King Shaul: Fit to Be King? Who gets to decide?

Trial of King Shaul

The jury is out. They have decided that King Shaul is…..


Both sides argued their cases beautifully, in a text-based approach. Please check your students’ blogs for their reflections on this experience and their perceptions of what it really takes to be the leader of the Jewish people.

Text Skills in Jewish Studies Class

Jewish Literacy. We all agree it is important. How do we get there?

Sixth and seventh graders are working on their Jewish literacy skills. This includes translation of source texts, looking at traditional commentary, and figuring out for themselves what it means. Sixth graders are focusing on mishna (Sukkot) and seventh graders are focusing on Nach (Shmuel Alef). That’s the first goal.

Students learning text in the original Hebrew

take Next: How do we take Jewish text and make it meaningful in our own lives? How does the text influence our worldview? Who we are as Jews and how we act in this world?

Ask your sixth and seventh grader how this is going for them. See if they can explain the texts they are learning in class. Even better, choose some text (maybe their bar or bat mitzvah portion to start with) and learn it with them!


Reflecting on Purim Learning

For the last eight weeks, sixth graders have been focusing on the essential question: “How can we facilitate a fun and meaningful Purim based on mitzvot?” Students learned about the four mitzvot of Purim: matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor), mishloach manot (packages of food for friends and community), seudah (festive meal) and hearing the megillah. Students studied the Book of Esther in depth and learned from Esther and Mordechai that Jewish tradition values standing up for what we believe in.

Students made sure that all MJDS students had the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvot of Purim. They chanted from the megillah and made videos that made the Book of Esther more accessible to younger children. They planned a festive lunch, complete with kiddie cocktails. They decorated the chadar ochel and planned out the entire carnival. They helped purchase supplies, and many created games from scratch in the Makerspace. They raised over $200 dollars for the Jewish Community Pantry and Hunger Task Force and helped facilitate the delivery of 430 bags of mishloach manot to our communities, including the Jewish Home, Sarah Chudnow, Deerwood Crossing, the JCC, Federation, St. Bens, local police departments and more.

Kol Hakavod to our sixth graders for creating a Purim to remember!

World Zionist Conference

Next Thursday sixth grade will be conducting the First Zionist Conference here in Milwaukee, WI. We are going back to 1897, and students will be representing Syria, Algeria, the United States, Russia, and Austria.

Austrian delegates (i.e. Theodore Herzl) will be facilitating the discussion, based around our essential question: “What should the future of the Jews look like?”

Check back for videos, pictures, and scripts so you can see what students have been up to in class.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thankfulness, Chanukah, and More

*Who is “the Gimelest?” We will find out next Friday at our all-school Chanukah Sing! We have been having dreidel competitions in each grade in preparation for the final competition next week.  Below are some pictures of our Upper School students enjoying some good old fashioned dreidel spinning


*In preparation for Thanksgiving, seventh graders looked for Jewish texts with themes of thankfulness. Each group presented one text that spoke to them.


Sixth and seventh graders continue to prepare for the re-enactment of the First Zionist Congress in 1897. Students will be representing Syria, Algeria, Austria, the United States and Russia. Based on their research they will answer the question in a debate-style discussion: What should the future of the Jewish people look like?

Istanpitta, Current Events, New Tzedekah Drive and More

Here is a sample of Jewish experiences from this past week:

-Students experienced the music of Instanpitta, a musical group that plays music representative of Sephardi traditions. Check out their music!

-Students discussed Jewish current events such as the high school students doing a Nazi salute in Baraboo, WI. They wondered what kind of education those students are receiving…

-Students discussed the California wildfires that destroyed huge parts of California, including two beloved Jewish camps and the Ilan Ramon Jewish Day School. Please donate here to help! We will collect money as well, so please send in tzedekah.

-Five eighth and seventh grade students read poems that they wrote together at the community Kristallnacht ceremony

-Students also learned about the parasha, Vayeitze, including some interesting Rashi commentary….

Shabbat Shalom! Image result for shabbat shalom