Shalom Parents, and Chag Sa'me'ach - Happy Holiday. Did you know Chanukah is actually considered a minor holiday? And the concept of gifts really has nothing to do with the holiday? It's really a celebration of religious freedom. So given that our religion emphasizes action, such as Gemli'ut Chasidim, your children made a Chanukah project with 8 paper-cut candles. Each candle has a gemli'ut chasidim concept on it, which is designed to foment discussion and action with families. I hope you enjoy these candles, and have an opportunity to look at the messages each night with your family. Each student also has a handout describing the story of Chanukah and a sheet with the blessings we say/sing when we light candles, as well as the order in which we place the candles (as though reading Hebrew) and light the candles (as though reading English).
REMINDER: the homemade Chanukiyah contest is this coming Sunday, Dec. 9th. We will be having a class party prior to viewing the chanukiyot and a school-wide assembly.
Shalom Parents. This past Sunday, we read the story of the Tower of Babel. We talked about how pursuit of fame and glory for its own sake is harmful to society as a whole. E.g., who was taking care of the sick people in Babel (Bavel, in Hebrew) while all resources were devoted to the building of this tower? This segued nicely into learning about Gemli'ut Chasidim - Acts of Kindness. Judaism places great emphasis on the importance of performing "random acts of kindness." There is a list that I gave the students with some examples, but it is not comprehensive. Attempts to achieve a just socieyt (tzedakah comes from the root word for justice) cannot be realized until we treat each other with dignity, respect and kindness. Based on these lessons, we took a vote as to whether we should donate some of our tzedakah to help those in Northern California who have lost everything. The vote was a unanimous yes. On behalf of the SSJS 3rd grade class, I made a $36 donation to an organization recommended by both my firm's SF office administrator and the New York Times: the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund. http://www.calfund.org/wildfire-relief-fund/ (Why $36? In Hebrew, letters have numerical values. The word for life in Hebrew, chai, has a value of 18 (the yud = 10, the chet = 8), and so it is a long-held Jewish tradition to donate in $18 increments. I will take 10% of what we have collected so far in class, and provide the remainder to round up to $36.)
REMINDER: the SSJS chanukiyah (aka menorah specifically for Chanukah) contest will take place on Dec. 9th! Hopefully you received the handout about the contest; if not, let me know if you would like information. This is totally voluntary - only do this if it will be fun for you and your family.
Wishing you a meaningful Thanksgiving, a peaceful Shabbat, and with gratitude to all of you for sharing your amazing kids with me this year,
(From Renee Abramson, substitute teacher):
I was happy to be in class to share with the children their excitement about learning. I did a Hebrew Jeopardy game the covered topics such as Jewish Foods, Torah, Hebrew and Jewish Holidays. I was even more leased to see that many of my questions were topics the students had covered previously with their teacher and were eager to share their answers. I have not given homework, but as the Ivrit Aleph teacher I encourage all students to read nightly, if only for 5-10 minutes so that they can stay fresh and that Hebrew reading comes easier for them.