High School - Academics

JUDAIC STUDIES / לימודי יהדות

The goal of this class is to teach key concepts of Jewish thought that are important for our students as Orthodox Jewish teenagers. Our hope is that this learning will help better inform our students and inspire them toward a greater commitment to Torah and mitzvot. Texts from great Torah scholars, both ancient and modern, are studied weekly, with students answering introductory questions as well as preparing reflective papers every week.

Topics ranging from the explanation of the Rambam as to the nature of good and evil in man (Shemona Perakim), to Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato’s view of man’s obligation in this world (Mesillat Yesharim), to Rabbi Soloveitchik’s explanation of the true nature of sin and repentance (On Repentance), and many more, are learned and analyzed. Students are asked to spend time considering themselves issues such as what their overriding values are, what the most important goals of their life are, and what it means to maintain a relationship with Hashem.

In addition, students learn about the authors of each of these works and the context in which they were written in order to give them a better basis for understanding and appreciation of what they are learning.


IVRIT / עברית
Hebrew is the shared language of the Jewish people. It is the language of the siddur and Tanach, as well as the living language of the people of the State of Israel. At RKYHS the Hebrew program is based on solid research in second-language acquisition, as well as on sound pedagogical practices that are common to all disciplines. Students develop their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational skills through the use of Smart Board lessons, listening and communicative activities. The use of the language is also integrated into the teaching and the discussions held on Judaic studies courses. Great emphasis is placed in the history and culture of Israel and the Jewish people.

Students in Hebrew classes are placed in four different levels in each grade, according to their ability. Advanced students consistently earn high scores on the Jerusalem Hebrew Language Examination, and many earn advanced placement credit in college.


Students in grades eleven and twelve enroll in two semester-long Judaic studies elective courses for each academic year. Torah is dynamic, visionary and responsive. It shapes our world view and its study informs our daily activities and our perspectives on modernity. Whereas traditional texts link students to our rich and continuous tradition, Judaic studies electives provide the opportunity for students to engage modern challenges and examine ideas through the prism of Torah. By looking deeper into our vast Torah library, students will expand their understanding of and appreciation for the Torah as a life value. Each of the Judaic studies elective courses approach Torah study and its application from different vantage points. Students select Judaic studies elective courses based on their own proclivities and interest and may choose from the following list of electives.

„„Torah and Science
The class will discuss areas of ostensible conflict as well as aspects of scientific study that aid a Torah lifestyle.
Also examined are contemporary issues that modern science raises, such as questions of medical ethics.

„Derech Hashem
A practical guide on how to get optimal performance out of life by understanding the “Derech Hashem” (the
Almighty’s Ways), leading us to a better appreciation of our purpose in life and a real relationship with our Creator.

„„Chassidic Thought on Ahavat Hashem
Chassidic thought and its approaches will be explored in texts related to ahavat Hashem and backgrounds of such luminaries as the Ba’al Shem Tov, Ba’al HaTanya, Sefat Emet, and more.

„„Kashrut in the Modern World
Because the laws of Kashrut are complex, proper observance of Kashrut is challenging. We will explore topics such as cooking meat, dairy and pareve, shopping, principles of taste transfer, and the kosher kitchen.

„„Women’s Issues and Contemporary Halacha
Using primary texts and contemporary sources, we will explore areas of halachasuch as Shabbat, Tefilla, and leadership, and how they are affected by the shifting attitudes and nature of contemporary society.

MISHNA / משנה
In addition to the study of Mishna that is incorporated into the regular study of Talmud, some of our classes spend two periods a week studying Mishna as an independent text.

The Mishna, written in a simpler and more concise style, is a foundational text of Torah SheBa’al Peh, the Oral Law, and an entry point for understanding later and more complex levels of that tradition. Consequently, whenever possible the Mishna coursework complements the Talmud curriculum.

Every year, our students complete an entire tractate of Mishna, which we celebrate in a year-end siyum.


SEED / סדרת הרצאות חוץ
The SEED program (Student Enrichment, Education, and Development) is a special weekly event in which speakers from different disciplines and walks of life address the students. The program is an opportunity to engage students about ideas and themes, challenge them to think independently and develop their intellectual curiosity. In the past, scholars of theology, politicians, scientists, political analysts and representatives of Tzahal passionately and intelligently spoke with our students about many areas of modern life.


TALMUD / תלמוד

The Talmud department offers exposure to various areas of the Talmudic corpus via a six-year cycle. While the tractates studied are disparate in nature, we strive to create an on-going continuum whereby preceding tractates complement future ones thus allowing students to draw on earlier knowledge, in particular Halakhic concepts - as well as other obvious skills such as vocabulary and Talmudic idioms, to build a thorough and solid foundation in the Talmudic arena. Not only the choices of the tractates are informed by such considerations but the particular issues dealt with are chosen with such considerations as well. Lastly, as we recognize the relatively wide range of levels and ages of our student body the selections are made such that more abstract and complex passages (sugiyot) are chosen for the advanced students coupled with the usage of authoritative commentary (rishonim) while more concrete passages and somewhat less circuitous are chosen for younger or less advanced students. In addition, we also offer Mishna as an independent area of study for the younger students as a way of introduction to Talmudic thinking.  The Talmudic tractates studied are: Kiddushin , Brakhot ,Baba-metzia , Shabbat, Sukkah, Sanhedrin.

