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Publication Date: 
May 13, 2014
This work is published by OUPress.

Talmud learning lies at the heart of the Jewish soul and is a focus of Jewish education. Its study can be extremely impactful but multiple challenges confront the teacher of Talmud:

- Which sugyot and mekorot should I choose? - Which approaches will resonate most with my students? - How do I find the sources that most effectively resolve the most difficult challenges in the sugya? - And, of course, how do I find the time to prepare as well as I should?

This experience-based work provides educators with a curricular resource that addresses these challenges in a user-friendly, clear and concise format.

From the introduction to the book:

This guide is meant to be a resource to assist Talmud teachers in their preparation for high school level classes. The sources that are cited are intended to provide important background knowledge for classes on any level, while more advanced classes may cover more of the sources inside the texts. In each sugya I highlighted the most central sources that can be added to the teaching of the Talmud. My choices are based on their value in terms of: 1) addressing the most basic and compelling questions that emerge from the Talmud, 2) providing important general knowledge of Talmud and halacha, 3) developing the basic skills of learning Talmud with mefarshim, and 4) addressing the philosophical questions that high school students are likely to be intrigued by in each particular sugya.

In the footnotes I attempted to explain the relative pedagogical value of each sugya and each additional source, as I explained why one may or may not chose to teach that material in a high school class. This work is different than other "likutim" in that all sources are chosen specifically based on educational concerns, with high school students in particular in mind. The premise of this work is that the choices of what to teach and what to skip is a critical educational decision that teachers must make. The limitation of time alone dictates the reality that more is skipped than is studied. For many students, the particular Torah lessons that are studied in classes become the basis for their understanding of Judaism in general. It is with this possibility in mind that my choices are made.

It is also important to highlight the fact that the impact of Talmud class within the Judaic Studies curriculum is often central and expansive. It comprises a large segment of time within the schedule and profoundly impacts the students' understanding of Judaism. The study of Torah offers a glimpse into the values, beliefs and inspiration that Judaism represents. Teachers must be cognizant of this in the preparation of the units. Similarly, the philosophical assumptions that are implicitly or explicitly conveyed through a sugya will shape the students' understanding of Judaism, while the teacher may not realize this. In this sense, teachers must consider the messages that are being expressed and be sure to provide students with a full picture of the Torah values. This often requires the addition of external sources, as one sugya may offer only a small slice of the picture. This too makes it critical that the teacher think carefully about what we are choosing to teach and what we are not teaching. It was with this perspective in mind that I have prepared this work and offered my suggestions of how to present each unit. I attempted to articulate my rationales in the footnotes. It is my hope that other teachers will find it helpful in their own thinking and planning.

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