Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Happened in Grades 3-6 on Sunday, March 22...

Grade 3

To start our class, we joined with the Grade 4 students. A volunteer from the Ronald McDonald House came to talk to us about what the Ronald McDonald House does and how the pop tabs that we have been collecting help to raise money for Ronald McDonald House, so that they can continue providing lots of wonderful services for families whose children are sick.

A lot of us had questions about what it is like to stay at Ronald McDonald House. We were very interested in the game room and technology room!

In Hebrew with Mrs. Zaas, we learned about the Hebrew months. Did you know that we started a new month on Friday night? It's now Nisan!

In Nisan, we celebrate the chag (holiday) Pesach (Passover). In case, we not only learned about Pesach, but we got to enjoy some Pesach foods, like matzah and charosetWe learned how the recipe for charoset is different depending on what country it is being made in. We also found out how charoset represents the mortar that the Jewish slaves used when they were building with bricks. 

Grade 4

To start our class, we joined with the Grade 3 students. A volunteer from the Ronald McDonald House came to talk to us about what the Ronald McDonald House does and how the pop tabs that we have been collecting help to raise money for Ronald McDonald House, so that they can continue providing lots of wonderful services for families whose children are sick.

A lot of us had questions about what it is like to stay at Ronald McDonald House. We 
were very interested in the game room and technology room!

Then, in Hebrew with Mr. Stone, we discussed the upcoming holiday, Pesach (Passover). Mr. Stone taught us some new words that follow the roots that we have already learned that also relate back to the holiday. One of these words was "b’seder." This is an adjective and it means to be in order. Seder means order in the larger sense. Then we listed some of the annual traditions, such as what goes on the seder plate. Some examples include: a shankbone (zeroah), parsley (karpas), hard-boiled egg (beitzah), charoset, and matzah. A newer tradition that has been rising in the Reform movement would placing an orange on the seder table. Legend had it that it was once said that women would be on the bima when an orange is on the seder plate, so in honor of the role of women in Reform Judaism, so homes have added an orange to the seder plate! Other traditions also include: singing songs, eating a festive meal, and hiding the afikomen

Grade 5

 In T’filah, we learned that Cantor is away in New York this weekend, so the madrachim and Rabbi led the service. We talked about how "Modeh" means we are thanking God and also agreeing with God. Once we finished saying our prayers, we discussed the upcoming holiday, Pesach. It’s in two weeks, and we also talked about what we do during Pesach, as well as why we celebrate it. 

Next we had Kehillah. Since the Cantor wasn't here, Mr. Solomon helped lead us in HaTikvah and Havdallah. We also celebrated March birthdays.

Grade 5 had art today! While talked about Pesach in general, mainly focused on Elijah and Miriam. We then decorated wine glasses for Elijah or water glasses for Miriam.

Back in class we began with a warm up. The warm up consisted of a timed reading, where we read 3 given lines of Hebrew words in 20 seconds. Once that was done, we went in the workbook to our new unit to learn the story behind V'shamru. We then began to decipher the vocabulary from the prayer in our workbooks.

Grade 6

Today in Mr. Solomon’s class we reviewed the Ma Nishtanah for Pesach. Some people say that they there are four questions, some say that there are five questions, and some say that it is one question with four answers! We went around the table and tackled it word by word. To do this, Mr. Solomon designed an activity where we each got a word, but they weren't in order. First, we read the word to ourselves. Then, we read the word to our neighbor. Then, we found our word in the Ma Nishtanah. THEN, we read it word by word out loud, each of us reading our word when we got to it. After a few rounds, some of us volunteered to try reading the whole thing! With continued practice, we will definitely be ready come seder time. 

In Mrs. Potash’s class we continued talking about G’milut Chasadim, or Acts of Loving Kindness. We specifically focused on environmental Tikkun Olam and some activities we can do outside of TEE to promote taking care of the environment. As a class, we went around the room and talked about some activities we already do with our families and schools to help the environment. One the main topics touched on was recycling. Mrs. Potash also found some Jewish texts to help reiterate the importance of the environment and its connection to Judaism.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grade 5 & 6 Retreat

Grade 5 & 6 Retreat

The Grade 5 & 6 students had a fantastic time on their Retreat, March 6-7. The Retreat began with candle lighting and Shabbat dinner, followed by a creative service led by TEMTY's Religious and Cultural Vice President, Samantha Eisner (TEMTY is our high school youth group). During the service we watched sign-a-long videos of contemporary songs that expressed the ideas of the prayers.

Image result for burger king in israel 

Then, we went on an amazing scavenger hunt, during which we found "artifacts" from modern day Israel. We learned how life in Israel is very similar to life in the United States!

After a night hike and stories and songs with Rabbi Denker and Cantor Lawrence, it was off to bed!

The next morning, we started with breakfast and Shabbat morning services. Then, we had our very own Amazing Race, during which we traveled through time to meet different important historical figures from Israel's past.