9-10 Grade

The study of any tractate begins with amassing certain basic skills and abilities. In the younger division we focus on the Talmudic text itself with little use of commentary except when necessary. We build a foundation comprised of vocabulary, history, and familiarity with Talmudic discourse. The tractate of Shabbat is the focus of this year’s study and topics such as Kiddush, K’vod-shabbat (reverence), prohibitions and muktze’ are studied. Mishna is also taught as a way to amass breadth and acquaintance with Talmudic issues in a relatively easy venue. In anticipation of the sabbatical year (shmittah) mishna study is focused on issues pertaining to Eretz Israel such as its sanctity (keddusha) ,mitzvot performed in Eretz Israel and even the Holy-land’s biblical borders. Thus we wish to deepen the commitment to our homeland and to a life inspired by Keddusha.

11-12 Grade
In the older grades the focus shifts from familiarity to serious analysis and usage of advanced authoritative commentary. Still, the usage of such commentary is often difficult and is used sparingly so advanced students have more intensified exposure to them while other students use them more occasionally. In tractate Shabbat the issues mentioned above are explored but additional dimensions are added as more subtle aspects are considered such as the various manifestations of Kiddush and their possible origins or K’vod Shabbat as an area possibly understood in different and opposing ways by the Talmudic sages. Emphasis is given to the similarities and differences between the idea of Keddusha as found in tractate Shabbat while dealing with Kiddush and that found in Kiddushin while dealing with laws of betrothal and marriage, consequentially deepening our understating of such an idea.


TANACH / תנ’’ך

The tanach program at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School emphasizes two different, yet important, aspects of tanach study: meticulous attention to detail and major themes of the specific book. It is in this way we learn to understand much of the details - otherwise random and disparate – as they are informed by the over-arching ideas the sefer as a whole wishes to impart. As such, we don’t study every single chapter and verse so as to lose sight of the ‘forest,’ but explore the five chumashim and the selected chapter and verse so to allow the ideas of the book as such to emerge. Consequently also classic commentary (mefarshim) is used sparingly. The preferred book used in our classes is a whole tanach.  We utilize other sections of the tanach (‘intertextuality’) to illuminate that which is under consideration, including both the independent study of other seferim (e.g. tehilim , Yona ,Daniel , Ezra & Nechemiah, etc.) or reckoning with sections not always immediately apparent in the current study. In sefer vayikra the ‘Idea of the Holy’ is explored via its various manifestations and permutations, complemented by the pivotal role the actions of Aaron’s sons play in this sefer, changing as it were, its original course. In sefer shemot it is the exploration of the meaning of cheirut (freedom) which is studied, taking into account the four major events which shape the whole book: The redemption from Egypt, the revelation at Sinai, building the mishkan and chet ha-eigel. Similarly, in sefer bemidbar we explore the people’s ‘coming of age,’ the growing pains of a people who are destined to govern their own fate but are not quite ready for such task. Sefer breishit offers a different kind of study for it is directed to the exploration of fundamental issues in Jewish and world thought emerging from the early chapters of the sefer such as Creation, morality, humanity, crime and punishment, etc.


9-10 Grades
As our school-wide theme this year is והיה מחניך קדוש  sefer vayikra is vital for obvious reasons. Thus in this division we explore the ideas of the Holy by an emphasis on the particular mitzvot in the sefer rather than on its entire development .The early sections of the sefer dealing with various korbanot, tumah & tahara which precede the inauguration of the mishkan are studied but a greater emphasis is given to the disparate and puzzling list of mitzvoth following its consecration and consideration is given to the question how and why they appear in this context.

11-12 Grades
In this division the book is explored from its very beginning so students delve into questions of the necessity of korbanot and their purported intention as seems to emerge from the earliest chapters of the book .Contrary to popular belief the primary intention does not support the idea that they are offered for sins and what’s more, the torah suggests that such offerings are universal in nature. Being the point of departure for the entire book significant consequences result for it suggests that much of the rites and rituals are a result of the people’s failures to uphold the original Divine scheme thus coplemneting the very same ideas found in the book of shemot and bemidbar.



TEFILLA / תפילה
Tefilla is one of the best methods by which to develop a personal relationship with Hashem. Accomplishing this goal is difficult and requires the right setting, the right frame of mind (כוונה), correct skills and a conducive atmosphere. At RKYHS, students take an active role in minyan and in leading the davening.

