maintaining our learning and our community

One of my strongest childhood memories is the winter of 1991. On January 15, USA attacked Iraq and the gulf war erupted. That same night, daily life in Israel changed dramatically. Under the threat of rockets, some of which were said to carry chemical and biological weapon (it turned out eventually they did not), all social gathering were at once canceled. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs were postponed; businesses were out, theaters and concerts closed, trips canceled; and schools were shut down for the duration of over a month. We were basically supposed to stay at home and only get together with small amount of people, as it was never known when rockets might hit, and if there will be enough shelter for everyone.

As stressful and scary this must have been for everyone, I remember those times as happy and sweet. We spent time as a family. We learned from parents and older siblings, and “home-schooled” our younger siblings. We cooked and had family dinners. At some point, small gatherings were allowed and we met with our teacher in small groups at her house- it was magical!

The responsibility and support of the grown-ups around me allowed me to experience that time as safe and filled with opportunities. At our current time of stress and uncertainty, I hope to do the same for my own children, and with your support, for your children- my dear students.

It was hard to say goodbye on Friday and knowing that we will not meet in person for a few weeks. But we will all do our best to continue connecting and learning. On Friday, I had conversations about distant learning with the 3rd graders, and with the Jewish Studies group of 5-7th graders. Your kids showed an amazing amount of understanding and maturity.

The 3rd graders received in their envelope texts and books to read in Hebrew, and worksheets to complete. I will be also happy to set online learning session through Zoom- once my own schedule will become more clear, I will schedule those, and everyone will be invited. For Jewish Studies, the 3rd graders will learn remotely about Pesach. There are parts of the Hagaddah for them to read and a lot of online resources they can use.

For upper school, learning assignments will be given online and I will also respond to them, give feedback and guidance when needed through email or google hangouts.

Please know that you and your children can always contact me and I will be available to help and support their learning. Keep safe and healthy. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person again.

Preparing for Purim- 3rd grade JS

Purim is one of the happiest holidays in the Jewish Calendar! Today, 3rd and 4th grade joined together to learn more about the holiday and its traditions. They rotated through different activities, watched a video, and concluded with an interactive quiz. We will continue learning about Purim in the next days and the students will prepare a Purim Bingo game that they will lead for the residents of Sarah Chudnow home, on the day of Purim, Tuesday March 10. The students will deliver Mishloach Manot, continuing thus the tradition of giving to others on this day of joy and happiness. We are looking forward to this visit and to seeing everyone in their Purim costumes!

What are we learning in Hebrew? 3rd grade Hebrew

This week we had a lot of learning done in Hebrew class. We learned how the different classes that we learn in school are called in Hebrew, and we were able to tell about our weekly school schedule, using Hebrew vocabulary. We also practiced male and female forms of different words. Using all of our vocabulary and skills, we were able to use more advanced sentences to express ourselves. Each group of students worked on a skit based on our learning and today presented them in class. One group is still working on a longer play based on the book “the giving tree”, a full-length book that they will present in Hebrew, and we’re looking forward to their product. Great learning this week, 3rd graders!

Creation final project- JS 3rd grade

For the culmination of learning the stories of creation in Bereshit, the 3rd graders are working on a creative project that will sum up their learning.

The teams are working on 5 different stories: Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark, and tower of Babel. They are preparing slideshows, a Kahoot quiz, animated theater show, and more. They students will present the outcomes of their learning to their peers right before Purim.

We have also celebrated this week in class the new Hebrew month, Adar, and learned the phrase and song “משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה”- when Adar enters, we increase the happiness. We have talked about different ways to make ourselves happy and to make others around us happy. The students made beautiful connections between our happiness and the happiness of others and shared how they become happier when they help others. In the spirit of the holiday, the 3rd and 4th graders will visit an old-age home on Purim and we are working on a holiday related bingo that they will bring to the residents, as well as Mishloach Manot.

Celebrating Tu Bishvat- 3rd grade JS and Hebrew

We had a special activity in celebration of the Jewish new year of trees- Tu Bishvat. We learned about the connection of the holiday to the land of Israel, and tasted together fruit from the 7 species that symbolize the land of Israel- שבעת המינים. we learned about the order of blessings over different foods in the Jewish tradition. We also made a tree out of recyclable materials- a brown paper bag became a beautiful tree. In Hebrew, we learned the names for the different parts of the tree: גזע, עלים, ענפים, פרחים ושורשים. We discussed how different Hebrew names come from nature and how some names that we know are actually names of trees, fruit or flowers! (שושנה, תמר)

We had a great time celebrating the birthday of the trees together. Happy Tu Bishvat!

