Madrichim Training Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tichon Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

We learned how according to Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1 there are actually 4 New Years throughout the Jewish calendar each representing different things (a king, animals, the land & trees). We discussed what that could mean in our greater life of stopping 4 times during the year to think about different things we want to change or meet different goals. In particular we discussed how that works with a school year experience as first semesters are ending and second semesters are beginning as well as how that works with the concept of resolutions on January 1st. The students were asked to think about what are 4 times during their personal years that they think would be good times to consider new years and what would they focus on for each of them and I would encourage them to talk those through with you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pardes Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

In addition to current events regarding Israel we dove into the topic of lying and what the Torah feels regarding this subject. Is it ok to lie? What about the ever popular white lie? What about hurting someones feelings? Stealing knowledge. These were just some of the side points we discussed. Please ask your child about our discussion and please make sure to share your view points on the above topics as well.

-Written 1-16-19 by Mr. Allan Arnet, aarnet@amyisrael.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to a great year!

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

Prozdor Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

We discussed the history of what happened to Jews after the Holocaust and how there was this feeling that there still was nowhere for them to go and why it was even harder when there were agreements made for what a Jewish state could be. After discussing the issues that faced the Jewish people we talked about the UN and how they became an important part in the founding of the State of Israel. As we discussed what it meant for the Zionist leaders in Palestine made the decision to found the state of Israel on May 14, 1948 and how it led to the first official war for the country. I would encourage you to ask the students about what they learned about the UN and also about how what happened to the Jews after the Holocaust has shades of what we are seeing in the world today for immigration for those people who don’t feel safe where they are.

-Written 1-21-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camp Am Yisrael Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

With the help of some devoted Camp Am Yisrael parents, we are in the process of building this program.  Pizza!  Prayers! Pajamas! was born out of this process.  In addition to joining us for our weekly Camp Am Yisrael sessions, we hope that you will join us on Fri Jan 11 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.  Here is a link to sign up and learn more about the program: https://www.amyisrael.org/pj

Written 12-13-18 by Mr. Charlie Sherman, csherman@amyisrael.org

Here is a link to the calendar for the year: https://www.amyisrael.org/sjs-calendar.html 

Summary of the Camp Am Yisrael Program:

Camp Am Yisrael is a one-hour get together that takes place for our youngest synagogue participants. Our main goal is to make the synagogue feel like home for the children who attend. All Camp Am Yisrael kids need to have a caregiver; either a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend of the family or babysitter. A secondary goal is to help build community among the families who attend. Through arts and crafts, learning-through-play, stories, songs, prayer, playing with a plush Torah and a little nosh, we look forward to celebrating Judaism as a Camp Am Yisrael community in Room 2 from 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. on Sundays. We meet every week that Am Yisrael’s School of Jewish Studies is in session.

 

This program is Free of Charge for Am Yisrael Members and families enrolled in Banner Pre-School

$18 for the entire school year for non-Am Yisrael members

Complimentary High Holiday Tickets for Tot Programming held at Doubletree in Skokie

 

For more information or to register, contact: Charlie Sherman, Head of School

Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies: csherman@amyisrael.org

4 Happ Road, Northfield, IL Phone: 847-708-1805

Camp Am Yisrael is a one-hour get together that takes place for our youngest synagogue participants.  Our main goal is to make the synagogue feel like home for the children who attend.  All Camp Am Yisrael kids need to have a caregiver; either a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend of the family or babysitter.  A secondary goal is to help build community amongst the families who attend.  Through arts and crafts, learning-through-play, stories, songs, prayer, playing with a plush Torah and a little nosh, we look forward to celebrating Judaism as a Camp Am Yisrael community in Room 2 from 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. on Sundays.  We meet every week that Am Yisrael’s School of Jewish Studies is in session.

Written 11-5-18 by Mr. Charlie Sherman, csherman@amyisrael.org

Here is a link to the calendar for the year: https://www.amyisrael.org/sjs-calendar.html 

This program is Free of Charge for Am Yisrael Members and families enrolled in Banner Pre-School

$18 for the entire school year for non-Am Yisrael members

Complimentary High Holiday Tickets for Tot Programming held at Doubletree in Skokie

 

For more information or to register, contact: Charlie Sherman, Head of School

Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies: csherman@amyisrael.org

4 Happ Road, Northfield, IL Phone: 847-708-1805

 

We have enjoyed our first two sessions.  Please note that our Camp Am Yisrael get together moves to 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary just for this week, as we will take out the Torahs and have plush Torahs for our youngest participants (aka Camp Am Yisrael students and their friends/family).  We will hope to see you for this very family-friendly service.

Written 9-27-18 by Mr. Charlie Sherman, csherman@amyisrael.org

Here is a link to the calendar for the year: https://www.amyisrael.org/sjs-calendar.html 

This program is Free of Charge for Am Yisrael Members and families enrolled in Banner Pre-School

$18 for the entire school year for non-Am Yisrael members

Complimentary High Holiday Tickets for Tot Programming held at Doubletree in Skokie

 

For more information or to register, contact: Charlie Sherman, Head of School

Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies: csherman@amyisrael.org

4 Happ Road, Northfield, IL Phone: 847-708-1805

 

Camp Am Yisrael begins Sun Sep 16:  9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Here is a link to the calendar for the year: https://www.amyisrael.org/sjs-calendar.html 

This program is Free of Charge for Am Yisrael Members and families enrolled in Banner Pre-School

$18 for the entire school year for non-Am Yisrael members

Complimentary High Holiday Tickets for Tot Programming held at Doubletree in Skokie

 

For more information or to register, contact: Charlie Sherman, Head of School

Am Yisrael School of Jewish Studies: csherman@amyisrael.org

4 Happ Road, Northfield, IL Phone: 847-708-1805

Gan Class Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Highlights from the Gan… We took an in house field trip, we went looking for things that told us we were in a Jewish place of learning. We happen to find the place where we have SFP, where the children were able to see The Ark, Jewish Books, hanging pictures with Hebrew letters and most important of all The Torah. I read with the children the Parsha that was read yesterday during Shabbat services. We began working on writing the Hebrew alphabet. As usual, Tefillah was a big hit with all the children.