Davening can be a very personal experience, and a new program established in the High School offers students an opportunity to individualize their tefilla. Once a week, students have the option to choose a davening experience that is most appropriate for them. Offering students a different way to daven enhances their spiritual experiences and encourages active participation. Some of the groups include:

  • Tefilla Through Music and Song, accompanied by guitar and singing
  • Meditation and Tefilla for a more introspective davening experience
  • Explanatory Minyan, which delves deeper into the meaning of the prayers
  • All-Girls Tefilla, which enables girls to daven at their own pace without the tempo of a minyan and incorporates learning and discussion of certain midot from Mesillat Yesharim (The Path of the Just)
  • Additional options include Prayer and Justice, Themes in Tefilla, Finding the Hidden Meaning in Prayers, and Sephardic and Ashkenazic minyanim.

These new tefilla groups are extremely popular with the students, who feel the personalized approach to davening has provided more depth, meaning, and a stronger connection to their tefilla, in turn allowing them to enjoy an active and engaged role in their davening.

Sinai Schools are special education schools housed in mainstream yeshivot and day schools. The relationship that has been established between Sinai and Kushner students provides numerous opportunities for interaction between the two student communities.

RKYHS students have the opportunity to volunteer in daily minyanim to assist Sinai elementary and middle school students in a variety of ways. They are instrumental in assisting Sinai children with putting on their tefillin and following in the siddur. The presence and ruach of the Sinai children enrich the davening experience for all.
„TIKVAH / תקוה
“To be or not to be—that is the question....”

Although the famous soliloquy that Shakespeare put in Hamlet’s mouth continues to resonate even today, the real question is “What is it to be?” What is it that we mean when we think of being?

What are the fundamental qualities that constitute the human being? Our course explores the connections, influences, divergences and confluences between Jewish thought and Western philosophy and literature. We will explore the question of what it means to be human in both traditions, and explore the ethical, ontological, and metaphysical ramifications of this question.

The course affords students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with some of the most influential writings of Western and Jewish traditions. Students prepare readings in philosophical texts such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Kierkegaard, Spinoza, as well as writers such as Kafka and Camus. Some of the great thinkers from the Jewish tradition include ha’Rav Kook, ha’Rav Soloveitchik, Rambam, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi and E. Levinas. At the conclusion of each unit, students are required to write papers concerning issues under discussion as well as related topics.

The Tikvah program is about the spirited study of ideas—faith and reason, love and friendship, ethics and economics, freedom and virtue, human excellence and Jewish excellence—and the role they should play in constructing a deep and meaningful Jewish existence. It is rooted in the belief that the most intellectually ambitious high school students should consider the most serious Jewish and human questions. Jewish students are able to explore and understand the great contributions of Jewish thought to human self-understanding, and the great contributions of philosophy, literature, political thought and theology in charting the Jewish future.

YU LEARNING INITIATIVE / תכנית ישיבה אוניברסיטה
The Yeshiva University fellowship program brings young Rabbinical students and female scholars to our school to engage in supplementary learning opportunities with our students. Every Thursday morning, our YU fellows participate in tefilla with our students, help support our Judaic studies program by offering guidance and individual help in the beit midrash, learn with small groups of students, and run a very unique ninth grade experiential learning Halacha program. Most importantly, they serve as role models of young, energetic, committed Torah Jews for our student body. Our fellows participate in school trips and shabbatonim and become important parts of the culture of our Yeshiva.

Halacha Program
This year we launched a new Halacha program for ninth grade. This innovative program, designed by the Yeshiva University fellows under the guidance of our Judaic Studies faculty, is aimed at giving our students a broad, experiential appreciation of Halacha. The program will meet every Thursday during the SEED period and is intended to intrigue and excite our students about the underlying ideas behind the halachot.

In addition to the in school program, the YU fellows have set up an interactive website for students to learn from, review materials, and post their own ideas throughout the week. Students are encouraged to visit the beit midrash website www.RKYHSBeitMidrash.com in order to gain as much as possible from this program.

Our new state of the art Memorial Library offers RKYHS students an unprecedented opportunity for in-depth study of the Holocaust. The memorial library staff will be tasked with maintaining and augmenting a book collection together with an extensive audio and visual component. Periodic exhibitions will be part of our computer based multimedia archives for research and student use. The library, together with a devoted Holocaust study program, will serve as major stepping stones in the broadening of our school’s Holocaust curriculum. It will imbue students with a critical understanding of this difficult, yet so important, chapter in Jewish history.

Chevrat Lomdei Mishnayot
As part of the Memorial Library visual installation we are initiating, together with our Jewish Studies department, a new project in which every high school and middle school student will be encouraged to learn a mishna lezecher nishmat (to the everlasting memory of) a person who perished during the Holocaust. These mini lessons will be recorded and uploaded onto our website together with the name of the student and the name of the person who perished in the Holocaust. The goal of this project is to learn the entire corpus of Shisha Sidrei Mishna dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims, while creating a memorial of their names and the places where they perished.


