Mercaz -- Curriculum Overview

Mercaz welcomes all students from Pre-Kindergarten through Seventh Grade with great excitement and delight!  We are happy to offer not only classroom experiences, but also Shabbat, holiday, special event, and social opportunities throughout the year. We believe that each of these experiences supports and enhances the others.

Our programming and learning experiences spiral throughout the years. Students at every grade level have opportunities to explore topics that are building blocks of their growing Jewish identities: Torah, holidays and life cycle events, Israel, prayer, Hebrew, and values and ethics. But while the topics are the same, each year builds on the learning from the year before at a deeper level and with more complexity. As students grow, they begin to make connections between these areas, and develop a greater appreciation of the way Jewish knowledge and values weave their way into so many aspects of their lives.

The spiraling quality of our curriculum in each content area:

  • Students grow from picture books and stories about the Torah filled with wonder about important characters and events of our history, to a closer look at how those stories unfolded in texts, to a more sophisticated study of the words and underlying messages of the texts, to exploring supplemental sources that bring additional meaning. 

  • Students move from many symbols and activities of our holidays and life cycle events, to learning the rituals and blessings, then to the Biblical or historical roots of those days, and finally into the ways in which they can relate meaningfully to the holidays and special moments in the Jewish year and a Jewish lifetime.

  • Students begin with simple recognition of the land of Israel and what it meant to our ancestors, to its places and people, then into a deeper understanding of it history and the richness of its culture, and later a more complex way of looking at the effects of history, geography, and diversity on modern Israel.

  • Students begin by learning and participating in parts of prayers from our services and from daily practices, to associating prayers with different activities and events, to understanding the vocabulary, meaning, and purpose of prayers, to gaining leadership skills within the service.

  • Students begin decoding the letters of the aleph-bet, then associating the letters with important Hebrew vocabulary words, then moving on to adding vowels, blending sounds together, gaining vocabulary, and working on reading fluency skills.

  • Students begin with values and behaviors from Torah stories and role playing, to learning lessons from what our ancestors are honored for, to exploring ethics in various text-based and historical situations, to taking the values and ethics they have learned and exploring how to bring those values into their lives and communities in practical and ongoing ways.