Sunday, February 10, 2019

Grade 7/Kitah Zayin/ Gesher 2018-2019

2-10-19

Sunday morning the 7th grade focused on Jewish weddings and specifically ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts).  You can ask your 7th grader to share with you what a traditional Jewish marriage contract is and why it was required.  We also compared the language used in a traditional ketubah with the language used in an egalitarian marriage contract.  Check out the photos of the ketubot the students designed.




2-3-19


Dear Parents,

We had a productive morning yesterday, and began our unit on Jewish Weddings and Marriage.
1.       We reviewed the elements of a Jewish wedding (see the attached sheet), and then discussed two aspects of Jewish marriage: romantic love vs. an arranged obligation. The kids viewed two scenes from Fiddler on the Roof (links here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A2MBneb7lc; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59Hj7bp38f8) and then discussed whether marriage is a personal choice, or also a reflection of God’s relationship to the Jewish people.
2.       During Tefillah, the kids took turns leading parts of the service, and we learned what tunes are used at different summer camps.
3.       Nitzan led a great program on Israeli foods, including Falafel, Bamba, Shakshuka, Shokolad, and many others. Next time, hopefully, we’ll have samples!
4.       For the last part of class, we learned about the elements of traditional and contemporary Ketubot, Jewish marriage contracts, and how they describe traditional and modern obligations in a Jewish marriage. Next week, before the special program with Dan Brosgol of Prozdor, the class will be writing and illuminating their own sample Ketubot.

Next Sunday, I will be away in Israel, but Val will be teaching the class and helping the kids with their Ketubot. After Tefillah, we’ll be having a special class with Dan Brosgol of Prozdor, with a family program at 11:30 a.m. to learn more about options for next year.

Please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. Because of distractions and disruptions from inappropriate cell phone use, from now on, all cell phones will be checked in to a basket at the beginning of school, and returned on the way out at 12:00 noon. If it is necessary to get a message to your child during school, please call the school office and it will be brought to the classroom.  Please share this with your kids so that there are no surprises on Sunday.

Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

1-27-19


Dear Parents,

It was great seeing your kids on Sunday after the Martin Luther King, Jr. break. Yesterday consisted of two special programs:
1.      We had a great program from Gateways, about Disabilities and the Media. The kids did a great job discussing stereotyping, media portrayals, issues regarding portrayal of disabled individuals by non-disabled, and how to bring more fairness to such portrayals. Please ask your kids to share some of the insights they gained from the discussion and media materials.
2.      After a short break, we joined the upper grades of the Religious School for a Tu Bishvat Seder, including fruit, grape juice and song. The kids heard about and discussed how Judaism sees the environment, and what we can do to help fulfill our duty to act as stewards for the Earth.

When we meet again this coming Sunday, we'll be continuing our life cycle curriculum with a new unit on Jewish weddings and marriage. In particular, please ask your kids to begin thinking about what’s “Jewish” about a Jewish wedding.

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

1-6-19


Dear Parents,

It was great seeing your kids again after our winter break. We got right back into the swing of things with our study of Bar/Bat Mitzvah customs, with a review of Tefillin.
  1. During the first part of the morning we viewed two short videos on how Tefillin are made, and how to wrap tefillin, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJD6cD0zG3E
Videos on how to lay tefillin:
We then reviewed the attached sheet on the background and traditions related to Tefillin, and how it is our way of connecting with God and committing to love God, as set forth in the Shema.
2.    During Tefillah, we talked about the Shema, and how it is a central prayer and principle in Judaism. We also read the attached story about how the Shema was used to find lost Jewish orphans in post-World War II Europe.
3.    After Tefillah, Nitzan had a great lesson with us on Shabbat in Israel.
4.    For the last part of class, we had a team competition on “Name that Mitzvah”, to help the students understand that becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means that they are now responsible for the extent and consequences of their own individual religious observance of Mitzvot, whether they see Mitzvot as commandments, good deed, or both.
Next week, we’ll continue our discussion of Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Mitzvot, along with a special art project on life, hardships and renewal. For discussion, please ask your kids to describe the difference between customs that are good deeds, and Mitzvot that are observances or behavior required by the text of the Torah.
As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

