Madrichim Training Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

After spending time talking about the Madrichim’s WHY and therefore what their goals are, and then last month talking about what is needed to help them reach their goals this month we are beginning to focus a little more on the individual. We discuss what they have seen as positive and negative leadership traits from leaders in their personal lives that have impacted them and began looking at what type of leader they may be. The next set of training will focus on taking what type of leader they are and approaching some situations to think about how their leadership style will help but may also need support.

-Written 12-4-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

After discussing our Why the last time we began the conversation of what steps they need to take to help make the Why and their goals a reality. We watched a TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/john_doerr_why_the_secret_to_success_is_setting_the_right_goals?language=en concerning Objectives & Key Results to help bridge the previous discussion and lead into this one. I encourage you to speak with your children about what next steps they need to take to help reach the personal “Whys” they set forth and what steps they are going to focus on for the communal goals for the madrichim.

-Written 10-7-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Objectives & Whats Your Why? – We spent our first meeting together beginning to discuss why each of them is there. Through the lens that while on the 50,000 & 25,000 feet level why they are here as Madrichim comes from the same place – including setting 2 overarching objectives of the Madrichim program: 1) being a leader through teaching, showing (being an example), cooperation & mentorship and 2) thinking through learning about how to better insure the future for caring about Jewish values. We ended with each madrich/a thinking about the reason that each of them is choosing to be here and how throughout the year that means they will help set the training needs through what comes up with their experiences in the SJS community. I encourage you to discuss with your child what they indicated as their why and some of what they are hoping to work on through training this year.

-Written 9-18-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Tichon Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

After our conversation before Thanksgiving about American Jew vs Jewish American we continued our discussion about how in many ways this is not a new discussion as we compared it to what was happening in Israel during the time that the Hannukah story took place. We discussed what lessons we can learn from this in the lens of we know that things have happened in our history and what can be aware of to try and make a difference in our present and future. I encourage you to ask your children about their thoughts on this.

-Written 12-4-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Together as a group we discussed the tragedy in Pittsburgh over Shabbat. We discussed some immediate thoughts and it led into where do we go from here. There was a sense of being desensitized in some ways due to just constantly hearing sad news so we discussed how we can still feel like we are making a difference in this time.  We discussed how education, advocacy and just being aware can make a difference and that we need to continue to uphold the value of making sure that we are treating everyone the way that we want to be treated.

-Written 10-30-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

In preparation for beginning to look closer at the time in Israel’s history when the people moved from having God appointed to people appointed leaders we did a review of the Torah to remind ourselves what led to us being at this part of the history we will begin to focus on. This included a conversation on what different types of leaders are needed at different points in history with the specific question of what type of things does a leader need to focus on when they are wandering in the desert vs being settled in the land. I encourage you to ask your child what they think the differences are.

-Written 10-7-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

While throughout this year the Tichon students will learn in class on subjects that are relevant to them as high school students we are also looking into how they can assist the future generations through support in the chugim that the younger SJS students participate in. The Tichon students had a chance to listen to what is being offered and were sent home with the question of where they think they can make an impact on those offers and where they think they may be able to add and we will continue that conversation this coming Sunday to put a plan into place for their roles in chugim and students in the class.

-Written 9-18-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Pardes Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

After our conversation before Thanksgiving about American Jew vs Jewish American we continued our discussion about how in many ways this is not a new discussion as we compared it to what was happening in Israel during the time that the Hannukah story took place. We discussed what lessons we can learn from this in the lens of we know that things have happened in our history and what can be aware of to try and make a difference in our present and future. I encourage you to ask your children about their thoughts on this.

-Written 12-4-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

We continued on our lesson about Shabbat. We read how the Jewish people were the first organized nation to recognize the need for a day of rest to rejuvenate. I challenged the kids to try and do one thing to recognize and honor Shabbat each week.

