Tichon Update 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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, email@example.com
We began our discussion on Purim by beginning to read the text of the Book of Esther so that we have a clearer understanding of what the story is all about and where some of the customs/mitzvot surrounding the holiday come from. We got through the first 4 chapters of the book and will continue to review over the next two weeks. I encourage you to ask the students about what new components of the story they feel they learned in our review.
-Written 2-25-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
We discussed the concept of T’fillan and where it comes from and how it turned from the words in the Torah that we read as part of the Shma everyday to what they are today. As T’fillan are considered something that is positive and time bound we then discussed how according to the Talmud woman are exempt from positive time bound mitzvot and why in 2019 those same ideas don’t apply in the same way and therefore how can we look at these mitzvot in 2019. I encourage you to ask your child about their thoughts on who should be responsible for fulfilling the positive time bound mitzvot.
-Written 2-3-19 by Morah Aviva Tilles, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.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, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.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, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org