At Berkman Mercaz Limud, we weave Hebrew into the learning in many ways!
T’filah: Every week, students in PreK through 7th grade participate in t’filah (worship) designed to teach and reinforce learning the prayers of our people. Music and chanting help to build comfort with Hebrew words and create powerful memories linking the Hebrew prayers with melodies and movement. In 3rd grade, students are given their own siddur (prayer book), which they will use throughout their time in Berkman Mercaz Limud and throughout their lives.
Hebrew Through Movement: Drawing on the science of language acquisition, Hebrew Through Movement (HTM) teaches Hebrew vocabulary and increases familiarity and comfort with hearing the Hebrew language. HTM teachers engage with students in Kindergarten through 5th grade by using on Hebrew to give increasingly complex commands and instructions that the students learn to follow. This method of learning involves the whole body, mimics the way that children learn their native language, and is fun and engaging.
Students also learn the alef-bet much as young English speakers learns to chant the “ABC” song long before learning to read. Music, art, and Hebrew yoga reinforce the learning and the fun.
Curriculum Hebrew: Every aspect of the curriculum at Berkman Mercaz Limud has its own specific Hebrew vocabulary.
- Weekly Torah study in every grade is a time to study parashat hashavua (Torah portion of the week), including Hebrew names and key phrases such as b’tzelem Elohim (created in the image of God, from B’reishit 1:27), panim el panim (face to face, D’varim 34:10), and tzedek, tzedek tirdof (justice, justice shall you pursue, D’varim 16:18)
- First graders learning about Jewish Spaces encounter Hebrew words associated with the synagogue and home, like mezzuzah and siddur (prayerbook)
- Fourth graders learning the basics about Israel learn Hebrew words related to history, geography, and modern life in the Jewish state
- Fifth graders studying Tanakh (bible) and Jewish history learn many Hebrew names of people and places, as well as the concept of sinat chinam (senseless hatred)
Jewish Values Expressed Through Hebrew: At Berkman Mercaz Limud, we ask our learners and their families to say “hineini” – “I am here, I am ready” – as they participate in Jewish learning and life. We recognize and reward positive behavior by noting when students demonstrate kavod (respect), contribute to kehillah (community), and approach their learning and worship with a sense of kavannah (intention) or kedusha (holiness). And, we partner with URJ Camp Harlam in promoting various middot (character traits) such as rachamim (compassion) and nitzachon (perseverance).
Hebrew Conversation: Teachers use Hebrew vocabulary in everyday interactions and in demonstrating praise.