Sunday, May 12, 2019

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


Hello 6th grade families!

Our penultimate Sunday came and went, and now we have one more weekday session to wrap up the end of the year before our siyyum on Sunday. I have witnessed your children firsthand working hard to think through aspects of their Bnai Mitzvah, learn how to read trope, form a connection with Nitzan as she taught us about Haifa, make connections with the Habonim school in Haifa, think about life through the lens of immigrants, how to advocate for important matters, and how to work together as a class. It was an honor to teach your children, to learn from them, work with them, and guide them. I am sure they are excited that the year is over and are getting ready for whatever adventures summer brings!

Just a reminder for Sunday, our Haifa projects will be displayed from 9-10. Some of the 6th graders will be leading you in a game of Kahoot, so please bring your phone for the presentations! If you do not feel comfortable using your phone, some iPads will be available. At 10:00 we will join the rest of the school in the sanctuary for Tefilah led by the 7th grade (something to look forward to even more next year when your children do the same!), followed by a siyyum in their honor. Hope to see you then!



Hi 6th grade families,

This past week we had the honor of welcoming Josef back to lead our drumming circle! He is very engaging and the students enjoyed being able to let loose and explore on the drums. Josef brought many different kinds of drums and shakers, and students took turns being able to drum on each. After practicing with beats and rhythm, Josef led us in incorporating tefilah that we know along with the drumming. While it took a little practice to drum lightly and not drown out our voices, we eventually got the hang of it and we sounded great!

After Tefilah we wrote more letters to our penpals in Haifa. Our students really enjoyed being part of the Skype partnership and are upset that there will be no more Skype sessions for the rest of the year. If your child wants to continue writing to their penpal during the summer, I am happy to contact the Habonim school and set that up!

Have a great week, and we look forward to showing you our Haifa projects on May 19th from 9-10!


Hello 6th grade families! 

It was so nice to see so many of you this past Sunday for our tzitzit tying event. The finished products look great, and I look forward to seeing the kids wear them during services or when they will read from the Torah! Sunday morning was a busy day all around. Before you came, we had a successful Skype call with our sister school, the Habonim School in Haifa. It was so nice to put a faces to names from our pen-pals. We talked about Passover and what we did for vacation. We also taught them about sleepaway camp and they can't imagine being away all summer! Of course there was also time to talk about Ariana Grande and other popular music, too. When we hung up, our kids were so excited, they wanted to write more letters right away.

Our Haifa projects are also coming along nicely. Most of us are just finishing up with the first researching/building part, and are ready for the next step. You are all welcome to come view the project on the morning of May 19th from 9-10!

Have a great week!


Hello 6th Grade families!

This week we continued constructing our Haifa projects. Most of us have finished constructing the first part and are on to working on our presentations. We will continue these projects for the coming weeks, and showcase them on the morning of May 19th!

We also had the honor of welcoming Mayor Spicer of Framingham to talk to us about what she does and what it means to be an advocate and a leader. During her time with us, the kids were given the opportunity to share some of the concerns they have about their schools and community. These ranged from homework policies, kosher lunch options, language class offerings, school bus routes, etc. Mayor Spicer told us that the best way to share a concern is to write a letter, and encouraged us to do so. Therefore, we are in the process of writing letters to school principals/superintendents/the mayor to address some of our concerns. Please encourage your kids that this is a great way to be an advocate and stand up for what they think is fair!

Upcoming events:
Sunday April 28th, we will Skype with the Habonim school at 9:00.
Sunday April 28th we have our tzitzit tying program to finish our tallitot!

Hope everyone has a restful break!


Hello 6th Grade families,

This week we dedicated a majority of time to our projects, which will be the standard for the remaining 5(!) Sundays of the year. The students have divided themselves in groups to tackle a different area of Haifa, and will work together to research and present that component. I am very excited to see how the projects will turn out, and we hope you can join us on the morning of May 19th (the last day) to check them out as well!

We also read an essay by Rabbi Norman Cohen about this week's Torah portion, Metzora. We learned that the portion talks about diseases and sickness, and how Rabbi Cohen interprets that to mean gossiping. We talked about things going "viral" and where that word came from. Two values came up in our discussion, dignity and respect, and we tied that back into our unit on values.

