Grade 6

Jewish Studies

The focus of Grade 6 is on building Jewish life skills, understanding rituals, continuing to explore Jewish identity, and preparing for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Specific elements of the curriculum include:

  • Leading the Jewish community in tefillah (weekday afternoon and Shabbat morning worship)
  • Exploring the student’s relationship with God and prayer
  • Studying Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) through a lens of Middot (Jewish values) which students examine in their own lives
  • Understanding the history and meaning of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Learning trope (Torah cantillatoin)
  • Studying about tzedakah and gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness)through a hands on service learning curriculum
  • Understanding how to choose an appropriate “Mitzvah project” by learning about and exploring Mitzvot in which they find meaning
  • Building a community of peers
The grade 6 curriculum includes 6 site visits to agencies which help the poor, the hungry, those with special needs, the ecology, and seniors, to enable our students to engage in different forms of mitzvot and develop habits of mind and heart to do so all their lives.

Tefillah (Prayer)/Ivrit (Hebrew Language Studies)

As students near the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they review all elements of the Torah service, and other key prayers such as the Ashrei (How fortunate we are), the blessing for the Tallit, and the Elu D'varim (these are the obligations).  Students learn to achieve prayer fluency, as well as to understand the meaning of the prayers they are studying. 

They participate, and play a leadership role in our weekly Wednesday tefillah service for grades 3-6 in our beautiful sanctuary where they have time for engaging and reflective, personal and communal prayer.  Students sit by Tefillah team.  Tefillah teams consist of a blend of students from each grade; siblings are often on the same team.  Our sixth graders play the important role of helping our beginner readers during  the service. Once a month, they participate in our Sababa Sunday community tefillah for grades 2-6.  Parents are encouraged to join us.

Grade 6 students participate in the Shabbat morning service at the Grade 6 Shabbaton. It is expected that Grade 6 students will be decoding Hebrew fluidly.

Students will also attend a community Bar/Bat Mitzvah in order to experience this beautiful ritual in the Shir Tikva community.  

Moving Traditions

Once a month, our students in Grade 6 participate in Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! and Shevet Achim: the Brotherhood. These groups use Jewish teachings and practices to create a place for middle schoolers to feel safe, articulate their deepest concerns, consider the impact of gender on their daily lives, have fun, and be ‘real’ with their peers.  Groups develop their own rituals, shared sacred space, and social connections.  You can visit the Moving Traditions website ( to learn more about the research and programmatic aspects of this transformational program.

Moving Traditions groups meet on Sababa Sundays from 9:30 - 11 a.m. following tefillah (community prayer).


Students learn songs, and sometimes hand motions, related to the Jewish holidays, and themes of study.


The Grade 6 Tzedakah Initiative focuses on the theme of hunger and feeding the hungry.  All tzedakah collected in class will be donated to Mazon:  A Jewish Response to Hunger (  In addition, all Grade 6 students and their teachers will participate in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger in Boston on the first Sunday in May to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger in the Boston area.

Family Education

Sunday Program: The Mitzvah Awareness Program
The family education program for Grade 6 is comprised of a series of four sessions that focus on becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This program is an integrated component of the Grade 6 year and the B’nai Mitzvah preparation process. Students and parents study the three basic categories of Mitzvot (commandments): Torah, worship, and acts of love and kindness toward others. The sessions take place throughout the year outside of the regular school schedule, either on Sundays, after Religious School. For more information regarding B’nai Mitzvah at Temple Shir Tikva, visit our web pages.


The Shabbaton is an opportunity for our Grade 6 students to articulate their own personal Jewish identity as they begin the process of Bat/Bar Mitzvah. Through the course of a winter weekend, students will have the occasion to participate in a variety of fun and interactive Jewish learning experiences and explore what it means to be part of a sacred community celebrating the beauty of Shabbat.

As part of the Shabbaton, students will learn from and with our rabbis, cantor, and professional educators, as well as their teachers and some of our talented madrichim. The Shabbaton takes place at URJ Union for Reform Judaism’s Eisner Camp in the Berkshires and runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.  If we're lucky, we'll have plenty of time for sledding!

Latest Grade 6 News

Posted: Jun 30 2015 - 12:40pm

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