It was great to be back with the students this past Sunday after not seeing them for 3 weeks. We definitely hit the ground running with a full morning of learning. We started off the morning reflecting on our experiences about the Friday night shabbat service and dinner. It was such a joy to spend time with students and families, and there was an overflowing amount of support from the other students asking how the rap went. Shout out to the whole class for their creativity because making the rap was a team effort!
After music and Hebrew, we discussed a news article about Prince William’s visit to Israel and we also had a discussion about the current events that have recently happened in our country, mainly the shooting in Parkland, FL. This is an issue that was very near to my heart and I felt like our class community is very strong and safe, so I wanted to see if the students wanted to express any thoughts or concerns they may have had. It was a very productive and vulnerable discussion that I think all the students handled very maturely.
Afterwards, we continued working on our gemilut chasadim project. This is our big end of the year project that the students will be working on both in and outside of class. I have attached a document with the timeline of this project that you can take a look at. Essentially, the students have learned about gemilut chasadim and the importance of it. They it is: “To act with loving-kindness is to identify with other people, to feel for them, to want to help them or to ease their burden even if simple justice would not require it.” The students also know that this is different from tzedakah, which is just money, and that gemilut chasadim has to be done with our hands. Now it is their turn to come up with a cause that they feel passionate about and perform their own acts of gemilut chasadim. The students have already thought of what Jewish values they identify with and now they’re onto step 2 of the process, which is to choose a cause and do research on it. They started the research in class (it was hard to get them to stop!), but I encourage every student to do more research at home. They do not have to start their project yet unless they want to. Next week, we will be developing their projects and on Sunday, April 29 they each will present their project. I stressed this to the kids in person, but this is not a project that they should feel stressed about. Yes, this does require time spent outside of Sunday school, but this project is supposed to be meaningful work. I will not be grading this strictly, I simply ask that each students spends some time performing their acts of gemilut chasadim. For example, if they wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen they could do it once or 10 times, the amount doesn’t matter to me. What matters is their passion and if this work is meaningful to them. If you or your child have any questions please email me.
We ended the morning talking about the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremony. And instead of just reading from a book, I had each student be in charge of a specific topic of the ceremony and then had them teach the class about it. This allowed the students to take charge of their learning and hold each other accountable for the information. Below are some pictures of the topics and the small presentations.
The next two Sundays we will be learning about Passover and I have a special craft planned on Sunday, March 25. That 25th will also be when we have our own in-class seder. Have a great week and stay safe during the snow storm (on Tuesday?)!
I hope your child had a blast at the Purim carnival this past Sunday. If anyone took any pictures that they’d like to share I’d love to see them.
Just a reminder that this Friday, March 6th at 6 pm is the SSJS Shabbat service and dinner event. In will be at The Women’s Club in Newton Highlands - 72 Columbus St. Newton. Our class will be in charge of leading the Ein Keloheinu אֱין כֱּאלֹהֱינוּ, prayer. If you would like to practice singing this prayer at home, here is a link that you can use to help get the tune. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V0LVzea11E
Also attached is a copy of the lyrics to the rap that we will be performing at the dinner. Feel free to practice it at home.
I can’t wait to see you Friday night and Sunday morning at religious school!
Have a great rest of your week!
This past Sunday we started off class by looking at a news article about a current event happening in Israel. I told the students that I think it’s great we’re spending time learning about the country’s history, cities, and culture, but it’s important for us to connect what we’re learning to current events in Israel. The news article was about immigration and the topic of refugees from African countries coming into Israel. With the knowledge of February being Black History month in the back our minds, the students shared their reactions to this article and this segued us into our topic of the day which was the power of human agency. After Hebrew, music and snack, we talked about the festival of Purim and how this story demonstrates the power of human agency. We reviewed the story of Purim and how Jews celebrate it with hamentashens and groggers. Then we read excerpts from the Book of Esther about Esther's decision to talk to King Ahasuerus to save the Jewish people from Haman. The students had a marker talk about how Esther and Mordecai demonstrated the power of human agency. Lastly, we watched the Maccabeats perform their rendition of “Raise Your Glass” Purims style. Fee free to watch it at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgJInVvJSZg
Afterwards, we started to talk about the Jewish concept of gemilut chasadim. The students will do a big end of the year project focused on this concept, so I introduced it today. We had three questions we were investigation: (1) What is it? (2) Why is it important? (3) How will it make the world a holier place? Looking ahead, the students are going to work on this project both in class and outside of class. My wish is that they chose something that they feel passionate about because that will be how they get the most out of this project.
