How the teacher can make use of the information
For each of the six subjects (Ellul, Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days, Yom Kippur, Succot and Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah), all the material needed by the teacher to prepare lessons has been brought together in a separate booklet, which is arranged in chapters under the following headings:
1. General introduction to the topic
The teacher can use this as an introduction for his first lesson.
2. Main themes
For each subject, we have noted eight to ten basic themes. The students will be told which of these they are to study.
a. The teacher can teach one of these in depth and the others in outline (see Chapter 5 above).
b. The teacher can allocate a different theme to each group of two or three children. They will be given assignments and background material, work on the topic, and present their results to the whole class.
3. Basic ideas
For each subject we have provided the teacher with a number of basic ideas, these being intended for the teacher. These are essentially educational concepts for the teacher to convoy to his students. Basic ideas are, in fact, interconnected with laws and customs, activities, prayers, and educational aims.
Laws and Customs
Teaching and Educational Aims
4. Key words and expressions
In this section, all the main terms and expressions connected with the main subject are presented alphabetically. (Note: the arrangement is alphabetical only in Hebrew, while the English follows the Hebrew order.)
The teacher can photocopy the pages from the six teacher guides and distribute them to the class. The students can then re-arrange the list of terms according to category, for instance: terms relating to laws and customs, symbols, concepts, and so on.
The series also contains a lexicon of terms for the Tishrei Festivals (a small blue booklet). The students should identify the term according to the definition. This lexicon can be used by the students while studying the subject, or as homework.
5. Laws and customs
This section contains the main laws and customs observed in Jewish communities. The teacher can add any special customs observed in the local congregation that are not included in the list.
The series contains a number of study aids connected with laws and customs relevant to the subject. Books of exercises for Rosh Hashanah deal with Shofar, Torah reading, prayers; for Yom Kippur with prayers and Torah reading; for Succot with Succah, the 'Arba'a Minim' (four species), 'enjoyment'; and for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah with Torah reading. There are also other aids connected with laws, such as transparencies, pictures, posters and a video film.
Prayers play a major role in the celebration of the Tishrei Festivals. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we spend most of the day in the synagogue, and even on Succot and Shemini Atzeret, prayers play a major role.
The section on 'basic ideas' emphasises the connection between the concepts and the various prayers. For instance, on Rosh Hashanah, the idea of proclaiming G-d as universal King and ruler is expressed in the prayers, and especially in the Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot of the Musaf Amidah.
The series includes a Mahzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur specially designed for the youngest classes. This contains all the principal prayers, together with colour pictures and explanations of the prayers and laws of the High Holidays. It is important to remember that this Mahzor is intended essentially for learning, and is a accompanied by an exercise booklet.
Every teacher goes to a great deal of trouble to find sources. Here we have listed the main biblical and other sources that the teacher needs to teach the subject and to which to direct the students.
How to use the sources:
a. It is advisable to present the list of sources to the students.
b. The students can look up the sources connected with the topic they are learning.
c. The students should know which sources provide answers to questions that arise, for instance: 'Where can we find the sources for the duty to live in the succah? - in the Torah itself, in the Talmud (Tractate Succah) or in the Mishnah Berurah commentary on Shulhan Aruch?'.
Studying with the aid of sources is not merely a way to learn the subject, but studying the source itself is an integral part of the duty to study Torah.
A good teacher will always wish to deal with a subject from two angles: theory, and practical application. The latter involves 'activity'.
The Tishrei Festivals, by their very nature, demand activity on the part of the students. It is not sufficient to learn the theory of the laws of behavior between one person and another, or that if someone wrongs another, Yom Kippur will not bring pardon until the aggrieved person forgives one. An attempt must be made to apply this theory in practice.
The various activities we have suggested will enable the teacher to teach the children practical application of at least some of the laws and concepts. From his or her own ideas and personal experience, each teacher can add to these.
9. Educational aims
Each teacher has to set himself or herself teaching and educational aims. It is not enough to decide to teach laws, prayers and so on; rather, clear aims must be set out. These will, of course, depend on the standard of the students, their family backgrounds, and so on. We have listed a number of aims at the end of the booklet, these being derived from other details brought earlier: terms and expressions, ideas, laws and sources.
10. Questions for summary and revision
These, too, are an essential part in teaching any subject. It is not enough to teach things: the teacher has to ascertain to what extent the students have absorbed what he or she has taught them.
The questions have been chosen not merely to test the students, but are intended to indicate to the teacher which ideas or information are important for the students to grasp and remember. The purpose is not to present the list to the class, but for the teacher to select relevant questions from the list and present them.
It is important to remember that the six main booklets in the series are intended to help the teacher to prepare his or her lessons. In them, he or she will find most of the information required to prepare a good lesson.