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Academics

Judaic Studies

Meet our Judaic Studies faculty

Learning Torah is at the heart of who we are as Jews. Our Judaic studies curriculum is designed to impart a passion for learning, for doing mitzvot, and for building a relationship with Hashem. Our students build textual and cognitive skills by engaging directly with the primary sources in Chumash, Navi, Mishna, Gemara and Halacha. Our teachers create experiential hands-on activities that involve our students in their learning. Throughout all subjects, Ivrit and Eretz Yisrael are a primary focus.

Chumash

Chumash curriculum focuses on skills, content and values. Students work within the original Hebrew text of the Chumash, and develop both textual and analytical skills. Students learn systematic translating of prefixes, suffixes and shorashim and acquire Chumash vocabulary. Rashi is introduced in third grade, and students learn to both read Rashi script and understand his commentary. They learn to identify textual problems and use classical meforshim to understand a variety of approaches to addressing them. The careful skill building increases in sophistication each year. This method, called a spiral curriculum, ensures that skills are reinforced and revisited with greater depth and understanding and prepares students for the study of Chumash in high school and beyond.

Students begin with Lech Lecha in second grade and finish Sefer Bereishit by the end of fourth grade. In the middle school, they cover significant sections of Sifrei Shemot, Vayikra and BiMidbar. Some chapters are covered more quickly and others more slowly in order to allow students to appreciate both the breadth and depth of the Chumash. Our rich and magnificent heritage comes alive for them as they learn the stories, traditions and mitzvot through the text and commentaries. 

The Chumash also serves as the basis for learning about Jewish values. Our avot, imahot and other Torah personalities are role models from whom we learn proper midot and emunah. The mitzvot serve not only to define our behavior but also to shape our attitudes. Students are encouraged to integrate the lessons we learn from Chumash into how they view the world and how they live their lives.

In addition to following our Chumash curriculum, students on each grade level learn the parashat hashavua. Students review the weekly sedra and learn divrei Torah for their own Shabbat tables with relevant lessons about the Torah’s hashkafa and midot development. Students also prepare divrei Torah to present at weekly Shabbat assemblies and in the RPRY newsletter.

Navi

RPRY students learn Navi beginning in the fourth grade with Sefer Yehoshua, and culminating in the eighth grade with Melachim Aleph. In addition, portions of the various Megillot are taught in connection with the chagim to which they relate. Students engage with the Hebrew text and the map of Israel as they explore the early history of our People. The textual and conceptual skills that have been developed in the Chumash curriculum are applied to the learning of Navi as well. The Navi curriculum focuses on understanding the moral and ethical lessons that emerge from the text. Rich class discussions relate these lessons to students’ lives.

Torah SheBa’al Peh

Our Hebrew Language program in Grades 1-5 is the TaL AM Hebrew and Heritage Curriculum, a spiraled, integrated Hebrew Language Arts curriculum that has both print and digital components. The research-based content, design, and pedagogy empower students to acquire the Hebrew language joyfully and to learn and internalize Jewish concepts and values. The program’s unique and extensive resources enable teachers to create a vibrant Hebrew environment in the classroom that facilitates differentiation through interactive posters, CDs, library books, games, and colorful, student-friendly texts and workbooks. Students acquire spoken Hebrew through immersion in this rich environment. We supplement TaL AM with additional practice in kriah - Hebrew reading.

In middle school, there is greater emphasis on the elements of Hebrew grammar and more extensive writing, even as they continue to develop their conversational skills. The platform for this study is learning about the history of the modern State of Israel and current Israeli events. Students’ exploration of the politics, people and land of Israel is enhanced by their engagement in Modern Hebrew language. Students at RPRY begin learning Torah Sheba’al Peh as a separate discipline in the fifth grade. Students are taught about the role of Torah Sheba’al Peh in our mesorah and in the development of halacha.

For boys, fifth graders learn Mishna, and begin to develop the conceptual understanding, terminology and analytical skills necessary for advanced study. In sixth grade, we introduce our students to Gemara with the fourth chapter of Brachot. For seventh and eighth grades, a Gemara is chosen from Sedarim Moed, Nashim or Nezikin. Students develop textual skills in reading and translating the Gemara, and learn how to navigate the Talmudic page. They also gain a vocabulary of essential Talmud words. Emphasis is placed not only on translating these words, but also on recognizing the clues that many of them hold toward understanding the logical flow of the Gemara. Students work to break apart the Gemara and understand the shakla v’tarya – the give and take of a halachic argument involving questions, answers and proofs. As students progress in their study, they begin to use Rashi’s commentary to understand the Gemara and also gain familiarity with other rishonim. Attention is paid to the practical halachic implications of the Talmudic discussion, and students study Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berurah in that context.

