Am Yisrael SJS Update 12-16-16

limmud-collage-12-16-16

Dear Am Yisrael SJS Community,

The following topics are covered in this week’s Limmud/Education Update:

I. My Message to the Am Yisrael SJS Community

II. Family Promise Volunteer Opportunities: Week of December 18

III. Calling all Shabbat Family Programming (SFP) Torah Readers for Jan 21 and Feb 25

IV. SJS Tzedakah Totals through December 2016

 

I. My Message to the Am Yisrael SJS Community

We hope everyone is doing your best to stay warm during this snowy and cold time.  I truly appreciate your patience and understanding this past Sunday when we cancelled SJS.  While it would have been great to have been able to gather together as a community this past Sunday, hopefully in time we will be able to reschedule at least some of the events that we missed.  We had three huge highlights this past week despite the inclement weather/weather reports: (a) the Dalet and Heh “singing their hearts out” to help lead services last Friday; (b) the annual Gimel through Zayin Kadima-planned Chanukah Games, which took place this past Wednesday at SJS; (c) some Pardes students and their families participated in a huge mitzvah project by supplying, preparing and serving food at a soup kitchen in Evanston.  

With the first night of Chanukah not taking place until we are well into our Winter Break this year, the Chanukah Games served to get us into the spirit of the holiday.  Our activities included preparing blankets for Ark clients, creating Chanukah candles out of beeswax, cookie decorating, listening to classic and new Chanukah songs (and singing along), playing Chanukah Kahoot and creating and performing Chanukah parodies.  Several of our Kadima Board members truly showed their talents and did a phenomenal job facilitating the activities with the help of our SJS teachers.  

I want to wish our entire community a Happy and Healthy Chanukah, starting Fri, Dec 24.  For those who will be traveling over the course of the Winter Break, have a great time, be safe and we look forward to seeing you back when SJS resumes on Wed, Jan 4 and/or Sun, Jan 8.  In the meantime, thank you in advance to those who will be attending our congregation’s services over Winter Break and to those who will be volunteering when the synagogue hosts Family Promise.

II. Family Promise Volunteer Opportunities: Week of December 18

It’s that time of year. We are delighted to be able to host another week to help the Family Promise families in need of housing. At the present time there are three families in the program, but, as you well know, that could easily change. 

Our week is earlier than it has been in the past. We begin on Sunday, December 18, and our last night is Saturday, December 24. We are looking for families to host for the dinner/activities shift, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and for overnight hosts from 8:00 p.m. until the following morning. We hope that you will be generous with your time and support. As you know, this is a most worthwhile tikkun olam opportunity, one that Am Yisrael has been proud to be a part of for many years.  Please respond quickly in order to beat the rush. We can’t do this without your gracious participation.  Please contact Claudia and Gerry Linda to volunteer: claudiawlinda@gmail.com

III. Calling all Shabbat Family Programming (SFP) Torah Readers for Jan 21 and Feb 25

Our next two Shabbat Morning Family Programming sessions are coming up soon and we look forward to having several participants chant from the Torah scrolls.  I will send one verse Torah readings for the library service or three verses of Torah readings for the Sanctuary service.  While our SJS students are learning Torah trope formally starting in the Heh year, I will be sending mp3’s to all SJS and Day School students who sign up, unless families specifically request to only receive the text without the recording.  Please let me know which dates work for you for assigned Torah readings via email csherman@amyisrael.org  or cell phone (847) 708-1805call/text.  Thank you in advance.

IV. SJS Tzedakah Totals through December 2016

Gan: $42.06

Aleph: $35.02

Bet: $83.53

Gimel: $84.39

Dalet: $59.41

Heh: $67.94

Vav: $52.86

Zayin: $41.80

Prozdor: $19.85

Pardes: $29.64

TOTAL: $520.81

Shabbat Shalom,

Charlie Sherman

SJS Class Updates 11/30, 12/4 & 12/7

limmud-collage-12-9-16

Gan (3.5-5 year olds)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Gan SJS begins in Room 1 on main level of SJS building at 9:15 a.m.

