Sunday, April 29, 2018

Grade K - Gan Class Update 4-29-18

Hello Gan Class Families!

It sounded like you all had a wonderful April Break.  Students were eager to share all the exciting things they did and it sounded great!

Today was the start of our final classes together.  There is not much time left in our year and we will be very busy finishing up all our learning.

During Tefillah, we continue to practice all the prayers we have used this year.  Many of us are using the siddur regularly, following along with the pages and pointing out letters we know.  Our voices are getting louder and stronger each week.

Bar continued his lesson about bodies of water in Israel by teaching us about the Dead Sea.  Students were very interested in this because they thought it was cool that is was so easy to float.  We learned that there are no living things in the Dead Sea because there is too much salt.  Next week will be our last week learning with Bar in the classroom.

As a special treat for having the highest percentage of attendees in a class at the Family Friday Dinner in March, we had a special snack of Chips Ahoy!  They were delicious.

Today we read our final Torah Story.  In this story we learn that Jacob has a favorite son.  His name is Joseph.  Jacob gives Joseph a special coat with many colors which makes his brothers jealous.  Joseph's brothers sell him to be a slave in Egypt and put blood on his coat before telling Jacob that his favorite son has died.  We will continue to review or stories in our upcoming classes - students in the Gan Class are excellent at sharing the main idea of our stories.

Bina, our Madricha led our Aleph Bet learning today with a game that she created herself.  It was an Aleph Bet Bingo game.  The students practiced their letter recognition skills and almost everyone had at least one Bingo! There were candy prizes for everyone.

Next week will be a regular class day.  Please keep your eye out for information about special programming on May 13th and May 20th.

Also, don't forget to sign up for An Afternoon of Magic taking place directly after Religious School next Sunday.

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


First Grade Update

In first grade today, the children learned about the upcoming holiday of Lag B'Omer. We talked  about the counting of the omer (the measure of grain) that Jews count each day to mark the period between Passover and Shavuot. In fact, we said the blessing and "counted the omer" during tefillah with Cantor Ken this morning. Ask your child if he/she remembers what day in the omer cycle it was today and what day it will be when we celebrate Lag B'Omer. The children learned about Rabbi Akiva and Simeon bar Yohai who bravely defied the order of the Romans requiring them to stop studying torah. They continued to study torah in secret, going out into the fields with bows and arrows as if they were hunting. In Israel on Thursday there will be huge bonfires and children and families will take a day to go on picnics, play games and enjoy the land. Ask your children to show you the booklets and fun packets that they did about Lag B'Omer.

In Hebrew, the children learned two new Hebrew letters, fay and sin, and one new vowel, the vowel tzya'reh which makes a sound like a long a in English. The children were excited to see that we are quite close to the end of our Hebrew workbook. I anticipate that we will complete the letters next Sunday!

First graders had fun with Bar today. They learned a number of facts about the Dead Sea. For instance, they learned that it is called the Dead Sea in English because it is so salty that no animal can live in it; it is also the lowest place on the entire earth. The children played a game of limbo with Bar with they quite enjoyed.

Shavua Tov, Joanne

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Grade 4 Update

The 4th grade is learning about Tikun Olam. Repairing the world.
There are many songs and prayers about peace. Our siddur has many ways of conveying the importance and ways of peace. Sim Shalom, Shalom Rav and Oseh Shalom are just 3 of the peace songs.
Repairing the world, it is our job to make a difference and it is commandment to strive towards peace. Shalom!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Grade 6/7 Update

We are so excited to be back at TI after a relaxing break!

This week, we started preparing for our upcoming visit with Wade Blackman, who is a Legislative Aide from Representative Katherine Clark's office.  We will have the opportunity to present the topics that we have discussed throughout the year, as a way to conclude the year, present what we have learned, and create a difference in our own community.

Our class divided into four groups, with each group becoming responsible for presenting one topic. These topics include: the environment, inclusion, poverty and homelessness, and connecting generations, which are the four B'nai Telem units that we focused on this year.

We are thrilled to take action and present our ideas to improve our world and community!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Grade 1 Update

This week we learned that, just like the United States, Israel has a birthday. This year it will be celebrated on April 19. We looked at pictures from a Day in Israel and discovered that in Israel there things are the same as in the United States (kids ride the bus to school, families have dinner together in their homes) and things that are different (camels, the Dead Sea). The students really enjoyed the pictures!

In Hebrew, we learned two new letters: Pay (פ), which has a penny next to its pocket, and samech (ס), which has a smile. We are close to having learned the entire Hebrew alphabet and are really good at singing the aleph bet.

Bar taught us about Jerusalem and showed us a video of Grover traveling around Jerusalem with a young friend. Then we made stones and wrote wishes for the Kotel (the Western Wall).

