Kitah Mishnah and Gemara 2024-2025

Mishnah and Gemara form the building blocks for future Torah study and mastery. Each demands important skills for comprehension and understanding.

Mishnah study requires the ability to recognize and understand the topics being studied and the prior knowledge critical for understanding the text. It also requires an understanding of the structure of Mishnayot, and the basic vocabulary necessary for comprehension of the text and its underlying ideas.

Gemara is an analysis of the Mishnah and the concepts that the Sages extracted from the text, as well as other texts. First and foremost, Gemara is in Aramaic, so vocabulary is critical. In addition, the Gemara is a series of logical arguments – so once a student understands the words of the Gemara, he or she must also be taught the Gemara’s logical arguments and conclusion – which often is implied, but not stated.

For both Mishnah and Gemara, each Kitah lesson teaches the concepts, text and explanation for the Mishnah in a clear, concise manner, and provides questions for student feedback to ensure comprehension of the basic words and ideas.

What will my children learn?
Students in the Kitah Online Jewish Studies program receive weekly lessons via the Kitah Google Classroom in the following subjects:

1. Mishnah Berachot with Rabbi Reuven Spolter
2. Gemara Berachot Tefillat HaShachar with Rabbi Spolter

This Track Includes:
1. Two asynchronous, self-guided Jewish studies lesson (approx. 30 min.), with a source sheet, video explanation, and comprehension questions in each subject
2. Ongoing student evaluation to monitor progress
3. Periodic communication with parents

Kitah lessons focus on three key goals:
– Increasing familiarity with core Mishnah and Gemara texts and selected commentaries
– Understanding the basic information critical to understanding the Mishnah or Gemara. In other words, what does the Mishnah assume that you already know before you begin learning?
– Understanding the logical flow and argument of the Gemara
– Building reading and comprehension skills to encourage independent learning
– Knowing core concepts critical to future growth in learning

Watch a Sample Lesson here:
Watch the first part of a lesson from Mishnah Sukkah.

When are the classes?
The 5784 school year begins on Monday, September 2, 2024 and continues throughout the school year through mid-June 2024.

Cost:
The Kitah Mishnah and Gemara plan costs $99/month per child. Payment can be made either via a Paypal monthly subscription, or through the Florida StepUp for Education scholarship program (Kitah is a registered provider).

I’d like to Learn More
Simply fill out the contact form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you to schedule a conversation.

Wow! Kitah is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’d like to Register my Child (or Children) and Reserve a Spot for the 2024-25 School Year
Good idea. Space is limited. There’s a $20/child registration fee Simply fill out this form, and we’ll send you a Paypal link for the registration payment.

 

Kitah Yesodot (Jewish Foundations) 2024-2025

Kitah’s Yesodot (Jewish Foundations) track focuses on the basic ideas, knowledge and practice fundamental to Jewish life. Students learn in English, and do not need prior Hebrew reading skills.

What will my children learn?
Students in the Kitah Online Yesodot (Jewish Foundations) receive weekly lessons via the Kitah Google Classroom on a range of subjects, including the Jewish calendar, Jewish holidays, mitzvot (commandments), basic Jewish texts, characters and figures, and much more!

Who is this track for?
Yesodot is for children in grades 6-9 (ages 11-14), and does not require Hebrew reading skills. Materials come with English translations, and all classes are given in English.

This Track Includes:
1. An asynchronous, self-guided Jewish studies lesson (approx. 30 min.), with a source sheet, video explanation, and comprehension questions in each subject
2. A live Zoom class lesson where students around the world interact, learn, enjoy great online ed-tech games, and gain a deeper understanding of the material they learned during the week. The Yesodot Zoom takes place at 8:00pm Israel time / 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST) each Sunday throughout the school year.
3. Ongoing communication with parents

Kitah Yesodot lessons focus on three key goals:
– Learning core Jewish information critical to Jewish practice and knowledge
– Gaining exposure to and familiarity with our Jewish heritage
– Connecting with Jewish learning and ideas, to enhance students’ sense of Jewish identity and connection to their Jewish heritage

When are the classes?
The 5784 school year begins on Monday, September 2, 2024 and continues throughout the school year through mid-June 2024.

Students will register for the Zoom sessions on Sundays at 8pm Israel time, 12:00pm EST and 9:00am PST. Asynchronous lessons will arrive in your child’s inboxes on the Monday prior to each Zoom lesson, to be completed at the students’ own pace during the week. 

Cost:
The Kitah Yesodot plan costs $129/month per child. Payment can be made either via a Paypal monthly subscription, or through the Florida StepUp for Education scholarship program (Kitah is a registered provider).


