Department Essential Questions:
How does Judaism understand the relationship between God and Humans? Is halakha rigid or flexible?
How does the halakhic process shape contemporary Jewish discourse? What tools can I use to understand and interpret Jewish law?
9th Grade – Development of Halakha 1: Nature and Function
This course introduces and delves right into the nature of the Halakhic process by weaving together Talmudic texts, major Rishonim (medieval scholars, namely Rambam and Tosafot) as well as modern religious thinkers (Rabbi Solovetichik zt’l, Rabbi Berkovitz zt’l and l’Havdil Bein Hayyim l’Hayyim Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Shlita).
10th Grade – Development of Halakha 2: Process and Principles
This course is built off the 9th grade material and grapples more intensely with core components of Halakhic methodology, specifically studying key Halakhic principles, which will prepare our students with a much greater introduction to the very relevant issues in Halakha, namely the role of women in Orthodox Judaism, Medinat Yisrael and Shabbat.
11th Grade – Application of Halakhic Thought 1: Prayer, Women and Medinat Yisrael
Building off our students’ knowledge of the core principles, function and nature of Halakha, our students will now brave the tough waters of some of the most fascinating, exciting, controversial and relevant topics in Halakha. The students will now have the opportunity to bring to life the Talmudic texts, the major Rishonim and modern rabbinic scholars, ranging from Rav Kook zt’l to Rav Teitelbaum zt’l.
12th Grade - Judaic Elective - Halacha
The purpose of this course is for students to learn what to do and how to do it. While in many ways, the core learning experience is centered around the conceptual ideas offered in Tanakh and Talmud and the question of "why," there is also tremendous value in learning the bottom line: What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to keep Shabbat, kashrut and the chagim? What about medical ethics and halakhot bein adam l'chaveiro? This class is for students who want to learn seriously without the anxiety behind grades. Yes, there will still be grades, but it will be solely based on class presence. Additionally, the purpose of this class is o learn how to navigate a Shulchan Arukh and Mishna Berura so that you will be able to learn these sources independently.
Talmud Level 4: Iyunim b’Hilkhot Shabbat: (12th Grade)
This course will provide a high-level, conceptual introduction to the rich and sophisticated world of learning gemara b’iyun. The course includes topics in hilkhot Shabbat and the halakhic process, but will emphasize opportunities to engage in the classic modes of “lomdus,” analyzing, comparing and contrasting various rishonim on a wide range of issues to gain the deepest understanding of the nature and function of hilkhot Shabbat.
Talmud Level 4: Hilkhot Shabbat l’maaseh: (12th Grade)
This course will provide an overview to some of the essential laws of Shabbat, with an emphasis on practical, everyday laws and issues that come up on Shabbat with food preparation, clothing, carrying, and more. The course includes a overview of the nature of Shabbat prohibitions, as well as an examination of the halakhic process in action, but will emphasize learning of practical laws and observance, with a focus on the mishna berura and other halakhic works.
Advanced Talmud Level 4: Gemara ki’seder bi’iyun (12th Grade)
This course will serve as a high level, advanced course on learning a perek of Gemara b’iyun. Students in this course will learn how to engage a perek of Gemara from conceptual, analytical and categorical lenses and will delve deeply into the Gemara itself as well as the rishonim and modern day acharonim. In this course, students will accomplish learning through an entire perek. Students in this course will meet 5 times per week (includes what was AGS).
Advanced Gemara Shiur (AGS)
One of the key features of our Advanced Judaic Studies (AJS) program is the Advanced Gemara Shiur (AGS) that meets during breakfast for an additional two hours of gemara learning per week. True to Shalhevet’s educational philosophy, this program was originally started in 2014 by a small group of students interested in additional Talmud study, and has now grown to an enrollment of over 80 students. While every Shalhevet student receives a deep grounding in gemara study and skills through our award-winning LaHaV curriculum, AGS was built in recognition of the fact that the study of Talmud is without question a subject that requires additional time and focus in order to achieve mastery. AGS classes are built around study of traditional masechtot, beginning with masechet Brachot in 9th grade and culminating with in-depth study of masechet Bava Metzia in 12th grade. The learning style closely mimics the skills, analysis, and style of advanced yeshiva learning, and enrollment in AGS is required for all students in the Advanced Judaics track.
The new BMC has 2 tracks. The Gemara Track meets twice a week for an hour after school in our Beit Midrash. The track is centered around chavruta learning; students will come in with, or be paired with, a chavruta with which to dive into new, engaging Gemaras along with in-depth commentaries. Each week, we cap our learning with a shiur that ties everything we've been working on together. We learn a mesechta that introduces students to new realms of Torah and halakhic legal theory.
The Tanakh Track operates on an individual, yomi (daily) model. Each day, participants learn, on their own, one perek of Tanakh (which can take as little as 5 minutes, depending on how deeply the student wishes to learn). A platform is provided in which students can share questions, thoughts, and insights with each other as they learn a given chapter. Throughout the week, guided questions are posted to help focus students as they learn each chapter, and, once a week after school, there is a shiur to synthesize all that we've learned throughout the week and to dive more deeply into a given topic or theme. The goal of the Tanakh track is both to bridge bekiut and iyun - learning for breadth and depth, as well as creating consistency in the students' engagement with and excitement for Torah.