We also continued on with our current event articles. One was about Ben and Jerry’s new flavor of ice cream and how the the profits from this flavor will go to an organization that is anti Israel. We spoke about whether or not it is ok to buy from and support a company that is anti Israel. Please ask your child what there feelings are as well as discuss your feelings with them.

-Written 11-14-18 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

The kids really wanted to discuss the events from Pittsburgh from this past Shabbat. I let them talk and I mostly listened, interjecting when I felt it appropriate.  We also spent time discussing the importance of Shabbat. We read the Torah text about how Shabbat needs to be holy and what that means. Please ask your student why Shabbat was so special to so many of them at camp over the summer and how we can carry that feeling all year long.

-Written 11-1-18 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

Together as a group we discussed the tragedy in Pittsburgh over Shabbat. We discussed some immediate thoughts and it led into where do we go from here. There was a sense of being desensitized in some ways due to just constantly hearing sad news so we discussed how we can still feel like we are making a difference in this time.  We discussed how education, advocacy and just being aware can make a difference and that we need to continue to uphold the value of making sure that we are treating everyone the way that we want to be treated.

-Written 10-30-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

With Israel current events someone brought in an article on the prime ministers wife and how she is being brought up on charges of embezzling.  Please keep the current events articles coming. If possible, maybe you can look for an article together and discuss it before class, that would be amazing.  We also spoke about why the words “it was good” if left out when G-d created man and women. Please ask your child for his/her thoughts and provide your own as well.

-Written 10-10-18 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

In preparation for beginning to look closer at the time in Israel’s history when the people moved from having God appointed to people appointed leaders we did a review of the Torah to remind ourselves what led to us being at this part of the history we will begin to focus on. This included a conversation on what different types of leaders are needed at different points in history with the specific question of what type of things does a leader need to focus on when they are wandering in the desert vs being settled in the land. I encourage you to ask your child what they think the differences are.

-Written 10-7-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

I was very happy to see that almost each child brought in a current event article about Israel. One specific article we spent more time then usual on. I had actually seen the article myself ahead of time and wondered if any of the kids saw it. We discussed the letter came from a University of Michigan professor to his student. It was interesting to hear what the kids feelings where and if the professor was right or wrong. We also took this opportunity to discuss what apartheid means and what an apartheid state is.

-Written 9-26-18 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

We held class in the Sukkah where we reminded ourselves of blessings and steps to shaking the Lulav and what the Etrog smelled like. We then reviewed and discussed some of the background and mitzvot that go along with Sukkot as a holiday including what the requirements surrounding the build and use of the Sukkah are. We concluded discussing the 14 people who are considered for visiting during the holiday of Sukkot. We didn’t get a chance to speak about who they would choose to invite into their Sukkahs but I would encourage you to have that conversation with them over the coming days.

-Written 9-26-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

I am so excited about teaching Pardes this year. One topic we will be learning is current events about Israel. In class, the kids googled current events Israel and we spent time discussing some on the articles. There is so much out there that I have asked the kids to bring in an article every week and summarize it. I feel it is extremely important that the kids have an understanding of what is currently happening in Israel, what it truly means and how it effects us.

We also learned the expression “created in G-d image “. Please ask your child what that means and maybe explain to them what you feel it means as well.

Looking forward to a great year!

-Written 9-18-18 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

Prozdor Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

As we move closer on our timeline to true founding of the modern State of Israel, we discussed what we need to have in place in order to form a country. The class discussed things such as government, culture, economy, people & resources. They were then asked to think about what look difference if they were being asked to form a religious country where they then added houses of worship and put more emphasis on culture. We discussed how these were the pieces considered by different types of Zionists as they began looking towards their goals of creating this new homeland for the Jews. We concluded with a discussion of what some of the communities in Palestine in the early 1900s looked like in terms of the beginning of Kibbutzim. I encourage you to share with your children if you have had an experience on a Kibbutz as the Prozdor students had questions about what a community like that would look like.

