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

A Hopeful Reflection After a Difficult Week

It has been a difficult week for our people. On Monday I was planning to teach about antisemitism in eighth grade, and as I walked through the Star Door and into MJDS, the place where I feel the safest, I felt more determined than ever in my mission as a Jewish educator.

The learning atmosphere at MJDS and in my classroom is a sharp contrast from the news stories that are swirling through our minds each day. Teaching our students to love their religion, their community, and one another has never seemed more important than after the events of this past weekend.

It pains me that this topic is more relevant than ever before, but the salve to that pain is the student body and teachers at our school. Look at the picture below, with our Junior K students in the laps of their eighth grade Torah buddies. These kids love one another. These relationships build up our community. Judaism flows through the veins of our school each and every day. I am so thankful for the privilege of walking through the Star Door to teach future generations of Jews to explore and question and lead and innovate and build and pray and wonder and LOVE being Jewish. Shabbat Shalom.

Collaboration with Bader Hillel, HERC, Arts at Large to Learn about Kristallnacht

Seventh and eighth graders are in the midst of a three-part program to learn more about Kristallnacht. First, they studied first-hand sources about the night of broken glass, written by women who experienced it. Then, on Wednesday they heard from some incredible slam poets who were brought in by Arts at Large.

The goal was to get our students to really FEEL and CONNECT with the past. I believe the goal was met after seeing our students’ reactions and their reflections.

We are so thankful to HERC and Federation for bringing us together with Bader Hillel to experience this series of programs.

Welcome to Gev. Honigman’s Learning Blog

Welcome to sixth, seventh and eighth grade Jewish Studies with Gev. Honigman. Students will be using their minds, hearts, and hands to explore what it means to be a Jew in 2018. Among other topics, sixth graders will take a deep dive into text study, looking at the Book of Esther and bringing Purim to life at school. Seventh graders will learn from Sefer Shmuel and put King David on trial. Eighth graders will examine how the choices made before, during and after the Holocaust affect the choices they make now.

Check here for updates, pictures, and documentation of learning. For specific classes, please click on “6th Jewish Studies,” “7th Jewish Studies”, or “8th Jewish Studies.” My main feed will be a compilation of Upper School learning, Jewish life at MJDS, and my own learning about Judaism and Jewish education.

Thank you for being invested in your child’s Jewish growth. Shabbat Shalom!


Adar is Here – Purim is Around the Corner!

It is hard to believe, but the Hebrew month of Adar began today! We are commanded to increase our joy during the month of Adar: “mi she’nichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha


Please support the 6th grade fundraiser for Matanot L’evyonim! Buy our delicious hamentashen and all proceeds will go to the Jewish Community Pantry!

Check out our 6th graders getting people pumped for Adar and working hard to sell hamentashen!

6th Graders Selling Hamentashen for Purim

14 More Days Until Purim!!!!!

Tu Bishvat at MJDS – How to Make it Meaningful?

8th graders getting ready for Tu Bishvat programs during mishpachot

The Jewish calendar brings us some of our favorite holidays: Passover! Chanukah! Rosh Hashanah! And… Tu Bishvat…

Tu Bishvat is the birthday of the trees. And who doesn’t like trees? The issue is that Tu Bishvat, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, falls in the dead of winter here in Wisconsin. It can be difficult to get enthused about Spring when the ground is blanketed with snow.

This year we marked Tu Bishvat with a sweet assembly for the lower school. Students sang songs about trees and the environment and Israel. The whole school will be celebrating Tu Bishvat today during our all-school mishpachot.

8th graders planned a Tu Bishvat seder scavenger hunt including some of the 7 species of Israel like dates and wheat.

When the little kindergarteners find each new clue, the look on their faces will be the way that they will remember Tu Bishvat in years to come. When they bite into what, for some of them, will be their first taste of dates from Israel, that will be their sweet memory that they will bring with them. As they complete the scavenger hunt as mishpachot, as families within the larger family of our school, I hope that they will realize that they are part of something bigger than just themselves. For me, that’s what the Jewish calendar is all about.

Dates for the whole school!


In truth we can’t force Tu Bishvat to be meaningful to all students. What we can do is provide them with fun, exciting, tasty and educational experiences that will allow them to develop their own feelings about the holidays and what it means to be Jewish.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Tu Bishvat Sameach!

Reflecting on Kabbalat Shabbat at Chai Point


Last Friday the 7th graders went to Chai Point for Kabbalat Shabbat as part of Shabbat B’Yachad, a program we participate in with Chai Point and Sarah Chudnow.

It just so happened that Chai Point residents had made lamps with Orlanu, which the 7th graders had also just finished creating. This seemed b’sheret, or meant to be, as it led to a natural conversation starter with the residents. Students had a chance to share their experiences making lamps that reflect their Jewish light with residents, and residents told students about their own journey with the lamps.

Residents and students checking out each others’ lamps

It was one of the most powerful inter-generational experiences I have witnessed as an educator. I feel so lucky to have been there to see how awesome the seventh graders were with the residents and how much  the residents loved connecting with our students.

7th grade parents: ask your students about their lamps. They are meant to be a reminder of their inner light, of what makes them unique. Enjoy the light!