We also got to help hang Mezuzahs on the Gan and Kiteh Aleph classroom doors. They already have Mezuzahs, but we hung new ones down lower so that everyone can have access to a Mezuzah when they go through the doors.

There is no Religious School for the next two weeks because it is school vacation. Have a wonderful break and we’ll see you in a few weeks.

Shinshin Update

Hey everyone! This week the kids continued their journey throughout Israel and this week's stop is Jerusalem! The kids learned about landmarks in the city, the history, culture and more.

Grade 5 Update

Dear Kitah Hey families, 

This week we have been discussing the idea of justice which is a fitting topic as it fits right in with the havruta discussions we have been having during or Passover electives. In Hebrew, we played several games including a classwide competition of charades which involved the Hebrew words for the ten plagues and other words related to the Passover story (i.e Miriam, Moses, Desert, Water). The students enjoyed these fun activities! They are continuing to practice their Aleinu prayer and have now learned how to chant about half of the prayer! Tonight and Wednesday night we will have an exciting Question and Answer session with the rabbi where students will be able to ask burning questions they still have about Passover, justice, and anything else they are wondering about Judaism.

Tali and Diana

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Grade 4 Update

Happy Passover!  We were provided with matzah, butter, jam, cream cheese and mandarin oranges as a Kosher for Passover snack. 


The art elective chose fabrics for their collage. Thank you for your assistance, Claire. 

 Robin and art elective students discussing the 4th question. Why do we lean or use a pillow?

This week we are summarizing and completing our work over these past weeks. We will be sharing with students from the STEM and sign language groups. 

We are all pleased with the Passover electives. The teachers spent many hours in preparation, the students have provided wonderful feedback. Overall the electives proved to be fun, interesting and successful!!!

Madrichim Update

This Sunday Madricha Rachel Greenburg set up a Passover scavenger hunt for the 3rd grade class. Each team had to find clues around the social hall to spell out Pesach. They also had to battle some plagues along the way (frogs, darkness, blood). The students did great and had such a fun time. Rachel's activity was very creative and provided a wonderful movement break opportunity for the end of the day. Great Job Rachel!

Sarah Wintman

Grade 2 Update

Hello second grade families,

On Sunday, we began talking about counting the Omer and made a calendar. We enjoyed joining the seventh grade with hanging the new mezuzot that they decorated. The mezuzot are more accessible to people who are in wheelchairs, shorter people, or small children. Grades 2-7 had about two lines each that they said at the hanging, which we had the honor of participating in.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we have continued practicing our letters and sounds. We have been working in partners so that everyone gets a chance to read and help someone else with their reading. With April vacation almost upon us, the homework will be simply to have a great and relaxing vacation!

Looking forward to hearing what everyone did for their vacations,

Margie and Rachel

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

6th and 7th Grade Update

Hello 6th and 7th families!

We hope everyone had a nice Pesach. This week, we talked about sustainability as part of our B'nai Telem curriculum. We read an article that discussed the top ten things we can do to increase our sustainability. We shared the way we are already sustainable in our own lives, and thought about other ways we can improve. We then created our own list of ways to be sustainable, and connected them to the Jewish learning we have done throughout the year.

We hope you all have a restful spring break!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Gimel Goings On

Shalom Gimel Families!

I hope you all had a great Passover!

Students had a good time in their different electives and enjoyed reflecting on and sharing their learning with their classmates.

In Hebrew students have learned the first 13 lines of Ashrei and they continue to practice in class through whole group reading, small group reading, buddy reading and reading games.  Please encourage your student to practice their reading for a few minutes each day.

The highlight of our day yesterday was the Mezuzah hanging ceremony.  Students met in the hallway with the Cantor, Rabbi, Robin and students in Grades 2-7 to participate in a Mezuzah hanging ceremony.  New Mezuzot were hung on the classroom doors lower down so that they could be accessible to people in wheel chairs.  These Mezuzot were made by the vuv and gesher students who shared their reflections with everyone.  Before going to the ceremony we spent a few minutes at the end of morning meeting talking about what a mezuzah is and what is inside it.  Students also listened to the story A Mezuzah on the Door.

At the end of the day students were treated to an awesome and fun activity led by Rachel, our Madricah.  Rachel created a scavenger hunt where students were given clues to follow to find the Hebrew letters to spell the word, "Pesach".  Students had a blast with this activity.  Thanks, Rachel!

Upcoming this week

  1. On Tuesday and Wednesday students will participate in a reflection activity about the Passover Electives.
  2. We will learn Lines 14 and 15 of Ashrei.
  3. Bar will visit our class.

I hope everyone has a relaxing April break!  I am looking forward to my trip to South Africa to see my parents.



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Grade K - Gan Class Update 4-8-18

Hello Gan Class Families!

It was so lovely to hear all about your Passover activities during our Morning Meeting.  It sounded like the holiday was filled with family and fun.

