Sunday, January 13, 2019

Grade 2/Kitah Bet 2018-2019


We did it! The second graders had a fun pajama/popcorn/stuffed animal morning to celebrate all the great learning that has been happening over the last few weeks.

In Hebrew, we added the letters "Vav" and "Vet" and a new silent vowel. We learned that the new vowel acts like a stop sign in the middle of the word or a break between syllables. It's a little tricky, but we are working hard to incorporate it into our reading.

In honor of MLK Day we read a book called "As Good As Anybody" about the friendship Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The book describes instances of prejudices that each man encountered, Dr. King in segregated south and Rabbi Heschel in Germany and Poland before World War II. We read that Rabbi Heschel joined Dr. King in the fight against injustice in this country. After we discussed the book and the idea of respect, we added speech bubbles to our self portraits on the bulletin board. They read: "I show respect for others when..." and "I show my love for God when..."
Please ask your child how he/she filled in the speech bubble. We are looking forward to celebrating Tu B'Shvat with the school at a seder organized by Nitzan on Sunday, January 27th!


We learned 2½ new letters this week - Chet, Lamed, and the Tav with a dot in the middle, which we pronounce the same as without the dot in the middle. We can now read "Hallah" in Hebrew! We met with Cantor Ken and began learning the words and melody for the "VaAhavtah" prayer. We are also making hand motions to go with the words. Be sure to ask your child where in our class did we find the words for this prayer. We read the book "Abraham's Search for God" and began discussing how Abraham's belief in God was different than those around him I know that we will have many interesting discussions about Abraham. During T'Filah with the kindergarten and 1st graders, we sang songs for the holiday Tu B'Shvat. It is one of my favorite holidays and am looking forward to it.


In Hebrew, we have been learning the letters "Pey" and "Resh". The chapter in our text also includes the "Final Mem" which we had already learned. When we learned how to write the "Resh" we saw that it's actually the base fr writing many other letters such as "Bet", "Pey", "Tav", and "Final Mem".

After "T'filah" (prayer) on Sunday, the Bet class stayed in the sanctuary with the first grade class. We discussed what a Torah is made from (animal skins) and how it is written (by hand). We then took a Torah scroll out of the ark and carefully looked at it.

Ask your child about what we noticed about the writing and the letters. We also looked at a book called a Tikun which Torah readers use to practice before they read in front of a congregation.


Second Grade this week was full of Hanukkah spirit.  Midweek we began with a school-wide candle lighting ceremony.  In Hebrew the students played a reading game "Spin and Read", using a dreidel they needed to read a word beginning with the letter the dreidel landed on.  The students then created beautiful "Stained Glass Art" to go with the theme of  Hanukkah as the Festival of Lights.  On Sunday we were treated to a party hosted by the Men's Club with yummy snacks, singing with Cantor Ken and lots of Dreidel spinning.  The children also had the opportunity to share some of their favorite Hanukkah activities (the word presents was banned from the discussion!).  We heard about lots of family parties, dreidel competitions, and mountains of latkes which were consumed.  I read two of my favorite holiday books, both by Eric Kimmel, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins and The Golem's Latkes.
I hope that everyone had a fun and joyous holiday!


Shalom Second Grade Families,

It was great to get back into the classroom after Thanksgiving. 

In Hebrew, we began Chapter 6 of our text learning  Koof, and a new vowel "oo" and a vowel combination "ooey".  The class continues to impress me with wonderful their reading.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Rabbi Libben came to say hello and answer any questions that the students wanted to ask him, we had two very different discussions.  On Tuesday the kids were interested in talking about their Hebrew names which led to a discussion about where many of our families came from and immigration.   On Wednesday the discussion was centered more on God and "How do you know.... if you can't see God?" We talked about things existing that you can't see, such as wind and love, and about having faith in something that you believe in even if you can't prove it's existence. 

We've also been learning about Hanukkah.  We reviewed the basic story and discussed the miracles associated with the holiday.  The class agreed that a small group of Jewish farmers turned soldiers going up against a huge army and winning was indeed a miracle. 
Cantor Ken talked about Hanukkah in relation to the Jewish calendar and that it spans two Jewish months and in class as a follow up, we read a story called "Hanukkah Moon" by Deborah da Costa.  We also made decorations for the room using metallic markers on black paper.

On a sadder note, we discussed some of the rituals concerning Jewish mourning.  We focused on the process of sitting Shivah and learned that it has its roots in the Joseph story in the Torah.  We talked about trying to make a friend feel better, by playing, listening or just by being there.  We then made condolence cards for Emily and Jason.  I was very proud of how respectful the children were during this discussion, how they listened to each other's experiences of going to Shiva Houses and seriously they took the task of making the cards.

Homework this week is both simple and fun-to light Hanukkah candles!  Ask your child the difference between a menorah and a hanukkiah.

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah,



The second grade learned נ Nun and י Yud and two new vowels (and ן Final Nun). Which allows us to be able to read Nitzan's name! We read "Finding the Fruits of Peace," - Cain and Abel. A very child friendly retelling of the story, which was new to many of them. The students met with Temple Israel veterans in honor of Veteran's day and got to ask them questions. We are looking forward to continuing with our Torah stories we have begun Noah. Also, learning about your children's homes this coming Sunday. We discussed different strategies which Cain could have used. Ask your child: What do you think he could have done instead of throwing the rock at Abel?


