Etgar Curriculum: Etgar Yesodi and Project Etgar

Project Etgar and Etgar Yesodi together constitute a comprehensive third- to eighth-grade curriculum developed by The Jewish Theological Seminary that is designed to:

  • Build on each student's prior knowledge and current experiences
  • Empower students to articulate a Jewish identity
  • Build breadth and depth in students' understanding and observance of Judaism
  • Incorporate findings in educational research, including the power of cooperative learning; the value of addressing multiple intelligences; and the importance of differentiated instruction wherever possible.

Professional development is an integral part of the curriculum. Through the use of webinars, teachers and education directors are introduced to and guided through the curriculum. Throughout the year they are supported by an Etgar teacher educator who helps to effectively implement the curriculum in school.

Parents and family involvement signal to children the worthiness of the enterprise of Jewish study and enculturation. This curriculum provides opportunities for parents to participate in a variety of ways: by adding their wisdom and perspective to the learner's Etgar experience, and through participation that invites dialogue on significant issues. The curriculum also integrates Jewish life beyond the classroom through community service and practical applications for Jewish living.

Below you will find an outline of the curriculum. We encourage you and your teacher to try our Rosh Hodesh / Jewish Calendar unit in your third-grade classroom if you are considering using the Etgar Yesodi curriculum in your school. For more information, contact Debbie Kerschner, project manager, at

Etgar Yesodi
Third- to Fifth-Grade Curriculum
(Each lesson is an hour)

 Third Grade

Focus on Holidays and Values
Unit 1: Yamim Nora'im
Unit 2: Sukkot and Hakhnassat Orhim
Unit 3: Rosh Hodesh and the Jewish Calendar*
Unit 4: Hanukkah and Pirsumei D'Nisa
Unit 5: Shabbat and Hakarat Hatov
Unit 6: Pesah and Zeman Heruteinu

Simhat Torah
Tu Bishvat B'aretz: Yeshuv Ha'aretz
Purim and Ometz Lev

* We invite you to read this unit and try it in your classroom:

 Fourth Grade My Journey
Unit 1: Zikaron: My Roots, My Memories
Unit 2: My Beginning, My Name
Unit 3: My Blessings
Unit 4: My Friends: Tokhehah
Unit 5: My Talents
Unit 6: My God
Unit 7: My Traditions

Fifth Grade

In Development for 2015–2016 Academic Year
Possible Units
V'ahavta L'reakha
Bringing Jewish Values to Life
Osek B'tzarkhei Tzibbur
Nusah: Connecting Communities Through Music
Lo Taamod al Dam Re-ekha
The Jewish Experience Across Time and Space
Our Relationship with Israel

Project Etgar
Sixth- to Eighth-Grade Curriculum
(Each lesson is 30 minutes)

Sixth Grade Core Tefillah


Yom Rishon at Hag Worts
Sifrei Kodesh
Bikkur Holim

Torah Service


Additional Components:
• Moach Madness
• Project Box
• Family Programs

Seventh Grade Core Tefillah


Introduction to Seventh Grade Core
• Defining Areivoot
• Pidyon Shvuyim
• Zionism
B'tzelem Elohim
Shituf Pe'ulah

Why Pray?
The Origins and Structure of the Matbea


Additional Components:
• Moach Madness
• Project Box
• Family Programs

 Eighth Grade

Confronting the Shoah
Israel Today: Realizing the Dream