As all our Sunday's will be from now to the end of the year, it was a super busy one!  We began the morning in Tefilah.  Now that we are using the siddurim on a regular basis, students are improving their ability to follow along with the pages.  We are working on opening the siddur from the correct side, flipping the pages differently then how we are used to and standing with a calm body during some of the prayers.  Cantor Ken helped us to Count the Omer which I know many of you are doing at home too.  Today was the 8th day of the Omer.

Our new Torah story was about Jacob and the two wives he married.  Jacob fell in love with Rachel but Rachel's father wanted his oldest daughter, Leah, to be married first.  Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah first but he did get to marry Rachel later.  Jacob has thirteen children, twelve boys and one girl.  In our last and final story, we will meet some of Jacob's children.

We joined the Aleph Class to learn about Jerusalem with Bar.  Below is a quick video we watched to see some of the sights.
After some discussion, students were asked to make their own wishes so that we could make a model of the Kotel.  Below is a picture of the bricks students made.  Their wishes are on the back.

As a special activity, Robin helped us to install a new mezuzzah on our classroom door.  This mezuzzah is positioned lower on the door frame so that all can engage in the mitzvah!  The other classrooms also had 

Our next class, which will take place on April 29th, will include a great activity led by Bina, our new Torah story and two new letters!

I wish everyone an excellent April break!



It was wonderful to welcome our Gesher students back to Sunday morning learning.  Highlights of this morning included i-pad video commentaries on mishnayot of the students’ choice; a beautiful dedication ceremony in which our school community affixed mezzuzot at an appropriate height for little people and wheelchairs, a discussion of Jewish death rituals and some learning in preparation for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial day which will be observed on April 11 at Temple Beth Am.)  The following stories provided a spring board for the solemn tasks of remembering...

So picture an eleven-year-old child looking around his room, knowing his life is about to be destroyed:  what should he take?  And he was frozen in the dilemma of the choice.  And so he made himself two shoeboxes. In one shoebox he put pictures of his family, he put some poetry he had written, he put a postcard from a girl—his treasures, his autobiography in things.  And in the other he put an extra pair of shoes and some underwear and a hankie and a knife and a watch.  And I think he probably put in a toothbrush.  And he came home from school one day and he was told, “Now!  Run!”  And he ran in and grabbed the shoebox.  And they left.

When they stopped again, he looked into the box, and he had taken the wrong one.

·      What is the value/meaning of this shoebox?  What is the value/meaning of the other shoebox?

He had the hankie and the shoes and the watch.

And he thought, what did I want this box for?  What did I want the other box for?  What did the other box mean—to anybody?  And he said, “It was as though I were standing at the edge of the sea, and I knew I would be pushed into the sea with my box, and the only thing that mattered was that I not sink with the box.  It was as if I would try to throw the box back onto the shore, and maybe someone would catch it.”

The Shoebox, Because G-d Loves Stories

Walking through the streets of Bremen in the 1930’s, anyone could easily see sign of the rising tide of hatred that was sweeping Germany.  Everywhere there were soldiers in brown uniforms, members of the new National Socialist (NAZI) Party.  Swastikas were painted on walls, and soldiers wore them on their sleeves. Mischievous children painted them on German synagogues.  Teenagers in much hated Hitler Youth Brigades passed by, marching in the famous goose step, kicking their legs up stiffly as they walked.
One gray afternoon, a rabbi walked sadly through the city, where everything was rapidly changing for the worse.  He was filled with sorrow at what he thought might lie ahead.  He hoped that the young generation would turn away from the Nazi movement that was taking over the country.  In an open field, he saw two young men dressed in the dreaded brown uniforms.  The rabbi could see the cruel mischief in their eyes as they approached.  One of them had his hands cupped, as if he were holding a precious thing that was twitching and turning, struggling to escape.  “What do you think I have in my hands?” snapped the young man.
The rabbi glanced at the Hitler Youth’s trembling hands.  He saw a feather drift gently from between his nervous fingers. “It’s not hard to see,” the rabbi said, “that you have a tiny bird cupped in your palms.”
“Yes,” said the young German, his lip quivering with anger and contempt.  “But is the bird alive or dead? Tell us the right answer and no evil will befall you or your synagogue.”
The wise rabbi realized that if he said the bird was dead, they would release the bird.  But if he said the bird was alive, they would certainly kill it.  In either case, wrongdoing was certain to befall both him and his congregation—and they would be the very ones responsible!  The rabbi saw the history of the Jewish people pass before his eyes.  How many times throughout history had they been put in a no-win situation?  Forced to choose between two dead ends?
But the wise soul looked straight into the young man’s eyes.
“You ask whether the bird is alive or dead,” he said.  “The answer is in your hands.  The answer is in your hands.”
In Your Hands, Because God Loves Stories