Solomon Schechter Day School

Jewish Studies

A major goal at Solomon Schechter Day School is to integrate Jewish studies with general studies as a positive learning experience for our students. The aim is to provide an enriched, holistic learning environment which maximizes students’ Jewish identity. While SSDS is affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, our approach is egalitarian observance of Jewish values. The Jewish Studies and Hebrew curriculum are guided by the following values and components:

Prayer and Ritual:  Prayer is incorporated into the students’ daily school life with the goal of being comfortable and contributing participants in Jewish prayer and ritual observances.

The Holy Scriptures (TaNakh):  Students develop a sense of respect and appreciation for the Hebrew texts and view it as one of the most important religious, philosophical, and cultural works of the Jewish people.

The Talmud and Other Rabbinical Writings:  Critical thinking skills and ethical insights are taught through the analysis of Jewish texts.

Hebrew Language:  Hebrew is taught as both the spoken language of Israel and as a language of the Torah.  Students learn to read, write and speak Hebrew as a living language as well as develop an understanding of Hebrew phrases in the liturgy and become accustomed to Hebrew as a language of prayer.  Children do not need to know Hebrew when they come to Solomon Schechter.  

The Jewish Year:  Students learn to appreciate the richness of the Jewish holiday cycle in accordance with the rhythms of Jewish time while learning the meanings of observances and celebrations. 

Living a Jewish Life:  Using a Jewish values program called Ariot’s Midot,  teachers take one value or Midah per month and feature it in lessons and activities. This way, students are able to more effectively internalize each Jewish value by living and practicing it at school for an entire month.

History of Modern Judaism:  An emphasis is placed on the ways in which Judaism has been influenced by and has responded to challenges presented by history and surrounding cultures. The development of the American Jewish community is examined along with its special bond to the land and people of  Israel.

Anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Human Rights:  Students deepen their understanding of the events and impact of the Holocaust so that they become more sensitive to issues of tolerance, compassion, and the courage of the human spirit.

Israel: Our curriculum introduces the notion that language, religion, culture and land are all part of Jewish tradition, each an indispensable part of the whole. To that end, Israel is presented as historical Biblical homeland, spiritual homeland and geographic center of modern conversational Hebrew. Israel is taught and spoken of every single day in our school.

The school celebrates Israel Independence Day in May, with a simulated flight on El Al, a “walking tour” through Jerusalem's Old City and “visits” to other historical and modern locales.