Watch part of a Yesodot Sample Video Lesson here:

I’d like to Learn More
Simply fill out the contact form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you to schedule a conversation.

Wow! Kitah is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’d like to Register my Child (or Children) and Reserve a Spot for the 2024-25 School Year
Good idea. Space is limited. There’s a $20/child registration fee Simply fill out this form, and we’ll send you a Paypal link for the registration payment.

 

Kitah Chumash and Navi 2024-2025

Kitah is a comprehensive online Jewish learning program for Middle School (Grades 5-8) students at an affordable price.  

What will my children learn?
Students in the Kitah Online Jewish Studies program receive weekly lessons via the Kitah Google Classroom in the following subjects:

1. Chumash Bamidbar with Rabbi Reuven Spolter
2. Navi Melachim with Ariella Nadel

This Track Includes:
1. An asynchronous, self-guided Jewish studies lesson (approx. 30 min.), with a source sheet, video explanation, and comprehension questions in each subject
2. A live Zoom class lesson where students around the world interact, learn, enjoy great online ed-tech games, and gain a deeper understanding of the material they learned during the week. Choose between Sunday or Monday Zoom (each takes place at 7:00pm Israel time / 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST)
3. Ongoing communication with parents

Kitah lessons focus on three key goals:
– Increasing familiarity with core Tanakh texts and selected commentaries
– Building reading and comprehension skills to encourage independent learning
– Engaging with the Tanakh as part of our personal, national, and religious heritage

When are the classes?
The 5784 school year begins on Monday, September 2, 2024 and continues throughout the school year through mid-June 2024.

Students will register for the Zoom sessions on either Sunday or Monday at 7pm Israel time, 12:00pm EST and 9:00am PST. Asynchronous lessons will arrive in your child’s inboxes on the Monday prior to each Zoom lesson, to be completed at the students’ own pace during the week. 

Cost:
The Kitah Chumash & Navi plan costs $149/month per child. Payment can be made either via a Paypal monthly subscription, or through the Florida StepUp for Education scholarship program (Kitah is a registered provider).


If you’d like to know a bit more about how Kitah Zoom lessons work, watch this short video:

I’d like to Learn More
Simply fill out the contact form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you to schedule a conversation.

Wow! Kitah is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’d like to Register my Child (or Children) and Reserve a Spot for the 2024-25 School Year
Good idea. Space is limited. There’s a $20/child registration fee Simply fill out this form, and we’ll send you a Paypal link for the registration payment.

 

Home-based Learning Plans for the 2023-2024 School Year

Choose the plan that fits your child’s needs and learning style.

In the “Chumash and Navi” plan, students will study Chumash Bereishit and Navi Shoftim and meet for a weekly Zoom on Sunday’s at 12:00pm EST. This plan is appropriate for children in grades 5-8.

In the “Mishnah and Gemara” plan, students will study Mishnah Rosh Hashanah and Gemara Pesachim. These subjects are more advanced, and most appropriate for children in grades 7-8.

Cost: Each plan costs $119/month per child, giving Jewish families around the world meaningful Jewish learning at an affordable price.

Teaching the Concept of Hiddur Mitzvah on Chanukah – A Free Kitah Lesson Plan (with links!)

Many Jewish educators teach the famous Gemara from Shabbat that describes the basic mitzvah to light the Chanukah candles, and the debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel about how to perform hiddur mitzvah.

Yet, students can find the basic concepts in the passage confusing. I’d like to share how I taught this lesson, as well as the text of the Gemara.

The Goal of this lesson: Students will understand the three levels of mitzvah performance – Mitzvah, mehadrin and Mehadrin min HaMehadrin, and apply the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah to a mitzvah other than Chanukah.

How do you teach Gemara text without having to read the text? I love Wordwall. So I made a simple matching game to teach the terms found in the passage. Students need to match the Hebrew terms with their English translations (you’ll find a link to the game here.)

After playing the game for a while, we then played the game together, with each student calling out a pair. (I did not keep score, but they would have enjoyed that). This ensured that the students all “played” twice, and understood the meaning of each Hebrew term.

Then, I shared with them a Google doc with the Gemara text in a chart. I asked the students to then highlight the phrases that they recognized from the game. Students quickly realized that they knew almost all of the terms in the piece. Students that worked faster were then asked to begin translating the Gemara.

Then, we focused on the words hadar and hiddur mitzvah. What does it mean that one can (and should) perform mitzvot in a beautiful manner? How do you do it?

