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K-8 Hebrew & Judaic Studies

Hebrew and Judaic Studies

Hebrew and Judaic Studies

In partnership with parents, students at Hillel Academy develop a personal Jewish identity. The population of our school is diverse: 10% of our school population is not Jewish; 20-30% come from interfaith homes; and 70% fall somewhere between “just Jewish” and “Orthodox.” How Hillel Academy students connect with Judaism is deeply personal. Some connect religiously, some connect ritualistically, and some connect academically.

In order to best meet the needs of our diverse population, Hillel Academy offers two tracks of Jewish study. Families are asked to choose the track that best meets their family’s needs.

Yahadut Track

The Yahadut Jewish studies and Hebrew track reflects the diversity of the community we serve. It has equal elements of Jewish culture, Hebrew with a flavor of Israel, and Jewish practice. It is sensitive to the diverse practices of the Jewish community. As such, its ambition is to reflect and respect the diverse population of the Tampa Bay region. Hebrew language and Jewish customs are given equal weight; Jewish customs are presented to inform the student of the beauty and practical application of Jewish tradition.

At its essence, students are exposed to the wonderful traditions of prayer and practice at school while also gaining some exposure to Jewish law. The overarching goal of the Yahadut Track is to be inclusive in its approach and rich in its presentation.

Yahadut Track Resources

Yeshiva Track

The Yeshiva Track was created for families who specifically desire a Day School education that is taught according to Orthodox norms using a fun and interactive method. Although open to anyone, traditional Jewish practice is assumed, with the expectation that this mode of education more closely reflects the observances practiced in the student’s own home. The Yeshiva track teachers are all observant, according to the standards of Orthodox practice.

As the grades advance, the curriculum also incorporates additional content and skills-based instruction in traditional Jewish texts (including Rashi, Mishnayos, etc...). The Yeshiva Track comprises separate Jewish Studies and Hebrew classes, as well as Tefilah (prayers).

The goal is that when students graduate they are able to open a Chumash and/or Navi and read, translate, and understand on their own.

Yeshiva Resources

In middle school, students learning in the Yahadut Track will shift to a seminar model of learning where during each semester of study, they will focus deeply on a single topic of study. Semester-long units include:

  • B’nei Mitzvah Preparation
  • Jews in American History
  • The History of the Holocaust
  • Joshua and/or Samuel I
  • The Geopolitical Landscape of Biblical Israel
  • The Geopolitical Landscape of Modern Israel

Students studying in the Yeshiva Track will continue to study Chumash, Mishnayos, Navi, etc… as many prepare for their transition to high school yeshivot or seminaries.

Learning Together

It is important to note that students in each of the tracks receive instruction separately from their peers only during Jewish Studies. All students are grouped by learning level for General Studies instruction and participate in all communal celebrations, trips, specials, recess, and lunch together with their grade-level and division peers.