12-16-18


Dear Parents,

It was great seeing your kids again this morning. We had an interesting day as we started our unit on Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
1.    During the first part of the morning we discussed why one becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at age 13/12. We reviewed and discussed the attached sources, and then viewed a video on a very special program run by the Conservative Movement in Israel to provide Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations for children with special needs. You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSc-or7Qqss
2.    During Tefillah, we talked about “Tzitzit,” the fringes on a Tallit, and how they can be attached to any garment with four corners (even a sports jersey!), and how the traditional blue “techelet” color mentioned in the Shema and included as one thread of the Tzitzit comes from a snail.
3.    After Tefillah, since Nitzan was out sick, we had a brief video and discussion about the origin of modern Hebrew, and how it was made possible by the work of Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
4.    We then reviewed the attached sources on the question of “What is a Mitzvah”, and discussed the different types of Mitzvot, between people and God, and between one person and another. The kids asked great questions about the timing of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and how they become responsible for their own observance of Mitzvot, whether as commandments or good deeds, when they reach Bar/Bat Mitzvah age.
When we meet again after vacation, we'll be continuing our discussion of Bar/Bat Mitzvah issues. Please ask your kids to describe their favorite three Mitzvot, which we’ll be discussing at our next class.

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

12-9-18


Dear Parents,

Happy Chanukah! I hope you and your kids have enjoyed a great week. At the Religious School, we had a great morning, both in class, and in our school Chanukah celebration:
  1. During the first part of the morning we concluded our Life Cycle unit on birth customs, with study and discussion of adoption in Jewish tradition. We viewed the following video: https://www.bimbam.com/jewish-questions-on-adoption-surrogacy/, and read together the attached article on adoption in Judaism. The students had an amazing discussion about the issues involved with raising adopted children as Jews, especially those children that came from non-Jewish birth parents and required conversion to Judaism. 
  2. After Tefillah, Nitzan gave a fun lesson on how Shabbat in Israel is different from Shabbat observance in the U.S.
  3. We then had a great Chanukah celebration, including candle-lighting, singing with Cantor Ken, Latkes, and Dreidel games.
  4. At the end of the morning, we began our discussion of what is a "bar/bat mitzvah" and "what is a Mitzvah".

When we meet again on Sunday, we'll be continuing our discussion of Bar/Bat Mitzvah issues. Please ask your kids to discuss the definition of "what is a Mitzvah?" (It isn't just a good deed.)

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

12-2-18



Dear Parents,
It was great to see your kids again after the Thanksgiving break. This week we had a couple of special programs.
  1. During the first part of the morning we had a special program with Dr. Jennifer Novick, who is a practicing Mohelet. Jennifer shared with the class texts and explanations about brit milah/circumcision, and the ceremonies associated with birth and Brit Milah. The kids had a lot of great questions and the discussion was great.
  2. Nitzan gave a fun lesson on Hebrew words through a "Super Heroes" game.
  3. During the last part of class, we switched our focus to customs and ceremonies surrounding death and mourning. In part, this was to help the kids understand what happens at funerals and shiva/condolence visits, since many of the students were then going to attend the funeral for Karen Berk. I was very proud of the students - Robin came to discuss the situation with them, and then we shared some BimBam videos on Jewish mourning customs, which you can find here:
---Intro to Jewish Mourning Rituals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyHvRFkqzmw&t=7s

The kids had really good questions, and were very sensitive about the subject, and how to visit with Sarah. We then wrote condolence cards to Sarah, which Robin brought to her during Shiva. All of your kids were wonderful, and handled the discussion really well. I don't have the words to tell you how moving it was.

If you would like to share additional information with your children, or further discuss the topic with them, I've attached a summary of Jewish mourning customs for reference by you and the kids.


When we meet again on Sunday, we'll be having some special activities for Chanukah, as well as continuing our Life Cycle curriculum. This week, we'll be concluding our lessons on topics related to birth, and moving on to Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks - Chag Urim Same'ach,

Gerry

11-4-18



Dear Parents,

This past Sunday we continued with our usual routine: 
1.    As part of our Life Cycle curriculum, we continued our discussion of our birth stories, and the origins and meanings of our names. We then began our discussion of the next milestone after birth, which is the beginning of a child’s Jewish education. We learned the material in the attached source sheet and answered the questions on the attached worksheet.
2.    At Tefillah, we focused on the Amidah, as the part of our prayers in which we ask God to provide for us and answer our requests.
3.    When we returned to class, we had a lesson with Nitzan about Israeli gestures, and how Israelis “talk” with their hands.
4.    We then continued our discussion of Jewish education, and our project was to design the perfect Hebrew School. The kids had some great suggestions!

This coming Sunday, we’ll be taking our field trip to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI, after joining the Temple’s minyan for a Veterans Day memorial service. Please remember to pack a substantial lunch for your child.

