The Menachem Education Foundation’s mission is to ensure the best quality Chinuch for Chabad students all over the world. For nearly a decade, we have been working with schools, teachers and lay leaders to improve school systems and provide opportunities for growth. The Zekelman Standards for Judaic Studies is one of the ways in which we strive to ensure that every child can access his or her Torah heritage to their utmost potential.
In 2010, participants in our principal training program recognized that without standards for Judaic studies, it would be impossible to map curriculum, collect student data, and advance educational goals. At that moment, the Zekelman Standards project was born.
In an unprecedented level of teamwork and inter-school cooperation, the Standards Development Team researched, drafted, and piloted the standards, bringing the Chumash standards to their completion for grades 1-8 in 2013. In 2017, they were further reviewed and refined, giving way to the Zekelman Standards for Chumash 2.0.
The Zekelman Standards for Judaic Studies:
- Are made possible by the generosity of Mr. Alan and Lori Zekelman, in loving memory of his parents, יחזקא-ל בן אברהם אהרון and רות בת אברהם.
- Include eight grade levels for Chumash and four for Gemara, as well as an expanding base of resources and support materials.
- Incorporate Understanding by Design (UBD) methodology, including the essential UNDERSTANDINGS, KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS which constitute grade-appropriate mastery for each subject.
- Include all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which are critical to learning in every subject.
- Align with the Common Core Standards, with more than 50% of the Zekelman standards addressing critical thinking and cognitive skills.
- Benefit from the input of leading educators from throughout the Jewish educational community.
- Have been tested and refined by use in classrooms across the country and real-time feedback from educators “on the ground.”
While Standards delineate learning goals in Chumash and Gemara for our students, there are broader goals that drove the standards’ development here at MEF. We believe that all students should have the opportunity to master the academic skills necessary for self-sufficiency in Torah study, confident engagement with Torah text, and joyous pursuit of lifelong Jewish learning and living in all areas. The standards were created to make these goals a reality, for EVERY child, in EVERY school.