Vav Class Updates 2017-2018 (5778)

Vav Class Update 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 Vav 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

Vav has been assigned to bring spaghetti or elbows pasta 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:

We continued practicing our reading. It is so amazing to see how much all the kids have progressed with their reading. It is so true when they say, a little work goes a long way. We practiced the Friday night kiddush as well. Tomorrow nite at your Shabbot table, please have you child recite the kiddush, it will be excellent practice.  Lastly, we have been working on class building activities to help all the kids become more cohesive as a grade and not individual groups. Written Thu, May 10, 2018

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

We reviewed the concept of Kadosh and what the word Kiddush comes from and how Borei Prei Hagfen is about the vine and its fruits.  We then read in groups. Written Sun, May 6, 2018

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

Vav Class Update 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 Vav 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

Vav has been assigned to bring spaghetti or elbows pasta 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 began with a Torah Assembly with Rabbi Salazar, our scribe.   We worked on the concept of Kaddosh. Separation makes us holy.  As Jews we need to be including and also separating from the inappropriate non-holy things in life. True winners learn how to separate themselves from bad things. Like eating right. Those who eat right… separate.  We then went into the concept of Kaddosh and Kedoshim and the role of the Kohen and the division of Kohen, Levi and Yisrael.  We discussed the jobs of the Kohen when there was a Temple.  The students were really interested.  Our student Aliza talked about her Bat Mitzvah parasha.  Written Sun, Apr 29, 2018

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Update Week of Apr 22, 2018

We went outside and had a great time having 10 Commandment Relay races.  We then practiced our Hebrew reading. It is amazing how far the kids have come with their Hebrew reading skills.

Written Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

 

We began by discussing how many Amidot are recited in a week.  We then did some reading of the Amidot.  We then spent the rest focused on Israel in honor of its 70th birthday.  We listened to a video from Israel21 about an 8 year old girl and what she likes to do and why she is excited about Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’Atzmaut.  This was a lead in to some Spotify songs I chose of typical Israeli songs, including some raps in Hebrew, Songs like Maahapecha shel simcha etc… they even heard a version of Golden Boy in Hebrew.  The students then learned about agriculture in Israel how it has affected the world.

Written Sun, Apr 22, 2018

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Update Week of Apr 15, 2018

The Yom Hashoah program commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the single most important act of Jewish physical resistance during the Holocaust and the first urban rebellion anywhere in Nazi occupied Europe. The program emphasized the motivation of the ghetto fighters and the some 50,000 civilian residents still alive in the ghetto to go to their deaths resisting-to die with dignity. Since the Prozdor and Pardes classes are engaged in a unit of study focused on Jewish heroes, the program included information about two notable ones connected with the uprising. The first was Barbara Steiner who worked making weapons and tending the wounded during the rebellion. She was captured and miraculously survived Majdanek concentration camp and two slave labor camps. Mrs. Steiner and her family ultimately came to Chicago where she and other survivors founded the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, the forerunner of the current museum. The second hero was Mordechai Anielewicz, the Zionist leader of the uprising who sought to uphold the honor of the Jewish people but perished along with many others in the rebellion. He was the heart and soul of this act of courage. Students did a very fine job summarizing Mordechai’s short life and achievements during the commemoration, which also included a presentation by Dr. Lefkovitz, musical renditions by Cantor Simon and thoughts from Rabbi Newman Kamin.  Written by Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz Thu, Apr 19, 2018

On Wednesday we had an amazing time with combined classes learning about Israel Independence Day as well as Israel Day of Remembrance. The kids got to hear part of the Israeli constitution being read.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxzR9Z-kG6Q

The short video above is the latest of a chain of “mass singing social initiative” performances in Israel, from Koolulam- founded only a few months ago by three young Israelis, who believe that “singing is believing”.  They have successfully brought together hundreds, and thousands, of total strangers, of all ages and backgrounds, in performances throughout Israel, including one performance with 3,000 Jews and Arabs.