Introduction to Art
This course is designed to offer all of our students the opportunity to develop a visual awareness of their surroundings and to sensitize them to their own individual creativity. The ninth grade course introduces the lesson of the line and the importance of illustration, contrast, and depth. Artists and art history are incorporated into many of the assignments to assist students in recognizing the relevance of our focus on line, contrast, and perspective and the specific role they play in art production. The course is made up of diverse projects, including pencil, charcoal and a pen and ink drawing, and it instills in each student a sense of confidence and an appreciation of art.

While the tenth grade course focuses on color and color theory and creating a well balanced illustration, the ninth grade class experiments with a variety of mediums and techniques including: pastels, water colors, inks for printmaking, and tempras.

Studio Art
Studio Art is designed to give students a broad exposure to a variety of techniques and media used in applied art. The course begins with basic line drawing, adds shading and definition, introduces and develops the use of color, and culminates in perspective drawing. These skills are enhanced by exposing students to different materials such as pencil, charcoal, tempera paint, watercolor paint, pastel and colored pencil. The course integrates art history both as a tool to illustrate artists work in relation to the particular skill that is the focus of each project, and as a stand-alone topic that enables students to learn about the development of art history chronologically.

Advanced Art
This elective Advanced Art course is designed to build upon the skills mastered in Studio Art. Students are challenged to apply their skills by developing them through a variety of different techniques and materials. Their projects include a drawing of comparative fabrics, a hard edge painting, the study of portraiture through printmaking, sculpture and a self-portrait. In addition, this class explores art history with greater rigor and depth.

Video Production
Video Production, available to eleventh and twelfth graders, acquaints students with the technical and aesthetic concepts involved in successful studio and field production. Students develop skills through a series of in-class exercises, studio and field exercises, and critical evaluations of past and present production styles.


Desktop Publishing and Computer Applications
As technology is a major facet of daily life, this two-part course integrates computer science studies into a real-world business simulation. Students explore their own interests and capacities in a quest to create a proposal for a hypothetical start-up business. Once they decide on a business, students create the proposal using the Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Publisher. Students learn new skills as they write letters; make lists; and create logos, business cards, budgets, databases, presentations, fliers and other documents necessary for the start-up of their simulated business. Throughout this process, students learn business terminology, copyright and fair-use laws, research skills and desktop publishing skills.

With today’s strong emphasis on computers and technology, coding has become an essential skill. In this class, students learn a basic coding language and begin creating programs their own! The course begins with the basics of computer programming through building simple text based games. Students create one or two player number guessing games. Through this exercise they learn about basic input and output of integers, strings and characters, random number generation, error handling, conditional structures (if-then-else), and repetition structures (loops). Next students solve some math problems before moving on to functional programming, and recursive programming. Students can then build a one or two-player hangman game.



Language is the basis of all learning and essential to the acquisition of knowledge in all content areas. The aim of the English Department is to enable students to use language accurately in an integrated way, via reading, writing, listening, viewing and speaking. The English curriculum provides a language-rich environment that helps students develop as readers, writers, and effective communicators.

The ninth-grade curriculum puts at the forefront an emphasis on writing technique. Much of the year is spent on strengthening writing skills, specifically persuasive, expository, and creative writing. The literature curriculum focuses primarily on texts dealing with issues of identity, as the beginning of high school is a time of great change. Texts include The Catcher in the Rye, Romeo and Juliet, and The Contender. All readings are considered in literary and historical context so students gain an understanding of the historical, cultural, and philosophical influences that shape the texts and of how, in turn, these texts generate life.

In the tenth grade, students further understand and comprehend the ideas and literary genres that define varying periods of British literature. Students examine works such as The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, and others, in order to better understand and appreciate important texts that have shaped the literary and cultural world today. In doing so, they also relate the messages of the different works to their own lives. Students then express their understanding through essays, poetry, oral presentations, debate, and dramatic presentations.

The eleventh-grade curriculum focuses on American literature. Over the course of the year students examine varied works of American literature such as The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Our Town, and The Things They Carried, in order to better understand and appreciate this country and in order to relate the messages of the different works to their own personal experiences. In doing so, students develop their skills in thinking, reading, speaking, and writing.

Creative Writing
In this course students read published material and produce material in multiple genres including but not limited to poetry, the short story, newspaper articles, and magazine articles. Students read and discuss published material in each genre in order to familiarize themselves with work of publishable merit and to practice workshop techniques in approaching this material as well as their own. Then, students individually produce material for each genre to submit to the workshop for discussion. Finally, each student submits a portfolio of revised material and an essay assigned by the instructor, at the end of the semester, for a final grade. Students sponsor a school-wide poetry reading in April, enjoy learning from guest speakers, and have the opportunity to use new technology to enhance their creativity.

AP Language and Composition
This course has been designed to help students read and write on a first-year college level. Students in this class are expected to read and explicate literature, addressing not only literary devices, rhetorical functions, logical fallacies, syntax, diction, and audience, but also, how these devices make up the tone, style, and purpose of a specific work. Through a series of activities—essays (expository, analytical, and argumentative), informal writings, debates, and presentations—students are not only be able to identify these elements, but also are able to show their mastery of these elements by using them in their own writing. Students examine a broad range of literature, essays, letters, images, and speeches including works by (but not limited to) Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Malcolm X, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Franklin, Anne Sexton, Edgar Allen Poe, Alice Walker, Shirley Chrisholm, Ray Bradbury, Arthur Miller, Eavan Boland, and Margaret Atwood.

