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Eighth-Grade History Studies

March 23, 2016
By Bethany Spector, Director of Admissions

During the month of February, our eighth graders were involved in an in-depth study of the early history of the United States. With the theme of America, the Story of Us, students used skills of historical and geographical analysis to understand ideas and events that have strengthened the country. The eighth-grade class has continued to reference and celebrate our Constitution! The emphasis on democratic ideals, immigration and migration, citizenship and the personal character traits of each president have made their way into many class discussions. Recent discussions have focused on the role of Jews in the Civil War and how they were able to maintain their Jewish identity. Students debated the issue of slavery from a northern and southern Jewish perspective, citing Jewish texts. Students also created special seders on the battlefield through a journal entry where they had to describe in great detail how they would scavenge for the main elements of the holiday.

Even writing from an 1862 perspective, many students were able to share much of their personal connections to Judaism. They wrote about how they would simply be able to recite the seder from memory, not having a Haggadah while away from home. Others remembered how to shoo a mother bird away to take an egg from its nest, and still others took risks and used plants/shrubbery as a substitute for the bitter herbs.  Students were a bit surprised to learn that six recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor were Jewish and even more impressed to know the telegrapher who was responsible for sending Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was also Jewish!  We will soon trace our roots to America through a unique ancestral history project.

We are so proud of our eighth-grade class and how far they have come during their time at Pardes! We are excited to see where each student ends up and the successes that lie ahead.