Kitah Hei Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

This past Sunday we started to learn about Tu B’Shavat and the importance of the holiday. Why do we need a day to celebrate trees? Does it seem strange that the word birthday or tree is not anywhere to be found in the Hebrew name of the holiday? Please ask your child about the holiday and it’s importance.

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

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, Hei!

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

We have just about completed our first unit in the Mensch Handbook. We spoke about what you have to do like shoveling the snow in front of your house. We also spoke about going the extra mile like, not only shoveling the snow in front of your house, but continuing on and shoveling the snow in front of your neighbors house as well. What about making cookies for your neighbor just because. Visiting a sick friend or helping an elderly neighbor with their groceries.

All these extras or as I like to say the “just because”   is what makes us a true mensch. As the weather turns to cold, let us not forget those around us who might need extra help, someone to check on them or maybe even shop for them. Let us all try and add one “just because” today. Try it, it is contagious.

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

Kitah Hei spent their afternoon reviewing their Teir I siddur words by quizzing each other, reviewing in small groups and playing a game. We also began looking at Tier II words through call and repeat to begin listening to the sounds.  To learn common Hebrew words found in the Siddur, Tier II, please click on the following link:  https://images.shulcloud.com/1177/uploads/SJS-PDFs/Common-Hebrew-Vocabulary-Tier-II.pdf

-Written 11-12-18 by Morah Aviva Tilles, atilles@amyisrael.org 

After services Mr. Sherman did a video of the whole school singing Oseh Shalom that he to sent to Pittsburgh.  In class, we continued with our ripple effect unit and how our actions, both positive and negative, have an impact on those around us. Ask your kids how their actions can have an impact on your household.

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

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

The past couple of weeks in the Hei class have been very productive ones.  Last week the students dove into the meaning of B’tzelem Elohim, being made in the image of G-d.  They discussed what it means to treat all people like they are made in the image of G-d and how that helps us to treat people better.  This past week we worked on the tier 1 siddur words.  We played games practicing our basic level Hebrew vocabulary.  Go ahead and ask your child to tell you some words they know in Hebrew, you may be surprised at how many words they already know.  We wrapped up this week by diving into the prayer Shalom Aleichem and playing a popcorn game where the students worked together to complete the prayer one word at a time.  We paid special attention to following along and pronouncing each word as it is written instead of how we have heard it before.  Next week we will continue our Hebrew vocabulary and explore more B’tzelem Elohim.

-Written 10-10-18 by Mr. Marc Sender, msender@amyisrael.org

On Sunday we started the first unit in The Mensch Handbook. The first unit discuss the ripple effect and how our actions both positive and negative can effect those around us. Please ask your child to explain the ripple effect and ask for an example.

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

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

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 have a great new text book that we will be using this year called The Mensch Handbook. This book is truly something special and something you will want to keep and read over and over again. I showed the book to the kids on Sunday and asked them to define the word Mensch. Please ask your child what the word Mensch means.  We also reviewed the holiday of Sukkot and the importance to the holiday.

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

I am so thrilled to be teaching Hei! By the time we finished our Tefillah (Prayer Service) on Sunday (it was longer then usual) we did not have much time for class. We did go over my long list of classroom rules, it is really just one rule, kavod and got to know one another.

Please ask your child what the world kavod (respect) means. Looking forward to a great year.

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

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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