Limudim (“Studies”) is IKAR’S educational program for Pre-K-7th grade students, designed to connect our children to Judaism and the world through a stimulating, interactive and inspiring Jewish learning experience, consistent with the vision and spirit of IKAR.
Limudim aims to instill a deep love and connection within our students to their Jewish heritage and Jewish life. Our goal is to educate them about their Jewish tradition, inspire them to pursue a life-long commitment to Jewish life and Jewish values, and encourage them to actively seek justice and righteousness in the world.
Limudim provides experiential and hands-on educational approaches to teach our students about their Jewish history, liturgy, and practice, through creative and artistic methods that engage them in deep, meaningful, and fun learning, through which they are able to think, feel, and live Judaism.
Knowing Judaism, Experiencing Judaism, Living Judaism
Experiential education is a core principle of our teaching and learning.
We believe that when teaching kids, there is definitely a need for a basic core curriculum that will provide students with a common Jewish knowledge. However, children learn best when they are able to experience the material on their own in a hands-on way and relate it to their own daily lives, and utilize and explore their own natural skills, talents, and areas of interest.
This principle of experiential learning is especially important in Jewish education, where so much of the curriculum already relies on experience: one could tell a lot to a child about Sukkot, for example, but nothing will make that child grasp the essence of the holiday better than actually sitting in a sukkah and shaking the lulav and etrog. Similarly, we can teach our students about tzedakah, but nothing will make them truly understand the meaning of it like actually participating in a social action project.
We also strongly believe that the learning process should not end in the classroom, but rather continue in the homes of the students and the community at large. Judaism, at its core is about community. To this end, Limudim students meet on Shabbat, with the rest of the IKAR community, which helps both students and parents to learn together, feel the rhythm of the Jewish week, and establish their own Shabbat routine and practice.
Most importantly, we want our students to understand the core principle that their Judaism is not only a part of their Limudim experience, but of their entire lives. We do not want them to just ‘be Jewish’ in Limudim or at IKAR, but to understand and internalize the fact that what they learn here applies to every aspect of their lives, and that their Judaism carries through to their daily lives and their entire existence.
At IKAR, we promote a culture of both honoring and challenging the tradition. We believe that open questioning is vital and that every generation has a new set of questions. We encourage critical thinking and debate, and hope to together uncover innovative new paths to God, Torah, and a Jewish life of purpose. At the same time, we hope to instill a sense of love, commitment, obligation and responsibility to the Jewish people and to the larger world. We engage thoughtfully and seriously in the important questions facing us as Jews and as human beings.
Our students learn about social justice and tikkun olam (repairing the world) through study, advocacy and action on behalf of local and global causes. Limudim aims to bring the spirit of IKAR to our children, blending social justice with spiritual depth and helping students connect to Judaism and the world. Our community is creative, spiritual, and egalitarian, welcoming people of diverse backgrounds, affiliations and lifestyles.
Graduates of Limudim are young Jewish adults who possess a vast knowledge of Judaism and are deeply connected to their Jewish community. They have developed a deep appreciation for Judaism and a strong Jewish identity. They will have come out of our program with a strong sense of culture and of what it means to be Jewish and live Jewishly.
The Limudim curriculum is a spiral curriculum, but also a core knowledge curriculum. This means that some of the subjects are taught initially in the earlier grades and then revisited in later grades. These include Torah (and Nevi’im and Ketuvim), Avodah (prayer and liturgy), Mitzvot (and social Justice), and Jewish Holidays.
In Torah, students learn age-appropriate narratives from the tradition. In Avodah, students learn about the meaning and origins of some of the prayers and blessings they have practiced in services. In Mitzvot, students learn about different mitzvot and Jewish values. In Jewish holidays, students learn the customs, traditions, symbols, stories, and songs around each holiday, focusing in each grade on a different aspect of the holiday.
Additionally, starting in 1st grade, students start focusing on other aspects and subjects in Judaism:
1st Grade – introduction to Israel (places, geography, culture, etc.)
2nd Grade – Jewish heroes (exploring Jewish history, culture, and values through learning about famous Jewish figures such as Sandy Koufax, Yoni Netanyahu, Abraham Joshua Heschel, etc.)
3rd Grade – ritual and practice (Shabbat, Kashrut, Havdalah, etc.)
4th Grade – Israel (a deeper look: history, Zionism, the modern state, etc.) and God (who/what is God, how do we talk about God, etc.)
5th Grade – Life Cycles (Brit Milah, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Jewish weddings, mourning rituals, etc.) and Jewish history (from the early Israelites to U.S. Jewry)
6th Grade – Israel (the different communities and different conflicts, the complexity of Israel), and Jewish history continued (from East European Jewry to American Jewry today)
7th Grade – big questions in Judaism (God, faith, Jewish identity, etc.), self-identity and becoming an adult through a Jewish perspective (in collaboration with the Moving Traditions program), and the connection between Judaism, the Holocaust, and social justice (in collaboration with the Righteous Conversations Project.)
The Hebrew program at Limudim is based on meeting the students where they are, catering to their individual needs, and teaching them at their level.
Both on Saturdays and Tuesdays students have specific periods dedicated to Hebrew only. The students are divided into mixed-ages levels based on assessments. The teachers use appropriate books, materials, games, and other resources in order to make the learning challenging, but also fun and engaging. The Hebrew curriculum is based on modern day Hebrew vocabulary, with the higher levels also focusing on liturgy and words and vocabulary from the Siddur.
Huggim (electives) are a way of enhancing the Limudim program through hands-on experiential education that calls on the creativity and artistic side of the students (and teachers). Through different electives, such as drama, music, cooking, and art, the students get to create and experiment with different projects as a compliment to their standard curriculum. The Huggim are taught by professional specialists.
Schedule & Program details
We primarily follow the LAUSD calendar and are also closed on Jewish holidays. See our 2016-17 calendar.
Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade
Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm. Kindergarten and first grade also have an optional Tuesday program from 4:00pm-6:15pm
Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm and Tuesdays, 4:00pm-6:15pm
– Before Winter Break: Saturdays, 9:15am-12:15pm and Tuesdays, 4:00pm-6:15pm
– After Winter Break: Tuesdays 4:00pm-7:00pm. On Saturdays, 7th grade students are welcome to join our Saturday teen program (Shabbateens).
For more information about Limudim please contact:
Amir Orbach, Director of Education at (323) 634-1870 x116 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becca Steinman, Assistant Director of Education at (323) 634-1870 x103 or email Becca@ikar-la.org.
Limudim will not turn any child away due to financial constraints, thanks in large part to generosity of the Marlene Horowitz Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donate to the fund by clicking here.