Chag Chumash: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?


Zach Hardy, Writer

Image by Aaron Kohl.

Every year, the second grade class participates and performs in Chag Chumash, a ceremony in which students receive their very own Chumash from which they can read and learn.

To prepare for Chag Chumash, lower school teacher Morah Michal Luger introduces them to the Torah, its learning, the importance of studying it, and more. Students get to decorate their Chumash’s cover with different colors and designs which helps make the process more personal and enjoyable for the kids. Parents write notes of congratulation and put them in their child’s Chumash for a surprise to find at the evening of ceremony. 

During the actual performance of Chag Chumash, the second graders learn songs and speaking parts to perform in the program. According to Luger, the program not only introduces the second graders to Torah learning, it also helps them learn “how to stand on stage, speak to the audience, and feel comfortable” in front of crowds of people. This is especially important now because these second graders have not had many chances to do programs or performances like this because of COVID-19.

So why is it important for second graders to participate in Chag Chumash? According to Luger,  Chag Chumash serves to “celebrate students’ start of learning the Torah from the Chumash.” She also says that it is important for them to participate in Chag Chumash at a young age because “they are still open to learning and excited about it.”

Second graders at HBHA have been working hard all year in preparation for their final Chag Chumash performance. Image by Aaron Kohl.

Chag Chumash is an amazing introduction to the learning of the Torah and Jewish texts. Luger  says that “studying Torah from the Chumash itself helps the kids feel connected,” and like “an active part of the Jewish people, learning our Torah ‘straight from the source.’” Having an introduction into Jewish learning like this gives the kids a chance to enjoy the learning they will be doing for the rest of their school career. 

Second graders carry some of what they learn through the rest of their school career, but according to Luger, the thing that stays with them the most is “the excitement and joy” that comes from Chag Chumash. She says it helps them engage more with textual learning as they get older.

Second grader Noah Kohen says that the part he most enjoyed of Chag Chumash was learning and singing the songs. By learning these songs, he understood what he was singing, and he was able to start his learning of the Torah in a fun and interactive way.

Noah says that he also enjoyed the speaking part, and that it gave him more confidence speaking in front of crowds. As we are coming out of a global pandemic, it is important to begin and continue to teach young kids to be comfortable socially and in front of crowds, since it was difficult to do this under the circumstances of COVID-19.

Overall, Noah was enthusiastic about Chag Chumash and the learning he did to prepare for it. He enjoyed the experience and was excited to keep learning about the Torah and Judaism because of it.

Chag Chumash provides a fun interactive way for second graders to begin their Torah learning that they continue throughout their HBHA career. It helps get kids enthusiastic about learning and is an important part of HBHA.