Purim, Pesach and more!

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Shalom AJA families! We’ve been having a blast learning about Purim and Pesach during the month of March – read below to find your child’s grade!!

Second grade:

For Purim, we focused our learning on reviewing the story as well as learning about the four Mitzvot of Purim (reading Megillah, eating a festive meal, sending food to friends, and giving gifts to the poor). Students created board games in their table groups with the goal of the winner completing each of the 4 mitzvot. Students had a great time creating and playing their games!

For Passover, we are focusing on the theme of “from slavery to freedom” and we have explored what slavery in Egypt would have felt like and what slaves experience once they are freed. We are also exploring the Four Questions and why these particular questions were chosen to be included in our Seder. Look for your child to bring home a booklet with their interpretations to share at your Passover Seder!

We also have been continuing our Parshat HaShavua (weekly Torah portions) as well as learning more of the Hallel service, and of course all of our wonderful learning about Kabbalat Shabbat!

Third grade:

Third grade’s Purim learning was centered around the characters themselves, and we had a chance to do some extra writing for the holiday. Each student wrote a letter of advice to the new queen, Esther, as if he/she was the former queen, Vashti. It was so much fun hearing your students advise Esther!! Students also chose their favorite character and retold the story from their point of view. This helped them understand what each character knew, and when.

For Passover, students are busy preparing a “Photo Journal” about the first Passover and the events surrounding it. They are putting themselves into the shoes of the Israelites (after all, we were all there!!), and will be happy to show off their journal at their Passover Seder!!

Fourth grade:

Fourth grade’s Purim learning centered around creating a TV show called “Shushan TV.” After reviewing the story of Purim, students then wrote interviews, parody songs, commercials and news reports based on the Megillah. Due to technical difficulties, it’s still being edited but hopefully students will be able to enjoy their show soon!!

For Passover, Fourth graders have been focused on matzah, specifically on the symbolism of matzah and what it represents. Some students think it is the “bread of affliction” and others consider it the “bread of freedom.” Students will engage in a debate using sources from the Torah, the Haggadah, and other modern opinions to help prove their points. Look for them to give you their point of view during your Passover Seder!

Fifth grade:

For Purim, students in Fifth grade were tasked with choosing the most heroic hero of the Purim story. They found evidence in the Megillah and campaigned for the greatest hero of Purim, including posters, pictures and passionate speeches. While every character was essential to the favorable outcome of the story, students voted and Mordecai (barely) beat Esther and the others for the top spot.

For Passover, students have been busy at work creating a Fifth Grade Haggadah. It is not designed to be a stand-alone Haggadah – some students may have chosen to omit certain parts if their assigned section was especially long. Please use it to enhance your Passover Seder, as students have been working incredibly hard on it!

Sixth grade:

Sixth graders have been learning the story of the book of Exodus fairly in-depth since January, and they have impressed me with their insights and questions – as always! Students have been working well with their assigned partners to read the story of the formation of the community of Israelites and get to the roots of our shared history of slavery and redemption. Currently, we are working on a project about the Ten Plagues – just in time for your Seder! Students have created a podcast, news report or newspaper about one of the plagues, including how people (both Egyptian and Israelite) felt about it as well as enhancing our understanding with Rashi and other biblical commentators. Soon, we will compare and contrast the Prince of Egypt to the real story of the Exodus, and this will help students pick out details and plot points in the Torah story which are essential to our understanding. We will continue reading Exodus through the story of the Golden Calf, and then read a few other stories from the Torah which help us understand the culture of the Israelites at that time and the critical issues which faced our ancestors.

Looking forward to a few more months of learning with your students this year!!

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