Vision to Reality: Judaics

March 6, 2022

Dear Berman Community,

In a recent email, I committed to sharing periodic updates with you about the steps we are taking, and plan to take, over the next couple of years that will move us towards our vision of becoming the flagship Modern Orthodox school in the United States. It is most appropriate for me to focus this first update on the heart and soul of our school: Torah! 

Intended Impact
Berman has a strong reputation of developing students with the skills of Torah learning. As we continue to graduate our students into an evolving 21st century world, it is imperative that we continue to build a Torah program with a focus on the following objectives: 

  1. Develop students with strong skills in Torah learning where they can read Chumash, Navi, Gemara, Siddur, commentaries, etc. with understanding and fluency.
  2. Modify and/or create a curriculum and environment where students appreciate the purpose, relevance, and application of Torah learning to the world around us.
  3. Develop students with an understanding and appreciation of our routines and responsibilities as Torah observant Jews and lifelong learners.

With these objectives in mind, and to reach the intended impact, we have already begun to work on specific initiatives, and plan on working on others in the coming 12-24 months. Here are a few enhancements that you have either heard about already, or can expect to start hearing about: 

Lower School 

  • Partner with GrowTorah to create our Torah Garden – The garden provides myriad teachable moments and learning opportunities, from laws involving agricultural charity to implications of laws pertaining to the garden on Shabbat. Our students will engage with food tzedakah firsthand, as they decide what portion of their produce to donate to local charities.
  • Create special mini units that are designed to highlight the beauty of Shabbat as well as its special halachot and mitzvot.

Middle/Upper School

  • Diversify our Judaic course offerings in the Upper School (beyond Gemara, Chumash, and Nach) to include hashkafa, Modern Orthodox Literature, mussar and middot, and halacha.
  • Review, outline, and/or develop a biur Tefilla program that equips students with the understanding and appreciation of daily Tefilla.
  • Review our Talmud curriculum in the Middle School and Upper School to ensure:
    • Assessments clearly measure Talmud skills as well as the application of the Talmud to the world around us
    • Equity in learning for boys and girls
    • Leveled classes in Talmud have clear, unique intended prerequisites and outcomes

We are excited about the work that’s already underway. As we roll out each of these programs, we will make sure to highlight them for you and your children and update you on the impact we are seeing with our students. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. In the meantime, please join me in celebrating these enhancements to our program. 

Until the next “Vision to Reality” update…


Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Head of School