*Please let Mr. Sherman know when you would like to be a Mystery Reader in our class.

-Written 1-27-19 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan….We read a wonderful story in honor of the holiday of Tu B’Shevat. I discussed with the children all the ways trees are helpful to us. In Israel, we would probably be wearing light weight jacket ,while here in Illinois we are wearing boots and heavy coats. We then made edible almond trees, which the children truly enjoyed. Ask your child why we made almond trees…they are the first to bloom in Israel. We continue to work on reinforcing our Hebrew letter recognition.

-Written 1-20-19 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan… Welcome back everyone. Spending Havdalah with all of you at the Rabbi’s was truly a great way to spend an evening.  The children made a “thank you” card for the lovely evening.  I asked the children how many people lived in Israel (8.4 million) and it was neat to see their responses.  We worked on some more Hebrew letters and recognition.  As a school, we did have a practice fire drill (we were the first ones out) and we all did a GREAT job.  Tefillah with Mr. Sherman and Mr. Marc continues to be a big hit.

-Written 1-6-19 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Gan Highlights….We did some Hanukkah art projects and talked about how our Hanukkah’s went.  We practiced writing the letter Aleph and Bet, as usual the children impressed me with how quickly they picked up the writing of letters.  Tefillah was a big hit as usual. We played the game “Telephone” using Hebrew words or other descriptive words such as- Aron Ha-Kodesh (Ark), Adom (red), etc…it is really funny to hear sometimes what word they end with as opposed to what they started with.

Save the date- January 5th Havdalah at the Rabbi’s House

I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy New Year

-Written 12-16-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan….We read about the story of Hanukkah and its meaning. We learned about the Maccabees (hammer) found the oil and it was suppose to last only one day, but a miracle happened and it lasted for eight days. The children enjoyed making dreidel people. Tefillah was a big hit as usual and the children enjoyed listening to a song Mr. Marc wrote about Hanukkah.

-Written 12-2-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan…. We learned about the letter Shin and the sound it makes. The children learned that the first letter in the word Shalom is a Shin. Ask your child the three meanings of Shalom (hello, good bye and peace). We also were busy looking for the letter Alef. The children had a great time making their own Torahs. Tefillah as always was a big hit.

-Written 11-11-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan…We started off our day talking about kindness (chesed) and what it means to be kind. We then went on to make cards to cheer my friends up. I shared a portion of this week’s Parsha with the children, were it discussed welcoming in guests, I asked them for ways they welcome guests into their home. We practiced writing the letter Alef on the chalkboard, what an amazing job these children did. As usual, Tefillah and Shira was a big hit with your children.

-Written 10-28-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Highlights from the Gan…We began the day with reading a wonderful story called “Noah’s Bark” and discussing how long it rained (40 days and 40 nights). The children were then given the opportunity to make their very own ark out of construction paper and sticker animals. We enjoyed having Shira (music) with the Cantor. The children then attended Tefillah with Mr. Sherman/Mr.Marc and had a great time. Finally, we made our very own edible Arks, which was a big hit (Thank You everyone for bringing in the items necessary to make this Ark).

-Written 10-14-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

We discussed the importance of what Tzedakahmeans and that one can give a penny, nickel or any amount. The places the children have chosen to give Tzedakah for this year are as follows: The Ark, The playgrounds in Sderot, Israel and Orphans of the Storm. We also discussed the Holiday of Sukkot. The children made their very own book about Sukkot as well as their own Sukkot. We then discussed the upcoming holiday of SimchatTorah. We had Tefillah (Prayer Service) in what part of the building???(in the Sukkah). We also touched a real Etrogand Lulav, what part of the body does the Etrogrepresent?? (heart). All in all a busy day learning about Holidays.

MorahLynn

-Written 9-23-18 by MorahLynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

I would like to welcome everyone to the Gan class. We talked a bit about Derech Eretz which means respect, we discussed how that meant to treating each other, to treating the furniture in our classroom. I found out who liked apples/honey as well as apples/challah. The challah and apples was definitely a bigger hit than the honey. We had a great time at Shira (music) with the Cantor and classmates from Alef/Bet and the Gimel class. We learned about the upcoming holiday of Yom Kippur, which we learned about the scales of our good choices outweighing hopefully our sad choices (we used M&M’s-to measure out the scales). We also had Tefillah (prayer) which is led by Mr. Sherman and Mr. Marc in the Sanctuary.

I wish everyone an easy and meaningful fast,

Morah Lynn

-Written 9-16-18 by Morah Lynn Washer, lwasher@amyisrael.org

Kitah Alef/Bet Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Shalom Parents,

On Sunday we finished our short 2 week unit on Tu B’shevat and the environment. We read, discussed and did the activities in our “Let’s Discover Holidays – Tu B’shevat” booklet and then had a very abbreviated mini seder where we talked about and tasted the 3 types of fruits eaten on the holiday: fruit with outer coverings or skin ( oranges), fruits with pits or seeds (apricots), and those fruits that can be eaten entirely (raisins).

