Sunday, May 12, 2019

Grade 5/ Kitah Hey 2018-2019


Fifth graders enjoyed an end-of-year celebration on Sunday! It's sad to say goodbye and we all look forward to seeing each other in the fall! Students also wrote letters to the incoming fifth graders on what they can expect to learn next year. A common theme among them was enjoying the art projects throughout the year.

Lastly, we started a game of Jeopardy that reviewed Jewish American history, holidays, Israel, and Hebrew. The fifth graders really showed how much they have learned! Ask your child about something they have learned and enjoyed this year. This group has been amazing, thoughtful, and creative - thank you for a wonderful year! Enjoy summer!


Fifth graders have had another wonderful week! They learned about You Ha'atzmaut and discussed both how Israel became an independent country and why the Jewish people have a homeland. Students also started to talk about Shavuot. We discussed why the Torah is a gift and why people need commandments/rules/laws. Fifth graders also had the chance to create their own version of 10 commandments. Ask your child about why they think Moses and the Israelites received the Torah.


Fifth graders read two books on Jewish baseball players Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg. They discussed character traits that made these men succeed and stand out among Jewish American athletes. Students presented their family history projects on Sunday. Each fifth grader did an amazing job researching their family history and learning more about their background. We look forward to connecting the family projects to the history we have learned in class this year.


To connect the fifth graders back to the work of their family history projects, we spent the day on Sunday discussing stories of our ancestors. The students recalled several well known Bible characters we know as our patriarchs and matriarchs and, through a given passage, gained a bit more insight into these characters’ personalities. The students then spent time thinking about ancestors of their own, or other more immediate members of their families. The students shared stories they remember hearing of these relatives and memories they hold themselves. One student shared that he remembers his grandfather as hero who helped 8 Jews escape from Europe during the Holocaust by marrying them and bringing them to America!




Fifth graders have been working on their Passover games and reviewing the story of Passover. They have also focused on the four children during our elective unit. Each student had a chance to artistically represent each of the four children. Fifth graders also discussed a distinction between Jewish American and American Jewish.

Students can look forward to learning about two Jewish baseball players who made history!

Ask your child how all four children are within each of us.


Fifth graders excitedly welcomed our new student, Dylan, to our community. They summarized the history we have studied this year so that Dylan can feel up to date. Both Dylan's interest in what the class has learned and the content of the summary were very impressive.

The class discussed how assimilating into American culture changed the shape of Judaism.  We also started to make Passover board games. During our elective unit, students are learning about the four children in the Haggadah.

Fifth graders can look forward to playing the games they create and continuing the elective unit!

Ask your child why they think there are four types of children in the Haggadah.


Fifth graders learned about the rising status of American Jews from 1945-1965. They discussed why many Jews became active in the Civil Rights Movement and were introduced to Rabbi Heschel. Students also focused on the concept of indifference being the opposite of hate.

Fifth graders can look forward to playing more games this week. They can also look forward to our new elective unit!

Ask your child to explain the relationship between good, bad, and indifference.


The 5th grade finished working on the Aleinu prayer. The kids did a wonderful job with their singing! The students also continued doing some research on the iPads of ways to bring peace to different communities and make a difference.



Fifth graders decorated gift bags and filled them with candy to send mishloach manot to one another. Part of this activity included writing a personal compliment to the recipient. Students also started to learn about the "golden age" in American Jewry post WWII. To demonstrate their historical knowledge, fifth graders wrote memoirs from the perspectives of Jewish American immigrants. Through their writing, they reviewed reasons for leaving their home countries and what it was like to be a Jewish immigrant in the time period they chose to write about.

Students can look forward to learning more about Jewish American Life between 1945 and 1965. They will also learn more about how practicing Judaism has changed over time in American culture.

Please ask your child what they hope to learn about his/her background through the Family Project.


On Sunday, the fifth graders continued their work on the Aleinu prayer. We discussed the fact that the Aleinu has a lot of words in it that mean “us”, “we”, or “our”. The students shared ideas about why these words would be included in this prayer. We discussed the importance of community and working together. In order to better understand the idea of communal responsibility, the students were encouraged to think about sports, activities, and clubs they are a part of and why it is important they collaborate and cooperate rather than work alone. 



Fifth graders learned about the birth of Israel followed by Israel's War of Independence. We also discussed Golda Meir signing Israel's Declaration of Independence. Students reviewed the Purim story and discussed the custom of mishloach manot.

Students can look forward to making and exchanging small gift bags in class on Sunday. They can also look forward to a drummer during tefila.

Ask your child about the conflict that occurred when Israel became an independent state. You can also ask your child why they think it's important for Jews to have a homeland.