We also finalized our rap that we will be performing at the Shabbat dinner and service on Friday, March 9th. We’re all very excited to share it with you at this service. If you haven’t done so yet, please fill out this Google form about whether you’ll be able to attend. Thank you to the families who have done so already. Here is the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdZktbs80VWY87tuRqgYNo11l7GWjPRHp0IpDVGAYKQRc7b5w/viewform?usp=sf_link
Our class will also be in charge of leading the Ein Keloheinu אֱין כֱּאלֹהֱינוּ, prayer. Please practice singing this prayer at home so that your child feels comfortable with it. Here is a link that you can use to help get the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V0LVzea11E If you have any further questions about the dinner and service, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or Dori.
Finally, the Sunday (March 4th) we come back from February vacation I will not be at school that day, but Mr. Y will be substituting for me. That is also the day of the Purim costume contest and festival. Please feel free to dress up! It’ll be a fun day of festivities!
This past Sunday we wrapped up our study on southern Israel with a mini research project. The students and I read about Beersheva, Eilat, Arava, Timna Valley Park, Hai Bar Nature Reserve and the Machtesh Ramon (craters in the Negev). Afterwards, the students got to choose one of these places to do more independent research on. The students were given the freedom on how they wanted to do this project too, whether it be a poster, a written response, a pamphlet, etc. The main things they had to focus on were the history, importance, location, climate/ geography, and interesting facts. Next week, the students will get the opportunity to present their projects to the class so we can all learn a little bit more about Israel from each other. I really want to students to be in charge of their learning and collaboratively expand their knowledge.
We also worked more on our rap that we will be performing at the Shabbat dinner and service on Friday, March 9th. It’s really coming together and we’re getting excited to share it with you at this service. If you haven’t done so yet, please fill out this Google form about whether you’ll be able to attend. Thank you to the families who have done so already. Here is the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdZktbs80VWY87tuRqgYNo11l7GWjPRHp0IpDVGAYKQRc7b5w/viewform?usp=sf_link
Our class will also be in charge of leading the Ein Keloheinu אֱין כֱּאלֹהֱינוּ, prayer. Please practice singing this prayer at home so that your child feels comfortable with it. Here is a link that you can use to help get the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V0LVzea11E
If you have any further questions about the dinner and service, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or Dori.
Here is my class update:
Hello families! It was great to see the students after a two week break. We started off our class by doing a community builder called “No way! Me too!” Ask you student how to say this in Hebrew. Then after Hebrew and music, we investigated the southern part of Israel. We specifically learned about the Dead Sea and used these three big questions to guide our investigations: (1) What is it called the Dead Sea? (2) Why is the Dead Sea special? (3) What are the Dead Sea Scrolls? After reading some brief background knowledge on the Dead Sea, we took a look at some neat fun facts about the Dead Sea. We also looked closely at one Israeli artist’s work, Sigalit Landau, who used the salinity of the Dead Sea to transform a gown. But we also looked at the drastic changes happening to the Dead Sea due to change in environment and commercialism. Lastly, the students used primary and secondary resources to learn about the Dead Sea scrolls and make connections between these ancient texts and the values of Judaism today.
Also, please save the date for our really exciting Shabbat service and dinner event happening on Friday, March 9th. The event starts at 6:00 and is located at The Women’s Club in Newton Highlands - 72 Columbus St. Newton. Our class will be in charge of leading the Ein Keloheinu אֱין כֱּאלֹהֱינוּ, prayer. If you would like to practice singing this prayer at home, here is a link that you can use to help get the tune. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V0LVzea11E
We will also be making art and posters for this event. We hope you and your children can come!
Hi families! This Sunday was an exciting day because we got to combine the two 5th grade classes into one. It was great to hear new voices in our class. I started off the class by priming their background knowledge on mitzvot. These were our two guiding questions for this lesson: What are mitzvot? Why do we do mitzvot? After Hebrew and music, we talked about a basic definition of a mitzvah. But then we dove deeper and discussed how mitzvot are commandments and talked about the “modern” mitzvah. The students read about the different analysis of mitzvot throughout the years and then thought about mitzvot in their own lives. Then we discussed the two main questions again: What are mitzvot? Why do we do mitzvot? We connected it to our new year’s goals and resolutions that the students shared at the start of the class and how we can follow through on them by performing mitzvot.