In the above video,12,000 Israelis amassed in the Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv last week. The one-price 35 shekel tickets were sold out in 15 minutes!! President of Israel Reuven Rivlin stood among the people and sang with them one of Naomi Shemer’s greatest hits. Written by Mr. Allan Arnet Thu, Apr 19, 2018 and class facilitated by Mr. S, Mr. Arnet and Morah Sandra

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

We worked on the Modeh/Modah Ani. Many kids knew the basic tune and words but I had them talk about the concept of waking as well as the soul being active at night.  We then moved into the concept of the self-being Kadosh (holy) and how we have to be thankful to G-d for our waking in the morning.  We concluded by painting a Tzedakah box with one of the upcoming Bat Mitzvah students from the Zayin Class. Written Sun, Apr 8, 2018

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

Vav Class Update Week of Apr 8, 2018

This Week:

We had a very moving service for Yom HaShoah. When we got back to the class, we spoke about the importance of never forgetting. We also spoke about how this is the last generation that will have first hand account of what really happened in the camps. How it is of utmost importance to try and hear a survivor speak because hearing it live is much different then from a book or movie.  We also spoke about the 49 days leading up to the holiday of Shavuot and why we count these days. Please ask your child how many days there are between Passover and Shavuot and why.  Lastly we went outside and enjoyed a fun game of Hebrew freeze tag.

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

We concluded our Passover studies by using a supplement from HIAS.  We focused on the concept of helping people look for a safe home connected to the Jewish people and brought it back to the discussions from our Passover seders: Exodus from Egypt.  We also talked about how this has also happened with Africans, Egyptians and Russians over the years.  This lead to an excellent discussion on immigration, hatred and xenophobia.  Finally, we focused on refugees seeking asylum in different countries.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

During the second half of class we talked about the importance of imagining oneself in the time of the Mishnah (approximately 0 to 200 CE), when the modern Passover seder was taking shape. At that time most Jews ate a very limited diet: mostly bland bread with a few condiments, some gathered or farmed vegetables, small amounts of dairy and some meat on occasion. What must the seder have looked like to them, and how would they have reacted differently than we, who are accustomed to multi-course meals, react to it? Students were asked to think of ways to make the seder interesting, and even impressive, today.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

We worked on the Modeh/Modah Ani. Many kids knew the basic tune and words but I had them talk about the concept of waking as well as the soul being active at night.  We then moved into the concept of the self-being Kadosh (holy) and how we have to be thankful to G-d for our waking in the morning.  We concluded by painting a Tzedakah box with one of the upcoming Bat Mitzvah students from the Zayin Class.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Weeks of Mar 11 & 18, 2018

This Week:

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

Last Week:

During the second half of class we talked about the importance of imagining oneself in the time of the Mishnah (approximately 0 to 200 CE), when the modern Passover seder was taking shape. At that time most Jews ate a very limited diet: mostly bland bread with a few condiments, some gathered or farmed vegetables, small amounts of dairy and some meat on occasion. What must the seder have looked like to them, and how would they have reacted differently than we, who are accustomed to multi-course meals, react to it? Students were asked to think of ways to make the seder interesting, and even impressive, today.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

 

Finally, we had an intensive of Hebrew reading.  This time we added the Pesach Haggadah (along with the Siddur[prayerbook] and Chumash [Torah book]) to our repertoire, as the ability for an 11 or 12 year old to participate and feel comfortable at a Pesach Seder is a primary goal of ours at Am Yisrael SJS.  We continued to make great progress with the students Hebrew reading.  Whether they are starting to practice their B’nai Mitzvah materials from Cantor Simon, getting ready for an upcoming Torah or Megillah reading at the synagogue for SFP or Purim, Intergenerational Torah reading or a Shavuot Torah reading, or practicing the Tefillot (prayers) at the link above, spending time on Hebrew reading each and every day is essential to the process.  Thank you to all of the families who team up with us this way to help give your children the best possible experience.

