Feeling that b’nai mitzvah students spent too much time on learning to decode and chant prayers, Congregation Har HaShem created a new curriculum for sixth and seventh graders to put more emphasis on Torah, text, “God-wrestling” and tikkun olam (social justice). Students are guided through a semester of project-based learning focused on tikkun olam, which begins with a parent/child retreat to explore what is broken in the world and to study Jewish texts about repairing the world. The students spend the semester in regular learning sessions to study texts, meet with “experts” in the congregation, choose a social justice topic, and create their own project around repairing the world.
With other opportunities available for independent bar/bat mitzvah in the local community, this project-based learning model helps families find and build community.
Grade levels: 6, 7
Learners: Children (pre-B’nai Mitzvah), Parents,Community Members
Families have the option of enrolling in this program in addition to the regular educational offerings
Year Implemented: 2013
Congregation Har HaShem
B’nai Mitzvah each year: 32