Some things to look forward to:
1. On Sunday, Mayer Spicer will be in to talk to the kids about advocacy.
2. On April 28th, we will have our next Skype date with the Habonim school.

Here is to another great week!



Hi 6th grade families!

This week we had fun starting our Haifa projects. We continued our brainstorming and started building the first steps of our models. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed supplies for our project! We will continue these in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for an invitation to come check out our final projects! This will most likely be more towards the end of May, but I will keep you updated.

We were also lucky enough to welcome Gary Alpert back to Temple to lead a discussion about disabilities and bullying. Some of the positive things we started paying attention to were:
-The Google Doodle the other day showing a cane for the blind
-walk signals that makes noises for people who are blind
-texting was invented to Deaf people
Some room for improvements we have noticed:
-push buttons for people in wheelchairs that open the door the wrong way
-shortage of ASL interpreters who are able to provide access to Deaf 
-people with good intentions trying to help people with disabilities without asking permission

Lastly, we got more letters from our penpals at the Habonim school, and we took some time to respond to them and take pictures as well.

Next week we have a special Tefilah with Josh Warshawsky, and we look forward to that!


Hello 6th Grade families!

This week we started brainstorming and discussing our Haifa project, and we are super excited about it! We will be building a model of the city, to include many important landmarks. The landmarks that we chose are:

The Haifa airport
HaCarmelit (the train station of Haifa)
University of Haifa
The Haifa Symphony Orchestra
Maccabi Haifa basketball
Sammy Ofer Soccer Stadium
Rambam Health Center (with the underground hospital)
The Haifa Zoo
Beit Ha'Gefen (Israeli-Arab coexistence)
Shulamit Levenberg and her diabetes research
Israeli/China/US Triangle Port

This project will be on the kids to be as creative as the want to be, how they want to represent the city, and the materials they need to build the city. These are the materials they would like to start with. If you have any of these materials and are willing to share, we would be very appreciative!

-pipe cleaners
-air dry clay
-rolling pin
-play dough tools
-cardboard boxes
-hot glue gun
-fuse beads/iron
-popsicle sticks
-tooth picks
-old magazines

We will be sure to send more pictures as the projects unfolds! Here is one picture from the planning stage.


Hello 6th Grade families!

This week, we were dragging a little bit because of the time change, but once we got things rolling, we were back to our old selves. As some of you may know, over February break, Spacecraft Beresheet launched from Israel. We watched a few videos related to that, and saw some pretty neat pictures.

As we continued class, we started brainstorming/making videos of ourselves and our school to send to our penpals in Israel. Last week we got letters back, and it was exciting, so we want to keep the exchange going! Hopefully our next Facetime with them will be on April 7th.

We ended class practicing Hebrew, practicing Bar/Bat Mitzvah portions, and trying to play a little Hebrew Monopoly It was interesting for us to learn that the streets on the board are real streets in Israel, and not just Hebrew translations of the streets on our Monopoly board!

Next week, we will be starting our Haifa project. We will also have a cool opportunity to participate in a drumming circle!


Hello 6th Grade families! It was so nice to see some of you at the Moving Traditions event this past Sunday. For those of you who missed it, we talked about the differences in being the host and guest of a party, and the responsibilities for each. Both the children and the parents prioritized different responsibilities of a party, and then compared with their own families. It was interested to hear from the kids about what makes a good guest, and how to be accommodating for guests who might not be Jewish. One of the biggest concerns is how to inform out guests to put their phones away during the service. We decided that the more information guests have, they feel better prepared for the service and able to anticipate what is coming next.

Moving forward, we will be starting projects on Haifa. With the help of Nitzan, we are narrowing down famous landmarks, important people, and other areas of Haifa to be explored. I will update you as the project progresses! We will also be continuing our penpal writing with students from the Habonim School in Haifa.

Lastly, together with the 7th Grade class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we are starting a unit on advocacy. We will be researching several advocates in Jewish history and today, and will be be creating posters to showcase them. We will also be discussing what it means to be an advocate and how to be an advocate.

Have a great week!


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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