Friday, June 9, 2017


6. 9.17
Gesher is amazing!

It has been an amazing experience to share your Jewish journey with you this year.  Together, we learned Torah and rabbinic texts, we did parasha plays and made video commentaries, we learned from the experts about those milestone events that punctuate the Jewish life cycle, we developed tefillah skills, we led social action projects in our school, and, with gratitude to Robin Kahn, we learned about opportunities for growth and new experiences as our Jewish journeys continue beyond the Gesher class.  May you discover on Jewish journeys meaning, substance, passionate and compassionate Jewish communities, friendships, teachers, love and joy.  You have certainly enriched my Jewish journey and every day, I thank God for you.  Please keep in touch.

With love and abundant gratitude for all that you do, all that you give and all that you are,

HaMorah Margalit

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dear Kitah Vav Parents,
 We had a nice last day of Sunday school on June 4, filled with fresh fruit and ice cream, plus the Gesher service in the sanctuary. 

The Gesher class had a chance to shine as they led Shacharit so beautifully, and we got a chance to see their values and creativity in the videos they wrote and produced. The videos were quite wonderful! Your students will lead this same service as the culmination of their studies in Gesher next year. 

Over the years, as a Hebrew School teacher, I like to revisit what I see as my mission in partnering with parents to transmit Jewish values, knowledge, and culture. I met most of my goals for your students, if the student was open to meeting me. I believe real learning happened this year, and even some fun Jewish experiences!  Thank you for entrusting your children to TI religious school; it has been an honor to teach them.

I want to thank you for your most generous Amazon gift card. I’m hooked on all that Amazon provides: books, movies, tv series downloads, and gadgets of all sorts. I will put your gift to quick use. Rav Todah!

My plans going forward:
I will not be returning to teach at TI, as I will be taking my fourth unit of chaplaincy in the fall.  This is a six month internship at Boston Medical Center, after which I can apply for certification.  Presently I am the Jewish chaplain at The Spaulding Rehab Hospitals. 

I wish all a safe, fun summer.
 Kol tuv, all the best,

 Rav Elana  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

ALEF Last class June 4, 2017

Dear families:

It has been a wonderful year.  We have so enjoyed being with the children for lots of learning and lots of fun!  Thank you so much for the Amazon gift card.  As a book lover, I will put it to good use.

Cantor Ken began the day with tefillah outdoors.  The children described what they enjoyed outdoors.  Then we recited our usual prayers, some with sign language accompanying our words.

HEBREW:  We finished the book, and we signed the certificates in the back The last letter in the book is  ז“zion,” the first letter in  z’ayv” (wolf), and the cognate “zebra.”  We used our review packs to show what we remembered about the Hebrew letters.

Later in the morning, we played Hebrew bingo to show off what we remembered about the letters and vowel sounds.  No prizes, but a lot of fun,

GODLY PLAY:  It is traditional to read the story of Ruth on Shavuot because of its harvest setting. Naomi and her husband went to Moab to escape the famine in Israel. Her two sons married Ruth and Orpah, Moabite women.  After the three men died, Naomi decided to return to Israel, which had abundant crops again.  She urged her two daughters-in-law to return to their own families.  However, Ruth protested, telling Naomi—“wherever you go, I will go; your G-d shall be my God, where you live, I will live; and where you die, there, I shall one day die.”  (Ruth is regarded as the first convert to Judaism.)

The two women journeyed across the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) to Israel.  Since they had no money, Ruth got food by gleaning.  We discussed this way of helping the poor without cash.  Harvesters were not allowed to pick up any crop that they had dropped or missed.  They also did not touch the corners of their fields.  Poor people were allowed to pick these crops.  Naomi’s relative Boaz owned the field where Ruth gleaned—he asked her to glean only in his fields; his workers would let her eat and drink with them, and they would protect her.  Naomi encouraged Ruth to go to where Boaz was sleeping; he awakened startled and professed his love for Ruth. They wed and eventually had a child; through this child’s family, Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David.

In groups, the children discussed these issues of family, loyalty, gleaning, helping others.  We also worked on two word puzzles on the story of Ruth.

Students concluded with books and games, among them Circle the Year, a path game on the yearly cycle of holidays.

The students took home their Hebrew nametags and photos that I took the first class—See how much the students have grown!

Have a wonderful summer.

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzipporah)

Grade K - Gan Class Update 6-4-17

Hello Gan Class Families!

Our year-long journey together has come to a close.  It seems like time has literally flown since last September.

As I was preparing the materials that your students took home today, I was able to reflect on the year and all the knowledge and experiences the Gan Class students have enjoyed. It is truly amazing to notice how drawings can become more detailed and expressive in just a few weeks' time.

Each student took home their own workbook, filled with the illustrations they have created to help them remember our Torah stories, letters and celebrations.  It is a compilation of all of the wonderful things that we learned this year.

Students also received their own personal Torahs.  Each one contains the This week on Shabbat drawings your students created each morning.  When rolled out they show a whole years worth of Shabbat activities! 

Today we finished up our learning with outdoor Tefilah, some new Torah stories and a review of our letters and celebrations.

I have truly enjoyed getting to know each of the Gan Class students and look forward to seeing their continued growth and success as Aleph Class students next Fall.

Have a fun and relaxing summer!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Gimel Goings On

Shalom Gimel Families,

The Gimel class has been working very hard since we returned from April vacation.

We continue to review some of our vocabulary, reading and Hebrew counting during our Sunday morning meeting.
Students have completed the first 7 verses of Ashrei and have done an amazing job practicing and singing it.  They are definitely ready to work on the remainder of it next year in the Dalet class.
Last week students were introduced to the prayer, Mi Kamocha.  They have done a great job mastering this using different strategies - reading from their binders, singing, and technology.

