6th Grade Jewish Studies

November 15, 2018 New Project! Ask your child which country they will be representing at the 1st Zionist Conference!

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Theodore Herzl invites YOU to participate in the First Zionist Congress. They year is 1897.

“There has never before been a meeting like this – where Jews from around the world are coming together to discuss the future of the Jewish people.” – Jewish Times

First you have to understand the background….

The Jewish Question:

The “Jewish question was a debate in 19th- and 20th-century European society about the appropriate status and treatment of Jews in society. It dealt with the civil, legal, national and political status of Jews as a minority within society, particularly in Europe in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The expression has been used by antisemitic movements from the 1880s onwards, culminating in the Nazi phrase “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. The expression was used by people who supported Zionism as well. We will try to use it in a POSITIVE WAY.

Goals of the Conference:

What should the future of Judaism look like and where? Should we stay scattered in a diaspora? Should we all come together to form our own country? Why? You must answer based on your understanding of the Jewish situation in your country at that time.

Who will participate?

There will be delegations from the United States, Russia, Austria, Syria, and Algeria.

October 26, 2018 Update

As we finish our unit about Sephardi and Ashkenazi culture, we heard from Maya’s Mom about their Sephardi traditions – including the special spices they use for cooking at the henna ceremony at Sephardi weddings…

Maya’s Mom came to speak about her Sephardi heritage and brought along spices


October 18, 2018

Sixth graders are learning about the differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardi culture. Do you know if your family is Ashkenazi or Sephardi? If not, don’t worry! This is meant to be a conversation starter at home… Shabbat Shalom!

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November 15:

Students are learning texts in the original Hebrew in hevruta (with learning partners)! We are learning Bamidbar, 13 1-3 (Book of Numbers, Chapter 13, Verses 1-3 in Hebrew). Students have already translated the text using our special hevruta procedures of underling words they know, looking up words they don’t know, and coming up with a “rough” translation.

Next, we will be “wondering” about the text together. Check out this padlet to see the questions students had about the text:

October 20 Update

Shabbat Shalom! For homework, I asked the question, “What is a structure in your life that you want to change? How would you go about changing it?”

Students were able to identity something in their day-to-day lives that they wish were different. This question was based on the text we read: Bamidbar, Chapter 11, which discusses a structure with which Moshe was uncomfortable. Moshe couldn’t handle being the sole point-person for the nation. It was too much to handle. So, he went to God and told God the problem. God responded by providing a tangible solution: God appointed 70 elders to help Moshe govern the Israelite nation.

Structure will continue to be a theme of our curriculum in Jewish Studies this year. The goal is for students to be able to recognize how the Israelites were structured as a people and as a religion. Another goal is for them to realize that, sometimes, we can change structures that are not working. The way to go about this might differ depending on the situation.

Eventually, I will ask students to take on a new “structure” of Jewish practice. That might be lighting Shabbat candles, trying to say Modeh Ani every morning, or something completely different that students come up with. Stay tuned as we continue to study Torah in order to bring meaning to our everyday lives!

Shabbat Shalom!


October 4 Update

Students have started learning Tanakh in the original Hebrew! They worked in hevruta to learn Chapter 11, 1-3 of Sefer Bamidbar. After they worked to translate the text and figure out the context, they were able to choose either an art project or a skit to present what they had learned. Here are a few pictures of their presentations!



How does structure affect our lives? When do we embrace it and when do we push back?

As we explore the book of Bamidbar, we will learn about the Israelites’ journey through the desert and their struggles with accepting the authority of God and Moses.


By developing text-study skills, sixth graders will become what Abraham Joshua Heschel called, text people.

What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but textpeople…The modern Jew, while not wearing a snowy beard, is a link in the chain of a tradition. S/he is the intermediary between the past and the present as well. Yet s/he is also the creator of the future of our people. S/he must teach others to evaluate the past in order to clarify their future. (“Jewish Education,” in The Insecurity of Freedom)

-Rabbi Heschel

I hope that all our students will become text people. That they will see themselves as an important link in the chain of our people. We all need to feel empowered to strengthen the chain of tradition. Aleinu – it is upon us  to make Judaism accessible and relevant for ourselves and for the next generation.