Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Electives (Birkot Hamazon) 2018-2019

12-12-18 - Week 4


Fall electives are going strong. The embroidery elective is making challah covers with words inspired by the Birkot Hamazon. The students learned how to use special threaders, embroidery thread, bamboo embroidery rings and stencils. They made beautiful challah covers!

We are looking forward to summarizing our electives as a group and sharing our beautiful covers. Also, looking forward to winter break!

You can ask your child What is the Birkot Hamazon? And when is the "Birkot" sung?

11-27-18 - Week 2

Local Food (Tuesday Only)

We discussed what it means for a food/plant to be "native" to an area. We also discussed, the advantages/disadvantages of the majority of our food coming from the same place or region.
We talked about why we eat latkas for Chanukah (answer: potatoes are root veggies available in Eastern Europe in December "Ashkenazi." Lastly, we tasted root vegetables: daikon radish, watermelon radish, celery root/celeriac, turnip, parsnip, horseradish.

Ask your child: Why do we eat latkas? And How did the root vegetables taste?

11-14-18 - Week 1


We discussed why we sing the Birkot with joy. We are grateful to God for providing us with food. As we read the translation of the Birkot, we chose words or phrases that would be chosen to embroider on a challah cover. We watched a few Youtube videos of basic embroidery stitches. We chose a handkerchief or napkin to use. We began stenciling onto the fabric. We are looking forward to beginning to use the bamboo hoops, the embroidery thread and needles.

Week 1 was interesting, enjoyable and all of the students are happy with their elective choices.

-Marsha Horovitz

Local Food (Tuesday Only)

On Tuesday, We learned the process of making bread and how they relate to prohibitions of Shabbat (eleven melachot). We also, played "Guess that Grain." Lastly, we grounded wheat into flour.

We are looking forward to learning more about where are food comes from.

You can ask your child about the different stages of wheat and if anything really makes food Jewish?

-Leora Mallach

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Madrichim 2018-2019


The Madrichim are discussing learning styles and how they differ in the classroom. Each Madrichim was asked to find out their learning style and how they see that style being addressed in the Hebrew School classroom. "My style of learning was visual.  An example of a visual learning style is watching a video or using pictures to learn a lesson.  One example of visual learning that I saw in the classroom was Margie reading to the kids with picture books to help the kids understand the story and to keep the engaged."
- Justin Linden.


My learning style is visual learning. Visual learning is when one uses graphs, charts, diagrams, and maps to learn. An example of visual learning is using a map to learn how to get to one destination from another. I learned something new about the way I learn because now I know I learn visually. In the kindergarten classroom we are making a visual representation of the Hanukkah blessing. This can help the kids learn the blessing through  visualization. 
- Bina Landis


What is your learning style and how does this help you in the classroom?

After taking the survey, I discovers that my learning style is tactile/ kinesthetic. An example of this is taking notes in class. I tend to write notes on what is written in a textbook or on the board, it is easier for me than writing what was said. I am not always a fan of all hands on learning, but it does have a big presence in the Hebrew classroom through the new Hebrew through movement curriculum. I both enjoy the activities and think it helps the students learn a lot of new Hebrew words.- Ari Klawans


What did you hope to gain from being a Madricha? I enjoy doing this (4 years now) and I enjoy being in the Jewish classroom. My students make me happy- Bina

What did you hope to gain from being a Madricha? I want to learn how to work with a variety of ages. Last year I was in the 4th grade classroom and now I am working with 3rd grade. What a difference!!- Naomi


What I hope to get out of my Madrichim experience is:

I hope to become a better teacher and connect more to each of my students.  I want to engage each of the students in the lesson so they gain a better sense of appreciation for Jewish learning.

- Justin Linden

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trope Class 2018-2019


Both our Tuesday and Wednesday classes have finished learning all of the Torah trope!
For the next couple weeks, we'll be practicing our trope skills using the Maftir Torah portions from the earliest b'nai mitzvah from each class.
Yesterday we practiced the beginning of Sam, Ella, and Avi's (also Caleb's) portions, and today we'll look at the beginning of Madelyn, Ava, and Molly's.  
This practicing should help all the kids build their Torah reading skills as they practice putting the words to the melodies of the trope, and it will help those with a relatively early bar or bat mitzvah get a head start on their portions.