AP Literature and Composition
This course offers students the intellectual challenges of an undergraduate English course. Students read and analyze literature, focusing on the ways in which writers use language to provide meaning and how this meaning is embodied in literary form. The structure, style and themes of each work are explored, as are the writers’ use of imagery, symbolism, figurative language and tone. Students will also consider the social and historical values that are reflected in the works at hand.

The diverse opportunities to create, write, and explore the world of English are limitless. RKYHS participates in myriad essay contests, of which the Kaplan Essay contest and the American Library of Poetry contests are two examples. Several of our students have published articles for the NJJN. Students who have a proclivity for writing, critical thinking and public speaking may participate in the Debate Club and Mock Trial. The Voice, our school newspaper, is written by a creative staff of students who have a pulse on the human interest stories that include school, community, and national issues that help keep our student body informed. Those students with a love of poetry can create material for a poetry contest. Each year, students create an online literary website that includes essays, short stories, poems, riddles, and an eclectic collection of photography.

Students entering this course must have the initial expectation that they will read, contemplate, and write about literature extensively. They will write bi-monthly essays (in analytical, argumentative, and expositional forms), and participate in daily readings (novels, creative nonfiction, short stories, and poems). Readings will include American, British, and world authors selected from an Advanced Placement lists. Students enrolled must be willing to challenge and justify their understandings, attempt to see other perspectives, and support their findings in a mature manner utilizing the strategies of the
Socratic Seminar technique.


The RKYHS History curriculum is designed to enable students to understand the history of human interactions and their effects on cultures, as well as individuals. Students are encouraged to think critically about the political, economic, cultural and social bases for historical events, as well as the people who helped drive them. As part of the core curriculum, students take Jewish History in twelfth grade.  In addition, 10th grade US History I and Jewish History have multi-step research paper projects. Students have some flexibility in choosing their own topics in each course.
Western Civilization
In the ninth grade world history course, students explore the early civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Students are then introduced to both Christianity and Islam, with an emphasis on the monotheistic tie that links these religions to Judaism.  Students focus on a survey of early Europe, the Renaissance, and the Reformation with an emphasis on how these historical events impacted modern history.  Subsequently, students explore the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the origins of Modern European nationalism in tandem with an explanation of the industrialization of the 1800s.  Ninth grade history concludes with units examining imperialism, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the resulting nationalism in African and Islamic nations.
American History I
Tenth grade begins with the exploration of the New World and discusses the creation and expansion of colonial America, the events leading to the American Revolution, the war itself and the development of the constitution.  Additionally, the course explores the young federal government, early American culture and industrialization, as well as rising sectionalism, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the events resulting from them.  American History I concludes with an examination of the development of the West and the Gilded Age.
American History II
Eleventh grade begins with post-Civil War industrialization, and then examines
immigration, imperialism, progressivism, World War I, and the Roaring 1920s.  Students examine the causes of the Great Depression and the nation’s response to its effects, with a focus on New Deal measures.  Students then explore the causes of World War II, the war itself, and the ways in which the war shaped American life and foreign policy.  Upon completion juniors explore the Cold War, the Civil Rights era, and postwar economics. The course continues with the Kennedy and Johnson years, Vietnam War, Watergate and 1970’s economic developments.  The course concludes with the Reagan Revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Clinton presidency and concludes with a historical study of 9/11 and resulting War on Terror.
Law, Economics, and Politics
Law, Economics, and Politics (LEP) is a hands-on, project-based course that examines all three of these areas with the goal of helping students gain the basic knowledge needed to be productive, thoughtful, and inquisitive citizens in the modern American landscape. Law projects include case studies, a municipal court visit, and an in-depth look at case law stemming from the Bill of Rights. The elective’s examination of economic policy centers around two key projects: the “Stock Market Challenge” game, and a personal budgeting exercise. The course’s focus on politics centers around the current events of the day and always includes personal and group values’ assessments, together with in-depth projects that help each student identify the party or candidate that best coincides with his or her personal values.
AP U.S. Government and Politics
Advanced Placement U.S. Government is a comprehensive program of college-level
instruction dealing primarily with the importance of the federal government and its
bureaucracy. Topics covered include: democratic theory, party politics, interest groups,
civil liberties and public policies, civil rights, the Congress, the Presidency, as well as
the Federal Judiciary. When appropriate, the course covers impending elections and the issues relevant to voters. The course focuses on providing students with a greater understanding of and appreciation for how our government, particularly the federal government, functions.  By the course’s end, students are prepared for the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam, which is comprised of multiple choice questions and four mandatory essays.
AP United States History
This course is undergoing a major change as the actual AP exam is taking a very different track for 2015.  The course and AP test will reduce the rote memorization of the past and will emphasize a variety of skills.  Some of the changes include new ways of answering a variety of questions, including a stimulus/prompt multiple choice questions, short-answer questions and modified essays.  AP United States History provides students with a thorough survey of U.S. history from the year 1877, the historic end of Reconstruction. The course begins with an examination of new immigration patterns and urbanization, which is then followed by an analysis of the regulation of the Progressive Era. Upon completion of these units, students focus on American imperialism in the Western Hemisphere and Asia at the turn of the century, the emergence of the nation in World War I, the free-wheeling 1920s, the subsequent Great Depression, and the New Deal. The first semester concludes with a journey through the causes and resolution of World War II.
The second semester covers the post-war economic boom and the start of the Cold War.Topics covered include: the Korean War, Eisenhower’s administration, the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Nixon presidency and Watergate Affair.
Subsequently, students examine the economy and culture of the 1970s, the Reagan presidency, and the end of the Cold War. The course concludes with an analysis of the 1990s, the Clinton years, September 11th, and the War on Terror and the election of Barack Obama.
Modern Jewish History
In this course, which is a senior year requirement, students examine the political, economic, social and religious developments that have affected Jews and Jewish life over the past 400 years. In the first semester, topics covered include the Chmielnicki massacres, false messianism, Hasidism, and the Yeshiva Movement in Eastern Europe as well as Moses Mendelssohn, Emancipation, and the Reform and counter-Reform movements in Western Europe . In the second semester, students will study the Holocaust, delve into the history of Zionism and the birth of the State of Israel, and examine the challenges faced by the fledgling state. Throughout the year, students will explore issues of Jewish identity, supplement their in-class learning with an in-depth analysis of primary sources, produce a comprehensive research paper, and learn how to engage in Israel advocacy.