We finished creating our beautiful havdalah sets in art. As the children finished, they came back to the classroom and played the board game “Tu B’shevat Countdown”or decorated an almond tree using cotton balls. We completed our morning with T’filah and then Hebrew reading groups.

Ask your children the following questions:

Why is it so important to take care of our environment?

What are some ways that we can take care of the environment?

What are some ways in which we can celebrate Tu B’shevat here in America?

What are the 3 types of fruit that we should taste on Tu B’shevat?

Name some things that trees provide for us.

I look forward to seeing all of you this coming Shabbat afternoon for our Havdalah service.

Diane Rosenfeld

Alef-Bet Teacher

-Written 1-22-19 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Shalom Parents,

I was happy to welcome back your children after winter break. Last Sunday we learned about the difference between tzedakah and g’milut chasadim tovim (acts of loving kindness). Tzedakah is giving of our resources to help others, and g’milut chasadim is giving of our time to help those in need. We learned through discussion and by our booklets on Jewish values. We also began creating the objects that we will use for our upcoming havdalah ceremony.

Today in class we studied the importance of taking care of the earth and our environment . We learned about Tu B’shevat, the New Year of the Trees. We talked about the importance of trees especially in the land of Israel. We learned about the Jewish National Fund and how we can plant trees in Israel to help beautify the land. We did this through discussions, and activities. We heard the story “Honi and the Carob Tree”. We also worked on our beautiful havdalah sets.

Please ask your child some of the following questions:

How are tzedakah and g’milut chasadim different? Give examples of each:

What are some ways that we can help others who are in need?

Why do we have a responsibility to give tzedakah?

Who can we help by giving tzedakah?

Why is it important to plant trees?

What are some ways that we can take care of our environment?

Name some things that we can recycle.

I look forward to seeing you and your children at these important upcoming events:

Wednesday, January 16, 3:45 – 7:00—Parent- Teacher Conferences

Saturday, January 19- Shabbat Family Program and Lunch -9:30-12:30

Saturday, , January 26- Alef / Bet Havdalah

Warm Regards,

Diane Rosenfeld

Alef/Bet Teacher

-Written 1-13-19 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Shalom Alef/Bet Parents,

These past 2 weeks have been very busy. Last Sunday, Dec. 9, we did activities and games in celebration of Chanukah. This past Sunday we focused on the Torah portions Miketz and Va’yigash, and we also learned about the mezuzah and the Shema.

Each Sunday we study the Torah portion using the “My Weekly Sidrah” worksheets. Last Sunday we focused on Joseph and his relationship with his brothers, jealousy, bragging, making peace and forgiveness. We use the Behrman House booklets for the Bible characters. We also used Behrman House booklets (Jewish Symbols) to learn about the mezuzah and shema. We know that mezuzot can be any size and can be made from a variety of materials, but they should all have a shin on the front. We learned that the most important part of the mezuzah is the kosher scroll inside that has the shema written on parchment. The children enjoyed making their own mezuzot and decorating them and placing the shema  inside.

We also enjoy T’filah each Sunday and continue to work in our Hebrew groups. Some of the the Alef students have completed the pre-primer and have joined the Bet students for Hebrew.

Please ask your children some of the following Big Questions:

Discuss how you can be angry with a brother or sister and still love him or her very much.

Joseph taught his brothers an important lesson. Have you ever taught something important to others?

G-d changed Jacob’s name to Israel. What does your name teach you?

Why is sharing important?

What are some ways that you can show that you love G-d?

I wish each of you and your families a Healthy and Happy New Year and a restful, meaningful, safe vacation! I look forward to  seeing your children on January 6.

Diane Rosenfeld

-Written 12-23-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

 

Shalom Alef/Bet Parents,

We had quite a busy morning today! We finished the Chanukah gifts for our parents/grandparents as well as spending time enjoying music and T’filah. We also worked on a Chanukah booklet. We observed the older children in their chugim ( art, band, Yad Squad, kahoot, and musical drama).

We will also talked about and did activities on the Torah portion, Vayeshev, which teaches about Joseph and his relationship with his brothers. I hope you and your families had a Happy and Healthy Chanukah, and I look forward to seeing your children on Sunday.

Diane Rosenfeld

Alef/Bet teacher

-Written 12-2-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Shalom Alef/Bet Parents,

Today in class we heard the story of Chanukah and discussed some of the ways that we can celebrate. We made our own Chanukah bingo cards and did some other activities related to the holiday. We sang Chanukah songs in music today. We continued in our reading groups and are progressing nicely. In art we made special gifts which the children will take home on Dec. 2. We continue to lead all the other SJS classes in donating the highest amount of tzedakah each week. Let’s keep up the good work!

Please ask your children the following questions:

What is the only mitzvah of Chanukah (something that we are required to do in order to celebrate the holiday)?

What were the Maccabees fighting for?

Enjoy a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving with family and friends! I look forward to seeing your children on Dec. 2. You child is invited to bring a Chanukiyah to class on Dec. 2, but please do not send anything that is breakable!

