Source: Beurei Hatefila Institute
The Beurei Hatefila Institute is pleased to announce that they have uploaded to their website a summary of the lesson plans that they have developed for a one year/one hour per week course on Beurei Hatefila that is suitable for middle and high day schools and can be adapted to be presented as a pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah class in congregational schools.
Teaching Tefila, Jewish prayer, poses a challenge for Jewish educators. It cannot be taught on a page-by-page basis because no single commentary for each page of the Siddur that might hold the interest of the students is available. The only option open for teaching Tefila is to teach by topic. To date, a guide to teaching Tefila topic by topic has not been published.
Developing such a guide has been the long term goal of the Beurei Hatefila Institute. After nine years of writing a weekly e-mail newsletter in which he has traced the origin of the words and structure of the Siddur, Abe Katz, Founding Director of the Institute has prepared a Tefila curriculum that allows schools to present a one year/ one hour per week course on Tefila.
The curriculum developed by the Institute is source based. Such an approach provides the students with the opportunity to not only study Tefila but to also learn of the availability and to practice reading from a variety of sources. Teachers can choose to omit the sources or they can teach the sources in their English translations. A major benefit of a source based approach to studying Tefila is that it allows the teacher to incorporate autobiographical information about the author of each source. When the author of the source lived and where he lived is often the key to discovering why a prayer or prayer practice entered into the fixed liturgy.
The curriculum is flexible. Each lesson is independent of the others so teachers can choose which subjects they deem appropriate for their students. Once teachers become comfortable with following a source based curriculum, they can supplement the basic curriculum by downloading additional source materials that are available from the Beurei Hatefila Institute website.
Detailed lesson plans for each topic that is part of the one year course have been drafted. Those lesson plans will be made available to teachers who undergo a training program in the use of original sources to teach Tefila led by the Beurei Hatefila Institute.