The mathematics curriculum at RKYHS is designed to provide students with the fundamental concepts and skills needed to broaden their knowledge of algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus with trigonometry, and to prepare them for success in college. Encompassing a wide array of approaches to instruction, the curriculum enables students to develop and synthesize various problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and apply them to any field they choose to pursue. RKYHS participates in several mathematics competitions. The New Jersey Mathematics League contest is given throughout the year, and the American Mathematics competition is held in February. Both contests consist of tests given in school and the results are compared to students in other schools. RKYHS students also participate in the Lander College Yeshiva High School Math Competition.

AP Calculus AB
Students spend most of the year studying differential and integral calculus, focusing on the graphical, numerical and algebraic meaning of a definite integral and a derivative. Students utilize the knowledge they gain to find and explain solutions to many complex mathematical problems, while gaining proficiency in the use of the graphing calculator as a tool to enhance their understanding of many calculus concepts. The material studied in this class is equivalent to that covered in a one-semester college calculus course.

AP Calculus BC
Students spend most of the year studying differential and integral calculus, focusing on the graphical, numerical and algebraic meaning of a definite integral and a derivative. The course also includes integral applications series and functions in polar coordinates. Students utilize the knowledge they gain to find and explain solutions to many complex mathematical problems, while gaining proficiency in the use of the graphing calculator as a tool to enhance their understanding of many calculus concepts. The material studied in this class is equivalent to that which is covered in a two-semester college calculus course.

AP Statistics
The purpose of the AP course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes: They examine patterns and departures from patterns through exploring data; they plan and conduct a study through sampling and experimentation; they analyze random phenomena using probability and simulation; and they estimate population parameters and test hypotheses using statistical inference. In this course, students also master many useful functions of the graphing calculator.


Scientific literacy is critical to life in the 21st century. The mission of the science program is to provide students with an understanding of the world of science as citizens and possible future scientists. To that end, all RKYHS students take courses in biology, chemistry and physics that are designed to enable students to not only master these subject areas, but also to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in their daily lives. All courses are tracked to allow students to work at their own pace in order to fulfill their highest potential. Students participate in a variety of extracurricular science programs, including Science Olympiad, the DNA club, Jerusalem Science Contest and others. Our students also have initiated an RKYHS pre-med club, which meets weekly to hear from speakers and to discuss pressing medical issues of the day.Opportunities for hands-on science learning and skill building processes are manifold. Our science laboratories are exceptionally well designed, inviting, and accessible. Under the direction of their instructors, all students regularly conduct experiments to enrich their classroom studies.
Ninth grade biology covers the essential aspects of the study of life and the interactions of organisms—both micro- and macroscopic—with the world around them. Emphasized studies include an examination on the cellular level, an exploration of inheritance and genetics, and an analysis of physiological systems and ecology. A weekly lab period provides hands-on learning opportunities.
The tenth grade chemistry course covers the physical and chemical properties of matter and their corresponding interactions. By the end of this course, students have a working knowledge of atomic structure, chemical bonding, molar quantities, kinetic molecular theory, solutions and colligative properties, and hydrocarbon compounds. Various multimedia and practical demonstrations are used in order to teach this material. A weekly lab period for this class provides hands-on learning opportunities for the subjects discussed.
Using the “Active Physics” curriculum, the eleventh grade physics course studies the properties of linear and rotational kinematics, Newton’s Laws of Force and Motion, work and energy, momentum and collisions, sound, and electricity. Various multimedia and practical demonstrations are used and a weekly lab period provides hands-on learning opportunities for the subjects being discussed.