 

Diane Rosenfeld, Alef/Bet Teacher

-Written 11-18-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Shalom Alef/Bet Parents,

Last Sunday, we studied the Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, which describes Abraham sending his faithful servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Eliezer devised a test to find the perfect young woman; one with inner beauty who possesses the qualities of kindness, courage, strength, generosity, and compassion. We used our Bible story booklets, and also did a crossword puzzle. The children also had art where they painted beautiful ‘Tree of Life’ pictures. There was little chance to work on our Hebrew last week as the children made cards for the loved ones of the victims of the “Tree of Life” synagogue.
Please ask your children:
What can you do to make someone feel welcome? Give examples.
What can you do better?
Why did Rebecca pass Eliezer’s test? How can we be more like Rebecca? How can you tell when people are being kind?
Today we learned from the Torah portion Toldot which describes the tumultuous relationship between twin brothers; Esau and Jacob. In this portion, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup. Sometime after, Isaac is ready to bestow the blessing of the firstborn upon Esau. However, Rebecca realizes that Jacob would be a much better leader of the Jewish people, so she tricks Isaac into giving the blessing instead to Jacob. We learn that even though it is very wrong to deceive another person; especially a loved one, Jacob was clearly the better choice to lead the Jewish people.
Today, our class also worked with some older children on a pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah project. Then we made Esau and Jacob bowls of vegetable soup. The children cut out an alphabet soup of Hebrew letters along with the prayer over vegetables and some pictures and attached all of this to the bowl. This reminds the children of the bowl of soup that Esau hastily sold his birthright for.
We learned terms today like SHALOM BAYIT and how to make peace with someone we love, and things we can do at home or in school to promote peace. We then broke into our reading groups.
Please ask your children questions like:
What is so important to you that you would never sell it?
What are some special blessings your parents give you?
In order to get the blessing, Jacob had to fool his father. Was this the right thing to do?
The special blessing was Jacob’s family treasure. What is one of your family treasures?
Our Alef Bet class continues to be the class that donates the most amount of tzedakah each month. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Diane Rosenfeld, Alef/Bet Teacher

-Written 11-11-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Shalom Parents,

It was so wonderful to see so many of you at our Alef/Bet class brunch with the Rabbi last Sunday. The children also enjoyed making and decorating the delicious Challot last week. We have been studying the Torah portions about Abraham and Sarah, Lech Lecha and Vayera. In Lech Lecha, we learned that G-d told Abraham to leave the land where he was born and go to a new city to begin a new life. G-d told Abraham that he would make him the father of a great nation. We discussed that it is hard to leave our home, leave our friends behind, and move to new surroundings. In Vayera we learned that Abraham welcomed 3 guests to his home, 3 strangers who were really angels in disguise. They gave him the news that he would soon become the father of a son and then ultimately, a great nation, the Jewish people. We learned the term “Hachnasat Orchim, which means welcoming guests. We discussed how we can make someone feel welcome and comfortable in our home, school and community. We read a short script on Abraham and Sarah, and we then performed this for the kindergarten class.

In Hebrew, we continue to work in 2 reading groups, and the children are progressing nicely.

I am very proud to announce that as of 10/21/18, our Alef/Bet class had raised the highest amount of tzedakah so far. Thank you for helping your children remember those who are less fortunate. Let’s keep up the good work!

Please have a discussion with your children. You can ask them some of the following questions:

What did G-d ask Abraham to do which was probably very difficult for him?

What were G-d’s two promises to Abraham?

G-d told Abraham that he would be a blessing. What is one way you can be a blessing?

Ask your child about a time when he/she made a new student feel welcome and comfortable?

Why is making someone feel welcome an important mitzvah?

I look forward to seeing your children on Sunday.

Diane Rosenfeld, Alef/Bet Teacher

-Written 10-29-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Yesterday in the synagogue we read the Torah portion Noach, so today in class we learned about Noah. Noah and his family were saved from the flood that G-d created because they were righteous people. We discussed the Torah portion, did activities and made animal bookmarks to represent the animals that Noah brought into the ark. These bookmarks also mark the beginning of Jewish Book Month which starts in a few weeks.  We continue to work in our Hebrew primers and pre-primers. The children are divided into two reading groups; one is taught by Ms. Myra Weisberg.   We discussed the tzedakah options that some of the children suggested last week and voted to give the money we have collected to the following: Orphans of the Storm, Evanston Animal Shelter, Save My Starving Children and the Ronald McDonald House.

I look forward to seeing all of you next week at the Alef/Bet brunch with Rabbi Newman Kamin.

Diane Rosenfeld

AlefBet Teacher

-Written 10-15-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

It was a pleasure meeting your children on Sunday morning and interacting with them. Many of them shared stories about their interests with the class. We learned all about Sukkot and SimchatTorah through reading, discussions, stories, art, and other activities. Each child created a paper sukkah by cutting and folding on lines on a paper and using tape, glue and crayons to decorate. We also made little Torahs. If you open your child’s Torah, you will see a small picture of a writing on parchment to represent what we see when we open a real Torah. In Hebrew, I tested the students in order to determine their reading levels. While I was testing, the madrichimplayed a SimchatTorah board game with them, and they were able to take these home as well. A highlight of the morning was visiting the sukkah, reciting the appropriate prayers, shaking the lulav and etrog and, of course, enjoying a snack. I look forward to our next class on October 7 where we will study Braysheet, the story of creation.  We have some outstanding madrichimworking with your children as well. You will be able to meet them as the year progresses.  Can you please send a water bottle with your child each Sunday? Also, if you have not already sent your child’s Hebrew name, please do that as well.  As we are in the midst of the Sukkot holiday and will soon be celebrating SimchatTorah, I wish you and your families a Chag Sameach and Moadim L’Simcha.