Mr. Charlie Sherman, Head of School

csherman@amyisrael.org

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

 

We continued our Pesach study and talked about the concept that one of the reasons the Jewish people do not eat leavened bread during Pesach is that the Egyptians were excellent bread makers and this was a way of getting away from their slavery modes. We also discussed the four questions and answered what that meant for us as young people to ask questions of our parents and grandparents as well as understanding our heritage. We talked about each plague and how it affected our society.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Week of Mar 4, 2018

For the second week in a row, we had an intensive of Hebrew reading.  This time we added the Pesach Haggadah (along with the Siddur [prayerbook] and Chumash [Torah book]) to our repertoire, as the ability for an 11 or 12 year old to participate and feel comfortable at a Pesach Seder is a primary goal of ours at Am Yisrael SJS.  We continued to make great progress with the students Hebrew reading.  Whether they are starting to practice their B’nai Mitzvah materials from Cantor Simon, getting ready for an upcoming Torah or Megillah reading at the synagogue for SFP or Purim, Intergenerational Torah reading or a Shavuot Torah reading, or practicing the Tefillot (prayers) at the link above, spending time on Hebrew reading each and every day is essential to the process.  Thank you to all of the families who team up with us this way to help give your children the best possible experience.

Mr. Charlie Sherman, Head of School

csherman@amyisrael.org

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

aarnet@amyisrael.org

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates 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 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 week we tried something new.  We matched our Vav students with teachers and/or madrichim to practice Hebrew reading out of the Siddur and the Chumash.  The students thrived as the largest group was four students with one teacher.  Most students had one-on-one or two-on-one practice.  It is imperative that you read the new “SJS Regular Hebrew Reading/Tefillah Practice” box directly above and have your students practice their Hebrew reading at home.  It truly makes all the difference.

Mr. Charlie Sherman, Head of School

csherman@amyisrael.org

Shalom, my name is Mr. Michael Aberman and I was the substitute teacher this week for Mr. Gelbart.  We began with the discussion of what קדש means and how we can make something Holy or remove the holiness from it. The class next worked on their Haftorah packets. Some of the kids really spent a lot of time trying to get the blessing down correctly while others spent their time trying to fill out the questions. After snack we worked on the Tefilot packet that Mr. Sherman made. There was a lot of interest this week in going over the prayer of Ashrei. Some of the kids were able to sing the song but they had to try and search to actually point to the words that they were reciting.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

Vav Class Updates Week of Jan 28, 2018

In honor of National Holocaust Remembrance Day, we discussed how bullying leads to hurtful actions. Have you ever talked about prejudices, stereotyping, etc.? Next, how and when does this happen? The class read a story called “Sticks and Stones” by Stephen Kessler. It is a story about four boys picking on a boy when they thought that he was gay. They talked about how this led to gun violence and there was a pyramid of hatred. Prejudiced attitudes lead to genocides.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

This week we first started with an introduction to the concept of Dan Lakav Sechoot from the base of Kadosh. This led to questions about Esav and Ya’akov from the Torah and about whether they were giving each other the benefit of the doubt related to the birthright.  We then transitioned to the new packet on the Haftorah and we introduced the concept of Torah, N’vi’im and K’tuvim (Torah, Prophets and Writings, otherwise known as the Hebrew Bible or the Tanakh.  We then divided into groups to read the blessings before and after the Haftorah.  Finally, just a reminder from Conferences that students are expected to practice their Hebrew reading three times a week for five minutes at a time with the prayers, using the following link:  https://www.amyisrael.org/sjstefillahformastery.  Being diligent about practicing these prayers on a regular difference will make all the difference once it is time to work with Cantor Simon for weekly meetings to prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Week of Jan 21, 2018

