Today in grade seven, students examined photographs and read first hand accounts to learn about Jewish women's successful efforts to unionize and gain workers' rights in the Lower East Side Garment district. The teens learned about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the women's garment workers' strike which drew 20,000 women.
Students in our Hebrew section are choosing to learn conversational Hebrew. In the music elective, we sang the Dreamer, B'Tzelem Elohim and other fun songs.
Today in grade seven, students learned about the centrality and importance of the Torah in Judaism. A student asked if G-d can predict our fate and why/if G-d
has allowed terrible things to occur in our world at this time. I introduced Rabbi Harold Kushner's response in his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People; that G-d created the world, but we as people are in charge of our own fate. Students learned about a way they can make a difference in their own lives at school and in their communities, by standing up for and being kind to others.
Students in the Hebrew section have mastered the Ayn Kamocha and were rewarded with a little free time for all their hard work.
Students in the music elective learned to sing Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.
Have a nice vacation!
Students learned about Jewish composers and comedians and Jewish athletes in the last two classes. It was light and fun. This week, we will return to a more academic lesson where we last left off in studying immigrant Jews. I have attached a link to a JWA lesson regarding Jewish labor activism. I will be "unpacking" a lot of this lesson for students- it is a bit more advanced than our seventh grade class is ready for. I will also be modifying some of the activities to better suit the class. https://jwa.org/teach/livingthelegacy/labor/from-suffering-to-action-from-individual-to-collective
In music the kids will learn Gesher Tsar Meod. In Hebrew we will practice chanting Ayn Kamocha.
Today in grade seven, the teens examined photos and videos of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrant life on the Lower East Side between 1880 and 1921. The photo sets and videos are from the Library of Congress at the link below. In our Hebrew class, students practiced singing and reading Ayn Kamocha in pairs and as a group. Students in the elective sketched and used watercolors to create posters of nature and corresponding Hebrew blessings. Happy Chanukah!
The teens learned about the largest wave of 2.5 million Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who arrived at Ellis Island from Russia, Poland, Hungary and Romania, between 1881 and 1921, in class today. The seventh graders learned about the persecution of and pogroms carried out against this group of Jewish immigrants and we began to learn about their lives in America, including those who lived in tenements on the Lower East Side. Students learned that Emma Lazarus, a Jewish poet, wrote the famous words inscribed on a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...". In the next few weeks, the seventh grade class will learn about the garment district, labor strikes, and famous Jewish baseball players, cartoonists and entertainers!
The Hebrew students are learning to read the Ayn Kamocha in Hebrew in small groups and the students learned a bit more about the rules for reading when a sh'va appears at the beginning or the middle of a Hebrew word. Everyone is doing a great job learning to read and chant in Hebrew!
In the Judaism and the Environment class, students chose a Hebrew blessing of thanks for an element of nature and began an art project related to trees, the moon and the stars, thunder and lightning, deserts, mountain ranges, animals and other parts of our beautiful world. Students are sketching and then painting a poster depicting what they are thankful for in nature.
Please encourage your children to make chanukiyot (Chanukah menorahs) to share at the Chanukah party on December 17th and to join the talent show on the 17th as well!
Have a nice week,
Today in grade seven, the students spoke in pairs to create a list of potential challenges some Jewish Americans may have encountered as they moved West in the 1800's. Student watched a twenty minute portion of the PBS film, "Jewish Americans", which followed Jewish peddlers who moved West, selling goods carried on their backs, and who advanced to selling goods from horse drawn wagons and opening stores in areas being established in Ohio, Arizona and California. Students heard about Levi Strauss and the Spiegel Catalog, as well as Jewish mayors and the Jewish chief of a Native American tribe. Students saw detailed stories about Jewish soldiers on both the Confederate and Union sides of the Civil War and the rise of established Jews from the Sephardic and German Immigrant communities to the upper class of society. Students learned about the contradiction of some Jewish families who held Passover Seders, but did not protest the slavery occurring in their midst. They also learned about discrimination toward early Jewish settlers.
In Hebrew, the sixth and seventh graders used a Hebrew Flashcard app for reading and practiced singing Ayn Kamocha too.
In the Judaism and the Environment elective, students engaged in a little text study and we spoke about bringing a sense of Shabbat into our busy lives.
We will meet in two weeks again, following Veteran's Day weekend.
Today in grade seven, students studied the life and experiences of Rebecca Gratz, the founder of the Sunday religious school movement and a Jewish philanthropist. Hebrew students made homework reading sheets using letters and vowels they need to review. Students in the Judaism and the Environment elective learned about Israel's efforts to preserve and recycle fresh water for the land and its people.
Today in grade seven students learned about Governor Peter Stuyvesant's efforts to remove the first Jewish immigrants to New Amsterdam, now New York. Stuyvesant was rebuked by the Dutch East India Company and the company's Jewish membership. Students learned about three well known Sephardic Jewish immigrants and listened to Ladino music online in class.
Students learned that the next wave of Jewish immigrants were from Holland, England and Germany and were known as Ashkenazic Jews. We will explore their lives with primary documents and we will use our textbook, Let Freedom Ring, in class. I will supply copies of primary documents and teens no longer need to bring their phones to class.
Our Hebrew group began to learn Ayn Kamocha. Students in the elective, Judaism and the Environment , learned about the Food Justice movement. The Jewish community has many active and strong organizations and leadership involved in the Food Justice movement.
Today in grade seven students shared their experiences during Yom Kippur. The class then continued with its study of Jewish Immigration to America, using resources from the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island. To make a more personal connection with the early immigrants seeking religious freedom, students broke into pairs and groups to talk about what privileges they have and would like to have in the future. Students were then able to define the terms privilege and liberty and state how they differ. We then explored the idea of religious liberty/ freedom of religion which the earliest immigrants to America were seeking and wrote about in an exchange with George Washington. The letters exchanged are available on the Touro Synagogue website.
The Hebrew group made final Hebrew letters out of modeling clay and played look alike Hebrew letter tic tac toe. Students began their review of the Hebrew vowels.
In the elective class, Judaism and the Environment, students learned about the Torah's instructions to "leave the four corners of one's field" and grain that has been left on one's field when harvesting for others to eat. Students learned about the idea of "food justice" and the Boston area gleaners. They asked principal Dori Stern if we can join others in gleaning to feed those who are hungry at Sukkot time next year. We will begin to explore more modern responses in the United States and Israel to farming and agriculture, water use and climate change in the weeks ahead.
Happy New Year! Today in class, the seventh graders used a timeline to learn about the history of Jewish immigration to America and primary documents to learn about one immigrant's life and values. The link below is to the lesson plan and primary documents from the Jewish Women's Archives. Students explored a letter written by a new immigrant in South Carolina, Rebecca Samuel, to her parents in Germany. The letter was written in 1790.
In the elective, Judaism and the Environment, students learned about the Jewish/ Hebrew calendar, and its connection to the cycle of the moon. We discussed the holiday of Sukkot and explored the connection between the Jewish holidays and agriculture. We ended the class with an introduction to the song, Adamah V'Shamayim. The lyrics speak of feeling a connection within our body and souls to the earth and sky, and to water and fire. The song can be found online and on YouTube.
Have a nice week!