Awesome Jewish Things

Last night, we had a really great time dancing and singing and rolling out the Torah together for Simchat Torah.  I love the newness of the year. Hearing Art read the first lines of Bereshit made me excited for the learning that is to come in 5777.

I love the rain that is falling right now, making that wonderful sound and that oddly comforting smell of wet asphalt that comes with new rain. What a great way to start out the new year! In my position as Educator, I find out about lots of new things that are happening not only in the world of Jewish education, but in many other areas of modern Jewish life as well. So, I thought that I’d share some of that with you occasionally. I’ll call it AWESOME JEWISH THINGS, and I’ll reserve the right to share awesome old Jewish things as well as new ones. 🙂


This week’s AWESOME (NEW) JEWISH THING: Jewish Rock Radio

I learned about Jewish Rock Radio at the educational conference I attended this past summer. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet some of the artists from the world of new Jewish music, I also got exposed to Jewish music in genres that I didn’t expect, such as American country and bluegrass. This station was started by Rick Recht (a fabulous musician as well) who wanted to give new Jewish artists a platform to share their music with the larger community. It is a streaming music service that can be found online and via apps for Android and iOS devices. In addition, the online site features different artists, giving background bios and access to their wider musical offerings.

For me, music is a powerful tool for prayer. When I find good Jewish music it helps me feel a closer connection to God, the beauty of Jewish tradition, and all of the people who came before me. I encourage you all to load the app onto your device, listen awhile and let the music speak to you. I also encourage you to specifically seek out the music of Michelle Citrin, Alan Goodis, Rabbi Joe Black, Nefesh Mountain, Eliana Light, Joe Buchanan, and Susan Horowitz.


#torawesomejews #nachas #derekheretz

++++++++++++++ Announcements ++++++++++++++

Wednesday, October 26th @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School

Friday, October 28th @ 6:45pm – Final Friday Shabbat Service and Dinner

Saturday, October 29th @ 10am – B’nai Mitzvah of Cody and Cade DePeel – Mazel Tov!

Sunday, October 30th – NO RELIGIOUS SCHOOL – Teachers will be attending a professional development

Wednesday, November 2nd @6:30pm – Hebrew School and Madrichim Training

Friday, November 4th @ 6:45pm – Family Shabbat, featuring our PreK/Kinder class

Sunday, November 6th from 8:30am to 10am – 3rd Annual Pancake Breakfast – come support the TASTY youth group as they raise money to attend the NFTY Convention in Chicago! Cost is $5 per person. Yummy pancakes with all the fixings!

Mark your calendars! Saturday, November 12th from 5pm to 9pm – Parent’s Night Out – Bring your kids ages 11 and under to the temple for dinner, games and a movie while you go out on a date! Cost is $25 for the first child, $20 for each additional child. RSVP to

Sunday, November 13th @ 9:30 – PreK/Kinder Field trip to Folsom Zoo

Sunday, November 13th @ 11:15- Parent meeting for 7th grade B’nai Mitzvah class

+++++ Religious School Update and Announcements +++++


This week, the kids learned a little more about Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Then they read the story of Noah’s Ark in preparation for our Family Shabbat on November 4th.

Every year, the PreK/Kinder class takes a field trip and learns more about the animals that Noah saved on the Ark. On Sunday, November 13th (weather permitting) we will take a field trip to the Folsom Zoo. We will meet at the zoo at 9:30am, and explore together. If any of you have a membership to the zoo and have any free passes you are willing to part with, please let me know! We will end our trip with a snack at the park right outside the Zoo.

1st/2nd Grade

This week our good friend Eden helped lead the class. We learned about Sukkot and went into the Sukkah to shake the lulav and etrog. Then we learned about Simchat Torah and made special flags to celebrate the Torah.

We also enjoyed songs with Carol and the PreK/Kinder kids in the Sukkah.

3rd Grade

Ask your student what they learned this week in Ms. Erica’s class. When I popped in, they were singing and dancing to the music from the Shalom Learning lesson. This week they finished the unit on Teshuvah – admitting those things we can do better and working to be better people. Next week, they will be starting lessons on the concept of  B’tzelem Elohim, the idea that we are all made in the image of God. In addition, the class is doing a great job learning their Hebrew alef bet and using the letters with the vowels. If you are ever here early, take a peek in the classroom and watch them learn. It’s really special.

4th/5th Grade

Morah Sarah’s class also started a unit on B’tzelem Elohim. They are learning about what it means to be made in God’s image and how that can help to shape your behaviors, dreams and goals. They also talked about mezuzot, where they come from , what is inside and why we have them. In addition, the kids were interested in Yetzer Hara and how we can avoid making bad choices.

The kids are progressing well through Hebrew. Morah Sarah is teaching them how to form sentences in Hebrew using the words they have learned. Ask them to share some of this with you!

6th Grade

Barry’s class is small and this leads to great discussions. Each student will be doing a poster project on a famous Jewish person. In addition, the class discussed the prayer Av Harachamim and the song Hatikva. Ask them about the significance of both pieces.

They then read another story from 10,000 children, learning what life was like during the time of Hitler and the holocaust.

7th Grade

We have an additional Hebrew tutor who will be joining us on Sunday morning each week. Her name is Michele Silver. She is one of our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutors and is a wonderful source of information. This week, she spent time working with the 7th grade kids in pairs. This extra instruction,  in addition to the focused time they spend with Avi, should make a big difference for those who feel that they are struggling.

When Art arrived, they moved to the library and took out one of the Torah scrolls. They looked through the Torah and located the Torah portions that they will be reading from for their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

Please mark your calendar for November 13th. We will have a 7th Grade parent meeting from 11:15 to noon. We will be discussing logistics for your child’s event. This will be a great time to ask questions if you have any.