AP Physics 1
Honors student have the opportunity to take AP Physics 1, a year-long introduction to the algebra-based areas of physics: mechanics, fluids, waves, optics, electricity, magnetism and modern physics (atomic and nuclear). Students learn to think like scientists: making predictions based on observations, writing hypotheses, designing and completing experiments, and reaching conclusions based on the analysis of data derived from these experiments. Students apply the concepts of physics to their everyday experiences, current events, and issues in science and engineering. The course provides opportunities for guided inquiry and student-centered learning to foster critical thinking skills.


Science and Technology
Top students at RKYHS are selected to participate in this special science and technology program. This innovative new curriculum directed by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) prepares students for careers in engineering and advanced technology. The goal of this program is to educate a generation of students in Jewish schools to compete in the global marketplace. CIJE provides RKYHS with a full curriculum, rigorous teacher training, and equips all classrooms with laptops, apparatuses and all necessary materials. The program helps participating students prepare for academic study in higher education, especially in engineering; be exposed to a diverse range of scientific and technological knowledge areas; develop multidisciplinary thinking; develop ability for abstract and interdisciplinary thinking; develop leadership and teamwork skills; and be introduced to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.
Anatomy and Physiology
Students are introduced to the human body from an anatomical and physiological point of view. The class is aimed to be a “Pre-Med” style class for students who wish to learn more about the human body systems covered in freshman biology courses. Students examine scientific and medical explanations of the orientation of the human body and review cells and cellular organization as they relate to tissues, organs, organ systems, the complete vascular system, the skeletal system,
the muscular system and the nervous system. Students also explore, through the use of Forensic Anthropology, how this information is used in a non-medical but professional manner.
AP Biology
The AP Biology class is designed to closely follow the program set out by the College Board. The class focuses on the four “big ideas” of AP Biology: evolution, energy transfer, information storage, and interactions. While the course follows the traditional order of a college biology course, it emphasizes the four big ideas as they manifest over the course, as well as the seven science practices that are prescribed by the AP. The course has two lab periods a week, in which hands-on, inquiry-based labs are performed.

AP Physcis C
AP Physics Is a year long calculus-cased course that covers the following topics: Kinematics, Dynamics, Energy, Momentum, Rotational Kinematics, Rotational Dyanmics, Oscillations, and Gravitation. Students learn to think like scientists: making predictions based on observations, writing hypotheses, designing and completing experiments, and reaching conclusions based on the analysis of data derived from these experiments. Students apply the concepts of physics to their everyday experiences, current events, and issues in science and engineering. The course provides opportunities for guided inquiry and student-centered learning to foster critical thinking skills.

Genetic Engineering
"Genetic Engineering" is a demanding and challenging elective STEM course at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, open to advanced students with demonstrated aptitude in science and facility for self-directed, independent work.  The course takes a mixed lecture / hands-on, self-discovery approach and is designed to foster innovative and inventive thought in a molecular genetics context.   The course covers three main areas: (1) the fundamentals of molecular genetics and recombinant DNA research and BioInformatics; (2) study and exploration of the scientific literature related to a specific human genetic disease, and the production of a comprehensive research proposal addressing a particular issue associated with the disease; and (3) a hands-on, in depth participation in a comprehensive scientific research program in partnership with the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University.  As "Waksman Student Scholars" these students are actively isolating, identifying, determining and analyzing the DNA sequence of genes from Landoltia punctata, a species of duckweed, plants having importance as a potential biofuel and in bioremediation.  These novel DNA sequences - never before determined, are expected to generate publishable data, with the students as named authors.

Advanced (Bio) Engineering
BioEngineering is a course in innovation, invention and problem solving.  The course is project-based and requires the students to learn a lot of science, mathematics and certain engineering skills.  They learn a functional approach to biomechanics.  There are a few gateway skills to most projects, including electronics, circuitry, programming and data analysis as well as the underlying scientific foundation for each project.


Sociology is the scientific study of human action and interaction. Sociologists suggest that our actions are shaped by the context in which they occur. Each person is born into a society that has its own culture, or ways of thinking and acting. This course introduces students to the sociological perspective as well as the research methods employed by sociologists to understand how society works. The course focuses on a variety of social issues including culture, socialization, deviance, religion, social structure, social class, government, inequality, social movements, work settings, social organizations, institutions and gender.

Health and Nutrition
The RKYHS Health curriculum is designed to teach students about the components of a healthy lifestyle, with an emphasis on thoughtful decision-making. Classroom lessons are enhanced by workshops and other programs that focus on topics such as nutrition, substance abuse, body awareness, family dynamics and peer pressure, as well as other issues of special concern to adolescents. Students are empowered to think critically about how to meet the personal challenges they confront and to seek support from appropriate resources. The importance of maintaining open, honest communication between students and
parents is stressed.