Thanks,

Gerry

10-28-18


Dear Parents,


After last Sunday's program at the Brophy School, we got back to our regular routine today.


  1. As part of our Life Cycle curriculum, we reviewed Jewish rituals and traditions connected with birth. We then talked about each student's birth story, and what happened in each of your families. I've attached the materials and worksheet that we worked on today - please talk with your child about the events and rituals surrounding their birth, so they can complete the questions on the sheet.
  1. We then had Tefila, in which we focused on the Shema, and how we are commanded to acknowledge God. As an activity, each student wrote a "Six-Word Story" in response to the prompt: Meeting God for the first time. The responses were wonderful - I'll try to post some of them this week.
  1. When we returned to class, we had a lesson with Nitzan about Hebrew slang, and learned the words Sababa (great!), Achla (good!), and Horais (cool looking).
  1. We then learned about sources of Jewish names, and discussed the meaning and origin of the student's names. Please talk with your child to help him/her complete the attached worksheet on their names, which we started in class today.
When we meet again this Sunday, we’ll continue our study of Jewish birth traditions, including our discussion of choosing a name. We'll also start learning about other rituals, including Zeved Bat/Welcoming a Daughter, Pidyon Haben/Redemption of the First Born, and more contemporary responses to Jewish birth rituals.   As I requested above, to prepare for Sunday, please help your kids complete the worksheets on their Birth Stories, and on the source and meaning of their names.




As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

10-21-18



Dear Parents,

Many of your kids were with Hilary at the Brophy School on Sunday, but for those kids who chose to attend classes at Temple Israel on Sunday, we had an interesting morning. Instead of our regular Life Cycle curriculum, we focused on refugees and strangers in Jewish tradition.

1.    We first reviewed several biblical texts about Abraham and his wanderings, and how they make us sensitive to refugees and asylum seekers. You can see the texts and questions that the kids answered in the attached worksheet.
2.    We then had Tefila, in which we focused on the Ahava Rabba blessing immediately before the Shema, and how it shows God’s love for the Jewish people, and our response through learning and doing Mitzvot.
3.    When we returned to class, we reviewed Jewish Rabbinic texts on treatment of strangers and those seeking protection, as well as several videos and sources regarding asylum seekers both in the U.S. and Israel. We watched the first segment of each of these videos:



[Refugees and Passover: African Aylum seekers comemmorate Passover in
detention]

This led to a formal debate on Sudanese asylum-seekers in Israel, and whether they should be accepted or sent home. As the attached sheets, videos, and debate showed, this is a complicated issue!

When we meet again this Sunday, we’ll begin our study of Jewish birth traditions. In particular, we will be engaging in the following activities:
1.    Jewish Names – a lesson on their origins, meanings, and how newborns get them.
2.    Nitzan, our Shinshin, will be back from Israel, and we’ll have an activity with her.

To prepare for Sunday, please discuss the following question with our kids:
Where did your Jewish name come from, and what does it mean?

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,


Gerry

10-14-18

Dear Parents,

It was good seeing your kids after the Columbus Day break.

This past Sunday, we continued with our Life Cycle curriculum:


