly why Hanukkah falls on a different date each year!!! What we make of time is what counts!

  • Cook like a Jewish Grandmother!: What type of fish is a Gefilte? How did Kugel gets its name? What is Schmaltz and why was it previously so essential in any Jewish kitchen? Learn the historical facts, symbols and origins of various Jewish foods while learning how to prepare them. Get to smell and taste how good a warm sizzling Latke can be! Make your Bubbe proud!!!

  • Pirke Avot- Arguing with the Ancient Rabbis: The ancient rabbis shared some basic life advice, compiled in a text called Pirke Avot. Some of these ideas still make sense to us, others may confuse us. Let's explore, argue about and with, and ponder these ideas.

  • Modern Life through the strange writings of Etgar Keret: Etgar Keret is arguably Israel's most popular writer. He is the author of short stories (strange ones), a recent memoir about life in Israel, and columns in both Israeli and American newspapers. Together, we will wonder about his perspective on many of life's issues and compare them to our own understandings. Oh, and his writing will make us laugh.

  • Life in Israel (Teen Perspective): Experience the life of Israel from Yuval and Matan’s point of view.  Learn about Israeli culture, politics, music, Army, leadership, sports, and life in Israel. The Shinshinim have an exciting course where you will hear, imagine, and experience Israel in a whole new way.

  • Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood:  **This class is for teen guys.** We will create experiences where teen guys can bond and have open conversations about real teen issues.  Using Jewish values and community support to explore: Wisdom, manhood, competition, sexism, pleasure and money etc.

  • Got Mitzvot? Tikkun Olam…Repairing the World: What does tikkun olam mean to you and how does it fit into your life?  Learn how to run a mitzvah project from picking the organization to marketing and collecting items to benefit that organization.  We’ll do some other fun tikkun olam projects, too!  Think PB&J and tzedekah box wars.

  • Art Through the Eyes of the Torah:  Each week we will explore a certain Torah portion or holiday using a variety of art forms.  Students will be able to create an art/media project based on the weekly discussion. In addition, student work will be showcased at a variety of points throughout the semester.

Spring 2016

  • Twisted Torah Tales: Are you a "drama queen"?  Do you "act out"?  If so, the Twisted Torah Tales elective is for you!  Throughout the semester, we will play theater games and create our own scenes to explore the secret stories behind the Torah ... the ones you didn't learn in Religious School.
  • When Is Hanukah this Year?#jewishtime#pinterestprojectfun:  How is it possible that you can  actually celebrate 2 birthdays each year? Why does the Jewish day begin at Sunset?  Exactly how does the Jewish calendar work? In this class you will develop an understanding of how time plays an important part of Jewish life. Through discussions, class activities and Pinterest projects, you will discover what makes time so sacred for the Jewish people AND you will learn exactly why Hanukkah falls on a different date each year!!! What we make of time is what counts!
  • Family Guy and Jewish Values:  Did you say Family Guy and Jewish Values?? What does the television show Family Guy have to do with Jewish Values?  A whole lot more than you might think!  Join this class and find out!
  • Life in Israel (Teen Perspective): Experience the life of Israel from Yuval and Matan’s point of view.  Learn about Israeli culture, politics, music, Army, leadership, sports, and life in Israel. The Shinshinim have an exciting course where you will hear, imagine, and experience Israel in a whole new way.
  • Hip Hop and the Holy Land: Learn about the rap scene in Israel and influence of Jews on the hip hop world.  Watch videos from “Noisey” by Vice, and listen to tracks and mixtapes from your favorite “Members of the Tribe.”
  • Art Through the Eyes of the Torah:  Each week we will explore a certain Torah portion or holiday using a variety of art forms.  Students will be able to create an art/media project based on the weekly discussion. In addition, student work will be showcased at a variety of points throughout the semester.
  • Judaism and the Law: Explore the Jewish foundations of our legal system.  In what ways does Judaism play a role in our justice system today? Instructor: Heber Watts

 

Sample of Past Electives

  • Jewish Art
  • Israeli Self Defense
  • Jews in Sports and Culture
  • Jews Around The World
  • Israel Through Rock n' Roll
  • Jews in Rock n' Roll
  • Madrichim Training Course
  • Jewish Cooking
  • Israel Cooking
  • Life in Israel (Teen Perspective)
  • Family Guy and Family Values
  • Current Issues Related to "Jew"
  • Judaism and the Law
  • Jewish Cooking
  • Klezmer Band & Israeli Music
  • The Holocaust
  • Israel: Face to Face with the Shinshinim (Israeli Teen Embassaries) 
  • Life After Death
  • Conversational Hebrew
  • Jews in the News Around the World
  • Christianity
  • BEIT-RJ Choir
  • Israel Hot Topics
  • Songleading
  • Book Club
  • Israel Through A Lens
  • Travel Through Ancient Israel
Participating Congregations

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