Highlights from the Gan…. I challenged the children to help me figure out which candles go with which important event (Shabbat, Hanukkah and Birthdays).  We learned about the four letters that are found on the dreidel and what the meaning behind each letter is.  The children practiced spinning dreidels.  We even made our own dreidel creations.  The children were treated to some Hanukkah music by the Cantor.  As always, Tefillah was very engaging with Mr. Sherman.

-Morah Lynn

Aleph (1st Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Aleph SJS begins in Room 2 on main level of SJS building at 9:15 a.m.

This week the Aleph students focused on the holiday of Hannukah and the two miracles that happened — The oil lasting for 8 nights and the Maccabees winning when so many thought they would not be able to survive. We also took a look at the dreidel, practicing the letters we knew –Gimel, Nun and Heh — and adding Shin. After learning about Hannukah, the students were introduced to the Joseph and his brothers narrative from the Torah.  -Mrs. Berlow

Bet (2nd Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Bet SJS begins in Room 3 on main level of SJS building at 9:15 a.m.

Today we had a very busy and productive day.  Time flew faster than I had hoped. The students learned about Hanukkah, connected the story of Hanukkah to the city of Modi’in, where the Maccabees lived and first fought back. While learning about Hanukkah symbols, the students learned the differences between the Chanukiya and Menorah and went on the dreidel/chanukiya hunt around the building. During the Hebrew Through Movement (HTM) segment, we added nouns s’vivon (dreidel), ner/nerot (candle[s]), chanukiya to our list of vocabulary and commands.

The students did an awesome job practicing the Havdallah blessings and working on the Havdallah sets in preparation for the Havdallah ceremony that Kitah Bet will be leading on January 14, 2017.

 -Morah Anna

Gimel (3rd Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Gimel SJS begins in Room 5 on upper level of SJS building at 9:15 a.m.

Dear Parents,
This week we started the unit of Gevurah, the 3rd unit in the ShalomLearning curriculum. As we look at the value of Gevurah, we want students to understand that there are many types of strength, including physical and inner strength. We can use these strengths to stand up for others, but also to stand up for ourselves. On a more broad level, we will examine the strength of the Jewish people over time, and how our Jewish role models have used Gevurah to stand up for the Jewish people and keep our faith strong.
Recap:
● Students learned the word “Gevurah” and the translation of both physical and inner strength.
● Students discussed different examples of strength
● Students described how the strength of our people has helped us survive for thousands of years.
Table Talk:
What do we do in our family to help keep Judaism strong? How do we help one another be strong when times are hard?
MyShalomLearning Activity: 3.3.2 (Gevurah Week 2)
1) Watch the video: “Cyndi Lauper – True Colors (MattyBRaps Cover ft Olivia Kay)” a) What happened with the girls in this video? b) How was this an example of people using Gevurah, and also not using Gevurah? 2) As we discussed last week, strength can be both in physical form or in spiritual form. Take a picture of yourself doing a pose that shows what Gevurah means to you. Upload the photo on Schoology, e-mail to Mrs. Sender ssender@amyisrael.org, or have your student bring this with them to class. Next week: We discuss Moses, who showed inner strength. We will also talk about being brave and standing up for yourself.
In Ivrit, the students learned about the letters Pey, Fey, and Sin.  The yeladim practiced using these letters, worked on their Hebrew writing and literacy,  The yeladim also reviewed their vowels.  Please make sure that your student is practicing their Hebrew at least 5 minutes per day.
Have a great week!
B’Shalom,
Mrs. Sender and Morah Myra

This past Sunday students from the Ruach Youth Group (3rd-5th graders) gathered together to go bowling! It was the perfect outing for a snowy day. The Ruach students had a great time spending quality time with their Am Yisrael friends. -Miss Cooper

 

Dalet (4th Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Dalet SJS begins in Room 7 on upper level of SJS building at 9:15 a.m.