Diane Rosenfeld

AlefBetTeacher

-Written 9-26-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Much thanks to Debbie Kroopkin for subbing in the alef-bet class on Sunday as I attended to family business out of state. The children learned about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur through stories, discussions and activities. We also began our Hebrew program.  I look forward to meeting your children next Sunday and to working with them this year.  Best wishes to you and your families for a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year.  G’mar Chatima Tovah!

-Written 9-16-18 by Ms. Diane Rosenfeld, drosenfeld@amyisrael.org

Kitah Gimel Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Shalom Gimel Families,
Over the past few weeks we have discussed others who have inner strength and have helped themselves and the community, but we wrapped up this unit on Gevurah with a focus on what we as individuals can do. We started with a review of what we have learned so far and then asked the students to look inward. Today’s session was our introduction to achrayut, and all of the different types of roles and responsibilities we have in our lives. The students related this to the idea that each person is important. We started out with an activity that illustrated the many roles we have in our own lives within our community and at home. We will also learned what happens when the opposite occurs and how easily everything can fall apart.

Recap:
● Students should now know several types of strength: inner strength, physical
strength, personal strengths, and strength of community.
● Students discussed the ways in which G-d has Gevurah and how we can use those strengths in our own lives
● Students learned about how Hanukkah is celebrated in Israel
  • Students learned that we all have different roles and responsibilities for different parts of our lives.
  • Students explored the notion that If we all do our own part well that life runs more smoothly
  • Students learned about the importance of achrayut within a Jewish context.
Table Talk: What are each of our strengths in our family? How can we use our strengths to help the world? What project will we do as a family to help our community? Discuss the various roles you have within your family. Does everyone always do his or her own share? What can you do to make sure everyone within our family works together?
On Sunday, the students will work on a project relating to their responsibilities relating to a hat they wear in their life (i.e. their role may be a student, and some of their responsibilities might include homework and organization). I have asked the students to please work on the following at home prior to Sunday (and to please bring their work written down on a piece of paper):
They should make a list of all their roles, or hats. Here is an example: daughter, sister, teacher, friend, student, swim team member, cousin, Jew, Girl Scout. After making a list, they should pick one item on the list and list all the things they are responsible for when wearing that hat.
A couple of reminders:
  • Please remember to send tzedakah with your student on Sundays. Currently the students have collected $46.32 as a class!
  • The Shalom Club and Ruach Club will be going to Nickel City on Sunday (12:15 – 2:00)! Please RSVP here.
As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
B’Shalom,
Shira Sender

-Written 12-12-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender, ssender@amyisrael.org

Shalom Kitah Gimel,

In class we began an introduction to the value of Gevurah (strength). As we look at the value of Gevurah, we want the 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 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 Jewish 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?

Ivrit (Hebrew): In Hebrew we learned about the letters Yud (our small, but mighty letter), Koof, Tzadee, Ayin (another silent letter when alone/without a vowel). We have been working hard on the Shema prayer, as well as the V’ahavta and Vayomer. The students learned that the Shema is a integral prayer in our religion, as it establishes our belief in only 1 G-d and that we will love G-d with all of our heart, soul, and might. Additionally, we learn int his prayer that we are commanded to teach this concept to our children, and our children’s children. We shall bind these words to our arms and between our eyes (tefillin) and to our door posts (mezuzah).

On Sunday the students created their own mezuzot in class. These non-traditional mezuzot (shaped as hearts, representative our hearts and love for G-d) were created with inspiration from Marc Chagall (a Jewish impressionist artist who, among many other accomplished works, created the beautiful stained glass windows within Haddassah Hospital in Jerusalem). The words of the Shema were placed on the backside of these mezuzot, however, these scrolls are not kosher as they were printed on paper. With that said, a scroll can easily be purchased and placed on the backside and hung on the doorpost of your home.

Coming Up:

We will discuss Moses, who showed inner strength. We will also talk about being brave and standing up for yourself.

B’Shalom,

Shira Sender

-Written 11-12-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender, ssender@amyisrael.org

Shalom Kitah Gimel,

It was so wonderful to see so many of you this morning at our Gimel Family Brunch and Education. This week we began to explore the idea of using b’tzelem Eloheim as a guide for how we treat others. If we are all created in the image of G-d, how should we treat each person?

We started with a fun activity to introduce a midrash that explains the Golden Rule, treating others as we want to be treated, and how that relates to b’tzelem Eloheim. Next, we related this to closest our family. We spent time exploring how we treat our family members. Do we treat them better or worse than we treat our friends or strangers?

Car Talk: Interview your family and ask them, “How does our family treat others as we wish to be treated? How do we show respect to one another?” Write down their answers to discuss on Wednesday.

Next week: We will explore the difference in others. Though people are created differently, we still treat each person well. Why? Because each person is created in the image of G-d.

Ivrit (Hebrew): In class, the yeladim learned about the letters Chaf, Raysh, Vav, and Dalet. Additionally, we learned a new vowel. Attached please find some practice Hebrew sheets for your student to work on. It is important for the students to practice their Hebrew daily (10 minutes per day ideally).

In addition to the attached Hebrew sheets, please find 2 links to a cute videos we watched in class today: one is our brain-break (we thought some siblings might enjoy this video) and the other related to our value of b’tzelem Eloheim, and the image I had in class this morning relating to parshat Noach.

A couple quick reminders:

  • Please send in simple art supplies/small handheld stuffed animals to support a SJS B’nai Mitzvah student Micah Friedman
  • Please send in an item for Orphans of the Storm in support of Rachel Creinin, who just became a Bat Mitzvah.
  • Please remember to send in tzedakah with your student on Sundays. The students have chosen two organizations they would like their tzedakah to be allocated to: Orphans of the Storm and an organization to help Impoverished children in Chicago. (*A special thank you to our Madrich – Jonathan, for helping us find these special organizations and for teaching the students about them.

