9-13-15

The Alefbet letter of the week is Alef and the words for the week are Ah-bah/father, Ee-mah/mother and Ee-lan/tree.

After morning songs the students learned that Rosh Hashanah is head of the Jewish new year. The students learned that this holiday is also considered the beginning of creation of man (Adam) and woman (Eve). It is also a time when we reflect over the past year and decide which deeds made us feel good and which deeds made us fee bad. We learned that the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the “Days of Awe”. During this time we need to apologize for everything we did that was wrong. The class discussion covered the shofar this week. We learned that only a Kosher animal horn can be used for a shofar. We do not kill the animals to get their horns; we wait until it falls off of their heads. We learned that Rosh Hashanah is referred to as the Day of the Shofar. The shofar is over 3,000 years old. When we hear its sound we are suppose to face all the bad things we did last year and return to good. This is called Yom Teshuvah. We discussed what some of those bad things that we might have done would be and how to never do them again. We also discussed that the three things Rosh Hashanah stands for are Teshuvah (RETURN), Tefillah (PRAYER) and Tzedakah (JUSTICE for those in need). The students tasted apples and honey for our study of the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The students created an apple centerpiece for the holiday. We heard the stories, “The Bee Tree” by Patricia Polacco, “Days of Awe” by Eric Kimmel and “A Sweet Year” by Mark Podwel. To end our class the students enjoyed a game of hide and seek by looking for the apple hidden in the classroom.

Shalom,

Cynthia Shulman

9-20-15

The children learned the letter bet this week in class. Our word for the week is bahr-VAHZ or duck.

This weeks class discussion centered on Yom Kippur. As this is such a difficult concept to grasp at such a young age, we introduce the words associated with this holiday, but speak of them in more depth in English. The words are: feelings, Teshuva (Saying Sorry), Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, Prayer/Tefillah, Jonah/Following the rules, fasting, Tzedakah, Doing the right thing, round challah, Rabbi/Cantor, G-d, Torah, Promises, remembering mistakes, shofar, break fast, greetings, sneakers and three stars. Through our stories of “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” by Kevin Henkes and “Oh No, Jonah!” by Tilda Balsley, as well as, an additional short story about a boy named Daniel who always said mean things about his friends, the theme of forgiveness was emphasized. The children created a mirror in class this week for reflecting. At the end of class, we played a game of hide and seek using a “Big Fish”.

Shalom,

Cynthia Shulman

9-27-15

The children learned the letter gimel this week. Our word for the week is gleedah or ice cream. The children learned toot is strawberry, vanil is vanilla and choco is chocolate. This week’s class discussion was centered on the holiday of Sukkot. As with all Jewish holidays there is so much information to grasp. We covered the common words associated with Sukkot by using our ping pong ball game. This week there were 18 words that we discussed. The words for Sukkot included: Lulav, Hadaseem, Aravot, Etrog, Pitam, Arba Mineem, Sukkot, Sukkah, Torah (3 mitzvot we must do when we are in the sukkah), S’chach, Yarkot, Tzahov, Anaf, Payrot, Stav, Yerakot, Rain, and Farmers. As I do not have a real lulav and etrog yet, we used a stuffed toy lulav and etrog. We used a real lemon to demonstrate the difference between the etrog and lemon.

We continued the theme of the class with the stories, “The House on the Roof: A Sukkot Story” by David A. Adler, as well as, “The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery” a PJ Library book written by Susan Axe-Bronk. Our craft for this week is a fused glass “moonbeam” catcher. Your children will have this returned to them at the next class time. We ended the class with the always fun hide and seek, this week using a toy lulav and etrog.

Shalom,

Cynthia Shulman

10-4-15

The children learned the letter delet this week. Our word for the week is davash/honey or dag/fish. This week’s class discussion centered on the holiday of Simchat Torah. We covered the common words associated with Simchat Torah this week and there were 20 words that we discussed. The words for Simchat Torah included: Simchat Torah, Torah, Synagogue, Hebrew, Moon cycle, Ending/beginning, Five Books of Moses, Yad, Breastplate, Carry & Kiss, Hakafot/singing/marching/festive, Aron HaKodesh, Flag/degel, Rabbi/Chazzan, Aliyah, Beraysheet, Magen David, Rimmoneem, Parshat HaShavua, and Kol HaNa’areem. We played a game by attaching words to beanbags and then placing them in the center of a parachute and shaking them all over the classroom. The children would find the beanbags and we would discuss their words.

Simchat Torah celebrates the cycle of Torah reading. We read the last passages of the Torah, then roll back to the very beginning of the Torah and begin reading all over again immediately. By ending and beginning at the same time we acknowledge, with great ceremony, the Jewish learning never ends. On Simchat Torah, we celebrate with joyous songs and processions called hakafot and everyone has the opportunity to carry as many Torahs as there are in the synagogue. Children carry stuffed Torahs or flags (degel) with Jewish stars on them (Magen David). We learned that the Torah is made up of the Five Books of Moses. The Torah as stories, laws, history and is essentially the foundation of the Jewish people. Traditionally, this is the only time when the Torah is read at night. It is customary that on Simchat Torah everyone should have an aliyah (honor of being called to the Torah). This is usually reserved for people who have had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Jewish adults. On Simchat Torah, even children receive Kol HaNa’areem (the special children’s aliyah).

This week we are beginning an introduction to Israel. Each Week we will review and add some more wonderful facts about this Jewish state. The class discussed via a story from Festivals of the World ISRAEL: Where is Israel? What is Israel? as well as, how the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah are celebrated in Israel. The craft to continue to reiterate our lesson was a stuffed Torah for Simchat Torah.

Shalom,

Cynthia Shulman

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