1st Grade Judaic Studies

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I am so lucky to be teaching your children for the second year in a row!

We are already having a great time learning and growing with each other!

This year, we will be exploring the most fundamental aspects of Judaism and the Torah. I think highly of your children and have set high goals and expectations of them. We will learn a lot. We will learn with meaning. And we will learn with depth.

As you may remember, I try to teach my classes using different mediums so that learning is a fully engaging, exciting and multi-sensory experience. Besides, we all learn different ways! In that spirit, we have been busy reading, discussing, singing, dancing, coloring and crafting Judaics all in this past week and a half.

We started off our year in the same way that Judaism teaches us we should start each day: with Gratitude. When we wake up, the Jewish custom is to Thank God for the gift of another beautiful day and everything else that we have. We learned this prayer and discussed what we are grateful for, whom we are grateful for and WHY we must be grateful. The Jewish people are actually called “YEHUDIM” יהודים-  which comes from the word “giving thanks.” ( Yehuda, one of the 12 tribes was also named this due to his mother, Leah, giving thanks to G-d, whom we are all ultimately named after. It is in the essence of all Jewish people and the practice of the Torah to acknowledge what we have by being grateful for our blessings.)

We also learned the blessing that is said before learning Torah, as would be fit to do before a Torah class.

Our first graders then learned about what the Torah has to say on the subject of “friends.” The Mishna in Pirkei Avot says: “Go out and see. What is the best thing that man should have?…A good friend…”

Now, in the discussion in the Mishna above, a “good heart” actually wins over a “good friend”, since it is said that a good heart includes it all. Still, we discussed in class why “a good friend made the cut for ‘top 4 in best things in life.'” We all agreed that friends are important influences in our wholesomeness, growth and learning. We discussed how special it is to have friends that supports your learning and growth and how we can each do that for each other.

On Monday, we used our collaborative brainstorming to gather many of the main aspects of Judaism. We came us with: 1-Shabbat and holidays, 2-Mitzvot, 3-Torah, 4-Tefilah, prayer and , 5-Good manners/Acts of Kindness (ie. being a mentch). We then took the rest of the week to take a closer look at one of the categories we mentioned-Shabbat.

 I am looking forward to the rest of the year with this wonderful group of learners!

All the best,

Morah Yonit