Sunday, February 10, 2019

Grade 6/7 / Kitah Vav/Zayin 2018-2019


This week, we finished up our final lesson from the B'nai Mitzvah program! We talked about the party, emotions that accompany the party, and how we might feel differently at our own parties and other people's parties. Some of the highlights from this morning were dancing the hora, watching some video clips of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs portrayed in movies, and playing some classic party games. We found that B'nai mitzvahs portrayed in movies and TV are not accurate and do not account for all the hard work that goes into them. We learned that what makes some people happy, stresses other people out (dancing). 

Just a reminder that there is no school next Sunday and the following Sunday for February break, and the Sunday after that (March 3) is our family program from 10-12.

Have a great break!


Hi 6th grade families!

This week, the 6th grade was lucky enough to join the World Wide Wrap, which is a program sponsored by the men's club. We watched videos about what tefilin is, who wraps tefilin, how we wrap, and some of the reasons why we wrap. It was great to personally hear from members of the community about their own personal stories, and why they wrap. Some of them only started wrapping tefilin after their parents died, some of them started after their bnai mitzvah, we heard from women who grew up wanting to put on tefilin, however it was not accepted at that time for women. No matter the reason, the stories were all inspiring to hear. After the overview, everyone was invited to put on a tallit, and then learn how to wrap tefilin. A special thanks to all the parents and community members who were able to come and support our class!

Next week, we will finish up our Bnai Mitzvah lessons to get ready for our second family program, which will be on March 3rd from 10-12 (the Sunday after break), and we will also continue our penpal exchange with the Habonim School in Haifa.


Hi 6th Grade families!

This past Sunday was so fun making Tallitot together! We decorated the fabric and our expert volunteer sewers will have them ready for us soon. It is an amazing experience to work together to design a meaningful Jewish artifact. I understand that some of you will use a talit passed down from a grandparent, which is so special. Now you will have two tallitot to pass down to your own future children and grandchildren. We will finish up with the Tzitzit tying on February 3rd.

Hope everyone has a great vacation and New Year! See you in 2019!


Hello 6th Grade families!

This week in religious school, we had fun celebrating Chanukah with the ultimate dreidel champion and some gelt checkers, and then finished our celebration off with latkes and cider from the Men's Club. We also continued our Bnai Mitzvah lessons, talking about important issues like how choosing our own outfits is related to becoming an adult, gender identity and expression through clothes, and expectations that society sets up for us. It was a lively discussion where our students felt comfortable to share their perspectives.

We are so excited about our upcoming Tallit making workshop! It will be this coming Sunday 12/16 from 9-12. I look forward to seeing everyone there!


Hi 6th grade families!

This week we had an exciting Skype session with the Habonim School in Haifa! This was something we have been preparing for by practicing introducing ourselves in Hebrew, and saying one thing about ourselves that we like. Ask your kids how to introduce themselves in Hebrew - we learned 3 different ways. It was so great to see the excitement in all the kids, and it was especially nice that we were able to light Chanukah candles together and sing Chanukah songs.

Something to look forward to is the next lesson from our Bnai Mitzvah program, and our Tallit making program, with more details coming soon. 


Hi 6th Grade Families!

This week we had a lot of fun participating in the next lesson from our Moving Traditions program to prepare for our Bnai Mitzvah. The focus on this lesson was what it is like to be the center of attention, and if that is something we like or don't like. We played 4 corners, where each corner was labeled strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The a series of statements were said, and students moved about the room to where they fit. Everyone was engaged and was willing to elaborate on their answers! The class also learned the words introvert, extrovert, and ambivert. Ask them what they mean!

Remember there is no school next Sunday because of Thanksgiving. Something to look forward to is our Skype conference with the Habonim school in Israel! We were originally scheduled to Skype last week, but due to a scheduling conflict, it was postponed to December 2nd.

Have a great week and happy Thanksgiving!


This past Sunday the 6th grade went on a field trip to Newport to visit the Touro Synagogue, and other historic sites in Newport! We started off our trip at the welcome center, where we learned a brief history. After lunch, we were welcomed into the oldest synagogue and learned about the unique history of the building, congregation, and founders. We learned that the building is in it's original state, and we even saw a 500 year old Torah! Ask your child what their favorite part was and what they learned!

Two things to look forward to:
1. Reflection projects coming from our field trip. So far we have a blog post, Kahoot game, and an iMovie.

2. First Skype meeting with the Habonim school on Sunday 11/18.


Today we talked with the rabbi about The Tree Of Life temple loss that occurred Pittsburgh. The students discussed how they feel about the event and how they can help others feel safe. In the classroom the 7th grade wrote questions about the field trip to the temple in Newport. The 6th graders wrote introductions to say to their pen pals in Haifa. 


Do you remember the game "Cross the River" from gym class? You and your team must work together to figure out how to cross a "river" by stepping on a limited number of stones. It was fun and challenging, and we ran out of time before any team had an opportunity to make it to the other side. When we got back to class, one student asked, "What did that game have to do with Hebrew school?" Instead of answering him myself, I opened up the floor, and these were the top answers from your children:

1. It's like our journey through life
2. Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be challenging, but we have other people to support us through
3. We need to work together to succeed in life
4. When things get hard, we can turn to our community

I must say, they had some great insight! We continued with our B'nai Mitzvah program by discussing what is means to transition from childhood to your teenage years. We had fun reminiscing about what it was like to be a kid!

We will continue with four more B'nai Mitzvah sessions with 6th grade before inviting you back for the final family session. 


Hello from 6th/7th! This Sunday we had a great day of service at the Brophy school. Our day was divided into different projects. We started our day with munchkins and hot chocolate (which may have been the highlight for some people)! We met a family of refugees who moved from Syria, and they thanked us so much for all the work we are doing for other refugees in in Syria. He thanked us in Arabic and someone from the Jewish Teen Initiative translated for us. We worked in an assembly line to package 200 care packages from families in refugees! We were careful to package with care and intent to make sure every package arrived intact. We also made cards that we wrote in Arabic to put in the packages. It was great to see the students to engaged in the projects! After the care packages, we split into groups to help with gardening in the front of the school, and painting the blacktop in the back of the school. 

Some students decided to stay at Temple Israel for a day of learning, and it was great to swap experiences with each other when we came back.

Something to look forward to is that we will continue our work with refugees and immigration, as well as prepare for our interview projects with people who have immigrated. If you or a family member have immigrated, and would be willing to be interviewed, please feel free to email Hilary (


Today in the 6/7 grade we watched a video about Syrian refugees. The students discussed what they can do to help refugees in the United States. We were shocked to learn how many people have been displaced in 2016...ask your children how many people in the world escaped their countries due to persecution and economic problems.We saw a picture of the Turkish border where millions of Syrian refugees have been living. We tackled heavy questions thinking about why it is important for us as Jewish people to know and care about this, and what can we do about it? We finished the day by 6th grade practicing trope with Cantor Ken while the 7th grade practiced their modern Hebrew. 

Next Sunday we have a service project, and we look forward to be able to give back to our community!

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