Temple David Weiger Religious School
2020-2021 Life Cycles Curriculum

Fundamental Ideas

  • Being part of a covenant means periodically pausing to reaffirm one’s commitment
  • Marking time with rituals makes it holy.
  • Lifecycle events offer the opportunity to connect with our Jewish ancestors, particularly through the use of Hebrew names and family traditions.
  • Lifecycle events offer the opportunity to connect with the greater Jewish community.
  • Many of our lifecycles have parallels in other religions and cultures.
  • Each lifecycle observance is undergirded by covenantal theology which deepens our relationship with God.
  • New lifecycle rituals are continually being developed.
  • Each of us is a part of the Chain of Tradition
Grade Clusters 2020-21 Life Cycles
Pre-K
to 2
Understanding Life Cycles
Time becomes sacred when we pause to mark it through the important Jewish Milestones: Brit Milah, Brit Bat, Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Kiddushin (wedding), Jewish burial and mourning rituals and through new lifecycles. By learning about what Jews do to mark each of these milestones, students will connect to their own families’ traditions as well as to the Jewish community. Students will discover that our life cycles reflect our values – from tzedakah to peace within the home. They will recognize the beauty and joy of Jewish lifecycle celebrations and gatherings and their pride will lead to engagement.
3 to 4 When? Who? What? Where?
Time becomes sacred when we pause to mark it through the important Jewish Milestones: Brit Milah, Brit Bat, Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Kiddushin (wedding), Jewish burial and mourning rituals and through new lifecycles. The focus will be on understanding the rituals, ritual objects, theology, vocabulary, blessings and how they guide us through life. The importance and repeated use of Hebrew names in Jewish rituals deepen our connection to past generations. Students will also learn about the process of converting to Judaism, recognizing that it is special – and a lot of sacred work! – to be a Jew. Students will discover that our life cycles reflect our values – from tzedakah to peace within the home.
5 to 7 Why: The Evolution of Lifecycles
Time becomes sacred when we pause to mark it through important Jewish Milestones: Brit Milah, Brit Bat, Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Kiddushin (wedding), Jewish burial and mourning rituals and through new lifecycles. Students will identify each of the traditional lifecycles with rituals, ritual objects, theology, vocabulary, blessings and how they guide us through life. These will be compared to other Jewish movements, such as the Reform Movement’s acceptance of patrilineal descent, and other religions, such as baptism vs. mikvah. Students will also learn about the process of converting to Judaism, recognizing that it is special – and a lot of work! – to be a Jew. As each lifecycle is studied, a focus will be on the primary sources, biblical and beyond: i.e., Jacob puts up stone to mark Rachel’s burial spot; divorce per Deuteronomy 24:1ff. Understanding the foundations will allow for tracing the ongoing evolution to today and will give permission to continue renewing and creating lifecycle events into the future. Students will discover that our life cycles reflect our values – from tzedakah to peace within the home.
8 to 10 The Changing Lifecycle
Time becomes sacred when we pause to mark it through the important Jewish Milestones: Brit Milah, Brit Bat, Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Kiddushin (wedding), Jewish burial and mourning rituals and through new lifecycles. As the traditional life cycle is reviewed, we will look at why the Reform movement does not emphasize some life cycles, such as Pidyon HaBen (Redemption of the Firstborn). We will also engage with creative rituals such as adoptions as well as new life cycles such as gay weddings, green funerals and the bioethics of such procedures as organ donation, in-vitro fertilization. There will be consideration around: what is “kosher” for a Jewish life cycle and what crosses a line. Students will discover that our life cycles reflect our values – from tzedakah to peace within the home. The final project will be for each student to create a new Jewish lifecycle.

All students will study Hebrew on an age appropriate level.

As well, per our revolving curriculum, Grades 8-10 will study the Holocaust in 2020-2021.

 

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