Monday, March 28, 2016

Grade 5 Kitah hey. March 28, 2016

It was really great to see so many of you at our community celebration for our dear rabbi !
What a wonderful day it was!  What a wonderful community we are !

This year is moving too quickly by.
We jumped from our study of Purim to beginning our study of Passover within less than a week!

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day!
We began with a fun and relaxing cereal breakfast..........I think Cocoa Puffs just might be everyone's favorite!
Then it was time for school wide tefillot, along with some songs in preparation for our next upcoming big holiday.

Back to class for a bit of pesach drama.  
We read the Hebrew "b'chol dor Va-dor kha-yav a-dam lir-ote et atzmo k'iloo hoo yahtzah  mimitzrayim"
  "In every generation, one must look upon oneself as though  he/she personally had gone out from Egypt "
So.........since I remembered seeing many of my students way back then, I shared a bit of my own memory of slavery.  Kids began to remember their own experiences as well, and shared (in the first person, of course!)
Of course Several students added a touch of " creative silliness".    😀

For the last 90 minutes of the day, we had a stimulating and fun family program.  
Each family discussed and designed their own individual Seder plate.  Each one was unique, reflecting Passover family traditions and history, as well as possible new traditions.  
My personal favorite addition to our Seder plate this year will be an olive, as a symbol of hope for peace in the Middle East.  Israel is always on our minds and in our hearts.

B'shalom,

Cindy nelson

Grade 4--KITAH DALED & "The Double Dutch Jumping Hipster Princess of Purim"


We watched a different artist’s interpretation of the Megillah, http://www.g-dcast.com/purim/.  Students realized that various aspects of the story seem to be given different levels of importance in each video, book and song.  We also discussed that God seems to be in hiding in the Megillah and that his name is never mentioned though the author suggests God’s presence and the Hebrew root of Esther’s name is to 'to hide.'  Students made paper hamentashen and hid something about themselves or the Megillah within their cookies.  And, we were excited to complete our megillot, roll them up, and tie them with a piece of yarn as we prepared to bring them home.

I hope that every enjoyed a very happy Purim!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Grade K - Gan Class Update 3-27-16

Hello Gan Class Families!

Today began our study of Passover!  Its hard to believe that its coming up so quick but in less than a month we will be enjoying matzah and listening to the story of Passover around our seder tables.  At Tefillah we began to practice the 4 Questions with Cantor Ken.  Many of the Gan students may be asking the 4 Questions at their own seders so its great that we are going to get so much practice in.

During Tefillah there was so much excitement when students opened their siddurim to see that book plates had been inserted into the covers and decorated by some of the other classes.  Students were even more thrilled that they got to decorate their own bookplates with Robin this morning. Each book will have a personalized bookplate decorated by the students.  The decorations were inspired by the prayer for which the book is named.  Robin helped us think about the colors to use by asking us questions like what color our souls are.  This led to an amazing conversation about how your soul and your body are connected and how they are both impacted by God.  The bookplates look fabulous and I hope that you have a chance to check out some of these illustrations from any of our Education Program students when using the siddurim in the future.

In our Torah story we got to meet Moses.  Hearing Moses' story is a great way to begin learning about Passover because Moses is so important to the story.  In our first story about Moses, we learned that the new Pharaoh is mean and has ordered all the Jewish baby boys to be put in the Nile River.  Moses is put in the river but he is in a basket so he floats until Pharaoh's daughter finds him and makes him her son.  She needs help raising him so Moses' real mother is selected to help out.  Moses grows up as the Prince of Egypt but one day he sees a slave not being treated well and fights and kills the Egyptian that was responsible.  As a result he has to run away.  When next we see Moses, he has run away and will communicate with God.

Though there were no new letters today, I checked in with about half the class working on specific letters that have been tricky for each student.  I plan to work with everyone I didn't work with individually today during our next class so that everyone gets the opportunity to learn with me before the April vacation.

Next class we will continue our study of Passover and learn a brand new letter.

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

See you next week!