B’Shalom,

Shira Sender

-Written 10-14-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender, ssender@amyisrael.org

Shalom Parents,

Our class is off to a great start! We completed our first unit of the Teshuvah תְשׁוּבָה (returning) unit.

Recap:

· Students learned about their classmates and similarities between them.

· Students reviewed the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

· Students learned the concept of teshuvah תְשׁוּבָה as “returning” and starting fresh with a clean slate.

· Students explored the fact that no human is perfect, and we all “miss the mark” in some ways, and the important thing is that we learn and grow from our mistakes.

· We explored what it means to say, “I’m sorry.” We learned different meanings of the word shalom שָׁלוֹם, and that one of its definitions is completeness. Students explored the link between making peace with one another through apologizing and creating completeness with others through that act. We also spent time examining different familial situations in which apologies are necessary. Students used text study and their understanding of teshuvah תְשׁוּבָה to make personal connections to these scenarios.

Car Talk: What are things we do as a family to practice teshuvah תְשׁוּבָה? What actions can we take to make this happen? We all make mistakes. Ask your family about a time one of them made a mistake. Did anyone learn anything afterward? What is most important about apologizing?

Ivrit (Hebrew): On Sunday the students continued to work on their Hebrew letters Shin, Bet, and Tav in addition to the vowels kammatz and katan. The students worked in small groups run by a Madrich(a), and practiced combining these letters and vowels together. Additionally, they worked in two different work stations practicing their Hebrew writing and recognition skills.

Traditionally on Rosh Hashanah we wish friends and family l’shanah tovah umetukah which means a happy and sweet new year, and on Yom Kippur we say to friends and family G’mar Chatimah Tovah which we can translate to mean “may you be inscribed (in the book of life) for good.”

From my family to yours, I would like to wish you l’shanah tovah umetukah, and g’mar chatimah tovah. May you have a meaningful and reflective fast, and I am looking forward to a sweet year with the class!

B’Shalom,

Shira Sender

-Written 9-18-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender, ssender@amyisrael.org

 

Gimel Update followed by their weekly schedules:

Shalom Gimel Families,

I emailed a Hebrew reading assignment that was handed out yesterday in class (please let Mr. Sherman csherman@amyisrael.org know if you have not received my emails). Daily Hebrew practice is very important as this is a new language for our students! At SJS, we ask our students to please set aside just 10 minutes every day to practice their Hebrew, so that as one of our Gimel student’s wisely pointed out during group-tefillah (prayer) “practice makes us strong.” We want to strengthen each of our student’s Hebrew skills this year, and 10 minutes a night will certainly help with this. As promised, I have included both the worksheets that your student received yesterday (life happens, and sometimes they get lost) and a transliteration version for parents.

A quick reminder – this Sunday (September 16th) will be our very first Sunday at SJS! However, there will not be school on Wednesday, September 19th due to Yom Kippur.

I want to wish everyone a Shabbat Shalom (the word Shabbat contains three Hebrew letters that we have been reviewing/learning – Shin, Bet, Tav). I look forward to seeing all of kitah Gimel (the Gimel class) on Sunday, September 16th.

Shabbat Shalom,

Shira

-Written 9-6-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender, ssender@amyisrael.org

Kitah Dalet Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Today we continued with Three Madrichim and a teacher reviewing our packets and insuring our progress. Some students are basically done and we are trying to utilize them to teach other students.  At the end of class we saw and will see a short slide show of interesting synagogues around the world since our theme is … Being able to FOLLOW a service in a Synagogue any where in the world.

-Written 1-27-19 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 1-23-19 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

Today in Dalet we focused on our Hebrew packets and insuring each student progresses at their own level. We reviewed many pages and many of the students who had issues before seem to have improved. Since we had a full staff of Madrichim it was very helpful and we can engage all the students individually or in small groups.

-Written 1-20-19 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

We reviewed a very important topic today. The students started to look at the siddur and picked a portion from Al Hanismim an extra prayer for Chanukah and Purim. One said the festival of Purim so we spent the rest of the period explaining the difference between the three festivals Passover Shavuot and Sukkot.  Most did not know what Shavuot was so we broke down the word and explained why it was called the festival of weeks. We also looked at the calendar and explained why in some places in in the Torah it says that Rosh Hashana is in the seventh month (after Passover).  We also took a look at the numerical values of 5779 vs 2019 and the difference.

-Written 1-13-19 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

We studied Parashat Beshallach in preparation for Shabbat Family Programming (SFP). We continue practicing to read Ivrit. I am happy to say that our students are making progress.

This link has an access to a downloadable PDF text of all of the prayers for our students to study at their own pace:  https://www.amyisrael.org/practicing-tefillah.html

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 1-9-19 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

We had an exciting morning of individual reading. Children worked in groups of 2 or 3 with a Madrich/a and randomly chose a page to read. To keep all involved we had each child read a word then the next student read the next word on the line. All seemed to be involved.  In the process, we taught them some lessons about the vowels as well as the silent Sheva …. Like shelcha.  Students seemed to do will in the process in addition to giving me an opportunity to hear each one.

-Written 1-6-19 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

We have finished up our zikaron (remembrance) unit by taking family history and stories and turning them into illustrated pages that show where our families came from and what they experienced. Students have really appreciated the opportunity to explore more about their own pasts and the people who made their lives possible. We look forward to starting a new unit in January.

