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Grades: 4-6 Though its usage may well be broader, this material was specifically designed to be used in fourth to sixth grade as a personality centered introduction to Jewish history. We know that many schools struggle with a problem of (a) knowing that research suggests that sequential history cannot really be studied until seventh or eighth grade, but (b) also knowing that if history is not taught in the fourth to sixth-grade slot, many students will never have an opportunity to study it.
Therefore, what we have created is a series of “biographies” that tell individual stories in the context of background, that can be mastered during this period. Each of these units is designed to:
The individual biographies can be considered “quilting squares” and can be assembled in any fashion that the teacher or curriculum designer desires. They can be clustered within a historical period, gathered by theme, or sequenced o demonstrate a historical flow.
Allowing his own daughter to have a Bat Mitzvah began the tradition of girls in America having a Bat Mitzvah.
Kaplan’s reconstructing of Jewish ideas eventually led to the formation of the Reconstructionist College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the birth of the Reconstructionist movement.
Among the Reconstructionist ideas of Kaplan are the idea that God is the Power of salvation, the Torah as the Jewish record of the Jewish people’s search for God, the legitimacy of reinterpreting mitzvot that no longer are relevant, the importance of social action as a mission of the Jewish people and the idea of a synagogue being not only a house of prayer but a house of cultural, social and athletic activities.
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