Michelle

GRADE 1--PASSOVER INTRODUCTION 3-27-16

Dear families:                                                                                              March 27, 2016
I enjoyed being at the 25th anniversary celebration for Rabbi Liben yesterday. Two of the best parts were seeing all the children taking part in the service and assisting Margie Matross in her Purim or Pesach workshop. Eleven of our students were with us. You can be proud of how much the children remember.

Today we began with breakfast and a brainstorming session on what we know about Pesach. After our delicious Cocoa Puffs, we took part in tefillah. The challenge today was to find words with the vowel . “ee.”. Canto Ken led us in some Hebrew songs, including the Four Questions.
Our Hebrew letter this week was ח “het”--the first letter of Hanukkah and hallah. After doing the lesson in our two groups, the children partnered to find some Hebrew letters. Then brachot and snack!
We continued our study of Pesach with the story of the Seder and the Exodus. Each year, we relive the slavery of our ancestors with the services on the first two nights of Pesach. We eat the special foods, ask questions, and tell the story because "WE were slaves unto Pharaoh in Egypt." We looked at one of my Seder plates, afikomen bag, and a haggadah.
STORY: We read The Story of Passover on the Seder and how Moses helped free the Hebrews from slavery. Pharaoh was afraid that a Hebrew baby would grow up to lead the Jews from slavery, so he ordered all the baby boys to be killed. Moses' family saved him by putting him in a basket to float on the Nile. The princess found him and brought him up as her own son, with the help of Moses's own mother as his "nanny." Moses learned that he was Jewish, saw the vision of the burning bush, and told Pharaoh to let the slaves go free. Ten plagues struck Egypt until Pharaoh agreed. At the Red Sea, the Hebrews crossed on dry land, but the Egyptian army drowned. 
We discussed what it was like to be a slave and follow someone else’s orders and schedule.
We saw how a family prepares, explains the symbols and “order” of the Seder, and celebrates.
CRAFT: Each child worked on a Seder clock, which shows highlights of the Seder in pictures to help the children keep track of the order of the events. Move the clock hand as the Seder progresses. I hope you will use it at your family table. Lois, our secretary, will laminate them so that they will last for years.
As time permits, we also did puzzle papers and played my learning games. Among the favorites are my Uh Oh! books and my game Find the Afikomen. We worked together to put simple puzzles together for the cup of Elijah, three matzot, etc.
We closed with Dayenu and one of my favorite songs, the silly Don’t Sit on the Afikomen!
More on Pesach next week! Shavua tov! (Have a good week.)

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzipporah)

Kitah Vav Tallit Making


Today we had the privilege of having Nancy Fried-Tanzer come to our class and lead our students and parents in making tallitot. Our students picked out backgrounds they wanted to use for the panels at the edges of the tallitot and atarah, the part over the neck, came up with the design they wanted to use, and got started using the different felt patterns Nancy had brought to cut out the shapes and letters they wanted on their tallit.  It was such a  pleasure seeing everyone's creativity shine through- from suns to arks to leaves and doves, Jerusalem and even designs straight out of Dr. Who, we had some expert artists at work! And it was wonderful having so many of the parents with us, helping and guiding the projects. 

I can't wait to see the finished products!
Josh







Nancy Fried-Tanzer

Monday, March 21, 2016

Gimel Goings On

Another busy week in the Gimel class!

After a delicious breakfast of rice krispies (snap crackle pop - stamp out Haman's name!) we joined with the other classes for Tefillot and Purim singing led by Cantor Ken.  Back in our classroom we began our day with morning meeting, our counting game and Hebrew/Holiday stations.  Students had an opportunity to practice reading and singing Ein Keloheinu, and work on their decoding skills in Alef Bet Quest.  Our independent work station was in honor of Purim - students made Mishloach Manot!  They will bring them home on Tuesday and Wednesday.

After snack we read the story, The Purim Superhero, and had a lively discussion about being yourself and showing courage.  Students compared the hero of the story, Nate, to Queen Esther.  Our discussion was followed up with a written personal connection where students wrote about a time they had to show courage.

