Kitah Gimel Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Shalom Gimel Families,

The students are working hard, learning about the concept of Koach Hadibbur, translated as “the power of speech”. Students learned the meaning of this Jewish value and how it relates to the previous values we have studied so far this year. Using various street signs, students examined ways we communicate with limited speech and the power that each word or symbol holds. In addition, the students studied a very famous story of a rabbi and a pile of feathers. This story emphasized the importance of what we say and how words are forever, as we are unable to take them back. The students then had a chance to create their own brit, translated as “covenant or contract,” for how to use their own speech. Following this lesson, the students learned about examples of Koach Hadibbur in the

Torah. We emphasized the story of Moses and the Exodus to see how we can make changes in the world when we use our power of speech wisely. This included a look at how Miriam was able to help her brother and her family speak up and use their speech for good. Next, we focused on Moses’ courage to help the Israelites escape from Egypt. In both of these instances, Miriam and Moses used the power of speech to help others to make a difference. We completed the lesson by analyzing some of G-d’s statements in the story of Creation. The emphasis was on ways in which our speech can be used to create, rather than to destroy. Most recently, we examined modern leaders and communicators through a Jewish lens, and how they create positive change in the world through the power of their words.

In addition to learning about Koach Hadibbur, the students have been working very hard on learning their tefillot, prayers. They are excited to lead these tefillot in front of their family, friends, and the congregation on Friday, May 3. Please click here to find both the text and the audio for most of these prayers for the students to practice at home. While I do feel it is important to note that the service on Friday, May 3rd is not a performance but rather a reflection of the student’s hard work and study of the tefillot over the year, I do want each student to feel comfortable on the bimah. Please have your student practice these prayers at home.


Ahavat Olam




Mi Chamocha






Shira Sender

-Written 4-29-19 by Mrs. Shira Sender,


Please click here to read class updates from previous weeks.

Shalom Gimel Families,

This past week we completed our unit on achrayut, with a focus on the responsibilities we have within our families.  We concentrated on how best to treat our family members.  We also reviewed the key concepts within the achrayut unit overall, to help concretize the importance of making sure that our students understand that they can make the world a better place based on the positive choices that they make within their own personal lives.

This week we started our new unit on hakarat haTov (Recognizing the Good). As we looked at the value of  hakarat haTov, I wanted the students to find specific quirks or character traits that wouldn’t necessarily be noticed as “good” unless we call them out.


· Students made connections from ideas learned in previous weeks to roles within their families.

· Students examined how their families function, and how everyone uses achrayut so that families work as systems.

· Students used the Jewish concept of achrayut to feel comfortable approaching difficult situations with their families and peers

· Students learned the value of hakarat haTov, translated as “recognizing the good.”

Table Talk: What are some things for which you are grateful?  How do you show that you are grateful? How does recognizing the good in others help us to learn more about ourselves? How can meditation help us to recognize the good around


Ivrit (Hebrew): The students learned about the Hebrew letters: Tzadee Sofit (Final Tzadee), Pey, Fey, Chet, and the “ay” vowel. Additionally, the students have been working on the following tefillot (prayers): V’ahavtaVayomer, Yotzer Or (the last sentence of the Barchu), and the Amidah.


· Tomorrow (2/8/19) SFP will take place from 6:00 – 7:00pm

· SJS will not be in session on 2/17

· A SJS student and B’nai Mitzvah student, Ben Goldfeder, is collecting items for the Ark as part of his Mitzvah project. The Gimel class has been asked to please bring in travel-sized toothpaste. Bins are located in rooms 7 and 8, and students can be placed there.


Shira Sender

-Written 2-7-19 by Mrs. Shira Sender,

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.

● 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.
Shira Sender

-Written 12-12-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender,

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.


  • 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.


Shira Sender

-Written 11-12-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender,

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.


Shira Sender

-Written 10-14-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender,

Shalom Parents,

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


· 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!


Shira Sender

-Written 9-18-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender,


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 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,


-Written 9-6-18 by Mrs. Shira Sender,

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