It’s great to be Jewish

awesomeIt’s been awhile since I’ve written a post about awesome Jewish things. So, I thought it high time to offer another installment. Today, I’ll focus on three things that I think are awesome about being Jewish. I hope that you will add a few of your own to the list and make it grow a bit! 🙂

#1. We are an extraordinary people. For millennia, we have given the world some of its best and most fundamental guiding concepts.

  • Monothesim – one G-d. That’s all there is and that’s all we need.
  • The 10 Commandments – guiding tenets that a great many civilizations have been built upon. You would be hard pressed to find a social system that isn’t based in some way on the mitzvot from Sinai.
  • A religion that values ethical behavior in both religious practice and in everyday life. Although anyone can live by a double standard if they really want to, the Torah teaches us that we must be an example in all aspects of our lives and strive to heal the world and bring people together in peace.
  • A strong belief in justice for everyone. We are all important in G-d’s eyes. Fair treatment and justice is fundamental to our core beliefs.

#2. Pirkei Avot – The Ethics of our Fathers – Jewish Values. Judaism teaches some really awesome values. There are lessons for everything from responsibility to humility, cleanliness to caring for your parents. No matter what lesson you are trying to teach your children, there is a Jewish example out there to reinforce that teaching. Being awesome Jews falls right into that category as well.

#3. Jewish Food – Need I say more? Jewish food is fun because we have the standards like Matzoh Ball Soup and Latkes… but then every once in awhile someone pulls out an incredible Shabbat apple cake or old secret rugelach recipe that expands our culinary horizons even further. Have you had schnitzel, brisket, cholent, or kugel? If not, you really must try them all. Yummy! I’m always looking for new recipes and I’m happy to share some of mine as well.

We should all be proud to be a part of the great Jewish community. Whether you were born into it, are a member by virtue of proximity (marriage and the like) or are here by choice, you are a part of my family, and I am happy for it.

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

Wednesday, February 1st @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School and Confirmation Class

Friday, February 3rd

  • @ 10am – Gan K’tan – for kids 18 months and older (and their parents)
  • @ 6:45pm – Family Shabbat – featuring our 4th and 5th grade students. Join us as our students share about the weekly Torah Portion!

Sunday, February 5th

  • @ 9am – Sunday School
  • @10am – Men’s Club Bagel Breakfast
  • @ 12pm – Purim Spiel Practice

Wednesday, February 8th @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School

Friday, February 10th @ 10am – Gan K’tan

Saturday, February 11th  from 5pm to 9pm – Parent’s Night Out – Drop your kids off at the temple for an evening of fun while you have some time to yourselves! Cost is $25 per kid/ $60 for families of 3. All proceeds go to our scholarship fund and NFTY Convention fund. Click here to sign up! Please RSVP by February 8th.

Sunday, February 12th

  • @9am – Sunday School
  • @9:30am- Camp Showcase – we are featuring 6 different Jewish summer camps. Join us to hear from each individual camp, then stay to ask questions and get more information. Click Here for our Camp Scholarship application.
  • @10:45am – 4th/5th Grade classes leave for SPCA Mitzvah project field trip.
  • @12pm – Purim Spiel Practice

++++++++++ School Updates ++++++++++

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who continually provides feedback for me. We are working hard to improve our programming and your comments and suggestions are essential in that effort. I can’t always implement everything all at once, but little by little we are adjusting and improving the already great programming here at TOR.

PreK/Kindergarten

This week, our youngest learners began to learn some colors in Hebrew. They used those colors to create beautiful hands representing their family for our Tu B’shevat tree. Remember, Ms. Laurie’s class is collecting tzedakkah for our temple food closet. Send a few coins each week with your student to help us in teaching the mitzvah of giving.

1st and 2nd Grade

Morah Efrat’s class read a beautiful story this week by Aubrey Davis. It is called Bone Button Borsht and tells the story of a poor beggar who unites a town by making borsht from his bone buttons. The story led to a discussion about helping others, listening to those around you and not yelling to get your way. Have your child retell the story to you! If you would like to borrow a copy, let me know.

Our class also learned the letters mem and lamed. They are more than halfway through the alef bet and are learning not only the main letters, but also their end of the word conterparts, the sofits. For those who would like more practice at home, there is a link above to games to review the letters. Click on “Useful Links” above and you’ll find the games there.

3rd Grade

This week we examined the concept of responsibility from a Jewish perspective. Not only is it important to fulfill our responsibilities within our secular communities; we also have responsibilities as Jews. Some of these responsibilities come in the form of performing mitzvot (commandments from the Torah), and others come from Jewish values
and being a part of the Jewish community.

We studied the Ten Commandments as a list of “rules” for how to live according to Jewish law. We expanded this idea and discussed how we can follow our “own commandments” and make the world a better place. Next, we learned about the celebration of Shabbat as a Jewish responsibility. We concluded with the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, “healing the world”.

The question of the week for the students is: “How will you live by the 10 Commandments this week?”

4th Grade

Our 4th grade class learned again about Moses and his leadership skills. They analyzed other leaders and discussed what makes a good/strong leader and what makes a bad leader. The class also had the opportunity to create hand prints for our Tu B’shevat family tree. For a final activity, they reviewed their letters and played Hebrew Bingo as a class.

Please remember that this Friday evening is Family Shabbat, featuring the 4th and 5th grade classes. The students have prepared posters reflecting elements of the weekly Torah portion. We will be reviewing their presentation on Wednesday evening. Please plan to attend school tomorrow night, and services on Friday. Sara will be flying back to the US on Sunday. We are happy that she will be back with us on February 12th, just in time for the field trip to the SPCA.

5th Grade

Our 5th grade class had their first lesson with Mr. Adam. This week the students began to understand the mitzvah of “v’ahavta l’reyacha kamocha” (loving others as ourselves) as a responsibility toward others. The students analyzed pop culture through a Jewish lens. They talked about incorporating “v’ahavta l’reyacha kamocha” behaviors into their
daily lives. In addition, they reviewed their Hebrew learning in our lab. Next week, they will be working on reviewing more of the basics of Hebrew to make sure they are solid on the fundamentals before moving forward in the program. Their homework for this week is:

Provide an example of Achrayut (responsibility) that you performed this week.

  • What was the setting
  • What did you do that showed achrayut?
  • What happened afterward and how do you feel about it?

Please remember that this Friday evening is Family Shabbat, featuring the 4th and 5th grade classes. The students have prepared posters reflecting elements of the weekly Torah portion. We will be reviewing their presentation on Wednesday evening. Please plan to attend school tomorrow night, and services on Friday.

6th and 7th Grade

This week, our 6th and 7th grade students spent parts of the morning together. For the first hour, the 7th grade worked with Michele Silver (our Hebrew tutor) as a group, going through some of the prayers. Michele then worked with some of them one-on-one. The 6th grade then benefited from a question and answer session with the 7th graders, allowing the 6th graders to ask questions about b’nai mitzvah preparation.

Our 6th graders moved forward in their computer lab lessons as well. They are doing well in identifying letters, vowels and decoding words.

The most important take away from the conversations between the two classes is the importance of practicing. Please make sure to remind your  students that when they are practicing with the recordings, they must also follow along with the written material. They should not be just listening and memorizing what they hear.

Thank you for your support!