During the week students used the school iPads to do a webquest where they found information about different Purim traditions such as Hamantashen, Megillat Esther, dressing up, Mishloach Manot and Matanot Le'Evyonim (gifts to the poor), to mention just a few.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Purim dinner and Megillah reading this week.

Be happy, it's Adar!

L'hitraot

Elana

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Grade 5 Kitah hey March 20, 2016

Be happy, it's Adar!

We have been "experiencing" Purim - today as well as midweek.

Several of my students came in costume today (as did I).   Ben A. came as  a biggggg slice of vegan pepperoni pizza!   Daniel S. was disguised as a giant lion (that roared!).   Bennett was an action character I did not even recognize.  Marc was Iron man!   I was giant "shin" ......... Some people mistakenly thought I was disguised as an m& m..........but.......no!     
This is HEBREW school........ I was OBVIOUSLY a Hebrew letter!........... SHIN/SIN...there are no vowels in israel........so you can only tell by context...........well, of course!  

We began our morning with a noisemaker cereal in honor of Purim!
Snap, crackle, and pop..........rice krispies!  (Boo haman!)

After a short Torah talk we enjoyed morning tefillah with cantor Ken!

Back again in the classroom, we reviewed and chanted the prayers and blessings of our  Shabbat Torah service.  I saw a lot of effort........in that way, the students "earned" their break time.

Back again to Purim- just where we left off midweek.  All Jews are responsible for one another".  I must admit that I was disappointed that only one student remembered the Hebrew.  ("Kol yisrael aray-veem zen ba-zen")  .... Thank you to Ben P!
We talked about our Jewish identities, and how we feel about our Jewishness.  How do other people see us?  Are we recognizeable as Jews?  
Did anyone ever try to hide their Jewishness like Esther had done?
Kids shared their personal stories, as did I.....

Lots of great conversation followed with everyone participating!

From there we segued into our book, "I survived the nazi invasion", where many Jews did try to hide........ 

Enjoy Purim!......., it's a mitzvah!


L'shalom,

Cindy Nelson 

Grade 1 PURIM SUPER HERO March 20, 2016

Dear families:                                                                                                                March 20, 2016

Thank you so much for the delightful mishloach manot bags which Cheryl and I received today. We celebrated Purim in class by wearing our costumes.  I am a bag of M and M’s and Cheryl is Jospeh in his sandals and coat of many colors.  After breakfast and discussion, we took part in tefillah, led by Cantor Ken. We concluded with some Purim songs.

Back in class, we had our Hebrew lesson. This week, we learned about the letter nun נ.  Some  נ words are “ner tamid,” “nerot” (candles), and “namayr” (tiger).  Besides reading the letters, learning to write nun, and reviewing letters with partners, students can use my Hebrew magnetic letters during break.

After snack, we did our first art paper.  “What I will be on Purim.”  Some choices (also worn in the picture I emailed you directly) were Batman, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, a few Queen Esthers, a minion, and Jasmine.

Along with the other classes, we read Purim Superhero.  Nate loves aliens—he reads about and draws them.  Nate wants to dress as an alien for the annual Purim service and celebration.  The other boys will be superheroes and want him to be one, too.  Discussing it at home with his sister and two dads, Nate makes his decision.  As Abba says, “Is Max the boss of Nate?” He learns how Esther stood up for herself as a Jew, by being true to herself, and saved her people.  Nate decides to be who he wants to be--an alien superhero.  The other students agree that next year they will all express themselves.  Our class discussed how Nate should follow his own thoughts.

Students then did an opinion paper, writing and drawing their favorite part of Purim Superhero.

We closed with some Purim songs. 

I enjoyed seeing many of you at the carnival after school. 

Have a wonderful Purim.

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzippora)

Grade K - Gan Class Update 3-20-16

Happy Purim Everyone!

It was so cute so see the students excited about their costumes, the carnival, Mishloach Manot and coming to Purim dinner and the Megillah reading later this week!

Our day was focused on Purim.  Teffilah was led by Cantor Ken dressed up as an M & M and was filled with happy Purim songs.  Excited buzzed about afternoon plans to attend the carnival or receive a Mishloach Manot bag at home.  

