Judaic Studies

Our Judaic Studies program is comprised of three components.

1) Bible study is included in the weekday schedule, with a focus on the language forms of the text. In addition, key themes are highlighted and discussed in light of traditional and modern commentaries and Midrash. These classes include:

In the Beginning, Exodus as it Was Meant to be Read, Leviticus and Beyond, In the Footsteps of the Prophets, and Scroll Around.

2) Core Judaic Courses

On Sunday mornings, each grade level studies the following year-long courses:

  • 7th Grade: Ma La’asot {toggle the descriptions for these?}

Mah La’asot, is taught in two parts. The first part, taught during the first half of the year, presents moral dilemmas to solve, with guidance from the Bible and rabbinic sources. During the second part of the year, the focus of the course is on the relationships students forge and hold throughout life, starting with themselves, and continuing with their families, peers, their local and American Jewish community, Israel, the world, and Klal Yisrael.

  • 8th Grade: Dorff Ethics

As students build character and continue to mature, they need a safe place to discuss issues that are most relevant to their lives in the 21st century. LAHHS aims to create a lively and challenging environment in which teens are able to explore and critically assess their views. LAHHS’ curriculum creatively presents a traditional Jewish perspective, while displaying respect for the opinions and beliefs of each student. Through coursework, students begin to reflect upon the concept of ethics and how they choose “paths” to follow.

  • 9th Grade: Rabbinics

Students are introduced to rabbinic literature, through which they gain an understanding of the types of literature created by the sages and develop skills to understand these texts. The Rabbinics program is part of the LAHHS Sunday morning core curriculum for all 9th grade students. This survey course exposes students to Pirke Avot, Mishna, Talmud, and Midrash, both in Hebrew and English, and studies the classic commentators; Rashi, Maimonides, and Bartinura. Students often work in chavrutah (with a study partner), and join the conversation in which the Jewish people have been engaged for centuries. Students are asked to take an active approach to studying these texts, questioning what they say and even arguing with their conclusions. The class explores how the rabbis thought about the world and the ethical principles that they believed were vital for living a moral life. In the process, students are asked to think about how they can apply the lessons taught to their own lives.

  • 10th Grade: Jewish History & Zionism

Israel and Zionism are two of the most important concepts focused upon in the LAHHS curriculum. Over the course of the year, students trace the geographic, political and cultural origins of Israel, connecting these concepts back to each their own personal identity and Israel’s importance to all Jewish people around the world. Students are introduced to the most important leaders and thinkers of modern Israel. The curriculum also focuses on the religious and historical origins of the Jewish state and the varied concepts that are the foundations of modern Zionism. Students learn about the Jewish people’s hope of returning to our ancient homeland through nearly two thousand years of exile. This course encourages students to deepen their knowledge and passion for Israel and Zionism and prepares them to travel to Israel with a keen understanding of the Jewish homeland.

  • 11th: Farkas Junior

The Farkas Junior Seminar introduces our 11th graders to a higher education college-style learning environment. Each Sunday, students are exposed to and dialogue with some of Los Angeles’ finest teachers and scholars.

  • 12th: Pressman Senior Seminar ~ College-style session with presentations from different rabbis, Jewish educators, and other prominent Jewish community members each week

Each Sunday morning, LAHHS hosts an incredibly important seminar program for all of our graduating seniors. LAHHS invites the most influential teachers, leaders, and scholars of the greater Los Angeles Jewish community to engage our senior students with the goal of inspiring and preparing them to transition to an independent, mature, and Jewish lifestyle as they enter college.

3) There also Sunday academic electives from which the students may chose.

Sample Hebrew Elective Courses:

Hebrew Games – Learning is always more fun when it comes with a game. Create different kinds of games working on grammar, vocabulary or reading comprehension in this new elective!

Hebrew Journalism – A course designed to help the student learn about writing on current Israeli and Jewish issues in Hebrew. Students will also become more familiar with Israeli newspapers and media.

Hebrew Slang and Slogans – Ever hear Israeli sayings you wish you knew? In this class, you will learn many of the popular Hebrew slogans and slang words used by Israelis on an everyday basis. This class will make you fit right in on your next trip to Israel!

Hebrew through Music – Practice your Hebrew speaking and comprehension skills with Israeli music, both old and new. Learn popular folk songs along with the top hits in Israel of today while increasing your Hebrew vocabulary!

Hebrew Tales for Tots – Do you remember your favorite story as a child, one that will forever remain in your mind? Here is a chance to create a storybook for children in Hebrew! Expand on vocabulary and get in touch with your creative side as you write your own children’s storybook.

Israeli Television – Students will learn about and watch Israeli forms of media and entertainment, learning differences between Israeli entertainment and American entertainment, including topics and styles.

Sample Academic Elective Courses:

Bet Midrash – Your choice of Jewish themes and tests to study with a partner.

Beyond the Text – Why is the Torah the bestselling book ever, until today? How can we reread it every year without getting bored? Delve into the hidden messages of the Torah.

Devils, Angels and Spirits – Do Jews believe in vampires? Why or why not? Do we have good angels who protect us? Learn the answers to these and other issues of Jewish spirituality and Kabbalah.

Hidden Stories, Hidden Meanings (Sex, The Final Frontier) – Sex is not a dirty word in the Torah. Read the stories your teachers skipped in Hebrew School, and learn the Jewish view on issues like abortion, birth control, etc.

OMG – You are past the age of believing God is an old man with a beard in the sky. But what really is God? The answer lies in this class!

One God, Many Paths? – What makes the Jewish way to God unique and different?

Pilpul or Ping Pong?  –  Critical thinking is a modern term, but the Rabbis were fully familiar with it. What are good thinking skills and critical thinking – Where do we find the secrets of critical thinking in Jewish texts?

RESIST – Many Jews in the Holocaust dared to stand up, either through words or deeds, rather than be helpless victims. Learn about their courage, and the lessons they have taught us.

The Golden Land – A thematic look at topics in American Jewish history, such as Jews in politics, Jewish immigration and Jews in entertainment.

The Woman’s Touch – Is the Bible sexist? Is there a woman’s voice in the Bible? How does it sound, what does it say? What do we learn from the stories and laws about women?

They Made a Difference – Learn stories of famous Jewish heroes, both of old and new.  Learn how their courageous acts of bravery helped saved Jewish people or pave the way for history.