I am pleased to see much progress in Hebrew reading fluency and at this point, more than half of our students have progressed from the Hebrew Step-by-Step program and are reading out of the siddur.  This week in class we began and introduced/reviewed Chanukah, focusing more on the historical storyline and traditions we pull from the story. Additionally, the student have begun working on their personal “zichronot ” and are excited to begin their creations during art time. -Mrs. Cohen

Dear Parents,

This week we learned that our bodies help us act Btzelem Elohim, and that we have an obligation to take care of them.  In past generations people used the phrase “My body is a temple” or “My body is a holy vessel.”  The implication was that the person took great care and control over how s/he treated his or her body.

Recap:

  • At this grade-level in this unit we concentrate on the value of shemirat ha’guf, caring for one’s body/health, and relating it to the belief that the body represents the image of God.
  • Students understand that our bodies are blessings for which we give thanks, and that good hygiene, nutrition, and sleep habits are all personal obligations derived from being created in the image of God.

Table Talk: Is it possible to take the mitzvah of “taking good care of yourself” too far?

My.ShalomLearning.org Activity for next week: 4.2.3 B’Tzelem Elohim Week 3  

Next week: 

Students will discover that the media influences our perception of what is “cool” and who is “beautiful”.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

The student’s reading is improving greatly.  We worked on Birkot Hashchar & Baruch Sh’Amar.  We worked on the meaning of thanking God for all of what God can give or do for us.  Please make sure to practice pages 8 and 10 in your folder.  This week we continued working on Hebrew reading through the siddur.  We reviewed the morning blessings and learned key vocabulary words in Hebrew for day, night, bless, king and world.  We discussed the importance of blessings and why it is important for us to give thanks.  We learned that the Hatzi Kadish is written in Aramaic, the language that our ancestors spoke.  Finally we practiced the Barchu and Or Chadash, where we focused on the words ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ in Hebrew.  -Mrs. Moustakis

This past Sunday students from the Ruach Youth Group (3rd-5th graders) gathered together to go bowling! It was the perfect outing for a snowy day. The Ruach students had a great time spending quality time with their Am Yisrael friends. -Miss Cooper

Heh (5th Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Heh SJS begins in Sanctuary in the synagogue building at 9:15 a.m.

This week we concluded our unit on Tochecha (rebuke). The overall lessons that the students should come away with are understanding the importance of being sensitive when giving criticism and appropriate ways and situations where criticizing has a place and where it may not. Mrs. Cohen

Dear Parents,

Today in class we continued our unit on B’tzelem Elohim: in the image of God. We discussed how since everyone has equal worth, we need to treat everyone (no matter their appearance or abilities) with dignity. 

Recap:

  • Students encountered classic Jewish stories and the phrases that reinforce the value of treating every person with dignity: not being judgmental and realizing that every person is valuable even if they are not your friend or look the same as you.
  • Students connected these behavioral norms to the idea of all humans beings created in God’s image.
  • Students learned that recognizing that each person has worth and dignity can help them navigate difficult social situations.

Table Talk:

How does knowing that we are all created b’tzelem Elohimבצלם א-לוהים  impact how I treat my family, peers and teachers?

MyShalomLearning Activity: 5.2.3

This week’s MyShalomLearning Activity asks students to look around them and find a person who epitomizes the quality of realizing people are created b’tzelem Elohim.

Representing B’tzelem Elohim:

Think of a person that you know that really epitomizes the idea of treating everyone B’tzelem Elohim.  Take a picture of them, upload it!

Write why you chose this person.  How do they act in a way that shows that they look at each person as a tzelem Elohim? 

