Judaic studies is central to helping our students learn to wrestle and think about how we interact with our world. Our program supports discovery of their own Jewish identity through Jewish literacy and a thoughtful exploration of their Jewish spiritual and cultural heritage.
Here at Brandeis, our Judaic studies curriculum is guided by a series of big ideas, which form a dynamic, living document, revisited, revised, and brought to life through our interactions with one another, with our students, and with their families. This vision and set of enduring understandings reflect our mission and guiding tenets, as well as how to make them relevant to contemporary learning and our students’ lives.
Brandeis students develop critical thinking and textual analytical skills as they advance through the grades, skills that are central to Jewish literacy. Their journey takes them through Jewish texts, traditions, customs, and the Hebrew language, including Jewish history, Israel studies, and Jewish values and celebrations. Students engage in rigorous study that relates lessons learned to their own lives and to the world around them. Throughout the grades, students put the values they have learned into action by engaging in social justice, service learning, and tzedakah.
Whenever possible, Judaic studies is integrated into the rest of our academic curricula in order to bring a Jewish focus to core classes and show how Jewish life and learning impact our world. A few examples include our fourth grade students learning about Californian Jews during the Gold Rush as part of their study of California history; a focus on the history of American Jews in conjunction with their study of American history in fifth grade; and personalizing their studies by researching their own family stories through extensive projects in middle school.