Warm Fuzzies

Good Morning Everyone!

IMG_2757My apologies for the late post this week. We’ve had a full schedule here at TOR! It has been so wonderful seeing everyone get involved and get to know each other. So, here’s our update for the week.

IMG_2762For those of you who were at Simchat Torah last night, WOW! What fun we had dancing, singing, smiling and connecting as we rolled out the Torah and began again. The energy in the room was incredible and I for one couldn’t stop smiling. When we come together in love and with the love of Torah, our community becomes stronger and for me, it fills an essential place in my soul. I was able to capture some great moments. If any one else got some good pictures, please send them to me!

Important Announcements

PIZZA! – I’ll be sending an email today to all of our Wednesday evening families to pre-order pizza. I apologize for not getting the order form into your hands earlier. I hope to have it on Wednesday evening for you to pick up. Pizza will be $1 per slice. We’ll have water available for the kids to drink, or they can feel free to bring their own beverage.

Madrichim Training – If you have a teen who is a member of our Madrichim crew, they will have their first training this Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:00pm with  Madeline. This will be a great opportunity for them to gain some skills for effectively helping in the classroom.

Taste of Torah – Our first Taste of Torah with Marcia will be this Saturday (10/10) at 10am in Classroom 1. This is a wonderful opportunity to stay connected with Marcia and for the littler ones to learn a little about the Torah and actually interact with the Torah scroll up close.

Family Challah Bake – November 8th  from 3:00-6:00pm. Reserve your spot today! Each station is $36 and makes 2 loaves of challah. Watch your email and mail for more information.

Book Fair – November 4 – 15. We will have a great selection of children’s books this year from Kar Ben Publishers. We will also have a selection of books that are essential for every Jewish home. Our fair will be capped off with a lovely havdallah, dessert and discussion with author Gina Nahai (www.ginabnahai.com) on Saturday, November 14th at 7pm.

School Updates

PreK-Kindergarten

For those who were able to make our Family Shabbat Service on Friday, thank you! The PreK/Kinder class presented an adorable poster of the creation story and led us in song. It was really cute.

This week, the kids learned about Simchat Torah and made some very nice little flags for our celebration. They also had a chance to go into the Sukkah and shake the lulav and etrog to celebrate Sukkot.

As you engage with your little ones this week, ask them what they like about being Jewish. Why do we celebrate Simchat Torah and what do they like about the holiday?

1st Grade

This week, the first grade class reviewed the symbols of the High Holy Days. Each child created a small memory game of the symbols to bring home and play. Ask them to play it with you, it’s super fun! (and the pictures they drew are really cute). The class then talked about Simchat Torah and made great little flags to help celebrate the holiday.

Next week, the class will begin their Hebrew study with the letter Alef. Efrat has a wonderful story that will continue through the year as they learn the alef bet.

We have two announcements for this class as well. 1. Please remember to have your student bring a few coins for tzedakah each week. We want them to understand the importance of helping others in whatever way they can, even the smallest amount can help. 2. The children have expressed the desire to be able to check out books from the classroom library. So, starting next week, students will be able to do that! They can check out a book for a week and return in the following Sunday.

As you spend time together this week ask your child about the High Holy Days. Play their game with them and have them tell you about the symbols and what they mean.

2nd and 3rd Grade

This week we began our family education program in 2nd and 3rd grade. After tefillah, the students went back to class and learned about what it means to make a difference. They learned about Abraham and Sarah and how God used them to make a difference in the world. While the kids were learning in class, the parents enjoyed an engaging session with the Rabbi on the topic of mitzvot. What is a mitzvah? The word mitzvah implies both good deed and commandment or obligation. This also brings up the idea of a commander issuing the commandment. The group was able to participate in a great discussion about what that means to them and to their family. How that connects to beliefs about God and how we translate those beliefs to our children. How do we engage our children Jewishly? What does that look like in an interfaith family? What challenges do they face?

The adult learning session ended with a brief discussion with me on the topic of our religious school. I am really hoping to be able to give everyone the opportunity to provide feedback on our school – What are we doing well? Where can we improve? What are your goals for your children? How do we make this community even better?

The day of learning ended with parents joining their kids in the 2nd/3rd grade classroom for an activity about the mitzvah of tzedakah and how they as a family can help others in need.

As you spend the week together, ask your 2nd or 3rd grader the following questions:

  1. What is Simchat Torah?
  2. How can you communicate with respect to your family?
  3. What can we do to make a difference?

4th and 5th Grade

Again, Sara sent a great update already. If you are not getting the updates from her, let me know. Here is a copy of this week’s challenge question.

This week’s question is:
Why do our sages think it is a bad idea to know where Moses is buried? Why don’t we know? (Hint: the source is Rabbi Chama ben Chanina.)

Some ideas the class had were: he was buried by God, so people never knew, that he was like Elijah and didn’t die in the same way other people die, it was a long time ago and we forgot, we left the area and no one remembers. All great ideas. See what your family comes up with!

6th Grade

Last Wednesday: Lisa reviewed the Alef Bet and vowels with the students and began blending exercises. Lisa gave them some tricks and ideas to help remember the letters that have similar shapes and discussed common errors that are made in reading.

I’ll be sending you Lisa’s contact information in a separate email.

Sunday: The sixth grade class continued their study of the Jewish calendar this week. Discussing Rosh Chodesh, Simchat Torah and the placement of the weekly parshot within the month.

They spent time on the importance and meaning of the Ein Kamocha prayer and also read the first chapter of Elie Weisel’s Night. Each student has now had their Hebrew pre-assessment and Barry and Lisa will be able to design their lessons to meet the levels of the individual students.

Below are some questions to have your students consider as they continue through the week . Please remember they are expected to spend a minimum of one hour per week working on their Hebrew.

  1. What is and when does Simchat Torah begin? (We finish reading all of the 5 Books of Moses. It begins Oct. 5 at sunset)
  2. What is the name of the prayer that we express G-d’s uniqueness? (Ein Kamocha)
  3. The Jewish people regard this a G-d’s most precious gift. What is this? (The Torah)

7th grade

Wednesday: This week, Paul got to meet the class and get to know them a little. He assigned each a prayer to work on for this coming Wednesday. At this point, every student should have a prayer packet and CD. It is imperative that you see me (Mary) if you do not have one or the other (or both).

Sunday: Art started with the meaning of the V’hafta. What does it mean to love God? The responses led to a whole group discussion of God’s role in our lives and about what a miracle that is.

Consider continuing this discussion with your student with the following questions:

  1. Has God been present in your life? How?
  2. Can we bring God into other people’s lives through the mitzvot we do?

I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Let me know if you have any questions!

L’shalom,

Mary

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