Shorashim ended January with the beginning of Shvat. We created trees for Arba Ha’Onot (the four seasons): Choref (winter), Aviv (spring), Kayitz (summer) and Stav (fall). We are looking forward to learning about and celebrating Tu B’Shvat – Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot – the New Year for the trees!
It has been a busy month, full of learning in the Dalet class! Every Wednesday, the Dalet class has Kabbalat Shabbat and the weekly Parasha discussion. Students are able to learn and comprehend Shabbat Services, practice reciting the Kiddush, and the blessings over the candles. They also learned in detail about the blessing of Netilat Yadaim and the blessing over the challah. The students learned how to recite the Tefillot with the teacher and Cantor. They learned all of these important rituals of Shabbat by singing Shabbat songs, and by sharing their own family experiences. Doing so allowed the students to understand the basic meaning of the Tefillot and to connect with the prayers on a meaningful, personal level. To conclude Kabbalat Shabbat, they learned the story of the weekly Parasha and found the hidden lessons that the Torah teaches us. They then internalized the new information by making personal connections between the Parasha and their own lives. This past month, the students also had a take-home project about Shabbat that required a great deal of effort and understanding. Each student was assigned a Shabbat tradition, and had to express their understanding in different ways, and present it to the class. The presentations were done beautifully! The students were able to learn a lot on their own and just as importantly, they learned a lot from each other. Thank you parents for helping make this a fun experience for the students and for me as well.
The community Shabbat service led by the students was a big success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the families that participated! I am so proud of my Daled class!
We also explored different texts, Jewish laws, Halachot, and ethics regarding trees and nature. The students acted out some of the texts from the Torah by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (מֹשֶׁה בֶּן־מַימוֹן Mōšeh bēn-Maymōn) and discussed the importance of saving our resources and of not destroying, even in times of war. Israel was on our mind as more of our students presented to us the aspect of Israel they chose to learn about. (Thank you to Hannah, Henry, Mylla, and Abbie!) In the weeks ahead, we will explore the history of our nation leading into the story of Megilat Esther.
The Zayin class is continuing to work on the Jewish Lens project. We have been looking at Jewish culture through both historical and present-day photography. We have also started Israel Inside U, a project of Jerusalem U. This curriculum involves watching and discussing film clips that explore the Israeli people and how they have transformed their country from a desert into a dynamic, innovative and humanitarian society. We have been asking, “what is an actualizer?” How have these character traits and values made Israel into the country it is today? This month we have discussed the subjects of family, adversity to challenge, chutzpah and education in terms of how these traits make Israel unique.