This week, we continued learning about Purim. We finished coloring our megillot and decorated graggers. (I hope they were put to good use wherever you were for Purim and megillah reading!) We did not have enough time to bake edible hamantashen so we made some out of model magic and crepe paper. They were a lot of fun to make – rolling and patting and stuffing kept our hands busy – I think they looked fantastic!
Morah Laura is working hard to get us ready for the student-led Shabbat on March 18. The Shorashim voices are getting louder and stronger each week and I hope you can make it and see learning in motion!
We have a had a very busy February! The big news is that we have finished our first Hebrew reading book and started our new one!! Everyone has become excellent readers and we are looking forward to the upcoming challenges in the second book. We have also been learning about the parashot in the book of Shemot and following the journey of B’nai Israel from being slaves to their exodus from Egypt.
The students have enjoyed our weekly Shabbat celebrations with third and fourth graders. They are beginning to learn the prayers Shalom Aleichem and V’Shamru. They really look forward to this and are often given the honor of washing hands.
One of the highlights of the month was a visit by Rabbi Adam for an “Ask the Rabbi” session. The students brainstormed questions such as, “Why is a glass cup shattered at Jewish wedding?”.
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 sixth graders had a wonderful time showing off their Torah reading skills this past Shabbat. All of their hard work was clear as they sang each note of trope beautifully. Everyone did a remarkable job! The sixth graders are beginning a new topic of study: Jewish wedding customs and traditions. The students will be continuing their study of Jewish life events as they research Jewish weddings. The sixth grade will explore the history of each tradition and display their knowledge creatively through poster projects, presentations and a fun game called “18 Questions.” We also will continue our work with Hebrew through Tefillah and Shabbat prayers. We are looking forward to another exciting month together!
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.