7th Grade Information

Chai School is all about your Jewish Life!

Chai School stands on three pillars:
Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasidim.

Credit-based system:
Chai School completion is based on credits, rather than attendance. In this way if a student has (for example) basketball or theater during one season, he or she may elect to take the bulk of that year’s ‘credits’ during a different season. Students are also welcome to choose to participate without receiving credits.

A “complete year” in Chai School is 36 credits for 7-10th graders. You are encouraged to take enough credits to have a complete year, but the only year that is required is 10th grade if you participate in Confirmation. If you complete 11th and 12th grade you will graduate from Chai School and receive a special gift and certificate and a recommendation letter from Mount Zion for college and scholarships.

7th grade “Gesher (Bridge)” year: 36 Credits

Chai School recognizes that the 7th grade year is special. This is the Gesher (bridge) year when most students are preparing for and celebrating becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. 7th graders have significant Shabbat service requirements, sefer sessions, and other b’nei mitzvah obligations. 7th grade meets Wednesdays 5:45 – 7:15 p.m. and one Sunday afternoon each month, usually 12:15-3:30 p.m. Gesher classes are lead by teachers and facilitated by 11th and 12th grade peer mentors.

The 7th grade curriculum is based on Jewish mitzvot and values. Students study and explore values such as Shmirat HaGuf (guarding one’s body), Haknasat Orchim (Feeding the Hungry), Hiddur P’nei Zaken (Cherishing the Elderly), and many more. Students regularly discuss issues of topical concern and how to address bullying and peer pressure in a Jewish context.The 7th grade year also includes a mitzvah project and the opportunity to attend two weekend shabbatonim (retreats).

Sacred Choices Shabbaton
Recognizing the questions that teens have about relationships and sexuality, Mount Zion has adapted the Sacred Choices: Adolescent Relationships and Sexual Ethics curriculum developed by URJ for use in middle school programming. Sacred Choices is a comprehensive curriculum that teaches sexual ethics to teens, recognizing that Jewish values are central when dealing with relationships. The curriculum offers Jewish answers to many of their questions and has been designed to be sensitive to students who may identify as LGBT or are questioning. The retreat is facilitated by trained members of the Mount Zion Religious School, and parents must opt-in on student participation after attending an orientation session. In conjunction with the Sacred Choices curriculum, Mount Zion also uses the Our Whole Lives curriculum, a non-religious curriculum written by professional sexuality educators.

2014-2015 – 7th Grade School Documents

Mitzvah Project Packet

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