Lastly, we took a closer look at the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. This city has always been of special interest to me, especially how it’s been called “The Mediterranean City of Cool” by the New York times. After a quick history lesson of how Tel Aviv came to be, the students broke up into 9 small groups and rotated through different articles that discussed specific aspects of Tel Aviv. The students then wrote, with their partners in their groups, their reactions to the article. This could’ve been in word or art form. Here are the posters the students did at each rotation:
Hello families! This past Sunday we had our Chanukah celebration and it was a blast! The students all worked hard to put on and organize a great chanukiyot competition for the whole school. I’m very proud of their teamwork and leadership that they displayed. Along with the competition we also defaced some myths and learned some fun facts about the holiday. We then played a few rounds of driedal and learned about why we play driedal. Afterwards, the whole school came together to sing the blessings, light the chanukiyah and watch the talent show. Two of our very own students did a lovely job playing their instruments— shout out to Eloise and Hannah!
Lastly, we continued the festivities by making edible driedals. A huge thank you to our room parent, Lily, for bringing in the materials to create edible dreidels. The students were very gracious and we even got to share them with the other 5th grade class as well. And a huge thank you to the families who brought in other yummy treats.
This week in Hebrew, we reviewed our Hebrew letters and did a fluency read. We also practiced the Ein Keloheinu אֱין כֱּאלֹהֱינוּ. It’s been great to see the students Hebrew fluency grow and to see them become more confident and comfortable with the Hebrew letters and vowels. After music and snack, we learned about the history of Chanukah. We read about the story of the Maccabees and the oil that lasted for 8 nights. We also talked about what gelt is and why we eat foods fried in oil, like latkes. I showed the students this video to get them into the holiday spirit and summarize the meaning of Chanukah. Feel free to listen it at home! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJCSR4MuhU Afterwards, we learned about two more coastal cities in Israel: Caesara and Haifa.
Our Chanukah celebration will be this Sunday, December 17th. There will be a school wide talent show and chanukiyot competition. We will also have a special treat in class, play games, and listen to songs to celebrate the holiday. Our class is in charge of the school’s chanukiyot competition, so if your child is able to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to arrival to help organize the chanukiyot that would be great. They have all been amazing leaders so far and are showing much responsibility with their duties.
And as always, please bring in tzedakah if you are able. B’vakasha!
It was great to be back at SSJS with the students again. This week we learned about mezuzot and did a craft where all the students created their own mezuzahs. We first analyzed the two passages of Deuteronomy that are written on the scroll and then we discussed what a mezuzah is and why it’s important. When we made our own mezuzot, the students first wrote their own promises on their scroll and then got creative and decorated their mezuzah covers. Here are some pictures of their finished work.
We also started talking more about Chanukah and the celebration that will take place at the school on Sunday, December 17th. Our class is in charge of the Chanukiyot Competition for the school and each student was very excited about helping to organize the competition. The students were also great leaders when they visited each classroom to hand out flyers and explain the competition to other classes. Attached is a flyer for the competition. This competition is completely optional and many students were already coming up wit creative ideas to spend $0.
Lastly, I wanted to put a reminder in the weekly update to please bring in tzedakah if you can and are able to. B’vakasha!
Hi families! This Sunday, we started off the morning by doing a “I am thankful for…” activity because of Thanksgiving. We discussed how in Judaism each day when we wake up we say the nisim b’chol yom, the blessings of the every day. This is how we give our thanks to God, the life we have, and the world around us. When we give thanks, we recognize the holy potential of our world and bring more of it into people’s lives. So as Jews, it’s important we give thanks in order to recognize the holy potential of the world we live in.
During Hebrew, the students in my Hebrew group continued to review the letters and vowels. We did a couple of speed rounds using flashcards and the students had a fun time with this game. They also used teamwork to identify which Hebrew letters have final letters. It was great to see them working and learning from each other.
After music and snack, we read about the consecration ceremony and the importance of the Torah. We also learned about the city of Tel-Aviv Jaffa and explored the theme of Israel being a combination of old and new things. As a class we compared and contrasted the two parts of this city, Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and how they fit together.