Gross Schechter Day School ignites a passion for Jewish life, providing strong tools and rich knowledge to unlock and understand our history and culture, texts and language, and rituals and traditions.
Gross Schechter Day School inspires students to ask questions, think critically, and be able to access both ancient and modern texts in order to gain a long lasting, knowledge based, Jewish identity. The Jewish education and experience extends beyond the walls of the classroom. It is the pulse of the school and ensures a holistic understanding of the Jewish self, religion, culture and history
A graduate of Gross Schechter Day School has a robust set of knowledge and skills in the following areas: Hebrew, Jewish texts, Tefillah, Holidays and Shabbat, Jewish life and daily mitzvot, Israel, Jewish History and Machshava (Jewish thought). A graduate sees meaning in each of these areas. S/he has a strong appreciation for living a Jewish life, can passionately and confidently explain various Jewish ideals, values and concepts to others and loves being Jewish with a strong sense of Jewish identity.
Moreover, a graduate of Gross Schechter Day School wishes to actively participate in Jewish rituals such as Shabbat. S/he is an active participant and leader in his/her Jewish community, from Jewish youth programs or other such opportunities throughout high school (ie. @Akiva, USY), college – (Hillel) and beyond.
Because of Gross Schechter Day School and the strong education received in each of the aforementioned areas, the graduate leads an active and proud Jewish lifestyle beyond the walls of Gross Schechter Day School.
All Gross Schechter students, starting as young as 6 weeks are exposed to Hebrew in the classroom as they grow towards full integration of the language. Throughout their years, students learn to confidently read, write, understand and speak Hebrew in multiple settings.
In the Early Childhood program, Hebrew is presented to the students using multiple, complementary techniques. Each classroom features Hebrew language through the use of daily vocabulary (ie. colors, numbers, parts of the room, items of clothing, etc.), holiday observances and weekly Shabbat song and celebration. Additionally, the Director of Hebrew Immersion, Iris Granot, is present in every classroom, enriching the students with strong Hebrew skills through immersive techniques.
In the Lower School and Middle School, using the spiraling curriculum of ItalAm and Bishvil Ha’Ivrit, students build a fluency in reading, writing and speaking. At Gross Schechter, Hebrew is the tool with which students can both unlock ancient texts, and also maintain a strong connection to the modern state of Israel. The study and acquisition of Hebrew is a critical part of a Jewish education.
Students are equipped with both breadth and depth of various Jewish texts including Torah, Nach, Mishnah, and Gemara. Graduates see Jewish text and text study as a part of the Jewish narrative and as a relevant part of an active Jewish life. They are well versed in the prevalent canonical texts, their characters and stories and learn to access them independently. Moreover, they relate to the moral ideas of the text on an individual level.
Beginning in Pre-K, tefillah is part of every day. Teachers work to make tefillah fun and engaging. They help students to build a personal connection with god. Students become proficient in tefillah and are prepared to be leaders in their synagogues on Shabbat, holidays and in the daily prayer services. Students also become strong Torah readers, a lifelong and practical method for students to remain active in the synagogue beyond their time at GSDS.
A key feature of a GSDS Jewish education, holidays are acknowledged and celebrated with pride throughout the school. Students gain a strong foundation in the Jewish calendar and are equipped with knowledge to celebrate the holiday independently. The importance and specialness of Shabbat is emphasized each week through celebration, songs, stories, special tefillah and more. Parents and family members are included in holiday celebrations as often as possible, so as to extend the education to the entire household.
At GSDS, students are adequately prepared to live a Jewish life in any capacity they choose. Knowledge of day-to-day Jewish rituals and life cycle events allow them to participate confidently and with excitement in any Jewish environment.
Fostering a connection to the modern state of Israel, as well as to the land of Israel, is an important value at GSDS. Beginning at a young age, students are taught the geography and history of the land and how it connects to the Jewish narrative. The students become knowledgeable in the complicated history of the homeland for the Jewish people and are also introduced to the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The climax of the Israel curriculum is the three week 8th grade trip to Israel.
Graduates leave GSDS with a rich story of their people. They are knowledgeable about several key moments in history, with special attention on the Holocaust. Students are exposed to the reality of modern antisemitism and are prepared to advocate for the Jewish people in larger communities, whether at high school, college, or beyond.
Judaism is the methodology by which GSDS fosters kindness, generosity and the readiness in our students to make the world a better place. Our approach builds on a values-based education to imbue every aspect of our students’ experience with meaning and opportunities to grow. The TOPS program (Tikkun Olam Program of Schechter) is a favorite among Middle School students. Coupled with specialist teachers such as Teacher Debbie, mindfulness coach, and Oudi Singer, Ruach (spirit) specialist, students are taught Jewish ‘big ideas’ that inspire them to be their best selves.