Friday, May 25, 2018


Shavuot was amazing!  Our day together began with the kindergarten as Gesher students guided, mentored and coached the 5 year-olds in the art and activity of making butter (and by the way, it was delicious!)  We made butter to represent the tradition of eating dairy at Shavuot.  Gesher students were amazing with their young partners—encouraging them as they shook, shook, shook the containers of cream until they became whipped cream and eventually butter.

We joined the congregation for the singing of Hallel  and the Torah reading.  We rose for the Aseret haDibrot, the Ten Commandments.  After the Torah reading we experienced the Aseret haDibrot in other ways; first seeing, hearing and wondering about the revelation experience and then wondering about the commandments themselves through Torah Godly Play.  We did a text study and considered two categories of commandments.  Commentators have suggested that commandments 1-5 are between people and God, and commandments 6-10 are between people.  We considered philosophical relationships between the commandments 1 and 6 (I am the Lord your God who took you out of Egypt & Do not murder, 2 and 7 etc…)

Our celebration together of Shavuot was a wonderful culmination to an amazing year!  I will miss Ben, Daniel, Sam, Max, Adam, Kayla, Naomi, Hannah, Hana and Leah. Best wishes for a fantastic summer and I can’t wait to hear about your next experiences on your Jewish journeys.  May you go from strength to strength!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Grade K - Gan Class Update 5-20-18

Hello Gan Class Families!

Isn't is amazing how quickly a year goes by?  It seems like not that long ago that we began this journey together and what an excellent journey it has been.  

Our final day together was filled with activities and excitement.  With our Gesher Class friends we made butter.  On Shavuot, it is traditional to eat dairy foods.  Butter is made from whipping cream which we vigorously shook until it became whipped cream and then separated into butter and buttermilk.  We tasted it on a bagel before sharing it with the congregation during Shavuot lunch.  

Tefillah was in the Sanctuary with members from the congregation all around.  We participated in Hallel and then each of us got to touch the Torah with the help of some adult friends.  

Our interactive Torah story was so much fun.  All of the students in grades K-5 crossed the Red Sea and wandered the desert with Moses(played by Bar).  We got to experience the miracle of manna as God shared it with us in the form of marshmallows.  

In our classroom we reviewed our letters one last time to feel really prepared for the Aleph class and each student received their very own Torah filled with the stories of what they did on Shabbat each week this year.  

While it is sad to have to say goodbye, I know that all of the Gan Class students will have an excellent year in the Aleph Class next year and I look forward to seeing their smiling faces in the hallway and during Tefillah.  Thank you for sharing your students with me, it was a true please to spend the year together.

Please keep an eye on your emails for a Something About Email to share some highlights of your child's Gan Class experience from the latter part of our year.  

I wish you all a fun and relaxing summer and can't wait to hear about all your adventures when we return to school in the fall.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grade 2 Update

What an amazing last day of Second Grade!  We began Sunday morning in the classroom marveling  that we had counted the Omer for forty nine days and that we were ready to receive the Torah just as the Israelites had seven weeks after they had left Egypt.  We reviewed the Ten Commandments, agreed that they are indeed important guidelines to live by and that perhaps the word Commandment is not the proper translation as they are not all commandments. 

We then joined the rest of the school and the congregation in the sanctuary to sing the "Hallel" prayer and to participate in Temple Israel's Shavuot tradition of passing Torah scrolls amongst all the people present.  We left the sanctuary before the Torah service began and participated in a reenactment of the Exodus from Egypt and receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai.  The kids loved seeing Bar portray Moses, Robin  the Pillar of Cloud  that leads the Israelites through the desert, and Michelle Nelson  God.  The rest of the staff played various Israelites, the Pillar of Fire and even the rock which Moses struck in an effort to bring forth water.  The children walked through the walls of the Red Sea as it parted and from room to room in search of water and food, and to stand at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear the Ten Commandments chanted in Hebrew. 

We returned to our classroom to play a game in which we remembered many of the things we did during the year and talked about some of our favorite things.  Then it was back to the sanctuary to hear Rabbi Liben tell a story.   It was great to see many of you afterward enjoying lunch and each others company.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Kitah Aleph Celebrates Shavuot

Kitah Aleph students and teachers finished off our year with a very busy morning. We began with some class time. The children shared some highlights of the year including playing games with Bar, learning to recognize and read the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and getting to know the Jewish holidays. It was wonderful to have all the children present for this last day of our year together. We played aleph-bet bingo, Simon Says in Hebrew and reviewed the ten commandments. We also read a story about how a group of children in Israel celebrated the harvest aspects of Shavuot by first planting and growing wheat in the fall and then harvesting it in the spring to make cheesecake for Shavuot. We learned about the various Hebrew names for the holiday including Chag HaKatzir (the harvest holiday for wheat), Chag HaBikkurim (the harvest of the first fruits) and Z'man MaTan Torahteinu (the time of the giving of the Torah).

Kitah Aleph students joined the congregation in the sanctuary for hallel and the beginning of the torah service. We watched as the torah was passed from one person to the next. Each child also had a chance to give the torah a hug as it moved around the room.

