SHABBATON CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
2013-2014 Sacred Texts: From Torah to Today
Torah is often compared to a Tree of Life. While the stories that are read each and every year remain constant, they are a beginning point rather than an ending point. The lessons that evolve are enduring; shaping our identity, values, wisdom and meaning. Throughout the lifetime of the Jewish people, the Torah serves as the master narrative of our people. Nevertheless, reading it in and of itself is not enough. Learning the most central stories is not enough either. Rather, it is most important to understand how these sacred texts serve as a foundation and create a dialogue. In one of the commentaries on the first verse of the Torah, Rashi begins his commentary, “This verse insists, ‘darsheini’ –interpret me!” While the comment applies specifically to the words at hand, in truth it can be applied more broadly to the Torah as a whole. Throughout the year, we will explore the dynamic conversation between a variety of sacred texts and the Torah. In turn, this will add insight to the relationship between text, interpreters, students, one another, and God. Throughout the course of the year, our families will learn that Torah is a process not an ending point.
2014-2015 We Believe: The Great Questions & Answers of Judaism
One of the great values of Jewish learning is to actively ask questions. The focus of this year is the exploration of the great questions and answers of our tradition. What does it mean to be Jewish? Why is family so central in Judaism? What do we believe about God? Is Judaism a people, a culture or a religion? Why are we called the Chosen People? How is Judaism different from other religions? What do Reform Jews believe? What do other branches of Judaism believe? What is the relationship between Science and Religion? Why do bad things happen to Good people? What is the meaning of Life?
2015-2016 Mitzvot: From Sinai to Today
Standing at Sinai, our people were transformed. From that moment forward, how we relate to others, and how we live our lives was forever reframed. Throughout the course of this year we will explore that moment and the relationships that have developed in depth. We will especially look at the mitzvot that have grown out of that experience and now serve as the foundation of Judaism. We will also examine the Reform Movement’s approach to the commandments and Jewish law. In addition to intellectual exploration, we will have a variety of opportunities for hands on experimentation.
2016-2017 The Cycles of Our Lives
Often times, people refer to life as cyclical. In some cases this is true, but in Jewish life it is much more complex. At any one moment we may be experiencing multiple cycles, overlapping and combining with one another. We can find ourselves involved with anywhere from one to five cycles. These cycles are all moving at the very same time. It is our ability to move through each of these cycles and combine them together that shapes and enriches our lives. When people are first learning and exploring Judaism, their primary foci are holiday and lifecycle events because they are the actions that build the foundation to living a Jewish life. This year we will examine the variety of cycles that touch us and our families.
2017-2018 All of Israel is Responsible One for Another
Throughout Jewish history, community has been central to everything we do both in ritual observance and also how we live our lives. This year we will explore all of the varied communities that we are part of and how they can transform our lives. We will begin with our immediate families, The Temple Community, Cleveland, National and International Community. Our final unit of focus will be Israel. Throughout, we will learn and have a lot of hands on experiences to strengthen our ability to be responsible one for another.