Jewish Traditions and Judaic Studies
Jewish Values and Traditions
Bialik students graduate with a mature understanding and appreciation of their heritage. They learn to participate in Jewish customs, to celebrate holidays in the tradition of their ancestors, to relate to co-religionists of all denominations and cultures, and to appreciate Israel’s importance to Jews around the world. Courses encompass learning of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions, and developing the student’s connection to the history and moral values of the Jewish people as embodied in the Tanach.
Our school serves a community of families that varies greatly in observance of Jewish customs, laws, and ceremonies. We consciously emphasize the need for tolerance and understanding of different practices and points of view as a school value. We want all school events to be open and comfortable for everyone. For this reason, events sponsored by the school, its constituent bodies, or individual classrooms must be kosher. Students may not order in or bring in food from restaurants not under Kashrut certification. Although we do not inspect food brought into the school by individual students, we regard it as a matter of respect and honour that students and parents respect this policy. Our cafeteria follows Kashrut regulations and is closely internally monitored.
It is school policy for boys to wear a Kippah during Tanach classes, prayer, special occasions and assemblies that include prayers, and visits to other Jewish day schools, synagogues and so on. It is mandatory for boys to have a Kippah in school at all times.
All students are welcome to attend our daily 7:45 minyan, conducted by students and spiritual leaders. A distinguishing feature of a Jewish high school, the minyan is spiritual, educational and social in nature. In keeping with our commitment to encourage any form of positive educational experience, and by every measure, the benefits of group prayer are great. Through participation in the minyan, our students gain both fluency and proficiency in the Hebrew of the Siddur. The morning ritual requires discipline, which in turn requires commitment. Students gain an understanding of the structure of the morning service, which is transferable to the synagogue, the institution which will continue to play a role in their lives long after they have left school. Socially, the service provides the opportunity for students from all grades to form bonds. Older students mentor younger ones in leading the services, reading the weekly portion, putting on Teffilin and chanting traditional songs.
As part of the Judaic Studies program, Secondary IV & V students participate in a compulsory Shabbaton held outside school. Students are involved in team-building activities, informal educational activities and meaningful Shabbat programs. Shabbatonim are offered to younger grades at local Montreal synagogues.
Gesher Chai—Partnership 2000
We are proud to be part of the Montreal Community twinning project with the city of Be’er Sheva in Israel. Our partner school is Makif Zein, a comprehensive school and a member of the Amal system. Our students are encouraged to correspond, and each year students from the partner schools visit each other.
During Spring break, Bialik sends approximately 18 students to Be’er Sheva to meet with students at our twin school. Bialik students have the opportunity to spend time at Makif Zein, to tour Be’er Sheva and to live in the homes of Israelis. During the time of Yom Ha-Zikaron and Yom Ha-Atzmaut, Be’er Sheva students come to Montreal and spend time at Bialik, participating in classroom activites. They also become involved in Montreal Jewish community events and stay in the homes of our students. Lifelong friendships are formed through this partnership.
New Judaic Studies (including Hebrew)
Months of research and consulting by Bialik’s Judaic Studies leaders resulted in the creation of a highly relevant new program. It integrates Jewish history and traditions, as well as Hebrew and Tanach in an innovative approach sure to renew student passion for his or her Jewish identity. Themes include: Family, community, Israel, Jewish Values and Ethics.
Chidon Hatanach/Bible Contest
For this internationally-run contest, sponsored by the World Zionist Organization and local centres for Jewish education, students study a list of Bible chapters in a given year, and write a preliminary regional test. http://www.tmorra.com/next/Israel+-+Chidon+HaTanach+finals
Holidays in Jewish Life
Each Jewish holiday, whether solemn or joyous, historic or modern, is marked in a special way that reminds students of their pride in being Jewish. Appropriate individuals lead assemblies, such as: Rabbis, Cantors, the Principal, Judaic Studies teacher, guests.
Moot Bein Din/Moot Court (only offered to Secondary IV)
This innovative and ground-breaking program enables students from Jewish high schools to delve into issues of Jewish law through creative engagement with contemporary situations. After intensive study of a range of traditional and modern Jewish sources, teams of students prepare written decisions to a case provided them. The three winning teams representing Bialik will defend their decisions before judges during oral arguments at a national competition with their peers.
Jewish Life committee
Bialik ORT Israel Relief trip