Department Essential Questions:
How does interpretation influence the meaning and purpose of text?
How do we reevaluate long held beliefs in light of new discovery?
How do ancient biblical narratives influence or impact our religious lives today?
How does intentional style choice of author convey religious meaning?
Our Tanakh methodology follows the great modern Orthodox Tanakh scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries – Nechama Leibovitz zt’l, Rabbi Menachem Liebtag, Rabbi Hayyim Angel and many others. As Rabbi Liebtag is known to say, our approach to Tanakh is like that at an Israeli construction site, “Sakana, Kan Bonim”, which means “Danger: We are building here.” We seek for our students to develop a deeply sophisticated approach to our most hallowed book, which is cultivated from 9th through 12th grade.
9th Grade – Shemot and one of the Megillot as determined by the teacher
We start freshman year of Tanakh with an introduction of the roles of Peshat and Midrash as well as working on basic reading skills.
10th Grade – Yonah, Esther and selections from Bamidbar
We take the knowledge and skills from 9th grade and expand it to a greater focus on the literary styles of the texts before introducing our students to philosophical questions.
11th Grade – Bereishit 1 (parts of Shemot and Bamidbar)
Building off of years one and two, we study the biggest question marks in Tanakh study, namely its conflicts with modern science and morality as found in the first chapters in Bereishit, Shemot and Bamidbar.
12th Grade – Bereishit 2
Easing our students into this sophisticated approach to Tanakh, we finish off by studying Biblical Criticism and its Orthodox responses. Particular focus will be on Bereishit 1 and Bereishit 2, the Mabul and the relationship between Yosef and Yehuda.
There will be Bekiut Tanakh in each grade whereby all students will study the breadth of Tanakh and hopefully complete the study of Tanakh during their four years at Shalhevet.