The Last Judaean Kings, an integrated curriculum for Jewish high schools
Rosenwasser, Devorah C.
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This dissertation integrates the relevant parts of Isaiah, Kings II, Chronicles II, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and, to a lesser extent, the Minor Prophets and Ezekiel into a full year curriculum whose subject is the Last Judaean Kings, for use in Jewish high schools in North America. The Biblical text is taught with classical and modern commentators and is augmented with maps, photographs, archaeological discoveries and contemporary documents. The Heuristic or Socratic method, acknowledged by modern educational philosophers as most conducive to long-term retention and assimilation of the subject matter, is utilized almost exclusively. Class discussions, homework and research assignments are devoted to fostering an understanding of the political, cultural, social, economic and religious fabric of life at the end of the Judaean kingdom. Students are encouraged to draw parallels to and lessons for their daily lives.;Goals have been divided into two general categories: Didactic---Cognitive and Educational. The former relates to the development of intellectual abilities and skills such as the ability to compare and contrast texts and commentators and to recognize varying literary styles. The latter relates to the development of positive personality traits and a more serious and understanding attitude towards G-d and fellow people.;The curriculum has been tested with 600 students in 18 schools throughout the USA and Canada. Teachers have compared students utilizing this curriculum with similar students who studied similar material utilizing more traditional approaches. All report a significant improvement not only as regards the study of the texts with which the curriculum deals, but in the subsequent study of the Bible in later years as well.