Heh Class Updates 2017-2018 (5778)

Heh Class Update from Week of May 6, 2018

Please note that our final day of SJS for this school year is Sun, May 20.  We hope that many children will join their students.  There is also a catered Shavuot kiddush lunch.  Students who are in Heh will be helping to lead services in the Sanctuary beginning at 9:30 a.m. sharp.  Please be sure to RSVP if you would like to join us: http://evite.me/6NP7Pm3eVY

Heh has been assigned to bring meat-free pasta sauce for the end of the year Am Yisrael SJS Food Drive to support the clients of the Ark.  Please note that you are welcome to bring any item, we have just found that assigning specific items helps with the variety of foods that we receive for these food drives.

Class Updates:

This past week was week 3 of our Shalom unit, we learned about how Theodor Herzl is a role model for his determination and perseverance to create Shalom.

Recap:

· Students learned the history and rituals of the holiday of Shavuot, including the book of Ruth

· Students explored why rules help foster peace between people, and related this to the Torah as a book of rules

· Students reviewed and worked to understand the Ten Commandments

Table Talk:

What do you value about the Torah? Which Torah values do we express in our family?

ShalomLearning.org Activity 5.7.4

Scenario: You are in the school cafeteria and listening to two of your friends fighting . . . again.  One of them wants to get together on Sunday to get some pizza, and the other one wants to go ice skating.  They never seem to get along!  You just want to start yelling at them for never agreeing . . .

How can you be a peacemaker here?  Share your answers and discuss with other students on the discussion board!

Next Week: We have our last class! We learn about the “Shalom Prize” Winners—great people in Jewish history and how they contributed to Shalom, peace.

 

***Announcement for next week’s class!***

 

In Jewish tradition, we will end a section of study by sharing a sweet treat so that our learning lingers “as sweet as honey on our tongues”. Feel free to send your child with a small treat to share with the class. Please make sure it is kosher and nut free. Then we will say together, “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek, may you be strengthened and may we strengthen one another,” to close our year as we would close our study of a section of Torah. Written Thu, May 10, 2018

Mr. Marc Sender

 

msender@amyisrael.org 

 

We are in the home stretch! We had a couple of great tefillah presentations, and many more are ready to roll as soon as we begin class this coming Sunday. I am looking forward to these, and I hope all the students are excited about the deeper knowledge of the siddur that they’ve developed during this unit. Written Thu, May 10, 2018 

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

Heh Class Update from Week of Apr 29, 2018

Please note that our final day of SJS for this school year is Sun, May 20.  We hope that many children will join their students.  There is also a catered Shavuot kiddush lunch.  Students who are in Heh will be helping to lead services in the Sanctuary beginning at 9:30 a.m. sharp.  Please be sure to RSVP if you would like to join us: http://evite.me/6NP7Pm3eVY

Heh has been assigned to bring meat-free pasta sauce for the end of the year Am Yisrael SJS Food Drive to support the clients of the Ark.  Please note that you are welcome to bring any item, we have just found that assigning specific items helps with the variety of foods that we receive for these food drives.

We are in full presentation mode! Over the next two weeks students will continue to present their work on parts of the siddur whose meanings they have researched. These will take the form of sketches, dialogues, videos, and visual artwork, among others.  Written Thu, May 3, 2018 

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Update from Week of Apr 22, 2018

This picture, taken during a Wednesday Tefillah session at SJS, includes Kitah Heh and Kitah Dalet, as these two classes joined together twice this year to lead Friday evening services.  They will be on the bimah this Fri, Apr 27.   Please RSVP if you haven’t already: http://evite.me/wPMrf7fkxu  Written by Mr. Charlie Sherman, Head of School Thu, Apr 26, 2018

 

We heard several presentations from student groups about prayers that they had decided to study and elucidate for us! Selections included Adon Olam, Veshamru, Shema, and formats ranged from live performances to videos to illustrations. After those students who were ready to present had finished, they divided up among the groups that were still working in order to provide assistance and move things along.  Written Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

We started talking about Shavout. I asked the kids if they could imagine agreeing to do something without knowing in advance what it was? That is what we read in the Torah that the Jewish people did at Har Sinai by saying “N’aseh V’nishma” (we will do and we will listen) when G-d offered us the Torah. Written Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

 

NOTE: Please click here to read Heh updates from previous weeks.  Thank you.

