Halakha Instruction in United States Modern Orthodox High Schools
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Halakha Instruction in United States Modern Orthodox High Schools Halakha, or Jewish law, instruction has been a part of Jewish education for centuries in some form, although it is only in the last few decades that Jewish high schools have begun to plan and carry out formal instruction in a specific, unique subject called Halakha, or Jewish law. The recent literature about the topic, mostly developed over the last fifty years demonstrates multiple conceptual modes and models for how schools can engage in Halakha instruction, with each model coming from a different point of departure as to the nature and even ultimate purpose of Halakha teaching and learning.;This study seeks to operationalize four different approaches for Halakha instruction developed in the literature, and then surveys United States modern Orthodox high schools to determine which modes the various schools ascribe to. Through quantitative research methods, we analyze the various models that schools self-report as the ones they accept, and then determine the degree of alignment between purported approach to Halakha instruction and actual self-reported classroom and curricular choices made in regard to the discipline.;Our results, which demonstrate varied choices of general approaches to Halakha instruction, but very low alignment between classroom choices and underlying vision, are significant in that they ought to spur school leaders to become more mindful of the way they wish their school to approach Halakha instruction, to ensure what actually takes place in the school accurately reflects the desired outcomes of the underlying vision.