This week, fifth grade learned about the circumstances that led to Hitler's rise to power and discussed the different responses Jews had to rising antisemitism. Students were also introduced to the birth of the modern State of Israel.

Coming up, we're going to learn about the reasoning for and against a Jewish state, and we're going to learn about Golda Meir!

Ask your child about their feelings surrounding Jewish history in the US and Europe during the 1930s.


Fifth graders are learning about European antisemitism in the early 1930s. They read and discussed different ways Jews responded to antisemitism: integrating, living separately, believing in a Jewish homeland, joining the communist movement. Students discussed the pros and cons of each response. We also finished reading Journey to Ellis Island.

Students can look forward to connecting problems in Europe to American immigration and the Zionist movement. They can also look forward to February break!

Ask your child about the different responses to European antisemitism. 


Fifth graders created posters comparing An American Tail to what we have learned about Jewish American Immigration. They also continued listening to the book: Journey to Ellis Island. Fifth graders started to discuss the changes that took place from the 1920s to the 1930s for American Jews.

Now that we studied American Jewish life in the 1920s, leading into 1930s, we will focus on European Jews of that same time period - between WWI and WWll. While we will study the rise of antisemitism, we will not be studying the Holocaust in fifth grade.  Simultaneously, we will discuss the need for a Jewish state.

Please ask your child to describe the poster they created.


Fifth graders learned about Tu Bishevat. We worked in groups to create posters expressing the importance of trees through art and words. Students continue to learn about the Jewish immigrant experience in the 1920s by listening to another chapter of "Journey to Ellis Island." We are looking forward to learning about a Tu Bishevat seder. And continuing to explore the Jewish immigrant experience. Ask your child: What does the way Jews celebrate TU Bishevat say about our relationship to trees and nature?

On Sunday in Hebrew school, we continued a conversation we had started the previous week about gratitude. We continued discussing all of the things we are lucky to have that so many others do not. We talked about the fact that, in Judaism, it is our responsibility to do mitzvot, or good deeds, for others. The students read an article in class about a boy who created the Gotta Have Sole Foundation to help provide homeless families with brand new shoes. The boy who took on this project actually started it as his Bar Mitzvah project, which the fifth graders found very interesting. The students discussed how much of a difference the boy made for the lives of so many people. A set of boy and girl twins he had helped had previously owned only one pair of pink sparkly shoes. Only one twin got to wear this pair of shoes to school at a time while the other stayed home. The students were horrified at how much school this meant the twins were missing.

After our discussion about this article, we took a look at the Aleinu prayer, our next focus in class. We had a conversation about the fact that Jews are often called “The Chosen People” and that God refers to us as such. The class spent some time thinking about what those words mean and spent time thinking about how Jews are different from other groups of people in the world and how they are similar. The fifth graders worked together to make a list of both of these ideas. They did a fantastic job! We then began diving into the Aleinu prayer and answering questions about some of the rituals performed during the prayer- like bowing and why bowing during the Aleinu prayer is considered to be so important. 

Have a wonderful week,


Dear Kitah Hey families,

Fifth graders made a canvas for a muslim fifth grade student who received unkind letters at school. They also completed their elective unit on Birkot Hamazon. Student then reflected on what they've learned from the elective unit. We are looking forward to reading about American Jewish history in the late 20s to early 30s. Also, we are looking forward to winter break - enjoy!

You can ask your child about what they have learned about Birkot Hamazon.


Dear Kitah Hey families, 

This Sunday, we had a chance to celebrate Hanukkah with lots of fun holiday-themed activities. First, we discussed the Hanukkah holiday and the history behind it while also connecting it to the Revolutionary War. To do this, we read a book called “Hanukkah at Valley Forge”, a piece of historical fiction. After reading this thought-provoking story, the students had a chance to connect the Hanukkah holiday to the Fourth of July holiday that we celebrate in America every year. The students were able to draw many similarities between the two special celebrations. 

After listening to this story, the students participated in a Hanukkah-themed jeopardy game where they worked in teams to answer a variety of questions about the history of Hanukkah, Hanukkah foods we eat, and questions about the menorah. Many of these answers were given in the story we had read. The students very much enjoyed this activity. Halfway through our day, the fifth graders went down to the social hall to participate in a Hanukkah celebration where the whole religious school sang songs, played dreidel, and ate latkes.


This week, fifth graders learned more about Birkat Hamazon in Hevruta groups. They read midrash and discussed why God could drip manna from the sky. Students also worked in their elective groups where they connect what they learned in Hevruta to a creative medium. Lastly, students reviewed the history of Hanukkah and thought about miracles. We look forward to Hanukkah games and Latkes on Sunday. We also look forward to continuing in our elective unit. Ask your child: Why did God drop manna from the sky daily and not yearly? And Why do we celebrate Hanukkah


Check HW Calendars.