We finished our unit on tochechah (correcting others effectively and appropriately) by creating comic strips that lay out stories of people correcting their peers. These were drawn from students’ personal stories, but were then “fixed” to bring the reaction in line with the rules that we learned. After that, we took a day to work on re-decorating our classroom. Students made illustrated alef-bet cards to be hung along the perimeter of the room, and we are all looking forward to seeing them on display!

-Written 12-19-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

We had a fun filled day. First, we had a contest to see who could find the Al-Hanisim prayer in the Siddur. Al-Hanisim is a special prayer added on all of Hanukah and on Purim.

Then we went into a discussion of Hanukah and the 3 different groups in Judaism. First that the Hashmanayim the warriors in the story were all Kohanim ( priests) and how Aaron was the first “priest” while Moshe was not. We then explained the origins of such names and Levy the second group ( from the tribe of Levi the same tribe as Aaron and Moshe yet Moshe was not a Kohen and Aaron was the first Kohen) Kohen, Cone, Cohn, Kahn, Levit etc… We then talked about all the other group of Yisrael and Where the name came from Jacob and how Jacob received this name since he struggled with G-d’s angle.

We also reviewed major and minor holidays as well as what is a festival and the dates of many of these holidays.

-Written 12-9-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Kitah Dalet learned about Parashat Vayeshev this week and had a preview of next week’s Parashat Miketz.  We focused on the impact of jeaolousy on a person’s life.  We also discussed Yosef and the talents he was blessed with to solve dreams.  This made him very important in the eyes of the Pharoah.  Yosef was the first “Minister of Economy” and teaches us how to act in good and bad times.  We also continued our Hebrew reading of the Tefillot (prayers): Birchot Hashachar and Baruch She’amar.  This link has an access to a downloadable PDF text of all of the prayers for our students to study at their own pace:  https://www.amyisrael.org/practicing-tefillah.html

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 11-28-18 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

Kitah Dalet learned about Parashat Vayeshev this week and had a preview of next week’s Parashat Miketz.  We focused on the impact of jeaolousy on a person’s life.  We also discussed Yosef and the talents he was blessed with to solve dreams.  This made him very important in the eyes of the Pharoah.  Yosef was the first “Minister of Economy” and teaches us how to act in good and bad times.  We also continued our Hebrew reading of the Tefillot (prayers): Birchot Hashachar and Baruch She’amar.  This link has an access to a downloadable PDF text of all of the prayers for our students to study at their own pace:  https://www.amyisrael.org/practicing-tefillah.html

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 11-28-18 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

We are capping off our zikaron (remembrance) unit by interviewing family members about our family history. Over Thanksgiving break, students are asked to find a family member who wants to talk about family history, and find out important facts such as where the family came from, when and how the family came to this country, and what kinds of experiences the family had when they first arrived in America. There is no rule about which family members should be interviewed. (Some students got the impression that it must be a grandparent, which is not the case.) Students should either take notes on their interviews or, with the subject’s permission, record them so that nothing is lost.

To finish our unit on tochechah (respectfully and constructively correcting others) we created a series of one-page comic strips illustrating situations where someone is corrected for their behavior in a way that demonstrates compassion and a desire to be helpful. Many of these comic strips are autobiographical, and we will be adding them to the walls of our classroom as we redecorate. Great job, Dalet!

-Written 11-18-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Today we played a new game to improve our reading skills. We had students choose a random page in the Siddur and they read in groups with the Madrichim. Having three Madrichim gives us personal attending to all our students. It worked well since each seven minutes I had a different student choose a random page.

-Written 11-18-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Dalet class is working on perfecting  their reading of Birkot Hashachar ברכות השחר.  Each student took home a copy of the Morning Blessings so they can practice it at home.  We also are working on writing script in Ivrit (Hebrew).

Here is the text of the blessings for your Dalet students to read and review: https://images.shulcloud.com/1177/uploads/SJS-PDFs%2FMorning-Blessings-Text.pdf

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 11-14-18 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

Today we continued using our workbooks, testing our skills with multiple syllable words and real prayer words but then focused on real-time.  The goal of our class is to be able to walk into ANY Jewish service ANYWHERE in the world and be able to FOLLOW the service. To that end we had the real test. I chanted a prayer such as Aleynu Leshabeach Laadon… and said it was in the evening Friday night service (which you just walked into during a service in Seville (Spain that is), and you hear them chanting that prayer what page is it in the Siddur you have on your desk. I gave them a range of pages (e.g. 80-125) find the page. What page is the Morning list of blessings for the Birkot Hashachar (first morning blessings) found pages 50-70. I had the students as well as Madrichim scrambling. Then we picked up the pace as if we are walking in to different services in different places at different times.

-Written 11-11-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Dalet students are making good progress decoding Ivrit (Hebrew).  We moved to the siddur and worked on the morning blessings — ברכות השחר.  Here is the text of the blessings for your Dalet students to read and review:https://images.shulcloud.com/1177/uploads/SJS-PDFs%2FMorning-Blessings-Text.pdf

Please make sure your child practices reading in Hebrew at home for at least 10 minutes every day.

In case your student has yet to master all 22 Hebrew letters, here is a fun YouTube to watch, for some quick review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAznfygWTY

-Written 11-7-18 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

Last week’s class was shortened due to the challah braiding workshop, so we watched a brief video about the lives of Eastern European Jews when they first came to the United States. This is, of course, only one face of Jewish migration to America, and in class today students had a chance to draw upon their own existing knowledge of their family histories. We talked about where our families came from, when, and how they got here. We also began to explore our own names, considering how we got them and what they mean in their various languages of origin.