Next week:

We look at appreciating b’tzelem Elohim in those that have different challenges than us.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Heh

We welcome Shabbat with songs, happiness & peace.  We continued with page 10 in the folder with the prayer L’chu N’ra’nena, Yis’m’khu Ha’shah’ma’yim.  We discussed some of the laws of Shabbat regarding working the field.  We discussed the reasons why we welcome Shabbat with such a joy.  We read the Ma’Ariv A’ra’vim and spoke about the importance of appreciating G-d’s creation and the special order the G-d put in this world.  Here are the words that I taught the students in Hebrew : evening, light, darkness, day, night and stars.  Have a good week.

-Mrs. Moustakis

This past week in Torah Trope, the Heh students reviewed the sof pasuk, etnachta, and zakeif katon. melodies, and applied them to the first paragraph of the Sh’ma-Mr. Lerner

 

This past Sunday students from the Ruach Youth Group (3rd-5th graders) gathered together to go bowling! It was the perfect outing for a snowy day. The Ruach students had a great time spending quality time with their Am Yisrael friends. -Miss Cooper

Vav (6th Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Vav SJS begins in Sanctuary in the synagogue building at 9:15 a.m.

Our Kadima Board has had a wonderful start to the year.  During our time together we have accumulated a growing list of program ideas we are looking forward to planning.  We have been hard at work planning our Hanukkah celebration for SJS.  Four Am Yisrael students attended the regional Kadima Konvention, which took place December 2-4 at Camp Chi’s Perlstein Resort.  This was an amazing weekend where our middle school students had the opportunity to meet and spend Shabbat with many other teens from around Chicagoland.  Along with the great programming during their time at Perlstein Resort, the teens enjoyed a night at Kalahari water park in the Wisconsin Dells.  I’m so happy that some of our students enjoyed this very fun weekend!! -Morah Sandra

This past week in Yeshivat B’nai Mitzvah, the Vav students reviewed the sof pasuk, etnachta, and zakeif katon melodies, and learned the gershayim, revi’a and tevir melodies. -Mr. Lerner

Last week, Vav met in the library for a special training session in which we learned how to lead the services for taking out and putting back the Torah scroll on a Shabbat morning. We practiced careful reading of the texts as well as the traditional and modern melodies used in services at Am Yisrael. We also took time to discuss the meanings behind the text of the Torah service and its symbolism.  This week we began an exploration of the concept of gevurah, “strength.” We watched a brief musical video about David and Goliath and talked about the details behind that story. We also encountered several set questions about the application of strength or force in Jewish history. -Hazzan Szenes-Strauss

The Vav students enjoyed learning about the meaning and history of Hanukkah. The students wrote down the different terms associated with Hanukkah. Then, we discussed the Power Point presentation entitled “The Five W’s of Chanukkah.” Finally, we summarized the topic and emphasized the practical aspects of celebrating Chanukkah. The children demonstrated a lively interest in learning about Jewish customs associated with Chanukkah.-Moreh Igal 

Zayin (7th Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Zayin SJS begins in Sanctuary in the synagogue building at 9:15 a.m.

Our Kadima Board has had a wonderful start to the year.  During our time together we have accumulated a growing list of program ideas we are looking forward to planning.  We have been hard at work planning our Hanukkah celebration for SJS.  Four Am Yisrael students attended the regional Kadima Konvention, which took place December 2-4 at Camp Chi’s Perlstein Resort.  This was an amazing weekend where our middle school students had the opportunity to meet and spend Shabbat with many other teens from around Chicagoland.  Along with the great programming during their time at Perlstein Resort, the teens enjoyed a night at Kalahari water park in the Wisconsin Dells.  I’m so happy that some of our students enjoyed this very fun weekend!!   -Morah Sandra

Last week, Zayin met in the library for a special training session in which we learned how to lead the services for taking out and putting back the Torah scroll on a Shabbat morning. We practiced careful reading of the texts as well as the traditional and modern melodies used in services at Am Yisrael. We also took time to discuss the meanings behind the text of the Torah service and its symbolism.  This week, we continued practicing from our siddur packets, with the goal of reading the prayers fluently and accurately.  The students naturally congregated into groups to support each other and create accountability for their work. In addition to the words, the student worked on the melodies to prayers as sung during services at Am Yisrael. -Hazzan Szenes-Strauss