This week at our Vav Brunch and Family Education with Rabbi Newman Kamin we introduced a new program called Moving Traditions that looks at different responsibilities in life.  What does it mean to become a teen?  All of this, of course, is through a Jewish lens.  We discussed what the teenage years are all about and how we “cross the bridge” from childhood to the teenage years.  We reflected on childhood by discussing events and important milestones and examined the meaning of becoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah.  We also continued to practice Tefillah this week.  The Vav divided into groups for reading and recording the prayers.   Please have your student spend 10 minutes per night practicing the prayers using the following link: https://www.amyisrael.org/practicing-tefillah.html Being diligent about practicing these prayers on a regular difference will make all the difference once it is time to work with Cantor Simon for weekly meetings to prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

Vav Class Updates Week of Jan 14, 2018

The Vav and Zayin of SJS gathered together in the library for a special learning session on the week’s Torah reading, Va’era. This section of the Torah, which includes Moses’ first confrontations with Pharaoh and most of the Ten Plagues. We considered why this story, which is one of the most famous in the world, still has to be told twice every year: once in the winter when we read it from the Torah, and once in the spring when we relive it during Pesach. We also learned about Moses’ unusual leadership role, and the ways in which he succeeded as a leader of thousands despite, or perhaps because of, his difficulty with speech.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Mr. Allan Arnet

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

 

The Vav divided into groups for reading and recording the prayers.   Please have your student spend 10 minutes per night practicing the prayers using the following link: https://www.amyisrael.org/practicing-tefillah.html Being diligent about practicing these prayers on a regular difference will make all the difference once it is time to work with Cantor Simon for weekly meetings to prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  Once on this webpage, please Click on the name of the prayer to listen to the mp3 and the page number in our Siddur Lev Shalem is listed.  For easy access, if you do not have a copy of our Siddur with you, please click next to the name of the prayer on the word “Text” for a PDF of the page in the Am Yisrael SJS Siddur, that we use in our classes in the School of Jewish Studies.  We spent a short period of time working in groups continuing with our project focused on the concept “Ben Adam L’Chavei’ro” (the way people treat one another).

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Week of Dec 10, 2017

We reviewed the concept of Kadosh (Holiness) and how we work in a concentric circle outward from the individual to family to community to groups to the Jewish people etc.  We continued our focus with how we have a responsibility to be Kadosh and create a Kehilah Kedosha (a Holy Community).  This week we introduced the concept of Halvanat Panim (Causing Distress Through Words or Literally: Turning Someone’s Face White) and how it is similar as the Talmud says to spilling blood.  We then went to the Sanctuary and divided into groups.  The students continued reading and chanting prayers, vocabulary andbrachot (blessings) for Chanukah.  The students did a great job and are progressing well.  Chag Urim Sameach (Happy Festival of Lights).

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

I look forward to resuming classes with the students after Thanksgiving.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

We reviewed Chanukah ie when to make the blessings for the candles, which way to load the chanukiah and which way to light. We also learned why we eat fried food and enjoyed fresh sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). We also played Chanukah Jeopardy.  At the end of the school day we all gathered in the Sanctuary to light the chanukiah and sing Chanukah songs.

Chanukah Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

Mr. Allan Arnet

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Week of Dec 3, 2017

We began the Vav Class this week by dividing up into groups and working to set a format to our studies on Dan L’kaf Z’khut (Giving the Benefit of the Doubt) and Kedu’shat kehilah (a Holy Community).   We reviewed as a group experiences the students have had of Ben Adam Lamakom (People’s experiences with God) and Ben Adam L’haveyro (People’s experiences within society) in preparation for the kehillah kedosha (sacred community) studies.  We then did an exercise in the Sanctuary of reading the blessings for Chanukah and recording them to a) learn the pronunciation, b) learning the meaning of the words and c) learning the significance including the fact of She’he’che’yanu being recited only on the first day and when and how we recite this blessing on other ocassions.  There were groups who finished all three blessings in Hebrew and English and were able to read the Shalom Aleichem and Lecha Dodi.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

