May 25, 2024
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A New Children’s Chumash Ready for the Start of School

As a teacher specializing in special education, Rabbi Yehuda Adelist of Brooklyn noticed a trend among students in recent years that was troubling him.

“It became apparent that many students, even mainstream students, were not picking up skills for independent learning and falling through the cracks by the time they reached their teens,” says Adelist, who is the director of Cheder Darchai Limud, a resource room program in Crown Heights, NY.

The rabbi believed that “a ready-to-use tool that is thorough, stimulating, graphically appealing and that covers all skills would not only benefit the students with learning disabilities, but raise the standard for the mainstream as well.”

So he began to work on an educational tool with a Jewish focus; what he came up with was The Children’s Chumash.

A combination Chumash and workbook, the Children’s Chumash is filled with the words of the Torah along with colorful graphics, worksheets and more. These are designed to help children between the ages of 6 and 8 who are just starting to learn Chumash become confident, independent learners.

“One of the things that spurred me to do this was that I didn’t find anything like this out there,” says Adelist, who has been working as an educator since 2003. He notes that there are colorful workbooks about the Chumash on the market but “they are done separately from the Chumash.”

He continues, “When you want to teach children different learning skills, it has to be done as they are learning the Chumash, not after the fact, which is what I think is unique about this Chumash—all of the skills are built into the Chumash.”

Among the skills that are taught through this new Chumash/workbook combo are decoding skills to help students learn to decipher words, reading comprehension exercises and “practical application” skills that allow students to apply what they have learned to other lessons.

“I’ve worked with kids both privately and in schools, and I’ve realized the thing that will help them is if it’s together in a ready-made book that the teacher and child go through together, with all the steps broken down, step-by-step,” says Adelist.

Doing it this way, he goes on to say, will empower students to continue learning on their own and allow them to apply the skills they have learned to other things, creating a more lasting effect.

Because of the number of learning exercises for each Torah portion, the Children’s Chumash is being released parsha by parsha, with each subsequent edition building on what came before.

“As we move up in the parshiot, the activities and style of learning changes,” Adelist says, explaining that “in Parshas Vayera, for instance, the Chumash will look different because the kids are older and they already have some background in learning Chumash.”

With the Children’s Chumash: Parshas Bereshis ready for the start of this school season, Adelist is moving ahead with plans for the next edition.

“With Hashem’s help, we hope Noach will be ready around Chanukah and to complete phase 1, with Hashem’s help, which includes all of Sefer Bereishis, within two years,” he says, adding that Sefer Shemos and onwards will have a “more formal format to accommodate older children.”

To learn more about the Children’s Chumash visit Torah4children.com or call 347-743-6132.

By Faygie Levy

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