-Written 1-6-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

We continue our discussion of the timeline towards the founding of the modern State of Israel with focus on the time when the Temples were built & destroyed. As the story of Hannukah falls during that time frame as well we learned where that falls in the history of Ancient Israel and how it relates to the timeline we have been looking at. Additionally we discussed the difference between the Menorah referenced in the Torah and the Hannukiah that we use today to help celebrate the holiday. I encourage you to ask your children about these differences and about how Hannukah is part of the history of Israel.

-Written 12-4-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Together as a group we discussed the tragedy in Pittsburgh over Shabbat. We discussed some immediate thoughts and there were 2 questions that seem to be sitting with the students that are somewhat interconnected to each other. The first question was “why us” which happens to be a question addressed in the book Tough Questions that we are using throughout the year so we read through some of what is given in the book which focused on the fact that due to things such as religion and financial roles played in the middle ages Jews have often been looked at as different and that people don’t always know how to handle different. The second question stemmed off of the fact that if people treated Jews this way because we were different why do we treat different people better. We discussed how in Judaism treating others the way we want to be treated is at the top of how we live our lives and therefore what we should continue to strive for. We concluded with the understanding that while we may be different we should focus on learning how to explain our differences in a positive way and continue to treat all people, not matter what makes them different with respect.

Additionally, as a class over the past few weeks we had been discussing where to allocate our raised tzedkah to. In light of what occurred and the feeling that we want to help people who are struggling our tzedakah funds this year will be allocated to HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society)

-Written 10-30-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

The Zayin and Prozdor students volunteered at the Ark this week. The students had an opportunity to sort the hundreds of items brought in by our congregants. Thank you to the parent volunteers and chaperones who helped make this field trip possible.

-Composed 10-14-18 by Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm, smielikamm@amyisrael.org

We began with conversation concerning how we are going to approach Tzedakah this year if they would do it as examples for the younger students they work with before coming to class or if they wanted to have a say in where their money was going. The decision is that they want to continue to collect as a class and make the decision. They have been asked to think about where they would like to give their money and why.

We continued to review their knowledge of the history in the Torah from leaving Egypt to entering the land of Israel. We specifically spent time on the story that caused Moses to not be able to enter the land and on the story that led to Joshua becoming the leader after Moses in preparation for where we will begin to really focus our Tanach learning with the book of Joshua in the coming weeks. In addition, we discussed the question in our book concerning why God doesn’t speak to humans anymore like in the Torah. I encourage you to ask your children what their answers were as they were extremely insightful and they may still not be completely sure about how they feel about their answers and how that looks today in 2018.

-Written 10-7-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

Together we visited the Sukkah and reminded ourselves of the blessings and steps to shaking the Lulav and what the Etrog smelled like. When we returned to our classroom we discussed the concept of Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming Guests) from why we may welcome guests into our synagogue communities to the first time we learned about it in the Torah with Abraham and Sarah. We concluded discussing the 14 people who are considered for visiting during the holiday of Sukkot. We didn’t get a chance to speak about who they would choose to invite into their Sukkahs but I would encourage you to have that conversation with them over the coming days.

-Written 9-26-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

“Tough Questions Jews Ask” – Along with being the name of the book by Rabbi Feinstein that much of our overarching curriculum will begin from, we discussed that as they move past the time of b’nai mitzvot why its important to make sure they keep asking the hard questions and that they will have the opportunity throughout the year to bring these questions up during our class. From there we did an initial review of what they remembered about the Torah timeline (from Creation to entering the land of Israel) and dove a little deeper into what is covered in the book of Bereshit along with discussing the question in our book “is are the stories in the bible true”. Your children’s answers were very thoughtful and I encourage you to ask them to share the responses they gave in class. Finally, we discussed about how with Yom Kippur approaching its sometimes hard to think about the greater idea of annually asking for forgiveness and thinking about the one thing this year that they can try to remove as a weight that is weighing them down. This is certainly something that during this time of year to have think about how even the small things can make a difference.

-Written 9-18-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

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