Pardes Updates 2018-2019 (5779)

Pardes (High School First Years and Sophomores)

Pardes Updates followed by their weekly schedules:

Throughout the year the class would continually come back to current events and how to approach them as Jewish teenagers in 2019 on everything thing from anti semitism to immigration. We discussed a bit more in depth how the Jewish holidays can find a place in our everyday lives even if the story the holiday comes with is from history. Finally throughout the year we talked about where their responsibility as part of the Jewish community, whether that be local or global, comes in and how they can reach their goals of feeling like they are a part of something greater and making a difference.

-Written 5-17-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles,

Today in Pardes we learned a very important lesson for last weeks Torah portion. We learned the famous line “love your fellow as yourself “. Words we should all live by.  We also learned many different accomplishments Israel has achieved in it 71 years like free education and free healthcare.  I it really amazing to see everything listed out. Please ask your child for the highlights.  It has been an honor and privilege teaching your children this year.  Have a great summer! Mr Arnet

-Written 5-12-19 by Mr. Allan Arnet,

Our Yom HaShoah program focused on the theme of indifference to the suffering and persecution of others. In doing so, it highlighted the response of the American government and many Americans to the plight of Jewish refugees from Nazi antisemitism seeking entrance into this country during the 1930’s. The response was characterized largely by xenophobia, nativism and Judeophobia. The American refusal to admit greater numbers of Jewish refugees was highlighted by the screening of the film, “The Double Crossing: The Story of the St. Louis.” The 80th anniversary of this doomed voyage of some 900 Jewish refugees, turned away by the United States, Canada and Cuba, symbolized the indifferent response of the world to Jews attempting to flee the Third Reich. The lesson that Elie Wiesel took from the world’s apathy in the face of the genocide of European Jewry was that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Another lesson is the need for a Jewish state, the state of Israel, that can serve as a Jewish refuge and haven.

-Written 5-6-19 by Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz

Please click here to read class updates from previous weeks.

After discussing the concept of freedom last week jumping off from the story of Passover, this week we did an A to Z review of Passover with everything from the very basic of what Matzah is and what it means to the holiday to how xenophobia plays a role not only in the story but also in the lessons that we should take away from the holiday in 2019. This included references back to our conversation last week about why freedom is such an important concept throughout the history of the holiday and for us as Jews today. I encourage you to ask your child about what lessons they feel they have learned about freedom in discussions of Passover and how they can make an impact for others with that moving forward.

-Written 4-17-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles,


It is hard to believe that Purim and Passover are just around the corner. This past Sunday our class was shortened a little because of the mitzvah board presentations.

We read this very interesting article about Israel from a totally different perspective. I encourage each of you to please spend a moment, read it and discuss with your child.We also spent time about the upcoming elections in Israel and what the future might hold. The kids continue to bring in there articles on Israel and I thank you for encouraging them to do so.  Have a GREAT SHABBAT!

-Written 2-26-19 by Mr. Allan Arnet,

We reviewed the Torah portion of Yitro. In this Torah portion the 10 commandments are listed. I asked the kids why, of all people, was Yitro so special that a Torah portion was named for him. After all, Moses does not have a portion named for him. Please ask your child why Yitro (Moses farther in law) a person who converted to Judaism and gave up everything has a special Torah portion named for him.

Stay Warm!

-Written 1-30-19 by Mr. Allan Arnet,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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