Heh Class Update from Week of Apr 15, 2018

Kitah Dalet did a beautiful job leading the singing at SJS for Israel’s 70th Birthday.  This picture above also includes Kitah Heh, as these two classes joined together twice this year to lead Friday evening services, including Fri, Apr 27.   Please RSVP if you haven’t already: http://evite.me/wPMrf7fkxu  Written by Mr. Charlie Sherman, Head of School Thu, Apr 19, 2018

As a follow-up to Dr. Lefkovitz’s session on the Holocaust, we spoke about why we need to remember not only good things but the bad as well. We need to make sure that the past does not repeat itself. Written Thu, Apr 19, 2018

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

 

We are finishing up our creative projects on different passages from the siddur! This is independent student work with occasional teacher involvement and facilitation, and the range of artwork, writing, and video projects is really impressive. Some will be ready to present next week! Written Thu, Apr 12, 2018

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

Heh Class Update from Week of Apr 8, 2018

We watched a short video about the Streits matzah factory and how matzah is made. We all found it fascinating, here is the link if you would like to watch https://www.facebook.com/daniel.hechtman.7/posts/1614827375299638. We also discussed the upcoming holidays and commemorations.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

We are finishing up our creative projects on different passages from the siddur! This is independent student work with occasional teacher involvement and facilitation, and the range of artwork, writing, and video projects is really impressive. Some will be ready to present next week!

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

NOTE: Please click here to read Heh updates from previous weeks.  Thank you.

Heh Class Updates from Weeks of Mar 11 & 18, 2018

We had an amazing for our Pesach learning. We had a Passover Breakout box. What a fantastic way to learn and review for Passover. The kids were broken out into three teams. Each team had the same exact clues on the table that needed to be solved. There were different activities at each table. Once an activity was completed correctly, based on following the clues, it revealed a combination for one of the four locks on the breakout box. The idea was to be the first team to solve all four activities and unlock the breakout box to find the special reward inside.  Everyone one had a GREAT time!   Special thanks to the Marshall Jewish Learning Center/JTeach.org of our local Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago for creating this Breakout box which mirrors what a lot of our students study in their schools where they learn during the day.  Have a Chag K’sher V’Sameach!

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

Students spent this period working on presentations, both independently and in groups, on different sections of the siddur that interest them. They began with a brief summary provided to them of the meaning and purpose of the prayer they chose, and continued to learn more by looking up translations in various siddurim in our library. It was wonderful to see so many students thoroughly engaged in hands-on learning.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

Heh Class Updates from Week of Mar 4, 2018

We started off the class with a lesson in “pay it forward”. Watch the link below and be inspired.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUBTAdI7zuY  We started our unit on Passover. I asked the kids how was it possible that the Jews went from being the most important well respected people in Egypt to being slaves. Wait until they find out that the Jews actually volunteered to be slaves. More to come next week.  Shabbat Shalom.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

This past weeks 3rd lesson on Hakarat Hatov was that part of “recognizing the good” is recognizing how to be, and how to choose a good friend.

Recap:

•        Students learned to look for the good in every situation

•        Students practiced judging favorably

•        Students considered which characteristics to look for in a friend. 

Table Talk: Each person at the table should name someone who has been a blessing in your family’s life.  Discuss with your family: How have we/ should we express our hakarat hatov to them?

ShalomLearning.org Activity:

Watch a video on shalomlearning.org that shows a “dan l’kaf zechut” scene.

Find it on ShalomLearning.org Hakarat hatov week 4!

Next Week: When we change our perspective, we can have hakarat hatov even when things are tough.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Feb 11, 2018

This week we had the Heh Class Brunch and Family Education.  Thank you to all of the parents who partner with us in your children’s Jewish Education.  We hope that you enjoyed your time together this week and that the parents enjoyed meeting with our sofer, Rabbi Salazar, while Rabbi Newman Kamin taught the students.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Feb 4, 2018

SJS Regular Hebrew Reading/Tefillah Practice

Please click here to access is a link to a new Tefillah grid that has a list of all of the prayers that the students are expected to learn in the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  There are page numbers to the prayers in Siddur Lev Shalem, which the Heh students received two years ago as Gimel students.  There are also links to printable PDFs of the prayers and to many of the tunes and/or nusach that we use at Am Yisrael.  We strongly encourage that each student spends between 5-10 minutes per day practicing these prayers.  Thank you.