Along with the other children in the school, Kitah Aleph students then participated in reenacting the Exodus from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, wandering in the dessert and finally receiving the ten commandments at Mount Sinai. It was great fun for the teachers and students alike. We followed Moses (who looked very much like our own Bar) and the pillar of cloud (which resembled Robin) and even received some manna in the dessert that tasted very much like marshmallows.

I want to extend my thanks to all the children and parents of Kitah Aleph. I truly enjoyed getting to know all the children this year. It was a pleasure to spend Sunday mornings with them. Best wishes for a wonderful, relaxing and fulfilling summer. Joanne

Friday, May 11, 2018


It has been an honor to learn with this amazing group of young people; Hana, Kayla, Hannah, Naomi, Leah, Max, Sam, Adam, Ben and Daniel. They are a group of ten extraordinary individuals, each on his or her own unique Jewish journey.  As a group they are very social, enthusiastic, funny, sensitive, compassionate, bright and creative thinkers.  

Our learning focused on Jewish holidays, Jewish life cycle, Tefillah and Pirkei Avot.  Two thousand years ago, the rabbis shared their ethical teachings in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Sages, one of 63 tractates of the Mishna.  And, while their teachings are influenced by the times in which they lived, much of what they shared continues to have meaning for us today. 

During our study of Pirkei Avot, we unpacked the traditional meanings and then worked to construct meaning for ourselves by creating short videos.  One mishna from Pirkei Avot states, “Make for yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend.”  Gesher students worked together on their videos as friends and through the process of creating videos together or sharing their videos, they became teachers.

During their siyum, our students taught selections from Pirkei Avot. First, the creator or creators introduced his, her or their video by explaining the mishna and then they shared their videos.  These videos are varied: some are touching, others are silly or funny, and some are profoundly meaningful.  Each demonstrates our students’ creativity, thought, insights and the fun that they had learning this year.

It has been an extraordinary year and I hope to remain part of their Jewish journeys as each finds her place in the Jewish community and the Jewish world. Mazal tov!  May you go from strength to strength!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Grade 4 Update

The 4th grade is finishing up the school year, by learning the meaning of some of our T’filah prayers. We discussed G’vurot. Finding strength in prayer. The G’vurot focuses on qualities we associate with God, like strength, love, mercy and support. The eternal is mighty, and powerful. The ruler is sustaining life (chai) and shows great compassion or mercy.
The students discussed how they can be more like God.

 Tikun olam is a commandment to repair the world. We discussed stopping horrendous acts that human beings do, such as destroying our own environment. 
Pollution, killing majestic elephants simply for their tusks. The killing of rhinos for their horns. The entire
animal is destroyed for a tiny piece to use for adornment. This is not showing mercy. We will strive to correct such injustices, as the next generation. Tikun olam. God wants us to repair the world. Everyone must try to listen to their yetzer Tov and not their yesterday Hara. Good vs. evil inclinations. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Grade 5 Update

Dear Kitah Hey Parents,

The weather is beautiful and the fifth graders and still learning a lot and having fun in Hebrew school! Lately, we have had many wonderful community programs to attend that have allowed our students to see what they are working toward and further understand what it means to be a part of the Jewish community.

During our class time, we have enjoyed more time with Bar and have focused on our last value of the year - Tikkun Olam: Repairing Our World.  Fifth graders discussed the responsibility of every generation to improve the world and how that differs from perfecting it.

Our most recent project partnered students into groups and allowed them to come up with a topic they are passionate about that would make the world a better place.  They then had to illustrate how a positive change could be made and how it could then have a domino effect that would lead to further positive change down the road. Some topics on the posters included: safe sports access for all, saving kids from war zones and other unsafe places, making sure kids get enough sleep, helping the needy, and creating programs to help the needy help themselves.   After completing the posters, we held a “museum” in class in which students independently walked around the classroom with sticky notes and commented on each posted with how he/she think this change will make a difference 50 years from now. It was amazing to see and hear the thought put into this project by the fifth graders!

In Hebrew, the fifth graders have been doing a great job with Aleinu! They have been reading and singing Aleinu in pairs, independently, and as a group, They have also have been playing fun games to keep Hebrew reading fun. Some recent games include: Memory, Bingo, Around the World, and Pick up Sticks. Students have also been counting the Omer.  

The fifth graders are very excited for an end-of-year party on the last day of Hebrew school - May 20th!  It would be wonderful if we could all contribute to the event. Below is a list of treats the kids came up with (it wasn’t us!) of what they would like for the celebration.  Please double check that anything brought to the temple in kosher and nut free. Please type your name next to the item you would like to bring to the party. Of course, we do not expect this entire list to be filled. The list is on the next page of this google doc.

Thank you!

Tali and Diana


Lauren Fishman
Mini cupcakes

Cape Cod potato chips with Helavagood dip
Lisa Goldsmith
Lauren Fishman
Assorted candies with no nuts

Pretzel rods
Rachel Plofsky
Capri Suns

Water bottles

Chocolate chip cookies
Rachel Plofsky
Fruit roll ups or fruit by the foot
Karen steinberg
Vegetable tray with dressing

Assorted berries

Pita chips with hummus

Crackling chocolate with a cow on it (?????)

Potato sticks from Trader Joes

Plantain chips

Cotton candy