This week the students engaged in two interesting discussions.  The first focused on our lives today and how social media is interwoven into our lives – for good and not so good.  We discussed our interactions with the world around us, and explored what life might be like if we “unplugged” from social media outlets for,  24 hours…like on Shabbat.  The students discussed their challenges and their peer’s challenges with attending B’nai Mitzvah and needing to refrain from cellphone use.
The students also continued their discussion surrounding why G-d would let bad things happen in the world, based on the text Tough Questions that Jews Ask.  The students spoke specifically about the Holocaust, and G-d’s role (or lack of a role) in the Holocaust.  One student had an interesting theory: the student’s theory is that G-d sleeps every century, and that the period of the Holocaust was G-d’s “sleep” period.  Another student’s theory was that, in order to achieve medinat yisrael (the modern state of Israel), the Holocaust needed to occur: good emerged from the bad.  The students also looked at the Talmud’s discussion on natural events occurring in the world and that G-d will not intervene, rather it is on human beings to make the change they would like to see in the world.
Have a great week!
B’Shalom,
Mrs. Sender

 

The Zayin students enjoyed learning about the meaning and history of Hanukkah. The students wrote down the different terms associated with Hanukkah. Then, we discussed the Power Point presentation entitled “The Five W’s of Chanukkah.” Finally, we summarized the topic and emphasized the practical aspects of celebrating Chanukkah. The children demonstrated a lively interest in learning about Jewish customs associated with Chanukkah.-Moreh Igal

Prozdor (8th Grade)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Prozdor SJS begins in Room 9 on upper level of SJS building at 10:30 a.m.(one hour, 15 minutes later than the majority of the classes in SJS) 

The Prozdor students enjoyed learning about the meaning and history of Chanukkah.  The students learned what were the social aspects of Chanukkah celebration through the lens of Jewish tradition.  They also practiced in a Hebrew/English Chanukkah word search.         -Moreh Igal

Our Kadima Board has had a wonderful start to the year.  During our time together we have accumulated a growing list of program ideas we are looking forward to planning.  We have been hard at work planning our Hanukkah celebration for SJS.  Four Am Yisrael students attended the regional Kadima Konvention, which took place December 2-4 at Camp Chi’s Perlstein Resort.  This was an amazing weekend where our middle school students had the opportunity to meet and spend Shabbat with many other teens from around Chicagoland.  Along with the great programming during their time at Perlstein Resort, the teens enjoyed a night at Kalahari water park in the Wisconsin Dells.  I’m so happy that some of our students enjoyed this very fun weekend!!   -Morah Sandra

Pardes (9th-10th Grades)

Upcoming: Sun, Dec 11 Pardes SJS is volunteering at the soup kitchen at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evanston in lieu of regular Pardes SJS session

Last Sunday, the students read an article from the Chicago Jewish News in which a Rabbi moves her family from New Jersey to Montana.  She discussed the episodes of antisemitism she and her kids encountered.  The bottom line was that she and her kids always speak up when they experience antisemitism, but are careful to combat it without anger, rather with calmness as they question the offenders as to the source of their anger and hostility.  Our students discussed if they would be able to handle these situations diplomatically or emotionally.  -Cantor Simon

Our youth groups have been having a great year.  We began our year with amazing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur programs put together and led by our AMUSY board.  In October, our AMUSY chapter board went on a board bonding outing to an Escape Room.  The theme of the escape room was to get the sun treasure released from its chamber before the solar eclipse was over.  We had fun solving the many puzzles to “escape” before the eclipse ended.  In November, our AMUSYers and 8th grade members had a lounge night rooting on the Cubs during Game 7 of the World Series.  Needless to say, the evening was fun and ended with a Cubs victory!  Our board is busy planning upcoming events. -Morah Sandra

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