 

Continuing with our brit (covenant) curriculum, we examined several different Jewish naming ceremonies. Students were given an outline for a ceremony and asked to construct their own within that framework. Next week we will share some of these ceremony outlines to see how different students imagined a formal entrance into the covenant.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week we discussed places I went in my recent trip to Israel and how the Torah really comes to life when we go to Israel.  We also discussed last week’s Torah portion of Yitro.  In addition, we read the Torah portion of Yitro that has the Ten Commandments in it. I asked each child to come up with an 11th commandment that would apply now in 2018 that might not have been thought of in biblical times. The kids really came up with some nice ideas.  Please ask your child who Yitro was and what makes the Torah portion named after him so special.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Jan 28, 2018

SJS Regular Hebrew Reading/Tefillah Practice

Please click here to access is a link to a new Tefillah grid that has a list of all of the prayers that the students are expected to learn in the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  There are page numbers to the prayers in Siddur Lev Shalem, which the Heh students received two years ago as Gimel students.  There are also links to printable PDFs of the prayers and to many of the tunes and/or nusach that we use at Am Yisrael.  We strongly encourage that each student spends between 5-10 minutes per day practicing these prayers.  Thank you.

This past week was our third week of Achrayut and we learned that sometimes you need to act even when others tell you it is none of your business.

Recap:

•     Students learned the story of Amos.

•     Students learned about Amos and other prophets as role models for taking action against injustice even when others tell them not to act.

•     Students discussed contemporary figures who act against injustice as following in the steps of the prophets.  One specific one was the story of Malala.

•     Students learned to see themselves as heirs to a tradition of ethical sensitivity and action against injustice and considered how they can use their own unique gifts to continue this tradition.

Table Talk: Who are some of our family’s role models of people who worked against injustice?  What can our family do to fight against injustice in our community or the world?  What project can we do together that will make a difference?

ShalomLearning.org Activity:

Next Week we are going to speak about building a society that takes responsibility for everyone.

Imagine you were building a community on a desert island…  You want to build a perfect society where everyone cared for everyone else.

What would be three rules you would make for this society?  Why these rules?

List them on the discussion board on ShalomLearning.org Achrayut week 4!

Next Week:  How can the value of achrayut come to life in our communities?

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Taking a break from our usual curriculum, we learned about the earliest origins of Tu Bishvat as a literal “birthday for the trees.” On Tu Bishvat each tree is considered to grow one year older, which is surprisingly important if you’re following the Torah’s rules for agriculture in the Land of Israel. Students finished the period by sketching out “tree birthday” celebrations that they felt would be personally meaningful.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Shalom, my name is Mr. Michael Aberman and I was the substitute teacher for Mr. Allan Arnet this week.  We discussed the date and the meaning behind the holiday of Tu Bishvat. We discussed what it was like to begin to plant and grow trees in Israel in a land that’s filled with deserts and mountains. We then discussed all the fruits and grains that were located on the bingo board which they got to select to place on their own board before we began to play the game.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Jan 21, 2018

Dear Parents,

It was a pleasure meeting with so many of you last week for conferences. This week we worked on the second lesson of Achrayut, responsibility.  We also spent some time practicing for our Friday night service that we will be leading this week.  I am very excited and proud for the students to be able to help lead services for the whole Am Yisrael community.  Below is a little summary of what students learned about in this week’s lesson on Achrayut.

Recap: Achrayut requires that we ‘step up’ and ‘stand up’ when we are confronted with an injustice to ourselves or to another person.  The biblical prophet is a prime exemplar of a person who calls out for justice no matter the cost.  The prophets spoke truth to power, defended the vulnerable, and did so publically at great personal risk.  A goal of Jewish enculturation must be to empower another generation of passionate defenders of justice who take the responsibility to act as a moral imperative.

Table Talk: In what ways can you stand up to injustice?

ShalomLearning Activity:

People who act like prophets aren’t always adults.

Watch the video about the girl who silenced the UN to see an example.

Find it on ShalomLearning.org Achrayut week 3

Next Week: Sometimes you need to act even when others tell you it is none of your business.

