TEACHING TORAH to YOUNG CHILDREN: Creating a Community of Torah Learners

Shira Horowitz • South Area Solomon Schechter Day School •

Telling & Retelling Acting Torah Talk Torah Journals
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The development of this case was supported by the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University
What are my goals in teaching Torah to young children?

Content knowledge – what happened, who are the characters, what do the words say?
I want my students to be able to understand and retell this text much as they would any other literary text. I want them to learn the details and the overall ideas. I want them to make connections to their own experiences, to visualize images to match the words, and to ask questions as they read.

Jewish identity and personal connection – I want my students to connect to this text at a more personal level. I want them to take these stories and make them their own. I want them to see the story of Bnei Yisrael as OUR story, the story of our family and our land, connecting each one of us to the greater Jewish community and the land of Israel.

Lessons for living – I want my students to make connections between Torah and their own lives. I want them to use Biblical characters as models for Jewish values, from Avraham’s hospitality to Rivka’s kindness to animals. I want them to see the Torah as a source for rules that we still follow today, from Shabbat to kashrut.

Love of Torah - I want my students to develop a love and respect for the Torah itself and to place it in a greater context outside of our classroom. I want them to approach this text with a sense of kedusha, of holiness. I want my students to feel emotionally connected to Torah, to love hearing Torah stories and discussing ideas from Torah. I want them to share this love of Torah with each other, with their families, and with others in the school.