4th Grade Jewish Studies

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“A seder?!?! For Rosh Hashanah!??!” Your kids weren’t lying if they came home last week talking about a Rosh Hashanah Seder – we had a great time sampling foods that the Talmud, a Jewish text, tells us we should have for the New Year. These include familiar things, such as pomegranates and apples and honey, but also foods like pumpkins, beet/spinach leaves, and figs. We had a great time reading why these foods were chosen and what they symbolize, as well as reading the prayers for a good new year that accompany each food! If this is something your children enjoyed, I recommend buying the book “Apples and Pomegranates” http://www.amazon.com/Apples-Pomegranates-Family-Hashanah-Holidays/dp/1580131239 for a family-friendly ritual for years to come. This is traditionally a Sephardic ritual, but it is something that can be enjoyed by anyone!!

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Coming up, we will be working on an “Ushpizin” project for Sukkot. “Ushpizin” is Aramaic (similar to Hebrew, but a vernacular language that is now dead) for “Guests” who we invite into our Sukkah. We will be learning about the traditional Ushpizin from the Torah, such as Abraham and Moses, as well as female counterparts such as Rachel and Leah. The project will be to research a modern/historical figure who your child would like to invite into his or her Sukkah – someone who has made an impact on the world and who your child would like to have a meal with!! I will be giving plenty of time in class to work on this, but please know that this may require some homework in the coming 2 weeks. Hopefully this will spark some conversations at home about the Jewish value of “Hachnasat Orchim” – Welcoming Guests!!