Girls’ Torah Sheba’al Peh fosters an understanding of the transmission of the Oral Torah through the generations. It begins with Pirkei Avot in fifth grade and an in-depth study of the thirty-nine melachot in sixth grade. In seventh and eighth grades, topics are selected as springboards for broad exposure to the world of Torah Sheba’al Peh. Topics may include the laws of brachot, the laws of kriat shema and shemoneh esrei, the positive mitzvot of Shabbat, and seasonal units on the chagim.

Through the study of these topics, students learn about the history of the transmission of our tradition, critical Hebrew and Aramaic vocabulary, and the intellectual biographies of Torah luminaries throughout the ages. They navigate our classical Jewish texts, such as the Mishna, Gemara, rishonim and acharonim. This serves to prepare our students for advanced learning of halachic and midrashic texts on the high school level.

Limudei Eretz Yisrael

Limudei Eretz Yisrael curriculum is a comprehensive study of the geography, history, theology, and personalities of the Land of Israel from the days of Tanach through the modern State of Israel with all of its accomplishments and challenges. The curriculum, designed with input from many of our talented faculty members and utilizing material from Bar Ilan University and TaL-AM, focuses each student on the centrality of Eretz Yisrael within the Jew’s life. It is woven through other parts of our curriculum, and represents a core component of the RPRY experience. Israel is celebrated throughout RPRY, both in the classroom and at school programs and events.

Dinim

The Dinim curriculum at RPRY begins with the very youngest of our students. Starting in Early Childhood, our teachers discuss brachot, tefilah Shabbat and chagim. As the students progress through our lower school, their understanding of these subjects is developed. We use methodologies of experiential education to enhance their learning. Students daven in school, build model sukkot, and go on trips to visit the elderly. In the middle school, they study Jewish law by navigating the original texts and focus on additional topics such as the thirty-nine melachot, tefilin, and kashrut. Additionally, our students spend time studying the siddur and underlying themes in our tefilot, which enhances their personal praying experience. Students daven with a minyan at RPRY for shacharit and mincha.


Judaic Studies Faculty

Rabbi Joshua Einzig

Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies and Early Childhood

Rabbi Einzig began his career as a Judaic Studies teacher at North Shore Hebrew Academy. He holds a Master's Degree in Education from City College of New York and received Semicha from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University. Earlier in his career, Rabbi Einzig had the opportunity to serve in similar administrative roles at the H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy in St. Louis, MO, and the Samuel Scheck Hillel Day School in Boca Raton, FL. ... (click on name to read full bio)

Nitza Adler

2nd Grade and Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher

Brit Berlin

2nd Grade Judaic Studies Assistant Teacher

Elise Berlin

Think Tank Teacher for Judaic Studies and Lower School In-Class Resource

Maggie Brooks

1st Judaic Studies Assistant Teacher

Rachel Callen

Middle School Hebrew Teacher

Rabbi Moshe Chait

Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher

Leah Drillman

4th Grade and Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher

Chanie Grunwald

Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher

Aviva Korbman

Kindergarten Judaic Studies and Pre-Kindergarten Assistant Teacher

Rabbi Nachman Lapa

Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher and Boys' Torah Bowl Coach

Rabbi Lapa received a Bachelor of Talmudic Law from Talmudical Seminary/Denver in 1983. He then went to Beth Medrash Govoha and received a Master of Rabbinic and Talmudic Studies Degree in 1986, Rabbinic Ordination in 1988 and an Advanced Talmudic Certificate in 1993. ... (click name for full bio)

Devorah Lockspeiser

Think Tank in Judaic Studies Teacher

Chanie Loew

1st and 4th Grade Judaic Studies Teacher

Faigie Luban

2nd Grade Judaic Studies Teacher

Rabbi Steven Miodownik

Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher and Girls' Torah Bowl Coach

Rabbi Steven Miodownik has been teaching Middle School Judaic Studies at RPRY since 2000. He received his semicha from Yeshiva University after graduating from the Sy Syms School of Business with a degree in marketing. .. (click name for full bio)

Michal Moore

3rd Grade Judaic Studies Assistant Teacher

Penina Shmuel

Kindergarten Judaic Studies Assistant Teacher

Kaila Stein

3rd Grade and Middle School Judaic Studies Teacher

Elke Weintraub

1st Grade Judaic Studies Teacher

Mrs. Elke Weintraub has over thirty years of experience in the field of education.  She holds a Hebrew Teacher's Degree from Beth Jacob Teacher's Seminary and a Torah U'Mesorah Hebrew Teacher's license.  She attended Brooklyn College with a major in math and a minor in education.  Morah Elke joined the RPRY family in 1985 after teaching at Hillel Academy in Pittsburgh, PA.

Ilene Weintraub

Kindergarten General Studies Teacher

Shayna Yablonsky

Kindergarten Judaic Studies Teacher