I hope that you all had a relaxing and meaningful Pessach!
Hopefully, your child was able to share with you some of the many things we learned in 2nd grade JS about this special holiday of freedom. Our main focus for 2nd grade was learning about the 15 steps of the Seder we have on the 1st (and for some, also 2nd) night of Passover. As we learned each of the 15 steps in depth, we created beautiful, 2nd grade friendly, Haggadot for your child to use and share with you. I was happy to hear feedback that this was an enjoyable part of your Pessach experience!
In second grade, we are now gearing up for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day, which is right around the corner! It was fascinating to zoom through the lifetime history of the land of Israel (when it was still called “Cana-an”) and the Jewish people, starting with Abraham. We spoke about Israel throughout all the years leading up to 1948, when Israel was re-Established as the Jewish state, only 70 years ago! The students were fascinated by the long connection we have had with the land of Isreal, a connection that did not die even with years of separation between us Jews and the land. Our second grade focus is to study about the initial re-building of the desolate and barren country. More specifically we are learning about the unique Kibbutz movement and its role in the formative years of Modern Israel.
We discussed why a communal, self sustaining living arrangement was desirableness and necessary for the newcomers to Israel. We explored what this looked like, its advantages, values and possible issues. We also had a lot of fun creating our imaginary 2nd grade Kibbutz to really internalize what a Kibbutz was like. We will continue to explore the topic with a possible visitor and exploration of Kibbutzim today.
Lastly, 2nd graders got to participate in a unique and widely unknown mitzvah-Blessing the trees. There is a special blessing one can say only in the current month of NISSAN, also knows as the month with the holiday of Spring. The blessing is said on at least one, but preferably 2 blossoming fruit trees. We discussed the text of the Blessing and took time to appreciate the wonderful gifts of Hashem.
Then we went outside where we are lucky to have not one but 2 different trees of the special 7 fruits of Israel. We learned about these “shivat Haminim” earlier in the year.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם.
Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure.
Sunday is the last day of Nissan, should you want to take the opportunity to say this special blessing of Thanks.
Wishing you a Chag Haatzmaut Sameach!