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

We studied liturgies from different Jewish naming ceremonies. We saw how boys are generally given names as they are welcomed into the brit (covenant) of Abraham, and how naming ceremonies for girls are increasingly using the same language. We also spent some time examining our own names and their meanings, both in the sense of what they mean in various languages and also where they come from.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Jan 14, 2018

Our unit on Jewish names brought us to a discussion of names connected with the brit, or covenant, between God and Abraham. As we learned about when and how different people receive their Jewish names, it came up that a few of the students had been born outside of Jewish families and brought into the covenant as infants. This led to an extended conversation about the role of the mikveh, or ritual bath, in conversion to Judaism. Most students had no prior exposure to this ritual (and the few who had experienced it had been too young to remember), so it proved to be a fascinating and engaging talk.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

In Heh this week we continued with the Torah topic “What makes a good leader and why was Moses chosen to lead the Jewish people?”  Please ask your child what qualities they feel are needed to be a good leader. Once they finish, ask them if they feel Moses fits into that mold. Have a Wonderful Shabbat!  Mr A

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Dec 10, 2017

This week we went to perform Chanukah songs at the Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation (CJE).  In addition, the students played bingo with the senior citizens.  We received incredible feedback and everyone involved seemed to have an extremely positive experience.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

I did not teach Heh this week since they were at Lieberman (see Mr. S’ note above).

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

In this past week’s lesson about Gevurah, we learned that one of the characteristics of leading a meaningful life and a Jewish meaningful life is to train oneself to have “mindfulness” and act with an “intention.”  That is one reason for using berakhot, a blessing or a benediction before an action or activity.  In terms of gevurah, being of good courage in peer situations requires a thoughtful process of weighing choices and being deliberate in one’s actions.

Recap:

•        Students became more aware of how peer pressure affects their choices.

•        Students explored the interplay between spiritual courage and physical courage.

•        Students analyzed the social costs of a situation requiring a courageous intervention—and still follow through.

•        Students shared strategies to minimize the social costs and to heighten their leverage to act with courage.

Table Talk: When is a time you stood up to peer pressure?

MyShalomLearning Activity: Watch two videos that have to do with friendship, in gevurah week 3

1. Maccabeat’s smart way to live

Discussion question: The Maccabeats suggest some ideas in this video about “smart ways to live.”  Add your own two suggestions to the discussion board below on how to be a good friend.

2. Bike 4 Friendship

Discussion question: In Bike 4 Friendship, Jewish students bike cross-country to raise money for programs for children with special needs. What is the most YOU have ever done for friendship?

Next Week: Being a good friend sometimes requires gevurah.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

NOTE: Please click here to read Heh updates from previous weeks.  Thank you.

Heh Class Updates from Week of Dec 3, 2017

The students learned that in the תַּנַ”ך (TaNaKh) and in our other stories, names often tell us something about the nature of a person. This principle is called כִשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (ki shmo ken hu): “What he is called, that is what he is.”  Students listened to a talmudic story about כִּשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (kishmo ken hu), and debated the assertion that names reveal what a person is.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

My name is Mr. Eytan Dallal and I substitute taught for Mr. Allan Arnet this week.  The Heh students ramped up their Chanukkah studies by discussing the concept of a miracle. We defined ‘miracle’ and gave a few personal examples.  In the coming weeks, we’ll understand more about the miracle of Chanukkah and why it’s the basis of our celebration each year.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

In this past week’s lesson about Gevurah, we learned that one of the characteristics of leading a meaningful life and a Jewish meaningful life is to train oneself to have “mindfulness” and act with an “intention.”  That is one reason for using berakhot, a blessing or a benediction before an action or activity.  In terms of gevurah, being of good courage in peer situations requires a thoughtful process of weighing choices and being deliberate in one’s actions.

Recap:

•        Students became more aware of how peer pressure affects their choices.

•        Students explored the interplay between spiritual courage and physical courage.

•        Students analyzed the social costs of a situation requiring a courageous intervention—and still follow through.

•        Students shared strategies to minimize the social costs and to heighten their leverage to act with courage.

 

Table Talk: When is a time you stood up to peer pressure?

 

MyShalomLearning Activity: Watch two videos that have to do with friendship, in gevurah week 3

1. Maccabeat’s smart way to live

Discussion question: The Maccabeats suggest some ideas in this video about “smart ways to live.”  Add your own two suggestions to the discussion board below on how to be a good friend.

2. Bike 4 Friendship

Discussion question: In Bike 4 Friendship, Jewish students bike cross-country to raise money for programs for children with special needs. What is the most YOU have ever done for friendship?