Today's activities centered around the book Purim Superhero. Students were excited to hear that all classes were using this book as part of their Purim learning.  As a class, we read about Nate who loves aliens but is pressured to be a super hero for Purim by his Hebrew School friends.  Torn about what to do, Nate seeks out the help of his sister, daddy and abba to make a costume that is a combination of both.  There were fantastic conversations happening about Nate's family being based on love, the idea that Nate shouldn't have to do something because everyone else wants him too and even connections to the story of Purim that we enjoyed during our Aleph Bet Centers last week.  To finish out our experience, we made Purim masks just like Nate and his friends.  

In addition to celebrations, we reviewed our letters, which is almost all of them, through a ball game.

It was lovely to see so many of you happy faces up at the Purim Carnival after class. Special thanks to Sarah, our Madrichim Coordinator and Bina for making sure dismissal went smoothly today.

When we return next week it will already be time to start learning about Passover!

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

Michelle

Grade 7--GESHER UPDATE

Last Tuesday, we explored Vayikra, the first parasha in the third book of the Torah.  We discussed sacrifices and the obligation for witnesses to give testimony.  Gesher students developed Torah study questions including: (1) The ancient Israelites gave sacrifices to feel closer to God.  They gave sacrifices for many reasons: Sometimes spontaneously to tell God that they love God, at other times when they were distressed, felt guilty, thought that they had cheated somebody, or thought that they may have sinned, or when they felt gratitude for their well-being, or for being saved from something (illness, accident or injury.) What do you do to feel closer to God? What is happening in your life when you feel that you would like to feel God’s presence or to acknowledge God?   (2) According to Jewish texts, the testimony of certain people is not acceptable in court.  Who do you think should not be able to give testimony? What do you think should disqualify a person from giving testimony?

On Sunday, we began with The Purim Super Hero a children’s book with important messages about the variety of family models, peer pressure and making your own decisions.  Students were clear about their expectations that a person’s choices should not be dictated by his or her gender.  We learned about the difference between gender identity, gender expression and sex. Since all human beings are created b’tzelem elokim (in the image of God) there is no preferred image and every image requires respect and compassion.  Hence, one’s gender and gender identification are the choice of that individual.  This led to a new perspective on the Jewish wedding ceremony.  While our tradition is beautiful, it is also highly gendered:  The bride has a Kabablat Panim (reception) the groom has a Tisch (groom’s table) where her talks words of Torah, agrees to the Tanaiim (conditions of betrothal) and signs the Ketubah (marriage contract.)  It is the groom who veils the bride, marries her by reciting the traditional formula (Be consecrated unto me according to the laws of Moses and Israel) and placing a ring on her finger, and gives her the Ketubah.  What happens if the couple is not a man and a woman?  What happens if it is two men or two women?  We also examined the Sheva Brachot (Seven Wedding Blessings) and realized that many of them are gendered as well.  We weighed the value of tradition against the value of a gender-neutral wedding ceremony and wondered if some day, many Jewish weddings will adopt a gender-neutral model.
“The Garden”, a story about the first couple provided a segue from Jewish wedding to Pirkei Avot.  What does this story teach about the value of work and even struggle?  Then we learned two short verses from Pirkei Avot:  4:16, “You’re not required to finish the work but neither are you free to desist from it.”  And 1:10, “Shammai taught, love work.”  What is work?  What is expected of us?  Students compared these texts to Yoda’s words “Do. Or do not.  There is no try.” Does Yoda agree with the rabbis of the Mishna?


The Garden
by Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Dancing on the Edge of the World: Jewish Stories of Faith Inspiration and Love collected and edited by Miriyam Glazer, Ph.D.

Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden.  And they lived together east of Eden, tilling the earth, raising children, struggling to stay alive.  After the years of struggle, when their children were grown, they decided to see the world.
They journeyed from one corner of the world to the other.  Wandering from place to place, in the course of their journeys, they discovered the entrance to the Garden of Eden, now guarded by an angel with a flaming sword.  Frightened, they began to flee when suddenly G-d spoke to them:
            “Adam and Eve, you have lived in exile these many many years.  The punishment is complete.  You may return now to the Garden.”
            As the words were spoken, the angel with his flaming sword disappeared and the gate to the Garden opened.  “Come in, Adam.  Come in, Eve.”
            “Wait,” Adam replied.  “You know, it has been so many years.  Remind me, what is it like in the Garden?”
            “The Garden is paradise!” G-d responded.  “In the Garden there is no work.  Neither of you need ever struggle or toil again.  There is no pain, no suffering.  No death.  Life goes on forever, day after day.  Come, return to the Garden!”
            Adam and Eve listened to G-d’s words—no work, no struggle, no pain, no death.  An endless life of perpetual ease.  And then Adam turned and looked at Eve.  He looked at the woman with whom he had struggled to make a life, to take bread from the earth, to raise children, to build a home.  He thought of the tragedies they had overcome and the joys they cherished.
            And Adam shook his head, “no thank you, that’s not for me… Come on Eve, let’s go”
            Adam and Eve turned their backs on Paradise, and hand in hand, they walked home.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

3/13 Kitah Vav: Samuel and Saul


Last Sunday, Kitah Vav continued our exploration of the story of Samuel. We picked up after the return of the Ark to the Israelites (the war with the Philistines is still active, but does not feature in this reading). The Israelites desire a king to rule them, rather than the judges who have led them for so many years. Samuel, the last of the judges, feels that kingship will be a negative for the Israelite people, and gives them several reasons why. However, they are firm, and Samuel, after speaking with G-d, relents and appoints Saul as the first king of Israel.

This reading offers opportunity for discussion on several topics: last week, we focused on discussing systems of government (ancient and modern), and the positives and negatives of monarchy vs. judgeship. Moving forward, we will discuss other topics, including the depiction of G-d in the Book of Samuel, the motivations behind granting Israel a king, and the implications for the ancient land of Israel as they attempt to become more like their neighbors (“Give us a king to rule us, like the other nations.”). I look forward to the next few weeks’ discussions on these topics.

3/13 Kitah Dalet: Samuel and Saul



Last Sunday, Kitah Dalet continued with the story of Samuel, picking up where we left off the week before (after the Philistines return the Ark to the Israelites). We learn that Samuel, the last of the Judges, is a good and just ruler, but that his sons are not. The Israelites, feeling underserved and insecure in their leadership, demand that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them, like other countries have. Samuel speaks with G-d about this request and does his best to convince the Israelites that this is a bad idea, but the people persist, and Samuel finally appoints Saul as the first king of Israel.

This narrative gave us the opportunity to discuss the potential positives and negatives of monarchy. Before we read through Samuel’s reasoning, the students worked in small groups to come up with multiple reasons why kingship might be good or bad for ancient Israel. When we read through Samuel’s speech to the Israelites, the students found that they had independently discovered many of the points Samuel attempts to make to the Israelite people. They were equally able to put themselves in the Israelites’ shoes, and delivered many convincing pro arguments, as well. I was impressed with the tenor and sophistication of the conversation we were able to have, and look forward to more discussion as we move through Saul’s reign and into David’s. 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Grade 6 - Trop Update from Cantor Ken

Just a reminder that the students should be reviewing the blessings before (track 14) and after (tracks 16-21) the haftarah, as well as the aliya (Torah blessings, track 12), Torah trope (tracks 1-10) and Haftarah trope (22-31).

They should be able to sing any of these things for you upon request.

We've started preparing for our end-of-year Shavuot Torah reading celebration, and I gave the kids a short mini-packet that includes the Shavuot Haftarah.  I asked them to do the best they can to start learning the Shavuot Haftarah, starting with the first few verses that take you to the end of p. 1 (we did the first verse together in class)  They can read the words out loud, sing the trope names, and do the best they can to put these together.