Celebrating Tu Bishvat- 7/8 Hebrew class

Today we celebrated Tu Bishvat in Hebrew class with a special activity. We made a fruit salad together (Thank you for sending the fruits!), played Kahoot and talked about the metaphor of fruit salad as a multi cultural and accepting society; Just like in fruit salad, we can maintain our identity while being a part of a community based on variety of identities.

Learning about language- 3rd grade JS

This week, the 3rd graders learned a lot about different languages in the world. We learned that there are about 6500 languages spoken in the world today. We checked ourselves to see how many languages we can think of in the class (19) and how many languages can we recognize in a YouTube quiz (3). We learned about Esperanto, a language created in the 19th century by Ludwig Zamenhoff who believed one simple language can help improve communication between all humans and bring world peace.

All of these fascinating facts came from our discussion of the story of the tower of Babel. We explored the questions: was mixing the languages of the people a curse or a blessing? What are the pros and cons of having different languages in the world? How can we communicate with people who speak different languages? Today in class, the students wrote down the lessons they learned from our discussions. They learned that communication is possible if you listen and care about the other, and that it’s not about the language but more about the human connection. I was very proud of their meaningful learning.

Next week in Jewish Studies we will celebrate Tu Bishvat and will also conclude our unit of Torah creation stories with a special project.

In the meantime you can try similar challenges to those we tried in 3rd grade, and guess which language you’re hearing:

http://https://youtu.be/lyGB4nDEVD4

http://https://youtu.be/jmgpo0ZqdRU

creation stories- 3rd grade Jewish Studies

Were you ever upset with something your created? Did you want to just destroy it and try again?

The 3rd graders have been thinking about this question as we learned the story of the flood, Noah and the ark. God regretted creating the world and wanted to completely destroy it, but there was one good man called Noah. We discussed what the fact that Noah was a righteous man in a time of evil people tell about him- is it a positive attribute of Noah, or maybe it’s negative? We read different commentators who write about this question.

We researched different animals in order to describe the life on the ark. We looked at the different needs of the animals and decided where to place them on the ark. We learned about the rainbow as a symbol of peace and of a covenant between God and human beings, which led us to discuss how God and humans share responsibility for taking care of the earth. The students had beautiful ideas and insights!

Today we started looking at the last story we will explore from Bereshit. To approach this story, the students in teams tried to build the tallest tower from paper cups. Then we discussed the experience and asked ourselves: Why was it important to have a tall tower? Was there a real purpose for the tower? How did the competition between the teams affect the building of the tower? From this experience, we will move on to read about the tower of Babel.

Happy Hanukkah! 3rd grade Hebrew and Jewish Studies

In the last few weeks the 3rd graders have been busy with learning! In Hebrew, we finished a unit about the places we live in. We looked at maps and played games, and each of the students learned how to say where they live, and how to ask others where they live. We started a new unit and learned the preposition “Al” על- which means on. We played המלך אמר- “Simon says” in Hebrew- and practiced using the preposition while trying to trick our friends. We also connected the new vocabulary to Hanukkah. We learned the prayer על הניסים- about the miracles. Watch the video of the A-Capella group singing this lovely tune.

https://youtu.be/m7MXDlPg_LI

 

In Jewish Studies we continue learning the stories of Bereshit- Genesis. Those stories are fascinating and they bring up a lot of questions and deep thinking. We have learned the story of Cain and Abel. We have asked ourselves: Why did G-d accept one sacrifice and not the other? Was G-d’s reaction to Cain helpful? Why was Cain so jealous? And we discussed how we would have reacted to a friend who feels jealous, as well as times when we felt jealous of other people.

We learned to use commentary when the text is not clear, and we read 3 different explanations to what Cain has said to Able, and also suggested our own ideas. Finally, we talked about the lessons that we apply to our lives from this story. Look at the wonderful lessons the students have learned:

  • Be careful with our actions
  • Talk about disagreements
  • Tell some about our feelings
  • Think about the good things that you have and not about what you are missing.

when we come back from winter break we will begin learning the story of Noah and the Ark.

Happy Hanukka!

Zionist Congress- Jewish Studies 5-7

Students in 5-7 grades have presented the first Zionist Congress as a final project of our Jewish Studies class about Zionism.

They have learned so much about Jewish life in the world of the 19th century, about the problems and challenges of Jews around the world and about their culture and religion. The students conducted a research process learning about the life of the Jews in 5 different countries: USA, France, Germany, Syria and Israel. They prepared beautiful visual presentations, wrote speeches presenting their ideas, and even cooked traditional foods of their countries (such as crepes, matza brei and sahlab).
Finally, the representatives of all the countries gathered to present and share their ideas about the future of Jews. . With the leadership of Theodor Herzl, represented by one of the students, they all voted in favor of establishing an independent Jewish state.
The students had a great learning experience and were really able to show how much they learned in an active and engaging way. Well done!