I look forward to resuming classes with the students after Thanksgiving.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week we team-taught the Vav and Zayin Classes.  We began with the question “What makes a person righteous?  We watched a video on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We focused on the concepts of upstanders and “paying it forward.”  In addition, we brought in the story of Honi and the idea of “planting trees that will be enjoyed by others.”
Mr. Allan Arnet

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Updates Week of Nov 19, 2017

This week we began with the siddur and the L’cha Dodi.  The students asked some very good questions about Tefilot and we focused on our goal to be able to recognize the service and be able to participate in any service in the world.   We then went on to learn the concept of Kadosh (Holy) and how the Temple and the Mishkan as well as the ark were Kadosh (Holy). We then viewed some drawings of the Bet Hamkidash with the Kohanim moving around and working to understand what was going on. We explained about the Cherubim and the Kodesh Kodashim as well as the courtyard and where the Western Wall is located in relation to all these other things now. The students were very interested.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

I look forward to resuming classes with the students after Thanksgiving.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week we team-taught the Vav and Zayin Classes.  We began with the question “What makes a person righteous?  We watched a video on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We focused on the concepts of upstanders and “paying it forward.”  In addition, we brought in the story of Honi and the idea of “planting trees that will be enjoyed by others.”
Mr. Allan Arnet

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Summaries Week of Nov 12, 2017

We reviewed the main concepts of V’ahavta Le’rei’ah’kha Ka’mo’kha (Love Your Neighbor as Yourself) and Kedoshim Ti’he’yoo (Be Holy).  We then went into the concept of Mitzvot of Ben adam lamkom (Laws Between People and God) and Ben adam lahavero (Laws Between People).  We did some exercises with that to be sure that the students fully understand these concepts.  We also discussed and broke down the idea of the 248 positive mitzvot and the 365 negative mitzvot, equaling a total of 613 mitzvot.  We then divided into groups to develop examples of dan lkaf zechut “judging favorably.”

Some great examples and challenging situations were discussed which lead to a great discussion.  We then did a project using the role card sheets for the concepts of cheating and stealing in personal and business life and looked at how it is written in the Torah.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Mr. Arnet substitute taught for me this week.  Please see his notes directly below.  Thank you.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week we team-taught the Vav and Zayin Classes.  We began with the question “What makes a person righteous?  We watched a video on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We focused on the concepts of upstanders and “paying it forward.”  In addition, we brought in the story of Honi and the idea of “planting trees that will be enjoyed by others.”
Mr. Allan Arnet

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Summaries Week of Nov 5, 2017

We accomplished a great deal this week.  We covered the Love your Neighbor concept and everyone wrote on the board WHO the felt this meant and it was the full gamete which it should be. We then transitioned into different forms of love thy neighbor including Dan L’kaf zechut — “judging favorably.” I had students write on a “Dan lkaf zechut” sheet, an example how they have done this in the past as well as talked about Dan L’kaf zechut with regards to bullying and how to react to it.

We also learned the days of the week in Hebrew and they understood the concept of Yom R’ve’ee starts Tuesday night and ends Wednesday evening and that this is why Shabbat starts Friday night and continues until Saturday night. They also now understand the concept of Yom Ree’shone being on Sunday.