We then looked at the three levels of mitzvah performance described in the Gemara (also in the same Google doc linked above):

Now students could understand that on Chanukah, we light only as mehadrin min hamehadrin. You can ask them why they think we Chanukah candle lighting specifically is done in this manner.

Finally, I asked students to name a mitzvah other than Chanukah lighting. In order to check whether they had in fact understood the meaning of hiddur mitzvah, I asked them to descibe how they would perform that mitzvah in a more beautiful manner.

I hope that this is useful and helpful to you! Chanukah Sameach!

Kitah Registration now open for Fall 2021

I’m very excited to let you know that we’ve opened registration for the coming school year. Kitah learning begins on Monday, August 30th.

Courses:

Kitah students will learn the following courses, which will begin after the Chagim.

Chumash Breishit – The Ten Tests of Avraham Avinu: We’ll learn about our first forefather, and study the stories in the Chumash that formed the basis of the Jewish people. This class is taught by Rabbi Reuven Spolter
Megillat Rut: Learn the story of Rut, and the values that motivated Rut to join the Jewish people. This course, which covers the entire book of Rut, is taught by Mrs. Adina Blaustein of Cleveland.

Mishnah Sukkah: How do you build a Sukkah? What are the Four Minim? What are the basic attributes of each? In this course, taught by Rabbi Spolter, we’ll study the Mishnah and learn halachot surrounding the holiday of Sukkot.

Registration – And Saving Money

Tuition for Kitah at Home:Plus is $189/month – a zero percent increase over last year! Families that register by August 1st will pay just $179/month – a one hundred dollar savings over the course of the school year! (Sadly, there’s no discount for Kitah at Home:Basic early registration).

August-September Schedule

With this in mind during the month of September we’ll send two weekly on-demand classes every Monday related to the Tishrei Chagim. We’ll review what we’ve learned together over Zoom. These classes will give our students a sense of connection to the holidays, as well as some of the texts they’ll see in shul over the chagim. Then, once Sukkot is over, we can begin our regular schedule of classes. 

This year the Jewish calendar presents some significant challenges (see the August-September calendar here.). The Chagim take place on many weekdays throughout the month of September. This will make it especially hard for students who are not in Jewish day schools, who will be missing classes, and will need to keep up. Yet, it is very important for students to begin their Jewish learning at the same time that they start school. 


How Do You Register?For all returning parents, simply send me an email reply indicating that you’d like to register with the names of the children (and their ages) who will be participating this year. Before the school year begins, I’ll send a new payment link – and we’ll be good to go.
For any new families – please fill in the contact form here: https://kitah.org/kitah-for-home-contact-us.

Patents, Intellectual Property and Saving Human Lives

A Kitah lesson on Modern Medical Ethics

The United States government recently announced that it would support a patent waiver for the COVID vaccine that would allow other companies from countries around the world to quickly produce badly-needed vaccines for the global population. This raises the thorny ethical issue of patents and the right to keep information secret, when that information can save human lives.
A recent article in the Israeli Mekor Rishon newspaper by David Kurzweill addressed this issue in light of a fascinating Talmudic story about the sage Rabbi Yochanan, who used a questionable tactic in order to secure critical medical knowledge.
This story raises questions not only about medical ethics, but also about how we relate to stories about questionable behavior by our rabbis, leaders and teachers.

You can find the source sheets here if you’d like to print them out for your students.


Know a family looking for an excellent Jewish learning option for their Middle School Children? Registration is now open for Kitah for Home for fall 2021.

Giving and Getting – a Thought for Parshat Ki Tisa 5781

Torah message for Parshat Ki Tisa 5781. This week’s lesson is with Rabbi Reuven Spolter

Every one of us would rather be on the “giving” side than the “getting”. The Gaon of Vilna teaches us that a single word in the parshah, as well as the “trop” – the cantillation of that word, teaches us a critical lesson about both giving and receiving.

You can find the source sheets here if you’d like to print them out for the Shabbat table.


Know a family looking for an excellent Jewish learning option for their Middle School Children? Kitah for Home Plus is now running its Spring 2021 semester.

The Terrible “Bite” of Credit – An Important Message about Personal Finances from the Torah

Torah message for Parshat Mishpatim 5781. This week’s lesson is with Rabbi Reuven Spolter

Parshat Mishpatim teaches us about the prohibition of lending money to others with interest. In this brief lesson, Rashi teaches us that the language the Torah uses to convey this prohibition conveys a critical lesson about the danger of borrowing (or lending) with interest.

You can find the source sheets here if you’d like to print them out for the Shabbat table.


Know a family looking for an excellent Jewish learning option for their Middle School Children? Kitah for Home Plus is now running its Spring 2021 semester.