Next Week: Being a good friend sometimes requires gevurah.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

 

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Heh Class Updates from Week of Nov 19, 2017

The students learned that in the תַּנַ”ך (TaNaKh) and in our other stories, names often tell us something about the nature of a person. This principle is called כִשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (ki shmo ken hu): “What he is called, that is what he is.”  Students listened to a talmudic story about כִּשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (kishmo ken hu), and debated the assertion that names reveal what a person is.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

My name is Mr. Eytan Dallal and I substitute taught for Mr. Allan Arnet this wekk.  The Heh students ramped up their Chanukkah studies by discussing the concept of a miracle. We defined ‘miracle’ and gave a few personal examples.  In the coming weeks, we’ll understand more about the miracle of Chanukkah and why it’s the basis of our celebration each year.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

This past week we discussed the question: What are some things we can do to treat people with disabilities with dignity?

Recap:

• We recognized that there is a difference between being equal and being the same

• We discussed Jewish diversity – both external in terms of how people look, and internal – in terms of varying talents and creative abilities

• We realized that we can learn and grow from people who are different than us

Table Talk: Discuss one major thing you learned about being created in the image of G-d

MyShalomLearning Activity:

What did you learn about people being created b’tzelem Elohim?

– Don’t forget to take the WRAP UP questions for b’tzelem Elohim! (5.2.4, B’tzelem Elohim Week 4)

– After Thanksgving we’re starting GEVURAH (strength). Take the KICKOFF questions on shalomlearning.orgGevurah week 1 (5.3)

Next Week: We will be off for Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. When we return: We start the next unit:Gevurahגבורה (Inner strength). Get Excited!!!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Nov 12, 2017

For the second part of class, the students learned that in the תַּנַ”ך (TaNaKh) and in our other stories, names often tell us something about the nature of a person. This principle is called כִשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (ki shmo ken hu): “What he is called, that is what he is.”  Students listened to a talmudic story about כִּשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא (kishmo ken hu), and debated the assertion that names reveal what a person is.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week in class I showed the kids a video about making a difference in the world and how at any age, we have the power to make change. Here is the clip I showed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuKqMoWHt54.  I asked the students why they feel it was important for the Jewish people to have a homeland. What benefit is there and is there a need for it.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

This past week we spent our time appreciating b’tzelem Elohim in those that have different challenges than us.

IMPORTANT: For next class please send your child with a small wallet size picture of themselves (it can be printed out or actual photograph, it can also be a slightly different size, whatever you have around).  We will be using the picture for a fun activity to be displayed in the synagogue.  Please do not send a picture that needs to be returned.

Recap:

•     Students experienced a simulation to help foster empathy and motivate them to help others.

•       Students learned classic Jewish statements that reinforced the value of treating every person with dignity and use them to argue for inclusion.

•     Students learned about the relationship between Moses and Aaron as an exemplar in Jewish tradition for a peer helping someone to function to his or her full potential.

•      Students assessed the synagogue and made recommendations for greater accessibility.

 

Table Talk:

See below under MyShalomLearning Activity

MyShalomLearning  Activity: 5.2.4

•        Watch a video about Aaron Fothingham and what he can do with his wheelchair. In MyShalomLearning B’Tzelem Elohim Week 4

What did you learn from this video?  How can you use the lessons you learned from this video in your own life? Answer in the Discussion Thread!!

•         Today we looked at barriers to accessibility in the synagogue. Write a letter to the synagogue board or have a discussion with your parents talking about your plan to help increase accessibility in the synagogue and your ideas to make the synagogue more accessible.

Report back here next week to let the class know how your conversations with your parents went or post the letter that you wrote.

Next Week: 

Everyone is unique!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Heh Class Updates from Week of Nov 5, 2017

We continued working on bowl designs for an Empty Bowls meal. Students who had finished this phase of the project broke into small groups and planned out the logistics of such a meal, providing us with a number of different possible menus, venues, and economic models. I was impressed by the creativity expressed in both phases of the project!

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

In class this week we spoke about prayer and why we pray. I asked the kids a question,  “If you pray for something and you do not receive what you prayed for, was your prayer answered?”  Please ask you kids about this question and what they answered.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

This past week we spent our time appreciating b’tzelem Elohim in those that have different challenges than us.

IMPORTANT: For next class please send your child with a small wallet size picture of themselves (it can be printed out or actual photograph, it can also be a slightly different size, whatever you have around).  We will be using the picture for a fun activity to be displayed in the synagogue.  Please do not send a picture that needs to be returned.

Recap:

•     Students experienced a simulation to help foster empathy and motivate them to help others.