For homework, they should review the first sentence of each of the three portions that we worked on in class, and if possible, look ahead to the second sentences too.  Generally, they should read each word out loud, say and then sing the trope name, and then put the word to the tune of each trope.
They should also review trope, either/both by singing the trope song (p. 7) and/or the trope combinations (p. 6) several times a week, the first 11 recordings on this page:

Let me know if you have any questions--

Cantor Ken


A quick pre-Thanksgiving update:

Trope assignment: 
We are almost done with learning the trope!  We've gone through the first 8 trope families (pages 3-6 in the packet) on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and by the week after Thanksgiving, you should have flashcards for the first 9 trope families and listen to the first nine tracks of the recordings.  Feel free to go ahead and sing along with tracks 10 and 11 as well (track 11 is the trope song, on page 7 of your packet).  The students can use their bar or bat mitzvah Torah portions in your folders for practice-- read each Hebrew word out loud, say and then sing the trope name, and when you're ready, do your best to put the tune and the word together.    

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Cantor Ken


Here's a similar update to last week, along with a reminder that in general, the 6th graders should keep reviewing the trope they've learning and looking ahead to the next family or two.  And they should please bring their packet/binder to class each Tuesday or Wednesday, along with their highlighters (yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, and pink).

Trope assignment: 
The 6th graders should make flashcards for the first 10 trope: on page 3 in the packet: mercha, tipcha, munach, etnachta, and sof pasuk, and on page 4: kadma, mapach, pashta, katon, yetiv.  Put the trope symbol on one side of the flashcard, and the name (in English or Hebrew lettering) on the back side.  The goal is to see the symbol, know the name, and then sing the tune.  They should listen a lot to the first three tracks, and then get acquainted with the fourth and fifth tracks, on this page:  We'll introduce the fourth and probably fifth families this coming week on p. 5, involving revi'i and the kadma-v'azla combination; they can go ahead and make those flashcards if they get a chance.  

Please let me know if you have questions! 

Cantor Ken


Two dates to remind you about or ask you to reserve in advance: 
1) The most important is Shavuot, which this year is on a Sunday morning after Hebrew school is over for the year, June 9.  Please reserve this important morning for our end-of-year Torah reading celebration, when we'll have the 6th graders chant individual Torah portions and share the Haftarah and blessings that morning as a culmination of our studies all year.  Please plan to stay for lunch afterwards if you can.
2) Thursday, October 25, 7:00-8:00 PM, we'll have a session for parent/s only to check in with me and Rabbi Liben and ask any questions that came up from reading the guidebooks or our first meeting on Sunday.

The 6th graders should make flashcards for the first 5 trope: mercha, tipcha, munach, etnachta, and sof pasuk (if you get a chance, please go ahead and make flashcards for the 5 trope on the next page: kadma, mapach, pashta, katon, yetiv).  Put the trope symbol on one side of the flashcard, and the name (in English or Hebrew lettering) on the back side.  The goal is to see the symbol, know the name, and then sing the tune.  They should listen a lot to the two tracks, and also get acquainted with the third track, on this page:  By next class we'll be recognizing the tropes, saying and singing the names, and applying these melodies to other words.  

The students should bring their trope packet each Tuesday or Wednesday to Hebrew School, and we'll use them for trope class each week from 5:30-6:00 PM.  (we have binders for the students which we gave out on Wed. but didn't have handy for Tuesday-- we'll give them out this coming week to those who didn't receive them yet).  If you didn't receive a trope packet yet, you can use the virtual ones on the page with the trope you can click on the whole packet or on individual pages for the trope you're working on.

Generally, the 6th graders should spend about 10 (to 15) minutes a day learning and reviewing their trope.  I'll send out reminders weekly or biweekly, but if I ever miss an email, the general assignment is to keep learning and reviewing what we've been doing.

Please let me know if you have questions!  I'm looking forward to an exciting year of learning to chant Torah and Haftarah with the 6th graders. 

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

6th/7th Grade Update

This week, we had the pleasure of welcoming Wade Blackman to TI to listen to us present about issues that we have learned this year in our B'nai Telem curriculum, such as inclusion, caring for the environment, connecting generations, and homelessness. Our students did a great job presenting, and when they were done, Mr. Blackman asked questions of them to get their input and ideas for possible solutions. At the end of our time together, we were also able to ask burning questions to him. There were many excellent questions regarding minimum wage, gun safety laws, and how much influence he has on creating and changing laws!