Second Grade continues to be a busy class.  In Hebrew, we have been practicing our reading and writing and have learned a new game, Oy Va Voy.
It’s great to see how nicely all of the students work together in class.  I continue to be impressed at the student’s level of excitement about doing the homework reading.   Keep up the good work!
 In our Torah studies, we read “Why the Snake Crawls on Its Belly” by Eric Kimmel.   The book retells part of the Adam and Eve story and explains what the snake’s consequences were for tempting Eve.  We discussed that this story is not directly from the Torah but rather is based on a Midrash about the Torah passage. We then discussed a question I once heard Rabbi Kushner pose, “Was it good that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden?”  We delved a bit into the question to understand it as was it better for Adam and Eve to have everything provided for them or was it better to be challenged to learn to provide and create for themselves?  I wonder if you and your child would agree on an answer?


On Sunday we began Chapter 4 in our Hebrew text, adding the letters ה Hey and  צ Tzadi.  We also looked at the ץ final Tzadi, and discussed that this is the letter to use if there is a Tzadi at the end of word.  We learned that the Hey makes an H sound in the beginning or middle of a word and is silent when it comes at the end of a word.  The class is excited as we learn more vocabulary words.  We played two Hebrew reading games this week in class; “Buzz Off’ using Popsicle sticks and try not to get “stung” and a Candy land type game trying to get to the finish line before the other player.

In our Torah studies we went onto the story of Adam and Eve.  We discussed who the children would hold responsible for Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit.  The answers varied from just the serpent, just Eve, Eve and the serpent to both Adam and Eve.  We then had a short conversation about people making their own choices as to what they do.   Ask you children who they think is responsible. 


Did you know that we begin Sunday mornings with T’filah (prayer) with the Kindergarteners and First Graders?  We begin with prayers/songs thanking God for creating a new day, continue with the Sh’ma and personal thanks and a prayer for peace.  We often end with songs appropriate to the holidays or perhaps popular Israeli children’s songs.  This week the Second Graders were amazing role models for the younger children, singing beautifully, sharing what they are thankful for and answering questions about the different prayers.

In Hebrew we continued on to Chapter Three in our text, learning/reviewing the letters Alef א and Mem מ. While the final Mem מ is not introduced until later in the text we did cover it in class in order to understand that when the sound m comes at the end of a Hebrew word with no vowel we only use the final Mem מ.  We also learned a new vowel, which makes the “EE” sound.  We have two new important key words-Ima אמא and Abba אבא, ask your children if they remember what they mean.

In our Torah studies we continued discussing creation and that people are were created in God’s image.  We agreed that we don’t actually know what God looks like, though many of the students had their own ideas. The answers included God looks like a human (more often a man than a woman), an angle, different elements of nature such as the sun and the stars and God is invisible.  We discussed the need to treat each other with respect since we are all created in God’s image.  The students then created self-portraits to add to our bulletin board about creation.


Shalom Bet Families

We have finally had a regular week of religious school and we took advantage of every minute!

In Hebrew we began the second chapter of our text book.  We added the letters 
Gimmel ג and Dalet ד.  We have also added the new key word "dagדג to the ones from Chapter 1, "bat"  בת and Shabbatשבת .  Please ask your child if s/he remembers what they mean.  We have been practicing reading and the kids are constantly amazing me!

We began our Torah studies with "Beresheit", the beginning of the book of Genesis.  We read about what God created on each  day of creation, and began to create art work to decorate the bulletin board in our classroom.  

Homework began this past week.  I hope that you have all had the opportunity to see the homework sheet and to hear your child read.  In class we discussed that the expectation is to read 5-7 minutes for each assignment. Some children might read the entire page and that some children may not be able to do that in 5 minutes.  I stressed that accuracy is more important than speed, and that everyone reads at their own pace in every language.  It is important the reading be done out loud.  Please sign the homework sheet after your child reads, prizes will be given out after ten assignments are completed.  The work is meant to reinforce what is learned in class, not to learn new material.  If you have any questions please be in touch.

Looking forward to seeing you this coming Saturday at Synaplex, 



Hi Kitah Bet Families, 

We had a very busy first class today.   

We began with Tefillah (prayer) with Cantor Ken and the younger students in the sanctuary.  We talked about things we are thankful for, sang "Modeh Ani ", the Shema and Oseh Shalom.  We also saw that the Torah scrolls are still "dressed" in their special white clothes for the New Year celebrations.  

In the classroom, we played a "Getting To Know You Game", had snack,  created class rules, learned about Sukkot and had a VERY short taste of Hebrew.  Rachel's mom, Anna, came in and helped us make decorations and hang them in the Sukkah.  

The students created the list of class rules, or "will try to" as we phrased it, on their own with very little teacher input.  Please ask them if they remember any of those promises and if any of them may be challenging for them to try to do this year in class. (A little hint, we talked about expected classroom behavior and respecting each other.)

I'm looking forward to getting to know all of your children as they grow and learn in Kitah Bet this year.

Wishing all of you a Happy Sukkot, 

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