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1st Grade: Judaics & Hebrew Overview

Hebrew עברית

Why do we study Hebrew?

Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people, reflecting our identity and heritage. The study of Hebrew facilitates access to traditional Jewish texts while connecting the student to the culture and literature of the modern State of Israel, and to Jews around the world.

Educational studies suggest additional benefits of early foreign language education including :

  • Improving cognitive skills (problem solving, critical thinking), and listening skills
  • Building a greater sensitivity to language and awareness of cultural diversity  
  • Promoting creative whole-brain development

How do we study Hebrew?

Hebrew instruction at SJCS is learner-centered, engaging students interests and learning styles. Teachers build curricula from a wide range of sources to provide the best language acquisition for students. Hebrew education is focused on communication – listening, speaking, reading and writing. We learn Hebrew in conjunction with our cultural exploration of Judaism, learning about holidays, Israel, and ourselves in the Hebrew language.


  • Total Physical Response (TPR)
  • Hebrew Through Movement (HTM)
  • TaL-AM
  • A large and eclectic variety of Hebrew literature and curricular materials
  • Ani Bakitah U’bachoutz
  • Ariot Kal
  • TaL-AM sifriyah collection
  • Assorted Hebrew literature


  • Reading and Writing
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Arts: Music, Drama, Visual Art
  • Games: action-based and problem-solving


  • Students will acquire Hebrew vocabulary through immersion in Hebrew language, repetition of keywords, and practice speaking and writing.
  • Students will demonstrate oral communication skills through responding to directions, engaging in Hebrew conversations with peers and adults both in and out of the classroom, leading class routines,  participating in Hebrew games.  
  • Students will build reading and writing skills: students will decode phonetically all of the letters and vowels and write in “block” lettering, as well as in cursive.
  • Students will engage in writing activities including workbook exercises, as well as creative and descriptive writing
  • Students will read familiar texts with comprehension.

Torah תורה

Students at SJCS study TaNaKh (Bible) in order to engage in thoughtful inquiry, develop a connection to others, and explore who they are. Torah study provides opportunities for students to connect deeply with their Jewish identity. They develop a love of text, our shared heritage, and language that informs their values, moral obligations, and ways of engaging with the world. Our students engage with the text in Hebrew and English, and understand and analyze the text through asking deep questions, grappling with big ideas, and wrestling with the text. “Talmud Torah k’neged kulam,” The study of Torah leads us to fulfil the sacred obligations inspired by the text that make the world a better place.

In 1st grade, we will study the following topics:

  1. The Torah as our central text
  2. Covenant (Noah, Abraham, and Shabbat)
  3. The stories of Abraham and Sarah
  4. The stories of Isaac and Rebecca

In our study of Torah, we are guided by the following standards and benchmarks:

Students will be engaged in the learning of ancient, rabbinic and modern modes of interpretation of the biblical text and will see themselves as a link in this ongoing chain of interpretation.

To meet this standard, students will achieve the following benchmarks:

  • Gives examples of rabbis, teachers and other people who help explain the Torah.
  • Contributes personal ideas about the narrative.
  • Raises questions about the stories of the Torah.
  • Knows there are special stories— Midrashim—that help explain and teach lessons based on the Torah’s words and narratives.

Students will view the TaNaKH as the formative narrative of the Jewish people – past, present and future.

To meet this standard, students will achieve the following benchmarks:

  • Draws connections between themes and biblical characters.
  • Draws connections between TaNaKh, its themes, and personal experience.
  • Knows that the Torah (Pentateuch) is divided into five books.

Students will develop a love of Torah study for its own sake and embrace it as an inspiring resource, informing their values, moral commitments and ways of experiencing the world.

To meet this standard, students will achieve the following benchmarks:

  • Displays excitement, respect, and anticipation for Torah study.
  • Links specific value behaviors with biblical personalities in narrative settings.
  • Applies values into personal Jewish practice.

Jewish Culture and Values  לימודי יהדות :תרבות וערכים   

We are blessed to be part of a multi-faceted tradition. Culture, values, history, prayer, and beliefs weave together like the strands of a rope. Braided together, they are stronger than any individual strand and create the vibrancy of Jewish life we know today. At SJCS we strive to braid a strong rope to anchor our students to Jewish heritage, connect them with Jewish traditions around the world, and guide them toward creating a stronger, brighter world. These topics are taught both through text and action, living the concepts we learn in the classroom.  

  • Students will explore T’filah תפילה (Prayer) through song, poem, movement,  and meditation.
  • Students will follow the Jewish calendar, understanding the role of Shabbat and Holidays (שבת וחגים) and the traditions that make them special.
  • Students will develop a connection with Israel ישראל – the land, people, and culture.
  • Students will explore their personal Jewish identity and relationship with God.

Our Values: The Ideals We Live By ערכים

Learning at Seattle Jewish Community School is guided by values and ideals rooted in Jewish tradition, molded by modern pedagogic practices, and enriched through the love of our faculty and support staff.

Jewish Identity זהות יהודית | Our students develop a strong Jewish identity, built on the richness of our collective history and tradition, and our commitment to the principles of dereh eretz דרך ארץ , tikkun olam תיקון עולם , and gemilut hasadim גמילות חסדים .

Intellectual Rigor יסודיות אינטלקטואלית | from mathematics to Torah study, we encourage our students to delve deeply into diverse and complex subject matter.

Thoughtful Inquiry חקירה מתוך מלאכת מחשבת  | We inspire intellectual curiosity by offering rich content and encouraging a dialogue where asking questions is as important as finding answers.

Sense of Self מודעות עצמית  | We foster in our students a strong sense of self along with the confidence and resilience to stand behind their beliefs.

Connection to Others מודעות לאחר  | Our students engage respectfully and generously with each other and the world developing a sense of responsibility and commitment to service.

Inclusive Community קהילה שמקרבת מגוון רחב של אנשים | We provide a warm and nurturing atmosphere where all students and families are welcomed and supported and where relationships flourish, even after graduation.

Our students learn  Middot (character traits) that are based on the values of the school. 

דרך ארץ Dereh Eretz Citizenship
חסד Hesed Kindness
סקרנות Sak’rnut Curiosity
התמדה Hatmadah Perseverance
צדק Tzedek Justice
רחמים Rahamim Compassion
הכרת הטוב Hakarat Hatov Gratitude