JEWISH LIFE IN THE SENIOR SCHOOL
Jewish Life at Masada is vibrant, dynamic and ever evolving and changing. Our belief is that every year when our children celebrate a chag (festival) it should be a new and novel experience. This we ensure by a continually evolving spiralling curriculum. Many year groups have a focus activity for the year that is unique to them e.g. our Year 8s have a Shabbaton and also visit the Montefiore Home, Year 9s are involved in an interfaith program, Respect, Understanding and Acceptance, which runs over three days during the course of the year, and our Year 10s have as part of their Holocaust studies their Living Historian project and presentation. Our aim is to create a Jewish environment based on the principles of yiddishkeit reflected in our sacred texts as well as the groundbreaking program The Leader in Me. As it says in Pirkei Avot, in a place where there is no mensch strive to be a mensch – you lead the way. This we do by instilling in our pupils Jewish values and an awareness of the concept of Kol Yisrael Areivim ze le zeh.
In stage 4 (Years 7 and 8) we teach Laws and Customs, Torah, Jewish Life and Jewish Morality and the Year 8s experience their first Jewish Shabbaton. Our Years 9, 10 and 11 all attend Jewish Life camps where they are able to interact with wonderful young madrichim who come from Israel and help them to embark on their journey of self discovery. Our Year 9 and 10s are given Jewish Life and Hebrew electives where they are able to choose the level at which they wish to study and can focus on areas of Jewish learning that interest them. This ranges from an accelerated Torah stream to Jewish dilemmas, Gemorrah and Mishna.
All through Senior School our lunch breaks are filled with various shiurim which are staffed by the rabbi and rebbetzins on the North Shore and offer our pupils a shiur with a bite. In Years 11 and 12 our pupils have a weekly Jewish Ethics session where they are introduced to their community and are encouraged to explore it. Here too, in partnership with the Jewish Board of Deputies, we begin our Israel Advocacy Program which allows the students to acquire the tools necessary to engage at any level and enables them to be proud Jews, sure of their Jewish rights and responsibilities as they move into the post school world.
Our teachers are passionate about their Hebrew and Jewish Life and this passion is passed on to our pupils.
At Masada College we strive to make the celebration of each chag, every year, new, novel and exciting. The celebrations range from carnivals to formal ceremonies, study sessions, Purim Balls and pageants, meals in the sukkah, a Lag baomer bonfire etc. No two years are the same as we are always attempting to find new ways of allowing our pupils to learn about the chag and both prepare for and experience it. In recent years many of the chagim are celebrated communally in our Teperson Centre e.g. the Shavuoth Dinner where the pupils daven together, celebrate the seudah chagigit together and have all night study sessions together. This helps to create a warm family atmosphere which is inclusive and has become very popular with all age groups.
Hebrew at Masada College offers a wide range of choices. This caters for Israeli pupils, pupils who have been at Masada since primary school and pupils who come in with very little or no Hebrew, at all stages along the way. We try and ensure that every pupil leaves Masada with the ability to follow and understand the prayers and be comfortable with the Hebrew components of their Judaism. Our Hebrew program includes both the Alpha Neta preparation ( http://netahebrew.org/) as well as an Israeli immersion course and an ulpan course called Ulpan Or (please see http://www.ulpanor.com/). By Year 9 pupils are able to choose whether they want to continue their Hebrew studies seriously for the Higher School Certificate or learn Hebrew through the Ulpan System which is more communicative and will enable them to go to Israel and function at a day to day level in basic Hebrew. We offer both Modern and Classical Hebrew for the Higher School Certificate and the number of students enrolled in these courses have been growing in recent years.