Jewish Identity at The Agnon School: You and I Are a Link in the Jewish Chain
The Agnon School is committed to Jewish pluralism. We affirm multiple forms of Jewish identity, striving to engage each student at his or her Jewish starting point. Building a Jewish identity is a lifelong process that begins and develops at home, is reinforced and developed at school, and continues to mature over the course of a lifetime.
A graduate of The Agnon School is launched on this journey. He or she has foundational knowledge of Jewish values, text, history and culture, possesses a positive emotional feeling for Jewish life and practice, has the skills to participate actively in Jewish life, exhibits a strong commitment to the Jewish people, and understands his or her responsibility to guard the three thousand year old Jewish chain.
Living Jewishly in America today is inherently complicated. Students who are constructing their lives in this country and this century necessarily deal with an array of challenging questions which provide opportunities for them to develop their Jewish identity. What is the relationship between Torah and science, Torah and history? What does it mean to believe in God? What is the importance of the Hebrew language, of prayer and practice? What is the relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel, between America and Israel? How do I fit in? What will be my contribution?
The instruction and curriculum through which we engage our students are designed to help them deal with these questions and to use them to strengthen their identity. The curriculum draws from four major streams, with the Hebrew language as the essential key that deepens and enriches students’ understanding. These streams are based in:
- Study of Torah – including Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, Siddur
- Jewish Life and Practice – including Chaggim, Tzedakah, T’fillah
- Israel – people, culture, state and land
- Kehillah – Jewish community
Through commitment to these streams, students become links in the Jewish chain. They take upon themselves increasing responsibility for:
- Chayyim Yehudi’im – Living Jewishly
- Limud – Jewish learning
- Israel – Support of, connection to, visiting and/or living in Israel
- Kehilah Yehudit – Being active in Jewish communal life
- Chinuch Ledorot – Raising Jewish children
As we engage with our students in the passion, joy, learning, and intellectual inquiry which pervade the culture of The Agnon School, we enrich the Jewish souls and intellects of one another and foster a continuation of Jewish life for upcoming generations.