Students have also had opportunities to lead the Birkot Hashachar during Sunday morning Tefillah.
Hebrew board games continue to be a highlight of our Sunday morning Activity Centers.

The focus during the week before last was on Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer.  This is the anniversary of the passing of the great scholar Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  It also celebrates the great Rabbi Akiva who taught his students The Golden Rule - treat others as you wish to be treated.  In honor of Lag B'Omer students had special activities in the social hall.  There were 2 stations:  tie dyeing and golf ball decorating.  Lots of fun had by all!
This last week we started talking about Shavuot - beginning with a conversation about the counting of the Omer where students enthusiastically shared examples of events they would count the days for - birthdays, end of school year, camp, and many others.  After watching short movie clips about the Ten Commandments students listened to the story No Rules for Michael and discussed why having rules is important.  The highlight of this unit was the edible Torahs that students made in class this past Sunday.  This week we will focus on Shavuot as a harvest festival and read the story of Ruth.

In the parasha 2 weeks ago we learned:
Do not insult the deaf
Do not put a stumbling block in front of the blind
In Hebrew School we played a game called "Step Forward if..."  Students were asked a question and if it applied to them they had to step forward.  The goal was for everyone to move from one side of the room to the other.  The game was followed by an interesting conversation about how everyone had reached the other side of the room in different ways, and how important it is to respect each other's differences and to be inclusive.
The activity, which was school wide, was to put rubber bands on the T-shirts which were tie dyed on Lag B'Omer.   Each student will receive a tie dye shirt to bring home.  Tie Dye is something I have been doing every summer for the last dozen years.  Gimel students looked at photographs of T-shirts that I have made over the years and they noticed that no shirt was the same as another -  illustrating that everyone is  unique!


Elana and Marc

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Dear families:  
I can’t believe that there is only one session left after today—June 4.

Today was Ariel’s last session with us.  We all signed a card, and we took a photo of all of usso she can remember us.  She has been a big help to us in many ways.  Good luck next year in college.

We started with tefillah with Cantor Ken.  He asked us to recall places outside that we like.  Students 
mentioned the Dead Sea, a playground, and the snow.  We counted the Omer here and again in class with a page the students color in each week.  Today was day 40—5 weeks and 5 days.

Our Hebrew lesson today included the sound “oo” represented by three diagonal dots under a letter, as in “boobah,” doll or a vav with a dot in the middle.  We also studied ג. Someג words are “gadol” (big), “gamal” (camel), and “gan” (garden).  Next time, we will finish the Hebrew book, and the children can bring it home.

Our story today was from Godly Play—the Ten Best Ways.  After the children of Israel were freed from slavery in Egypt, they wandered in the desert, which is a dangerous place because of the scarcity of food and water, and the heat.  But the desert is also a wonderful place.  With no distractions, great things can happen.  To help the Israelites, God provided food and water; there was a pillar of fire and one of cloud to lead them on.  At Mt. Sinai, God told Moses the ten best ways to live, so that he could tell the people, and pass them on to us.  We listed the Ten Best Ways (the Ten Commandments) God wants us to live—such as keeping the Sabbath, not telling lies, and be happy with what you have. 

Then we engaged in the “wondering” aspects—which part of the tory you liked best, which is the most important, where are you in the story?  Students eagerly shared their ideas.

Thank you, again, Robin and Temple Israel for sponsoring my attendance at the Godly Play workshops.  Thank you also, Gretchen Brandt for mentoring me—sharing ideas for props, sharing this new story with me, and making suggestions.

As each holiday approaches, I have been gathering and making the props to tell each story.

Cheryl read No Rules for Michael. Michael tells the class that there should be no rules.  However, he changes his mind when he trips over a backpack, someone takes his snack, and other things go wrong. Then he sees the need for rules. 

Last week, the children tie-dyed t shirts.  Today, each child who participated received a t shirt.  We talked about inclusion—how we are all different sizes and shapes, but we are all part of the Temple Israel community.

There is no class next Sunday.  Our final class for this year is on June 4.  Have a happy Shavuot.

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzipporah)

Grade K - Gan Class Update 5-21-17

Hello Gan Class Families!

It is so hard to believe that we have almost completed our year long journey together.  Your Gan Class students have grown so much and have learned lots!

Today we began the day in Tefillah with Cantor Ken as we do almost every week.  As I looked around, I observed that many of the students have begun to memorize some of the prayers.  We have improved our ability to follow along with the pages and remember to remain standing when we need to.  Our Gan Class students are comfortable in the Sanctuary space!

Today's Torah story was about Jacob.  After tricking his brother he had to move away from his home.  He found himself looking for a wife and he fell in love with a woman named Rachel.  Rachel's father tricked Jacob into marrying this older daughter Leah before he was allowed to marry Rachel.  Jacob had 13 children, 12 boys and one girl.

Now that we know all of our letters we have been busy practicing them!  Students met individually with me to review all 22 of our letters.  At our Aleph Bet Centers, students illustrated our vocabulary words and played the Aleph Bet Adventure game to practice letter recognition.

Our Celebrations unit focused on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot.  On Shavuot we celebrate receiving the Torah from God at Mt. Sinai.  We read A Mountain of Blintzes which is a story about a family preparing for Shavuot and how they work together to make sure the have all the things they need to make blintzes, a common food served on Shavuot.

Students that were in class last week took home one of the tie-dye shirts that were made.  Each shirt included a letter explaining the project more in depth.  We hope that the experience highlighted that we are all different in many ways but still part of the same community.

Image result for a mountain of blintzes

There is no class next week as it is Memorial Day Weekend.  Our final class together will be on June 4th.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the Gan Class.