Our Stories

Exploring Judaic Texts with Creativity and Depth

February 7, 2022

Fourth grade students are bringing depth and creativity to their exploration of Torah and Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Ancestors). Throughout the first semester, the fourth graders focused on the Biblical characters Leah, Rachel, and Yaakov, examining their personality traits and how those traits influenced their response to events and challenges. The students engaged in in-depth character studies of the אבות and אמהות, the matriarchs and patriarchs, and analyzed characters and events by looking at both the p’shat (literal meaning of the text) and d’rash (Biblical exegesis).

To further our students’ creative thinking as they reflect on their Torah learning, students were challenged to create artwork in connection to this text from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Ancestors):

The students created beautiful artwork featuring one of the animals in the text and also wrote about ways that they could harness the traits of that animal to do God’s will. They interpreted “doing the will of God” as doing God’s mitzvot (commandments), and thought deeply about how they could use the animals’ traits to help other people in the world. The activity inspired the children to think about the ways they do or can connect with God and other people, who are made in God’s image.

Excerpts from the students’ writings include:

  • I can be perceptive like an eagle and warn people if someone is hurt.
  • I can be strong like a lion and help people who can’t lift things as well.
  • I can be stealthy as a gazelle by being a nature guide so that I can make sure people don’t get hurt and have fun.
  • I can be fast as a gazelle by helping and doing more mitzvot.

Milton’s Judaic Studies program fosters a love of learning Torah, meaningful exploration of text, and creative projects designed to fully engage and expand our students’ understanding.