•       Students learned classic Jewish statements that reinforced the value of treating every person with dignity and use them to argue for inclusion.

•     Students learned about the relationship between Moses and Aaron as an exemplar in Jewish tradition for a peer helping someone to function to his or her full potential.

•      Students assessed the synagogue and made recommendations for greater accessibility.

Table Talk:

See below under MyShalomLearning Activity

MyShalomLearning  Activity: 5.2.4

•        Watch a video about Aaron Fothingham and what he can do with his wheelchair. In MyShalomLearning B’Tzelem Elohim Week 4

What did you learn from this video?  How can you use the lessons you learned from this video in your own life? Answer in the Discussion Thread!!

•         Today we looked at barriers to accessibility in the synagogue. Write a letter to the synagogue board or have a discussion with your parents talking about your plan to help increase accessibility in the synagogue and your ideas to make the synagogue more accessible.

 

Report back here next week to let the class know how your conversations with your parents went or post the letter that you wrote.

Next Week: 

Everyone is unique!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

 

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Heh Class Updates from Week of Oct 29, 2017

We continued our first parasha in our Parashat HaChodesh series. In the beginning of the Torah portion Vayera G-d sends one of His angels to tell Avraham that he is going to destroy Sodom. The reaction from Avraham is one which I feel we can all learn. Please ask your child.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

This past week we spent our time appreciating b’tzelem Elohim in those that have different challenges than us.

IMPORTANT: For next class please send your child with a small wallet size picture of themselves (it can be printed out or actual photograph, it can also be a slightly different size, whatever you have around).  We will be using the picture for a fun activity to be displayed in the synagogue.  Please do not send a picture that needs to be returned.  

Recap:

•     Students experienced a simulation to help foster empathy and motivate them to help others.

•       Students learned classic Jewish statements that reinforced the value of treating every person with dignity and use them to argue for inclusion.

•     Students learned about the relationship between Moses and Aaron as an exemplar in Jewish tradition for a peer helping someone to function to his or her full potential.

•      Students assessed the synagogue and made recommendations for greater accessibility.

Table Talk:

See below under MyShalomLearning Activity

MyShalomLearning  Activity: 5.2.4

•        Watch a video about Aaron Fothingham and what he can do with his wheelchair. In MyShalomLearning B’Tzelem Elohim Week 4

What did you learn from this video?  How can you use the lessons you learned from this video in your own life? Answer in the Discussion Thread!!

•         Today we looked at barriers to accessibility in the synagogue. Write a letter to the synagogue board or have a discussion with your parents talking about your plan to help increase accessibility in the synagogue and your ideas to make the synagogue more accessible.

Report back here next week to let the class know how your conversations with your parents went or post the letter that you wrote.

Next Week: 

Everyone is unique!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc Sender

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

We were introduced to the Empty Bowls Project, an approach to raising funds to fight hunger through a craft project and community meal. Students designed bowls that they would like to create as part of this project. Stay tuned for further details!

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Class Updates from Week of Oct 22, 2017

We continued our first parasha in our Parashat HaChodesh series. In the beginning of the Torah portion Vayera G-d sends one of His angels to tell Avraham that he is going to destroy Sodom. The reaction from Avraham is one which I feel we can all learn. Please ask your child.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Dear Parents,

Today in class we continued our unit on B’tzelem Elohim: in th 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 Elohim-לוהים  א בצלם 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 like a 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

 

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

We took this time to learn about modern Jewish responses to hunger, beginning with an advocacy video from Hazon. Students saw an example of Jewish organizers working to make school lunches more accessible to low-income kids in Minneapolis. From there we segued to a story about a millionaire restauranteur who decided to take the Food Stamp Challenge in 2014, spending no more than $4.50 per day on food for himself.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Class Updates from Week of Oct 15, 2017

Dear Parents,

Wednesday we began our first lesson in the study of B’tzelem Elohim, which translates to “in G-d’s image.”

Recap:

• Students learned the term “in the image of God” to mean that each person is valuable.

• Students examined the statements from the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2 that require humans, created in Gods image, to behave responsibly toward all of creation.

• Students realized that it is the responsibility of each person to recognize the humanity of every person and to try to help them and alleviate their suffering.

Table Talk: How does the concept of B’Tzelem Elohim apply to those who are very different than us?

MyShalomLearning Activity:

• Watch the video on MyShalomLearning.org B’Tzelem Elohim week 2 about Israelis who travel across the world to help people in Nepal.

