Union for Reform Judaism

Curriculum Core

Each core level contains 27 complete one-hour classroom lessons in Torah, Avodah and G'milut Chasdadim plus family education lessons. The CHAI lessons follow a curriculum model known as "backward design," as outlined in the book Understanding by Design (UbD) by Wiggins and McTighe and published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). This approach, and that of the CHAI curriculum is designed so that student learning will go beyond the specific classroom activities and will reach a deeper enduring understanding, establishing the basis for later Jewish learning and living.

Below are the enduring understandings, or “big ideas” on which the curriculum is built.

The lesson overview provides a comprehensive outline of all of the lessons in the curriculum.

Enduring Understandings
Torah
Overall:

Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its students.
Torah is real in our daily lives; it goes with us wherever we are.
Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives. |

Level 1: I am part of the ongoing story of Torah and the Jewish people

Level 2: The Torah teaches me how to be part of the Jewish people.

Level 3: The laws and rules found in the Torah can help us to live a life filled with holy moments.

Level 4: With the promise of a holy land (Eretz Yisrael), we as a holy people (Am Yisrael) have a responsibility to work towards becoming holy by observing the brit (covenant).

Level 5: The prophets were focused on reminding the Jewish people how God wants us to live, and their messages are at the heart of Reform Judaism.

Level 6: Studying Jewish texts allows us to explore our relationship with God and reflect on the ways God is continuously revealed to others and to ourselves.

Level 7: My life is reflected in and reflects Torah.

Avodah
Overall:
Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self. 
Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning and insight to our lives and our community.

Level 1: My Jewish acts help me discover the beauty and order of sacred time and my place in the Jewish story.

Level 2: Jewish stories, celebrations and rituals help me understand and express my relationship with God.

Level 3: Through avodah we can make our lives and the world more kadosh (holy).

Level 4: Keva and kavanah , the fixed order of worship and the personal intention we bring to prayer, are complementary aspects of Jewish worship, combining to help us make sacred connections.

Level 5: The practice of prayer can help me grow through personal reflection, can increase my connection to the Jewish people, and can strengthen my relationship with God.

Level 6: Avodah is the work we do, by exploring our personal and communal role in Revelation, to find sacred connections to God, community and self.

Level 7: The message and power of Jewish prayer can help me understand and define myself as an individual and as an authentic member of the Jewish community.

G'milut Chasadim
Overall:
We have a responsibility to perform personal acts of g'milut chasadim to make the world a better and holier place.

Level 1: I am a part of the ongoing story of the Jewish people when I perform acts of g’milut chasadim.

Level 2: We make the world a better place by performing acts of g’milut chasadim in our everyday lives.

Level 3: Each individual act of g'milut chasadim can make the world more kadosh (holy).

Level 4: We have a responsibility to perform acts of g'milut chasadim for the people we encounter in our daily lives.

Level 5: We are all part of K'lal Yisrael and have a responsibility to actively support and sustain the Jewish community through acts of g’milut chasadim.

Level 6: We can experience God in our world, in others and within ourselves by engaging in acts of g’milut chasadim.

Level 7: Our development as emerging Reform Jewish adults and authentic members of the Jewish community is closely linked to our ethical behavior (middot) and the performance of acts of g’milut chasadim.

.