Second Grade Update

Another busy morning in Kitah Bet.  Listening to the students read always puts a smile on  the face of every adult in the room! At this point the class can properly identify and match each letter to the correct sound.  We know the basic vowels and are no longer intimidated by longer words, we know to sound them out letter by letter.  We continue to work on some of the less common vowel combinations which will be reinforced in the Third Grade.

The highlight of the morning was attending the Gesher Siyum (Seventh Grade Closing Presentation) as a class.  There were many siblings, and a cousin, who were marking the conclusion of this stage of their Jewish education as they complete their studies in our Religious School!  It was great to be present as the Seventh Graders led us in a short Prayer Service and shared some of their reflections with us.  The Second Graders were awesome audience members and helped end the morning by spontaneously joining in, well really helping to lead, the Shehecheyanu Prayer!

We are looking to forward to ending the year with two fantastic Sunday morning events.  This coming Sunday is our Israel Celebration and formal goodbye to Bar.  I will be at a wedding in New York but look forward to hearing about it from the kids next Tuesday and Wednesday.  The following Sunday is the first day of the Holiday of Shavuot and our last day of classes. It should be a very exciting way to end the year, participating in the tradition of passing the Torah Scrolls in the sanctuary, a special program in the school wing and saying goodbye in the classroom.  Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Madrichim Update

Bina, the madricha in kindergarten, led a Hebrew bingo lesson with her students. They practiced their letters while having a great time.

-Sarah Wintman

Gimel Goings On

Shalom Gimel Families,

It has been a busy week in the Gimel Class, and who doesn't love this beautiful Spring weather!

Students have now completed up to line 19 of Ashrei and are doing a great job mastering it.  Next year, in the Dalet Class, they will learn the rest of it.  Over the next couple of weeks we will spend time reviewing what we have learned through whole group reading, buddy reading and Hebrew Reading games.

This past Sunday we had our final morning meeting for this year.  Hard to believe the year has gone by this quickly.  Students had a great time at morning meeting learning some Hebrew - schedule words, weather words, days of the week, seasons, Hebrew calendar and Hebrew counting.  The number game is always fun and this week students chose to count to eser (10) in Hebrew! 

On Sunday we had the privilege of attending the Gesher (7th grade) graduation.  Mazel Tov to all our Gesher students and their families!

During the week Bar visited our class and played a quiz game on the iPad about Israel.

This week we will talk about the holiday of Shavuot.

Upcoming in the Gimel Class:

  1. May 13: Israel celebration and walkathon.
  2. May 20:  Shavuot and last day of Hebrew School.  We will spend some time together as a class, attend services with the congregation and hold a school wide Shavuot activity.
  3. Weekdays:  We will continue to review Ashrei and talk about Shavuot.

Have a great week!



Shinshin Update

Hey all! 

This month we are continuing to talk about major events in every decade in Israel's history. This week we are talking about the third decade and major events such as Israel's winning the European basketball championship, foundation of Israel's television agency, Golda Meir and more.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Grade K - Gan Class Update 5-6-18

Hello Gan Class Families,

It is so hard to believe that there are only two more classes together and that both of those days will be filled with special activities.  The year has passed by us so quickly and it is amazing to see how much all of the Gan Class students have grown.

Tefillah took place in the Aleph classroom today.  We were encouraged to sing with strong voices and think about the meaning of the prayers.  I am so impressed with our Gan Class students.  As I looked around the room, everyone was singing the words or doing the motions to our prayers.  They have done such a great job learning Modeh Ani and the Shema as well as using the time during the Amidah to reflect on something they are grateful for.

Today was our last lesson with Bar.  He asked that all the students make him a picture so that he could compile a note from all of the students in our school.  Students asked me to help them spell words so that they could tell Bar that they will miss him and Good Luck in Israel.  After, students were encouraged to ask Bar any questions they hadn't had the opportunity to ask this year.  We learned that when he gets back to Israel he will join the Army.  He hopes to be able to visit with us again in 3 years when he completes his service.

The rest of the day was dedicated to work on our Aleph Bet letters.  We had three letters left to learn, zayin, tsadee and resh.  Zayin makes the sound z- and begins the word zebra, tsadee makes the sounds tz- and starts the word tzedakah and resh makes the sound r- and begins the word rimonim.  

Next week we will participate in the Walk-a-thon.  Please make sure that you refer to the event flyer and Robin's emails for all the details about this excellent opportunity.  

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