AP Economics
Microeconomics emphasizes how individuals make choices with limited resources. Students examine concepts such as supply and demand, factors of production, roles of labor and management, the relationship between the environment and the economy, and the impact of the government on individual decision-making processes. They learn about the stock market as an investment option and trace various stocks through the semester using the Wall Street Journal and the Internet as resources.

Macroeconomics emphasizes how the economic system works as a whole. Students learn how the economy is measured by using concepts such as gross domestic product (GDP). They examine concepts such as inflation, unemployment, world trade patterns, and the role of the Federal Reserve Bank. Students engage in decision-making processes to create an environment in which high employment and a higher standard of living are achievable by applying the economic tools of fiscal and monetary policy. This part of the course prepares students for the AP Exam in Macroeconomics offered in May.

AP Psychology
AP Psychology introduces students to psychology at the university level. It is the goal for every student to develop an understanding and appreciation of the key topics, principles, people, theories and terms in psychology, including: research methods, biological bases of behavior, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, cognition, testing, motivation, emotion, personality, abnormal and social psychology. Students are challenged to achieve their best possible score on the AP exam.


The purpose of learning Spanish is to communicate with the people who speak it and to understand their culture. Our instruction is student centered, thematically designed and performance –based. The Realidades program provides a complete curriculum of instruction. The spiraling themes and extensive recycling of content allows for smooth articulation between the levels. Realidades.com presents and integrated online learning opportunity for students with a variety of activities to review and prepare for quizzes, tests and presentations. In addition, our students participate in the annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest organized by William Paterson University, competing with high school students from New Jersey and New York.

Spanish I and II
Students have fun communicating in Spanish since the first day of class. Students in these courses develop basic speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills, along with exploring cultural products and practices. Students participate in a wide range of paired and group activities as well as performance-based tasks.  ¡Bienvenidos!

Spanish III
This course further develops students’ interpretive, interpersonal and presentational communication skills. The curriculum involves more complex grammar structures and intense conversational practice. Great emphasis is placed on Hispanic and Latin American cultures as evidenced by their history, literature and the arts. Students enrolled in this course are expected to communicate primarily in Spanish in class.¡ Exploramos el mundo desde otra cultura!

Spanish IV
This course requires students to prepare compositions, oral reports and discussions on personal and cultural topics. Students analyze excerpts from works of literature, music, art and movies to provide further insight into the life and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. Students use of grammar is strengthened to enhance their writing and oral skills. Aprender otra lengua es conocer otro mundo.

AP Spanish
The Advanced Placement Spanish online course is designed for students who wish to receive credit or advanced standing in college. The course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement exam in Spanish. Students enrolled in this course should have a strong communicative ability in Spanish in interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication.


Physical Education is an active learning program that helps students develop lifelong tools and knowledge through activities that encourage recreation and physical fitness, personal health and wellness. Students learn skills to help them focus on the techniques and dexterity required for various games. The program incorporates character building and movement activities, affording students a safe environment in which they feel comfortable trying new activities and advancing their proficiency levels in activities with which they are already familiar. Sportsmanship and team-building are essential building blocks to the physical education program, which stresses basic technique and skills associated with individual and team sports.

Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing in order to be eligible for positions on our junior varsity and varsity teams. RKYHS fields teams for both boys and girls in soccer, track, swimming, volleyball, hockey, basketball, tennis, boys wrestling, boys bowling and baseball; and for girls only in softball. Skill levels and commitment weigh heavily during tryouts, and student athletes must earn the privilege of competing each year.

In ninth and tenth grades students are engaged by grade level in the development of their psychomotor and affective domains through character building and movement activities. Throughout this course, sportsmanship and team building are emphasized, and skills from previous grade levels are reviewed. In tenth grade, skill development, safety, sportsmanship, and physical fitness are essential, in addition to the introduction of basic technique and skills associated with individual and team sports.

In eleventh and twelfth grades, the physical education program continues to engage students in activities that enhance their psychomotor abilities while encouraging students to embrace the values of sportsmanship and cooperation. In eleventh grade, the skills and techniques associated with individual and team sports are reviewed, and physical wellness and personal fitness continue to be emphasized.


Driver education is offered to students in their sophomore year. Successful completion of the course allows New Jersey residents to take the written knowledge test at the school instead of the DMV and, upon passing, receive their blue cards. For non-New Jersey residents, a school letter stating that they have successfully completed a driver’s education class is issued. The class allows each student the opportunity to understand the responsibilities and privileges of driving.

Topics covered include: identifying requirements needed to obtain a driver’s license; traffic laws; DUI laws; understanding the GDL process; identifying actions taken in the event of a traffic accident; and the understanding of how most accidents occur. Roadway signs, hand signals, traffic signals and pavement markings are analyzed and discussed. Students learn important safe driving techniques for defensive driving.




Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy
Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School
110 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, New Jersey 07039
Phone 862.437.8000