• Answer the discussion questions!

Next Week: We discuss what it takes to treat everyone with dignity.

We ended our class with a Heblish sentence to keep up to date on our Hebrew skills.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Our shortened session took place immediately after the students met with Rabbi Yochanan Salazar, the sofer who is writing Am Yisrael’s new sefer Torah. Rather than switch topics, we continued to learn the art and craft of writing sifrei Torah by watching a video and asking questions based on that prompt. (I have limited training in Torah repair and maintenance, so I have basis on which to answer questions.) Students were fascinated by the video of a sofer writing the letters of a Torah, a process quite unlike the handwriting with which they are familiar.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Today in class we started our first parasha in our Parashat haChodesh series. In the beginning of the Torah portion Vayera G-d comes to visit Avram. Please ask your child what important mitzvah we learn from this. We also learned about welcoming guests when the 3 strangers came walking towards Avram.  Lastly, we learned about standing up for what we believe is right.  Please ask your child what Avram did when he found out G-d wanted to destroy Sodom.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Class Updates from Week of Oct 8, 2017

Dear Parents,

In our last lesson for the Teshuva unit, the focus was on reflecting on how our behavior can impact the people around us.

Recap:

· Students appreciated the importance of areyvut (responsibility) for the whole group, instead of judging success by individual merit.

• We understand that Jonah had an obligation to assume areyvut for others, and that when he did so he provided an opportunity for the entire city of Nineveh to do teshuvah.

• We assess our own ability to change the behavior of the group.

MyShalomLearning Activity & Table Talk:

Students should do wrap up questions on myshalomlearning.com Teshuva week 4. Next students should go on to week 1 of B’tzelem Elohim. Students should complete the kickoff questions first. Next interview someone in your family or one of your friends. Have you ever had to stand up for something that was right, even if it was hard? What was the situation? Post answer on the discussion board!

Wrap-Up Questions

The students should take the unit Wrap-Up Questions survey online. Remind them that we are checking for learning and that they are not being graded.

Next Week: We start the next unit on B’tzelem Elohim! (in the image of G-d)

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

Continuing our exploration of Jewish responses to food insecurity, we examined four photographs from Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio’s Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. The photos featured an affluent family in Brisbane, Australia; a middle class family in a Paris suburb; a middle-class family in Texas; and a Darfuri refugee family in Dar-es-Salaam Refugee Camp, Chad. In each picture, the family was surrounded by the amount and type of food that they eat in one week. We were able to use these pictures to distinguish between obvious types of food distress (the refugees’ UNHCR rations were tiny compared with everyone else’s groceries) and less obvious types (who is reliant on how much processed food, who can afford more fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.).

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Hi, my name is Allan Arnet and I will be teaching the Heh students every Sunday morning from 9:55 a.m.-10:30 a.m.  It was so nice to be in the classroom with your children on Sunday. I am so happy to be back.  We learned about Simchat Torah and finishing reading and starting over the Torah again. We learned the importance of never completing the Torah so that we always remember there is more to learn. We also learned that at different stages in our life, different parts of the Torah will resonate more with us.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Class Updates from Week of Sep 24, 2017

Dear Parents,

Judaica Update:

Today we spent our time continuing to explore the concept of Teshuva for the 3rd lesson in this unit.

Recap:

• Students were introduced to Sukkot through the lens of “hospitality,” and learned the steps of performing hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) in ways that highlight planning for the needs and comfort of others.

• Students learned Sukkot rituals such as building a Sukkah and waving the four species and connected them to the concepts of trust and inclusivity

• Students learned about inviting Ushpizin (guests) from Jewish history and the important lessons we can learn from them.

Table Talk: What is something we can do as a family this year to celebrate Sukkot in a meaningful way? If we have a sukkah, whom should we invite? If we go to a sukkah, how can we be good guests?

MyShalomLearning Activity:

Over the course of the next week, students should prepare a meal for their families- from choosing foods they know their family will enjoy, to making a shopping list, to shopping for food, to food preparation, to serving and cleaning up. Have parents play the role of guests.

After the meal, discuss what went well and what challenges were encountered. What have you learned about how to do the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests that you will use in the future?

Upload a picture of your meal to our discussion board on MyshalomLearning.com, Teshuva week 4!

