This past week we celebrated Sukkot together, across the whole school. The 6th grade class had a little time together in the morning to learn about Sukkot. In that time, we did a word-search puzzle with some words from Sukkot, like Lulav and Etrog. Then we talked briefly about some themes of Sukkot. One is hospitality, or welcoming people into your sukkah. We have the Hebrew word "ushpizim" as the special people we might welcome into our Sukkah from the Jewish tradition. With that in mind, we talked a bit about who the students might want to invite into their sukkah. We talked about some of the requirements of a sukkah, including that you can see through the roof - to see the stars. If you talk with your students about that, you might make a nice connection from that to our earlier discussion of Abraham being promised that his people would be as numerous as the stars. I also shared the idea of the "three Pilgrimage holidays" in the Jewish calendar - in Hebrew, "shalosh regalim" or three legs. Sukkot is one of them and the kids helped identify the other two (Passover and the tricky one, Shavuot). Each one has spiritual meaning and is also connected to an agricultural point in the year - fall harvest (Sukkot), spring (Passover) and summer (Shavuot).
After that short discussion, the class was slit into two groups, to help out younger students through the day. Half went to Pre-K/K and 1st grade classes, and the other half went to the 4th grade class. Through the morning, all of them had the chance to help the younger students make Sukkot decorations, and a model Sukkah, Sukkah gift of food for others. Most important, and sweetly, the students visited the Sukkah at the school, and had a chance to say the prayers and shake the lulav and smell the etrog, along with the younger students.
It was a lovely morning. If you'd like to ask your student more about Sukkot, perhaps you could explore who is important to you to "invite" and welcome into your virtual sukkah - perhaps people who are with us or those we remember who are not here anymore. I wonder, too, if the students might be able t make the connection for you between the two times we talked about the stars, to represent how numerous the people would be and to see them through the sukkah roof.
At our next class, we'll return to studying together. I plan to begin a Tzedakah box with the students, and please be sure to have them bring their bookbag and folder.
Best to all for the next week or so, until we get together again!