Jewish Education Center of Cleveland

Siegal College of Jewish Studies

Discussions at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, spurred on by a variety of articles and postings on http://TheHebrewProject.wikispaces.com, led Cleveland’s Jewish educators to begin the process of rethinking the teaching of Hebrew and prayer. It was becoming more and more apparent that:
  • Hebrew prayer study is hard. If one were to pick an engaging text to introduce to an already disengaged 4th or 5th grader, chances are that Yotzer Ohr or Kiddush would not be at the top of the list. Also, the language of Hebrew prayers are on an adult level, both grammatically and conceptually.
  • Even with the best of teachers, there were too many students on the verge of Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparations who did not decode with 98% accuracy. It was felt that this was partially caused by the drop in days students attend "Hebrew School" (from 3 days down to 2), but moreso because teachers were not as efficient in their teaching as they might be.
With the expertise of Dr. Lifsa Schachter (Siegal College), and the support of Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz (JECC Curriculum Department) and Ronna Fox (JECC Teacher Center), Cleveland's supplementary school directors came around the table to rethink the teaching of Hebrew prayer. Lifsa taught the group core principles of Hebrew and Hebrew learning. As a result of a very stimulating two hour session, the school directors wanted to see how their new understandings of Hebrew and prayer education might be applied to אָבוֹת-אִמָהוֹת. This curriculum document was developed, along with support materials.

With the help of the JECC Teacher Center director, the group decided to provide teachers access to the curriculum and its supports in three formats:
  • A multi-page curricular document.
  • A set of 4x6 notecards, one for each of the activities for the prayer. It was felt that teachers might better to be able to plan their lessons if they could “pull” from their small looseleaf the activity cards they will form the basis of their planning for a particular lesson.
  • A wikispace that holds all the background and the documents, enabling teachers to access the information 24/7, in formats that are helpful to their planning. [You're looking at it!]

These other Wikispaces have uploads to support the learning of other prayers using the structure introduced for Avot V'Imahot:

We welcome your questions or comments:
Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz, nmoskowitz@jecc.org
Lifsa Schachter, lschachter@siegalcollege.edu
Ronna Fox, rfox@jecc.org