2nd-6th Jewish Studies September

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Shalom Families,

I am having so much fun learning with your students, and I wish everyone a Shana Tovah U’Metukah – A Happy and Sweet New Year! Find your child(ren)’s grades below to see what they’ve been learning!!

2nd Grade: We’ve been working hard learning about and creating our own Kibbutzim, which means we’ve been talking a lot about the values of cooperation and equality. I can’t wait for your students to give you a tour of their Kibbutz at their Communities Presentation on October 26th! For our Rosh HaShanah learning, our focus was on the shofar this year. We explored the outside of a shofar, made predictions based on it’s size and shape as to what sound it would make, and we got to blow the shofar to see if our predictions were correct! We also got to learn how a shofar is made and learn about the different types of sounds a shofar makes on Rosh HaShanah specifically – Tekiah, Shevarim, and Teruah. We also read the book The White Ram about the reason why we blow a ram’s horn on Rosh Hashanah specifically. On Fridays, we also continue to learn Parshat HaShavuah – the weekly Torah portion. This will continue throughout the year. Finally, 2nd graders have enjoyed being leaders during our weekly Tefillah – here is a picture of some of your students enjoying this fun responsibility!


3rd Grade: Third grade’s focus the past few weeks has been a combination of Torah learning (Parshat Lech Lecha – the story of Avram’s journey with Sarai and Lot) and preparing for Rosh HaShanah. During our Torah learning, we focus on the story as well as character traits such as bravery and demonstrating good citizenship. We have also been practicing skills for learning in chevruta – paired learning for studying Torah – and taking turns reading, sharing answers, and asking questions. For Rosh HaShanah, we have been learning about the origins of Rosh HaShanah in the Torah and what people would do back in the Torah to celebrate the New Year, and compared and contrasted it with what we do today. We also explored the different symbols of Rosh HaShanah and the meanings behind them. We’ve also started learning how to sing parts of the Torah service, such as Etz Hayim Hi, which we sing as we put the Torah away in the ark.


4th grade: In Fourth Grade, we have been learning so much about Jewish History! We have explored the origins of our own families and looked at the migration of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in the late 1400’s and the reasons why people move. We have explored the different cultures which have resulted from these migrations – specifically Sephardi traditions at Rosh HaShanah! We even held our own Rosh HaShanah Seder, which is when we eat various foods with symbolism for a prosperous new year (check out the pic below!!). We have also started a Sukkot project where each student has chosen a different Israeli figure to invite into their Sukkah. We started early in the hopes that the final product will be ready in time to decorate our school Sukkah! I’m so excited for some of these amazing and inspirational figures to visit our Sukkah and teach us about their contribution to Israeli society. We have also continued to learn about Havdallah, the short service which takes place at the end of Shabbat.


5th grade: We have been working very hard to learn the Ashrei prayer all year, and we are making great progress! We are about halfway there, and many of the students are enjoying helping each other learn more and practice their skills. We have also been delving into the liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and learning more about the themes of the words we say on the High Holidays – and we will continue this theme through Yom Kippur. We’ve also been learning about the story of Joseph and the relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We’ve spoken about jealousy, sibling rivalry, and responsibility. We’e also been introduced to a new person who can help us understand the text in a differnet way – a rabbi named Rashi who wrote down his comments and explanations on the Torah. Using Rashi will help us read the Torah in a more deep and meaningful way.

6th grade: If you step into our classroom, you will meet characters such as Colin Kaepernick and Alexander Hamilton having discussions with each others about refugees, immigration policies, and the responsibilities each country has to her citizens. Each student has written a “resume” or a profile which has been uploaded to the JCAT (Jewish Court of All Time) website, and soon they will begin to message other characters and interact with them in the context of the JCAT trial. They are really engaged in learning, and they are so excited for the trial to get underway. Next week, the exhibit halls will open and they will begin commenting on the evidence presented and learn to analyze primary source documents. I can’t wait!