  1. We continued our discussion of covenants and biblical sources for them. In particular, after reviewing the structure of the Tanakh, we spent much of the morning learning how to find the relevant chapters and verses in the Torah, and read about the different covenants between God and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. I’ve attached a copy of the worksheet we used.
  1. During Tefila, we focused on our morning blessings, and in particular the first regarding the rooster’s ability to discern between night and day. We explained this through the attached Rabbinic story, of how people can similarly discern between good and evil, and how we should live our lives with a true understanding heart.
  1. After Tefila, we continued our work on covenants, and then reviewed the Rabbinic “map” of the Jewish life cycle in the Mishna-Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers chapter 5, Mishna 23. A copy is attached. The class discussed why the Rabbis chose these milestones, and how they are different from life cycle norms today (for example, the kids decided that 18 was a bit too young to get married!).
  1. We joined the Temple's morning minyan for holiday services for the Hoshana Raba holiday, including a festive Hallel service. The Religious School students then remained in the Sukkah to take Willow branches and perform the Hoshanot ceremony of striking them on the ground, to welcome the rainy season in Israel.
  1. After Hoshanot, we returned to the classroom to review the students' parts in the Simchat Torah service on Monday evening with Cantor Ken. The kids learned their verses from the Ata Horeita with the holiday tune.
  1. The remainder of the morning we had a brief program with our Shinshinit, Nitzan, and then we discussed the idea of the Covenant between God and the Jewish people, and how it relates to all of our life cycle ceremonies, starting with Abraham and the birth and Brit Milah of his son Isaac.
  1. We'll continue our study of covenants between God the Jewish people, and the biblical sources of these covenants.
  1. What significant events are included in our Jewish life cycle.
  1. Class Rules – we learned about respect for each other and for adults, as well as proper behavior, based on Jewish sources. A copy of our class rules is attached.
  1. Introduction to the Jewish Life Cycle – we discussed sources relating to the birth of the world, and how it relates to the beginning of the Jewish life cycle. A copy of the sources is attached
  1. The remainder of the morning, before Tefillah/Prayers, we learned about Ushpizin/Ushpizot – the traditional guests we invite into our Sukkah. Later in the morning, after meeting our new ‘Shinshinit’, Nitzan, we also prepared decorations for the synagogue’s Sukkah. Information about our study of Ushpizin/Ushpizot is also attached. At the end of class, we reviewed Sukkot with a viewing of the “Sukkot Lego Movie,” athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRHkgWGyn4Y
  1. Hoshana Raba – for the first part of the morning, we will be joining the Temple’s morning minyan for the Hoshanot parade, with Lulav and Etrog.
  1. After our time with Nitzan on Sunday, we will be learning about the beginning of the Jewish life cycle, and how it is the beginning of God’s covenant with the Jewish people.



When we meet again this Sunday, students will either be attending the service project at the Brophy School, or at the Religious School learning about refugees and asylum seekers in Jewish tradition, and how that relates to those in the U.S. and Israel. For those spending the morning at school, we’ll be learning Jewish texts, and preparing a debate on asylum seekers in Israel.

To prepare for Sunday, please ask your kids the following question for discussion:
What is our obligation, as Jews, to help strangers in need?

As always, please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks,

Gerry

9-30-18

Dear Parents,

I hope you all enjoyed the Sukkot/Simchat Torah holiday.

This past Sunday, we had a number of special programs, and continued with our Life Cycle curriculum:
When we meet again a week from Sunday, we'll be focusing on the following:


To prepare for Sunday, please aske your kids the following question for discussion:

What Jewish events are part of our life cycle?




Finally, some housekeeping matters. Please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.



Thanks,

Gerry



9-23-18

Dear Parents,

It was a pleasure meeting all of your children on Sunday. We’re looking forward to a great year.

This past week, after introductions and sharing our wishes for the New Year, we covered the following:

This coming Sunday, we’ll be focusing on the following:

To prepare for Sunday, please aske your kids the following question for discussion:
Where did your Jewish name come from, and why?

Finally, some housekeeping matters. Please remind your kids that cell phones do not belong in the classroom. If a phone comes to school, unless needed for an in-class academic project, the phone will be checked into a pocket on the classroom wall until the end of the class day. Also, please send your child to school with a dairy or pareve, nut-free snack.

Thanks, and Shabbat Shalom,
Gerry

Grade 2/Kitah Bet 2018-2019

2-10-19

We started book 2 in our Hebrew program and learned three new vowels (eh/ay) and two new letters, sin and samech. In our Torah studies we learned about Avram and Lot separating because the land could not support all their livestock. Avram stayed in the land of Israel. We had lots of fun acting it out!

We read The Perfect Prayer, about the three sounds in "Sh'ma". "Sh" to remind us to listen, "mm" for thinking, and "ah" for being in awe.

We're looking forward to sleeping late over vacation! I hope everyone has time to relax and enjoy being together. We're also looking forward to celebrating Purim in March.

Ask your child what their perfect prayer is!

2-3-19

Yeah! We finished our first book in Hebrew! We've learned more than half the letters and some basic Hebrew vocabulary. The students are all very proud of how much they have learned. They are reading beautifully!

In our Torah studies we learned about Avram hearing God's voice telling him to leave his father's house and go to a new land. We had lots of fun acting this story out, taking turns being Avram, his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and their servants. Some of us thought they might be afraid or sad at the thought of leaving everything behind. Some of us thought they were excited and one student talked about trusting God. How do you think they felt?

1-13-19

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!

1-6-19


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.


12-16-18


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.

12-9-18



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!



12-2-18



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,

Margie

11-11-18


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?


11-4-18



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?


10-28-18


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. 



10-21-18



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.

10-14-18

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, 

Margie

9-23-18


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, 
Margie