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This unit concentrates on four main themes: (1) The Memory Box, which helps students recollect what they learned in the past, and retain new knowledge acquired throughout the school year; (2) The rules for successful learning; (3) The concept of Multiple Intelligences, which enable us to think, learn and perform other activities successfully; (4) A deeper acquaintance with the students of the Virtual Class – their distinct characteristics, hobbies etc. – as a model for their own class. The children are also introduced to Ronen, a new student, and experience through him the process of integration and the significance of friendship and acceptance.
The Grade 4 unit links the mitzvot and customs of the High holidays to the Oral Law as well as the Torah. The unit focuses on two main themes: 1) The process of Tshuva, studied through Maimonides’ Hilchot Tshuva, their implementation in various situations, and their connection to the rules of proper behavior – not only during the High Holidays, but throughout the year. 2) The halachot for a kosher sukka studied through the Sukka Tractate of the Mishna, and the connection between the Four Species and the various characteristics of Am Israel.
The Memory Folder enables students to recall songs and stories previously learned about Chanuka, as well as the mitzvot and customs commemorating the Maccabees’ bravery and the miracles they experienced. The unit explores the question: what are the sources of the holiday? and aims at understanding the Chanuka story from the perspective of its heroes. The guided reader raises the problems the Jews faced and the solutions they chose, while implementing the skill of identifying and solving problems, central to the Grade 4 curriculum. This skill is also featured in the library books Ma Lamad Matityahu MeHaZipor HaKtana and HaBchira Shel Dan, which exemplify what we can learn from the Maccabees in order to preserve our Jewish identity – both in the present and the future.
The students focus on the in-depth study of the three Torah edicts pertaining to the environment: Le’ochla = how we enjoy the trees; Le’ovda = our responsibility to care for the trees and the environment; and Le’shomra = our responsibility to protect the environment for its future existence. The concept of the tree is expanded to Etz Chaim (the Torah) in order to create an analogy between the interrelation of man and nature, and man and the Torah. In conclusion the students prepare a Tu Bishvat feast made of the fruits of Eretz the tree.
Through the Memory Folder the students review all that they have successfully learned and remembered about the story of the Megila. The joy of the holiday is presented to the children through jokes; 7 humorous project books enable the students to differentiate between positive and offensive humor. The Megila story focuses on the life skill of decision-making by presenting the story in a Problem-Advice-Solution format, and on the skill of inference, comparing what is explicitly written in the text with what can be construed reading between the lines. The students examine the mizvot and customs through the concept Venahafoch Hu.
The Grade 4 Pesach unit focuses on the concept of Pesach Mizrayim – Pesach Dorot: how our forefathers celebrated their redemption during the time of the Exodus, and how we celebrate it today. This comparison is explored while studying the Hagada and enacted through a magical Hagada story in which the children are whisked back to Egypt, and are able to witness what their ancestors felt and endured, contrasting it with what they feel and experience today. The Exodus is also aligned and linked to the Torah track, as the children study the Exodus in Chumash Shmot.
Israel & Jerusalem
Through the Memory Folder the students review the components and symbols of a sovereign state (land, language, anthem, flag, symbol and army). They learn about the similarities between Israel’s Independence Day and other Jewish holidays, and about the origin of the holidays (Torah/Megila/Mishna/Gmara/Sidur). The children experience the special connection of Am Israel to Jerusalem and the centrality of Jerusalem to Am Israel and to the world through the guided reader Ma Mesaprot HaAvanim Al Yerushalayim? and through a songbook. Each stone describes a specific period along the timeline, and each song adds the emotional aspect of our connection to the city.
During the period during which we count the Omer, symbolizing the anticipation of receiving the Torah and achieving spiritual liberation, the unit examines Rabi Akiva, who overcame the difficult reality he was faced with and became a great scholar. Rabi Akiva, and the basic rule he established – Love Thy Neighbor As Yourself – exemplify proper behavior facilitating the unity of the People of Israel.
The Shavuot unit focuses on elucidating the custom of Tikun Leil Shavuot through the examination of Torah verses and of the question “What do we fix?” through a simulation of how the students would have felt and acted prior to Matan Torah.
A series of illustrations recalls the content of each parasha. Its study focuses on selected verses, which raise a question. The students of the Virtual classroom and a variety of commentators offer answers to the question, thereby exposing the students to divergent thinking, implemented in Torah study. The activities in each unit encourage the students to select the commentary that best reflects their opinion, thereby participating in the tradition of interpretation. They learn a proverb linking the commentary and the message of the parasha, which they can apply in their own lives, presenting it to their families as a Dvar Torah.