Lesson 1: Experiencing Two Birthdays

Students will learn that they have Jewish birthdays in addition to their civil birthdays; they will understand that there is an instruction in the Torah to create a Jewish calendar.

Lesson 2: Jewish Calendar and the Moon

Students will study the phases of the moon to help them understand how the Jewish calendar is set; they will use
observations of the moon and/or a lunar phase calendar to create a Jewish calendar for an upcoming month.

Lesson 3: The Jewish Months

Students will learn the names of the Jewish months and will create a visual representation that helps them associate each month with major holidays that fall within it.

Lesson 4: Mishnah Rosh Hashanah

Students will work with a havrutah to study the Mishnah that describes how the new month was decided and announced in the time of the Temple. They will reenact the content of the texts as a class.

Lesson 5: Birkat Hahodesh

Students will learn to read or sing the Birkat Hahodesh and will create a page for their personal siddurim that includes their own wishes for the upcoming month.

Lesson 6: Ongoing Project: Its Rosh Hodesh!

Students will work in small groups to make plans to announce one Rosh Hodesh to the rest of the school in a way that reflects what they have learned from the Mishnah. Each month:
a) all students will write their hopes for the new month and one group will announce the new month to the other classes in the school; and
b) one group of students will execute the plans they created to announce the new month to the school.

Additional Considerations

The beginning of Lesson 4 must be taught BEFORE Rosh Hodesh because the second half of the lesson includes a new moon observation that begins at home and requires follow-up AFTER a Rosh Hodesh has passed. Therefore, the sequence of the unit may require some adaptation depending on how the timing of Lesson 4 falls in relation to Rosh Hodesh. Before beginning the unit, look at a Jewish calendar to see how this Lesson 4 will likely fall in relation to Rosh Hodesh. If it will fall immediately after Rosh Hodesh, consider teaching Lesson 4 prior to Lesson 3 to accommodate the new moon observation. If it will fall a couple weeks before Rosh Hodesh, consider teaching Lesson 4 until the new moon observation is assigned. Stop in the middle of the lesson. Teach Lesson 5 or Lesson 5 and 6 or Lesson 5, 6, and the beginning of the next unit, depending on what is necessary to work within the calendar. Then return to Lesson 4.