Eighth Graders Wrestle with God

The first three months of the eighth grade Judaic studies curriculum focus on direct text study. Students began the unit looking at the literal moment in the Torah where Jacob wrestles with God, “and then we continue through the ages, examining Talmudic understandings of God’s presence in our lives and medieval scholars’ ideas about what it means to ‘be created in God’s image,’”explains teacher Jennifer Baumer. The unit will conclude with an examination of how there are varied experiences of God in the present day, including doubt and denial.
In addition, students have been introduced to the unique structure of the Talmud. “We examine the Talmud as both an extensive document of Jewish law and as literature,” adds Ms. Baumer. “Since students are exploring the creation of the US Constitution in their social studies classes, they have also noticed many parallels between the two.” As a culminating project students will create their own Talmud page to reflect both what they have learned and how it might have changed their understanding. MORE PHOTOS