Shapell’s Areas of Study
B’iyun. The Talmud program combines “seder”, where students grapple with the Talmud in independent “chavruta” learning, with “shiurim”, seminar type lecture-discussions that guide them in skills development and conceptual clarity. The program aims to meet a student at his learning level and help him advance step by step until he can independently study the Talmud and its commentators.
We plan on focusing on the following Masechtas (tractates) in the coming zmanim (subject to change):
Spring 2013 – Brachot, 2nd Perek
Summer 2013- Brachot, 4th Perek
Elul 2013 – TBA
Winter 2014 – TBA
Bekiut. In addition to in-depth Talmud study, intermediate and advanced students are also exposed to a broad survey of Talmudic literature, examining multiple legal and philosophical issues and gaining fluency in analytical and memory skills.
Each Gemara rebbe opens the morning with a short shiur devoted to hashkafa, avodat Hashem, or mussar.
The afternoon program includes classes in: Chumash, Practical Halacha, Bekiut Gemara, Hashkafa, Chassidus, Bein Adam Lachaveiro, Topics in Judaism, Tefilla, Issues & Answers, Hebrew, and a Weekly Mussar Talk.
The Darche Noam approach to the regular study of Chumash is at once analytical and philosophical. Students develop skills to independently translate and analyze the Torah text and commentaries while exploring the major themes brought to light by the commentaries and in aggadic material from the Talmud and midrash. The Chumash program is designed to take the student, in a developmental fashion, from basic work on the text of the Chumash itself, though skills in studying Rashi and Ramban, to exploring a complete topic through the eyes of a range of commentators.
The Halacha Program’s goals are threefold:
- knowing what to do – practical halacha;
- understanding the underlying principles behind the halacha; &
- learning how to access the halachic sources.
The text-based seminars study the laws of Shabbat, Kashrut, and holidays (during Elul zman), combining chavruta preparation with classroom time. A short halachic talk on daily laws and holidays follows the morning Shacharit prayers one on interpersonal relations follows Mincha.
In addition to in-depth Talmud study, intermediate and advanced students are also exposed to a broad survey of Talmudic literature, examining multiple legal and philosophical issues and gaining fluency in analytical and memory skills.
The Hashkafa curriculum presents students with a range of core issues in Jewish thought, ethics, and contemporary life. Different faculty members teach the six units at different stages of the year. Students are thus exposed to a range of sources and teaching styles. The six topics include:
- Teshuva – Repentance
- Bitachon – Trust in G-d
- Man and the Purpose of Existence
- A Jew’s Relationship with G-d
- Torah, Prophecy, and the Sages
- The Nation of Israel and Redemption
Darche Noam seminars in philosophy include, at various times, in-depth analysis of Jewish liturgy, Ethics of the Fathers, Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Faith, the Tanya by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzatto’s The Way of G-d, works of the Maharal and the writings of such latter-day scholars as Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner and Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook.
This shiur introduces the student to the world of Chassidus — sources, ideas, history, and contemporary Chassidic life. Selections from earlier and later Chassidic leaders form the basis of each shiur, which spreads into lively discussions on a range of issues, including prayer, Jewish mysticism, social life, moral struggles, Torah learning and marriage.
Drawing heavily on the works of the Mussar Movement, this class discusses interpersonal mitzvot, self-improvement & character development, and building healthy relationships. It integrates textual skills, focusing on sources from early and contemporary Mussar literature, with life skills, brought out through class discussion.
This thirty minute talk, in the tradition of the Mussar Yeshivot, aims to inspire, enlighten, and challenge. The Mussar talk draws moral and spiritual lessons from the weekly Torah portion.
Taught on two levels, introductory and advanced, this is a forum for grappling with critical areas in Jewish life — some controversial, some contemporary, some timeless. The class has addressed such topics as:
- Gender Roles in Judaism
- Standards in Kashrut Supervision
- Zionism and the Modern State of Israel
- Relating to Parents
- Chassidim and Misnagdim
- Science and Religion
- Stringency and Leniency in Halacha
This introductory level course includes familiarization with the text of the prayer book, the practical side of prayer, and the concepts underlying Jewish prayer. A separate workshop focuses on learning how to lead the prayers in synagogue and read from the Torah in public.
For beginning students looking to fill in gaps in basic Jewish knowledge, this class aims to develop familiarity with a range of aspects of Jewish life and a large number of Jewish concepts. Topics that have been covered include:
- The Life Cycle
- The Jewish Library
- History and Development of the Oral Law
- Commonly Used Terms and Expressions in Jewish Life
Developing Hebrew language skills is a key element of Darche Noam’s textual learning curriculum. The ability to read, translate, and understand a Hebrew text enables a student to grapple with Jewish sources
Beginning levels focus on the grammar and reading skills essential for learning Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew, and more advanced levels learn conversational Hebrew as well.