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?)!