Thanks everyone, and see you soon--

Cantor Ken

Monday, March 14, 2016

GRADE 1/ ALEF PURIM March 13, 2016



I am re-posting this because I forgot to write "GRADE 1" in the subject.  You probably already read this in my direct email to the parents.  Sorry:

Dear families:
Another great day in class! After breakfast, we participated in tefillah. The students are becoming very adept with the pages of the Siddur and with the prayers themselves. Today we looked for . The vowel sign for the sound "ee". You can be very proud of how well the children behave in the sanctuary.
STORY:   We read a book called Can You Guess? Purim Big Book. We reviewed Purim—Esther, Mordecai, Ahashuerus, Haman, Vashti, Adar, the gregger, and more.  The children helped apply objects to this Purim book.
CRAFT:  Each student made four finger puppets of their own design—for Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and King Ahasuerus.  They enjoyed experimenting with the puppets.
HEBREW: Our lesson today was in two parts—one was the vowel sound “ee,” represented by a . under any letter.  Some examples are “eema” (mother), and “keepah,” and” tzeepor” (bird).  We also learned  עayin.  Some words beginning with ע  are “etz “(tree), “etz hayyim” (rollers for the Torah), “ayin” (eye), and “eparon” (pencil).  Besides reading the lines to sound out the letters, the children practice writing the letter and work in pairs to identify letters from our review packs.  Thank you for helping the children review each week to reinforce the letters.
After craft, the students can read books, play Purim games, or work with my magnetic Hebrew letters.
TORAH:  We finished the story of Rebecca, discussing how kind she was and how she went to marry Isaac.

A FEW DETAILS:
Our breakfast is some cereal until 9:15. This is to supplement the breakfast they have at home. I have only one box for all the children to share.

Please empty your child's bag each week for projects, notices, and reinforcement pages.

Next week in anticipation of the Purim carnival at noon your child can come in costume to class.  I will be wearing a costume I made a few years ago.
A few parents asked: the first grade shema program, with the parents, is on May 22.
Have a wonderful week.

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzipporah)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

GRADE 1 ALEF PURIM March 13, 2016

March 13, 2016

Dear families:

Another great day in class! After breakfast, we participated in tefillah. The students are becoming very adept with the pages of the Siddur and with the prayers themselves. Today we looked for . The vowel sign for the sound "ee". You can be very proud of how well the children behave in the sanctuary.
STORY:   We read a book called Can You Guess? Purim Big Book. We reviewed Purim—Esther, Mordecai, Ahashuerus, Haman, Vashti, Adar, the gregger, and more.  The children helped apply objects to this Purim book.
CRAFT:  Each student made four finger puppets of their own design—for Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and King Ahasuerus.  They enjoyed experimenting with the puppets.
HEBREW: Our lesson today was in two parts—one was the vowel sound “ee,” represented by a . under any letter.  Some examples are “eema” (mother), and “keepah,” and” tzeepor” (bird).  We also learned  עayin.  Some words beginning with ע  are “etz “(tree), “etz hayyim” (rollers for the Torah), “ayin” (eye), and “eparon” (pencil).  Besides reading the lines to sound out the letters, the children practice writing the letter and work in pairs to identify letters from our review packs.  Thank you for helping the children review each week to reinforce the letters.
After craft, the students can read books, play Purim games, or work with my magnetic Hebrew letters.

A FEW DETAILS:
Our breakfast is some cereal until 9:15. This is to supplement the breakfast they have at home. I have only one box for all the children to share.

Please empty your child's bag each week for projects, notices, and reinforcement pages.

Next week in anticipation of the Purim carnival at noon your child can come in costume to class.  I will be wearing a costume I made a few years ago.

A few parents asked: the first grade shema program, with the parents, is on May 22.

Have a wonderful week.

Judy and Cheryl (Esther and Tzipporah)

Grade 4--KItah Daled Explores Purim


Last Wednesday was a multi-sensory day in Kitah Daled.  Through our own, readers’ theater skills we experienced a play, “I Dream of Purim.”  We heard the Fountainheads and the Maccabeats perform contemporary Purim songs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgJInVvJSZ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9HbULd67sE
And we continued our work on our individual illustrated megillot.  I can't wait to see the final results!