Our class has focused for the past two weeks on the question of how properly to accept criticism from another person. This is a challenging but important aspect of personal growth, and tied with the concept of teshuvah (bettering oneself). As a final exercise in class, students wrote thank-you notes to people who have corrected them in ways that were helpful. While they were not required to deliver these letters to their addressees, some chose to do so!

-Written 10-28-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Today we had a really productive day. With the help of 3 great madrichim we focused on our booklets each child both working individually as well as in groups reading and listening. I had a chance with work with a few students individually which was very helpful.  We also talked about the importance of learning how to work in groups as well as working alone.

-Written 10-28-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Last week’s class was shortened due to the challah braiding workshop, so we watched a brief video about the lives of Eastern European Jews when they first came to the United States. This is, of course, only one face of Jewish migration to America, and in class today students had a chance to draw upon their own existing knowledge of their family histories. We talked about where our families came from, when, and how they got here. We also began to explore our own names, considering how we got them and what they mean in their various languages of origin.

Our class has focused for the past two weeks on the question of how properly to accept criticism from another person. This is a challenging but important aspect of personal growth, and tied with the concept of teshuvah (bettering oneself). As a final exercise in class, students wrote thank-you notes to people who have corrected them in ways that were helpful. While they were not required to deliver these letters to their addressees, some chose to do so!

-Written 10-28-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Today in Dalet we focused with the help of some great Madrichim (Student teacher ratio of about 2-1) on our Hebrew booklets with focus on distinguishing between a vav letter and an Oh vowel as well as a Vav and Vet.  Each child at their own pace. They seemed to  be happy working with way and being reminded of our goal. “to be able to enter any synagogue in the world and follow the service”

-Written 10-14-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

After a two-week break from seeing each other, we began to plan interviews with members of our families. Working in havruta(partnered study), students came up with ideas about whom they would like to interview about their family’s past and what sorts of questions they would like to ask. The class’s questions have been recorded for use this coming Sunday.

As we continue to learn about the process of respectfully correcting another person (tochechah), we returned to an exercise from our last meeting: abstract line drawings meant to represent our feelings at a time when someone else corrected our behavior. We took time to share what we felt during those incidents, and to discuss whether we had ever followed up with the other person about those feelings. We also took a lesson from the late Fred Rogers and his surprising approach to an advertising campaign that used his likeness without his permission.

-Written 10-12-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

Kitah Dalet students are working to recognize all the Ivrit (Hebrew) letters and vowels to be able to read words and improve their reading to be able to fluently read Tefillah (Prayer).  In addition, we studied the first two Parashot in the first book to get ready for the Parashat Lech Lecha.

-Written 10-11-18 by Mrs. Tikva Moustakis, tmoustakis@amyisrael.org

Today we had a good session understanding the reason we are learning to read tefilot-prayers,  (to be able to follow any Jewish prayer service anywhere in the world).   We reviewed some of the differences between our tefilot and how other cultures and languages their language and how we are unique both as a religion and as a culture. We also talked about different types of services like the synagogue in the Bahamas where one of our students explained about the sand floor and how the synagogue had a sand for the floor and how different synagogues have different customs but mostly the same prayers.  Next session we will get into the meat of our work reading and helping each other be more fluent in the tefilot – prayers.

-Written 9-23-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

We reviewed some ideas from The Keeping Quilt and began a discussion about our own families’ traditions and heirlooms. Some students had a hard time thinking of specific traditions because their families’ traditions are, to them, just normal behavior. In the coming weeks we will begin researching our families’ histories, so prepare for some interviews ahead!

We expanded on our introduction to tochechah (constructive criticism). First each student, with the aid of a worksheet, wrote about a time a friend had told them they’d done something wrong. What was said? Where? How did it feel? Afterward students made abstract line drawings to demonstrate their feelings upon being corrected by a friend. These drawings will be used to illuminate our growing understanding of tochechah.

-Written 9-26-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

We had a very good morning on Sunday getting to know one another then reviewing some of the basic rules of conduct as well is our goal for the year. Our goal is to be able to follow any Jewish service anywhere in the world. Not necessarily lead or be able to read everything but be able to follow.

We talked about some of the experiences Mr. Gelbart had a different synagogues around the world including Paris and Warsaw.

We then to begin the process of learning how to search in the siddur (prayerbook) can use the index or table of contents.

-Written 9-18-18 by Mr. Dennis Gelbart, dgelbart@amyisrael.org

Welcome to SJS Sundays! We began class with an icebreaker game to get to know each other a little, and to ensure that everyone knows everyone’s name. (This was primarily for my benefit, but the students were impressed at how long a string of names and interests they could memorize.) After introductions, we read Patricia Polacco’s “The Keeping Quilt” with an eye toward what it has to teach us about what we remember, how, and why. Next week we will build on this wonderful story by beginning to explore our own family histories and traditions. You might want to start talking with your children about their own family histories and customs.

We learned a new Hebrew word: tochechah (תוכחה), or “rebuke.” The Torah commands us to deliver tochechah whenever we see a fellow Jew doing something wrong, but proper tochechah isn’t as easy as it might seem. Using a comic strip as our jumping-off point, we looked at both harmful and constructive ways to correct someone, and discussed how best to apply these lessons in our own lives. We will be exploring this idea, and how it affects our relationships with others, in the coming weeks.

-Written 9-16-18 by Hazzan Lawrence Szenes-Strauss (Mr. S.), lszenesstrauss@amyisrael.org

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