As part of our increased focus on making connections between disciplines, the 7th and 8th grades kicked off their Shmita unit before vacation by watching the following video put out by the Shmita Yisraelit organization in Israel.
The video introduces our unit, which will be anchored around the question, "Why is a rest period necessary for people and for the land, and how do the laws of Shmita teach us about the ideals of Jewish life?"
Students in the Middle School are learning about Shmita and rest periods in Talmud, Chumash, and science.
In the seventh grade, students are studying the classical sources of Shmita from Sefer Vayikra in Chumash with Mrs. Samuels and Rabbi Durani. Rabbi Durani's classes have also looked at the reasons for Shmita.
In science class, students will draw a connection with rest periods when studying the muscular systems of the human body in Mr. Rosenstein's class. They will learn how a rest period is necessary for muscle growth.
In the eighth grade, students are studying Devarim in Chumash class. Mrs. Baronofsky's eighth-grade Chumash classes have begun to look at the laws of Shmitat Cesafi'm. They are also discussing loaning money to the poor, and proper care for the Levi, ger, widow, orphan, and eved ivri as part of our study of Parashat Re'eh and its laws focused on national unity.
The eighth-grade students are learning about the agricultural components of Shmita in Talmud class. Rabbi Soskil's class has investigated the issues around heter mechirah in depth, including investigating the approach kashrut organizations like the OU and the Star-K take when advising American Jews traveling to Israel. Rabbi Durani's eighth-grade Chumash class has learned about the social, spiritual and physical reasons for Shmita and are beginning to learn key terms, including "Otzar Beit Din" and "Heter Mechira." They are also learning some of the political ramifications of Shmita.
This coming week, science teacher Dr. David Fischer will visit eighth-grade science classes to teach a special class on soil so the students can learn some of the environmental science that relates to Shmita.
Both seventh- and eighth-grade classes are scheduled to speak with a representative of Leket Israel (www.leket.org.il) early next week.