We also spend a short time on the Siddur with the Shochen Ahd prayer.  We focused on understanding why the sentence before starts the festival prayers and Shochen Ahd is Shabbat as well as ready the prayer.  Please click here to listen to Cantor Simon chanting Shochen Ahd.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

We concluded our Betzelem Elohim unit with a video and discussion about displaced persons and refugees. We talked about why societies tend to focus on people who are superficially more like that society’s members, and the effect that this tendency has on world affairs. We then got a sneak preview of the next unit, Gevurah (strength) and the different things that “strength” can mean.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

This week in class we learned about the word “righteous.” We are applying that word to a person to try and understand what makes a person “righteous.” Please ask your child what makes a person righteous.  We also took a moment to learn about the Israeli Judo champion that took the gold medal in the last tournament in Abu Dhabi and the unfortunate event that took place at the medal ceremony.  We spent some time talking about the need to recognize everyone. We cannot expect peace to prevail when we cannot recognize one another.
Mr. Allan Arnet

This week we discussed interpersonal relationships from a Jewish perspective.  We then discussed what it means to honor our parents.  Finally, we read a story about how things may happen to those who benefited from outcomes of supporting one another.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Summaries Week of Oct 29, 2017

The students participated in the discussion and exercise I gave to them. We talked about the concept of Mitzvot, what the word means and how it translates Ben Adam Leh-havero and Ben Adam Lamakom. The students talked about the idea of societies needing rules.  We talked about the Tower of Babel and how they had no rules and what happened (we have a Noach in the class so it fit in well). The students concluded on their own that we need rules and systems (mitzvot – commandments not just rules) to exist.
In the Siddur I had the students listen to the Cantor one time and we focused on Kehl Adon. Please click here to listen to the Cantor chanting the prayer and open a new tab and click here to follow along with the text.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Continuing our betzelem Elohim unit, we learned about traditional Jewish notions of responsibility. The phrase kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh, was introduced and explored through a series of rabbinic texts and questions about students’ own priorities. We also touched on the notion of Jewish peoplehood, and how it makes Judaism different from many other faith communities.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

We brainstormed mitzvah project ideas as well continued our discussions of gift giving Tzedakah.  We watched videos of people who gave gifts in different capacities.  We discussed what level on Rambam’s ladder for each scenario and why it was so important.

We discussed Rambam’s ladder of gift giving and how we would prioritize the level of gift giving and why.  We talked about knowing your recipient and had phenomenal moments in which students realized that it does not matter whether we like or even know our recipients.  There are benefits to knowing recipients and not knowing them.  Any way we give is necessary and crucial.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Summaries Week of Oct 22, 2017

We started with the siddur (prayerbook) to see the level of the student’s Hebrew reading. We then differentiated the concept of festivals, holidays and minor holidays.   We then delved into a whole lesson of the students working out the three festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.  Will incorporated some games and contests to ensure the new material was learned.

We then reviewed the concept of why do we study Hebrew and why do we learn prayers. The crux of the discussion led to how are able to follow services in any synagogue in Hebrew anywhere in the world.  The students seem to get the concept once I shared with them two stories of my experiences.

By the time we finished all the above we had only about 10 minutes left in during the time we re-introduce the concept of holiness as far as “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”  We focused on what the word ‘neighbor’ means. Is it an actual neighbor, friend, a stranger, a non-Jew, etc.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

We picked up on our Shalom Learning curriculum on Betzelem Elohim, focusing on the “people boxes” game. In this game people begin sorted into superficial categories (by social class, race, style of clothing, etc.) and are then asked to identify themselves based on more personal categories. We also studied selected texts from the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds about the respect people owe each other that emanates from owing respect to God.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

We brainstormed mitzvah project ideas as well continued our discussions of gift giving Tzedakah.  We watched videos of people who gave gifts in different capacities.  We discussed what level on Rambam’s ladder for each scenario and why it was so important.

We discussed Rambam’s ladder of gift giving and how we would prioritize the level of gift giving and why.  We talked about knowing your recipient and had phenomenal moments in which students realized that it does not matter whether we like or even know our recipients.  There are benefits to knowing recipients and not knowing them.  Any way we give is necessary and crucial.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Weeks of Oct 15, 2017

We started with the siddur (prayerbook) to see the level of the student’s Hebrew reading. We then differentiated the concept of festivals, holidays and minor holidays.   We then delved into a whole lesson of the students working out the three festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.  Will incorporated some games and contests to ensure the new material was learned.