The fifth graders visited Touro synagogue in Newport, RI.  They had the opportunity to sit in the oldest US synagogue and listen to the history of how it came to be.  Students split into two groups and  took a guided walking tour of Newport.  We learned about Newport's prominent Jews of colonial times.  Fifth graders started a new elective unit focused on the first paragraph of the Birkat Hamazon!

We are looking forward to working in havruta partners to study the Birkat Hamazon and working in elective groups. Ask your child about what they learned about Touro synagogue that they didn't already know.



Fifth graders--

- Discussed why Jews should help other Jews and why Jews should help other Jews
- Read about the U.S. Jewish population post World War I.
- Wrote notes on the Americanization of Judaism during the 1920s.

We are looking forward to our field trip to Newport, RI on Sunday! Also, we are looking forward to connecting what we learned about American Jews pre-American Revolution to the tour of Touro Synagogue.

Ask your child: What was important about the first American Bat Mitzvah?


Fifth Graders on Sunday --

-Continued their work on Prayer for the State of Israel.
-Began their work on the Vayihee Beensoya
- They played a game using Hebrew words from the Prayer for the State of Israel

-Rachel (Sub on Sunday for Diana 11/4)


 Fifth graders ...

- learned Hebrew slang words with Nitzan
- learned about the start of Zionism and the historical events that led to it.
- discussed the reasons for a Jewish state both then and now.

We can look forward to ...

- learning about Louis Brandeis
- discussing increase in the American Jewish population and the Americanizing of Judaism itself

Ask your child about Pinsker's quote: Jews "are everywhere as guests, and nowhere at home."


Dear Kitah Hey families,

We had another wonderful week at TI! On Sunday, the fifth graders shared their art work from last week with the class. The students had worked hard to create their own special “ark”. As a class, we discussed that the ark in our sanctuary is opened after the Ein Kamocha prayer is recited during our Torah service. We also talked about how the Israelites had carried this special ark with them as they wandered in the desert for years. While the ark we generally think of holds the Torah, students were asked to think about some special items they would put in their own ark (things that mean the most to them). The students had some fantastic responses. One student explained that he would create a kind of time capsule, putting in various items like a tallit, prayer book, and kippah (items holy to our religion) so that no one ever forgets about Judaism which is so important to him. Another student explained that she would put her family and friends in the ark along with special gifts given to her by family members. Another explained he would put in some of his late grandmothers belongings as a way to keep her memory alive! 

We then discussed that when we open the ark and recite the Ein Kamocha, we imagine ourselves receiving the Torah for the first time at Mt. Sinai. It is said that “we were all there” (at Mt. Sinai). The students were asked to think of a dream, a book they read, or a movie they watched that made them feel as though it was truly real. The fifth graders were so excited to share about this topic. We connected these feelings to those we have when reflecting on our journey to Mt. Sinai.




Fifth graders ...

1) learned about Jewish nationalists and the First Aliyah
2) met with Nitzan to learn about Yitzhak Rabin. They played games that focused on the importance of solving differences with words
3) continued to practice singing Ein Kamoch

Students can look forward to ...
1) learn more about Zionism and American immigration
2) our upcoming field trip!

Ask you fifth grader about a time when they were an advocate or upstander.



Dear Kitah Hey families,

In class this week, the students continued working on the Ein Kamocha prayer recited during the Torah Service. We discussed the meaning behind this prayer and then students broke into partners to practice reading and singing their lines. The fifth graders are making wonderful progress! After learning some new lines, we discussed the translation of one line, in particular. This line asks G-d to rebuild  the walls of Jerusalem. We held a class discussion, focusing on what exactly is meant by this. The students had some amazing insight. Some explained that we are asking G-d to help us rebuild the holy temple that had been destroyed and others interpreted it as though we are asking G-d to help rebuild the Jewish community which has greatly decreased in size over the years. The students then read a story together which connected to this idea of rebuilding walls. 



Dear Kitah Hey Families,

We have had a wonderful start to the year!  Fifth graders worked together to create a class Brit, the class discussed why we celebrate Simchat Torah and several reasons to read the Torah again each year, and, most recently, students began learning about American Jewish history.  In preparation for our upcoming field trip to Touro Synagogue in November, we have been studying the Jewish community of Newport, RI in the 1600s and 1700s. In addition, students worked in groups to discuss the significance of a community's first Jewish synagogue.


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