Update: In this week we began to explore some of the games on jitap.net. Later in the year we will be asking for students to bring in IPads if they own them. jitap.net is a site that is an open source and Judaica lesson and game site. Any person in the world can create a Hebrew game to have on the site and anybody else can play the game. We are beginning by just playing the games but eventually will be creating games ourselves with the different tefillot that we are working on in class. Currently, the creation part of the site only operates on an IPad (though the games can be played from any device). If you are looking for some extra Hebrew or Judaica fun with your child feel free to visit the jitap.net site and check it out.

Next Week: When we reflect on how to be more sensitive to othersneeds we can prevent missteps in our interactions and relationships.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Hi, my name is Michael Aberman and I was a substitute teacher for the Heh Class this past Sunday.  For the fifth grade we did the Center for Israel education curriculum and we’re discussing how we stay connected to Israel and our traditions in several ways. First, we talked about Rosh Hashana and how we celebrate it the same day every year according to Hebrew calendar which differs from an English calendar. We discussed the difference between a solar and a lunar calendar. This of course changed to the holiday of Hanukkah as they were discussing how sometimes it falls during Christmas and other times it has fallen during Thanksgiving.

Mr. Michael Aberman

 

Class Updates from Week of Sep 17, 2017

Dear Parents,

This week in class we learned that being a member of a group gives you the responsibility to recognize and speak up when the group’s behavior has gone astray and this requires reflection and change.

Recap:

•     Students explored what it means to be a good friend and how you can act as a friend.

•       Students learned some of the rituals of Yom Kippur and connected these rituals to introspection and teshuvah. Students learned to recognize that apologizing and forgiving on Yom Kippur can lead to stronger friendships.

•    Students applied Hillel’s phrase to their own social interactions “In a place where there are no worthy people, strive to be a worthy person.”

Table Talk: What is something you can do this week to right a wrong? Discuss!

MyShalomLearning Activity:

This week we learned about the great Rabbi Hillel and his advice:

Avot 2:6:

“Hillel said: In a place where there are no worthy people strive to be a worthy person

Listen to “Hillel’s Song” by Mah Tovu and read the lyrics.  Choose one line from the song and explain why you think it is the most important line from the song to really understand what Hillel meant.

 

Next Week: We will look at how the holidays can help us be more considerate of others.

 

Have a great week!

 

Sincerely,

Marc

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Class Updates from Week of Sep 10, 2017

Dear Parents,

My name is Marc Sender and I teach your children on Wednesdays.  This week in class we learned that being a member of a group gives you the responsibility to recognize and speak up when the group’s behavior has gone astray and this requires reflection and change.

Recap:

•     Students explored what it means to be a good friend and how you can act as a friend.

•      Students learned some of the rituals of Yom Kippur and connected these rituals to introspection and teshuvah. Students learned to recognize that apologizing and forgiving on Yom Kippur can lead to stronger friendships.

•    Students applied Hillel’s phrase to their own social interactions “In a place where there are no worthy people, strive to be a worthy person.”

Table Talk: What is something you can do this week to right a wrong? Discuss!

 

MyShalomLearning Activity:

This week we learned about the great Rabbi Hillel and his advice:

Avot 2:6.  Rabbi Hillel said: “In a place where there are no worthy people strive to be a worthy person.”

Listen to “Hillel’s Song” by Mah Tovu and read the lyrics.  Choose one line from the song and explain why you think it is the most important line from the song to really understand what Hillel meant.

Next Week: We will look at how the holidays can help us be more considerate of others.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Marc

Mr. Marc Sender

msender@amyisrael.org

 

Hi, my name is Lawrence Szenes-Strauss and I teach your children once again on Sundays.  We spend some of our time combined with the Dalet Class on Sundays.  During this time we began a unit on the importance of feeding the hungry from a Jewish perspective. After watching a short news report on the problem of food insecurity in America, we talked as a class about how this affects individuals and families in different ways. In future classes we will explore Jewish texts on hunger, and formulate plans to help the hungry and food-insecure in our area.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

Hi, my name is Eytan Dallal and I was a substitute teacher for the Heh Class this past Sunday.  The Heh class began learning the origins of the Land of Israel as it relates to Biblical sources.  The class read passages from Genesis highlighting G-d’s promise to Abraham that the land would be given to his descendants forever, provided that they keep G-d’s statues and obey the commandments. We discussed how this prophecy was fulfilled with the Jewish people dwelling in the land of Israel and subsequently exiled.  We also gave examples of conditional gifts in our own lives.

Mr. Eytan Dallal

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