In one station, we built the Temple with King Solomon.

In another, Abraham welcomed us into his tent.

We met with Golda Meir to talk about all of the different cultures that exist in the land of Israel.

We heard from two chalutzot (female pioneers) to learn about the challenges that they faced.

And we talked with Yochanan Ben Zakkai, who shared with us how Judaism transformed following the description of the Second Temple. 

During free time, we enjoyed time outside...

...the weather was beautiful...

...and despite the cold...

...we loved enjoying the sunshine...

...with our friends!

Our Retreat concluded with a program that explored different cities in Israel. We palyed volleyball on the beach in Tel Aviv to made chamsas in Tzfat and learned to play Sheshbesh (backgammon) in a Bedouin tent in the Negev and bartered for spices in the shuk in the Old City.

Last, but not least, we enjoyed Israeli food and a beautiful Havdallah service before getting on the bus to go home. It was a wonderful overnight!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What Happened in Grades K-2 on Sunday, March 15...


What a great day in Kindergarten!! We started by singing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in Hebrew to get our wiggles out. Want to practice at home? Check out this YouTube video:

Our lesson today focused on Pesach. We colored sedar plates, prepared for next week's grocery shopping challenge game and read several different stories.

These books told the stories of children who had to ask the Four Questions at their sedarim (the plural of seder), something many of us will have to do during Passover. We had a great time learning about why the nights of Passover are different from all other nights, and also about friendship.

Grade 1

Unfortunately, our Grade 1 Documentor was under the weather today. While we don't have pictures, here is what the Grade 1 students were up to!

The students began their day with Circle Time. During Circle Time, the students collect and count their tzedakah, which they decided to donate to the Children's Hospital. They also get to share one exciting thing that happened to them during the week.

Then, the class read the story of Pesach, to prepare for the upcoming chag (holiday). While they were reading the story, the students focused on how their lives are different than those of the slaves. 

After Circle Time, it was off to Kehillah and T’filah. When they got back to the classroom, the students connected back into the learning by working on a art project that depicted the importance of freedom, and that when we are free, we have choices about what we will do and how we will behave.  Ms. Levy reminded everyone that as Jews, as well as for others, being free doesn't mean we can do whatever we want, but that we can make responsible choices that don’t harm anyone else.

Then, in Art with Mrs. Schulgasser, everyone made a matzah tray for their seder tables!

Grade 2

Grade 2 began our day by reading a bit about one of the prayers in our service, Eilu Divarim. The prayer talks about the things that we can do to make the world a better place. We went through and came up with examples for each line of the prayer. For example, one was showing respect for our parents, and an example of this was doing chores. Another was paying attention to learning, which we can do by listening to the teacher. Another mitzvah we had was making peace among people. An example of this is fighting for equal rights. 

After T'filah and Kehillah, we came back to classroom and worked with partners on the Alef Bet. Last week, we learned the letter samech, and this week we learned sin. We worked wonderfully in small groups to finish our task. Also, Miss Evans helped us by putting up the vowels in case we forgot.

Then, Mrs. Lowe came to read to us for Library! We read a book called Let's Do A Mitzvah. Before beginning, we told the Mrs. Lowe all about what mitzvot we learned about earlier in the morning, and while we read the book, we found even more examples. We know how to be better people now!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Happened on the Family Retreat...

Everyone had an amazing time on our Family Retreat over Presidents Day weekend. The theme of the weekend was community and our programming brought this theme to life!

We began with an interactive Shabbat morning service. There were different activities that brought to life the various prayers that are a part of our Shabbat morning liturgy. For example, during the Shema and V'ahavtah, we did a yurt circle. These two prayers talk about the relationship between God and the Jewish people. By alternating leaning forwards and backwards, our circle created a community that depended on one another for support (literally!).

The Amidah talks about the relationship between generations and the passing on of Jewish traditions from one generation to another. During the Amidah, we passed a hula hoop around our circle without "breaking the chain"!

After services and lunch, we played a few ice breaker games and then headed into our first program. We were all divided into groups and each group was given a different word that connected to the idea of community. We then had to create an art piece that depicted our word. The group in this picture is depicting the word "family." 

Then, we got into family groups and created artistic representations of what our TEE community means to us.

Later in the day, while the adults did some learning with Rabbi Denker, the kids spent time preparing a theatrical performance. They worked on musical accompaniment with Cantor Lawrence...

a script with Mrs. Zaas...

and some awesome costumes!!

The play told the story of two brothers with a very special relationship ( 

After the play it was time for free time and dinner, followed by our evening program.

During the evening program, we all made "jenga" pieces. Each piece represented different facets of community.

We ended the night with a special Havdallah service created by the teens.

The next morning, we concluded our time together with a giant game of jenga...

We talked about how even though we knew the jenga game would fall, playing it together as a community was fun because when we're in a strong community, doing things together is what makes things fun (even if in the end the tower falls down!).