We then reviewed the concept of why do we study Hebrew and why do we learn prayers. The crux of the discussion led to how are able to follow services in any synagogue in Hebrew anywhere in the world.  The students seem to get the concept once I shared with them two stories of my experiences.

By the time we finished all the above we had only about 10 minutes left in during the time we re-introduce the concept of holiness as far as “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”  We focused on what the word ‘neighbor’ means. Is it an actual neighbor, friend, a stranger, a non-Jew, etc.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

 

We began a new unit on the notion that all people are created betzelem Elohim, “in the image of God.” We explored the origin of this expression, and different possible understandings of what it might mean. Due to erev Sukkot services beginning at 5:30, this was a short class. Next time we will continue to explore the divine element of all humans and how this can guide our interactions with other people, and our understanding of ourselves.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

 

We brainstormed mitzvah project ideas as well continued our discussions of gift giving Tzedakah.  We watched videos of people who gave gifts in different capacities.  We discussed what level on Rambam’s ladder for each scenario and why it was so important.

We discussed Rambam’s ladder of gift giving and how we would prioritize the level of gift giving and why.  We talked about knowing your recipient and had phenomenal moments in which students realized that it does not matter whether we like or even know our recipients.  There are benefits to knowing recipients and not knowing them.  Any way we give is necessary and crucial.

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

 

Vav Class Weeks of Oct 8, 2017

We began a new unit on the notion that all people are created betzelem Elohim, “in the image of God.” We explored the origin of this expression, and different possible understandings of what it might mean. Due to erev Sukkot services beginning at 5:30, this was a short class. Next time we will continue to explore the divine element of all humans and how this can guide our interactions with other people, and our understanding of ourselves.

Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.)

lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

We brainstormed mitzvah project ideas as well continued our discussions of gift giving Tzedakah.  We watched videos of people who gave gifts in different capacities.  We discussed what level on Rambam’s ladder for each scenario and why it was so important.

 

Hi, my name is Michael Aberman and I have done some recent substitute teaching with your students.  We went in to the succah, snack and recited the blessing for the lulav. Next, we watched a one minute clip of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs where a student is made fun of in class and we discussed not only who was at fault, but also got into a discussion about the inaction of the teacher, which may be worse than the bullying itself. We also came up with solutions to this problem and how  when we embarrass or bully or do anything wrong we diminish our holiness.  When we help or apologize we make ourselves holy.

Mr. Michael Aberman

 

Class Update

Hi, my name is Dennis Gelbart and I teach your children on Sundays.  I have also substitute taught the past two Wednesdays.  We have reviewed the basic class covenant between the students and teacher.  Thus far we have focused on the concept of Kadosh and Kedoshim Teheyoo, You will be holy!  We viewed a short video reaction to people who are different: “Are they holy”? Why and why not?  We discussed the idea of Safe Space and Sacred Space.  We also reviewed key Hebrew words in this section including Kadosh and how to develop the root of a Hebrew word.  We then listed some of the places and ideas that make something Holy.  The students discussed their feelings and came up with some very interesting ideas on Holy Places and things… such as “my cat in my lap.”  More to come.

Mr. Dennis Gelbart

dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Vav Class Weeks of Sep 10, 17 & 24, 2017

Hi, my name is Sandra Mieli Kamm and I teach your children on Wednesdays.  This Wednesday our Vav students took part in a world wide initiative called Character Day.   We were introduced to the “Periodic table of character strengths.”  From this table, we discussed what character strengths we possess and how we can incorporate those strengths to improve our daily lives and our communities.  We talked about how our personalities are evolving and that we can improve upon various strengths by “exercising” them daily.  We ended by asking the question “How can we utilize our strengths to improve our lives, families and communities in a meaningful way each day?”

 

Morah Sandra Mieli Kamm

smielikamm@amyisrael.org

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