Making it Relevant

I’m sitting here reading an article called Transformative Jewish Education Through the Arts by Gail Baker, Judith Leitner, and Pam Medjuck Stein. It’s a great explanation of the power of teaching through art. There is a fantastic sentence that I just had to share.

“We introduce our students to their world and their Judaism simultaneously and their Judaism becomes as relevant to them as the great world around them.”

If we, as parents, educators, and role models, are able to do that, just imagine the connections our children will have to Jewish Tradition, the Jewish Experience, and Am Israel Chai.

I think that our ShalomLearning curriculum (currently grades 3-5) is doing this. I think we are on our way to making more of our program fulfill that goal in our newly created Educational Task Force. Frankly, I’m excited. There are so many possibilities, so many opportunities, so many ways in which our program, our community, our temple is providing entry points for people (us, our kids, our friends) to engage Jewishly.

We’re growing some Awesome Jews here at Temple Or Rishon, and I think people should know about it! Spread the word!

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

Wednesday, May 3rd @ 6:30pm – Hebrew School and Confirmation Class – Join us as we celebrate Israeli Independence Day with food, dancing, music and more! Open to everyone!

Friday, May 5th @ 10am – Gan K’tan – Our fun program of our pre-school kids and their special adult.

Friday, May 5th @ 6:45pm – Family Shabbat featuring the TOR Teens. Join us for Shabbat services and hear about the great ways our Teens are participating here at TOR.

Sunday, May 7th

  • @ 9am – Religious School
  • @9:30am – Bagels with the Board – come find out what’s new at TOR!
  • @10am – Men’s Club Bagel Breakfast
  • @1pm – Jewish Heritage Festival – at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 61st and H Street in Sacramento

Wednesday, May 10th @6:30pm – Hebrew School

Friday, May 12th @ 10am – Gan K’tan

Friday and Saturday, May 12th and 13th – Mental Health Awareness Shabbat

Mark Your Calendars

Friday, May 26th – Teacher Appreciation Shabbat and Final Friday Dinner

Sunday, June 4th – End of the Year Family Picnic – Location TBD

++++++++++ Religious School Update ++++++++++


Our younger students learned about Israel this week through the alphabet and colors. They created a window hanging with parchment and tissue, representing the colors of the Israeli flag with a star of David in the center. They can take it home next week.

1st and 2nd Grade

Efrat’s class enjoyed having Maya as their teacher this week! She also taught a little about Israel as they read stories and created a sand map of the country. The students also practiced writing their Hebrew alef bet in their own “torah scroll”

3rd Grade

This week we examined modern leaders and communicators through a Jewish lens, and how they create positive change in the world through the power of their words. The  students learned that leaders throughout history have used speech to create real change.
They explored the importance of body language in the ways that we communicate. And we learned about the ways in which speech creates change in the modern world, and made personal connections to these stories.

At home this week, consider discussing the following questions: What do we tend to debate about in our family? Who usually wins that debate? Why?

4th Grade

Our 4th graders did a review of the year’s teaching so far and Sara was very impressed with what they remembered and what they’ve learned. They also learned about Shavuot, all the customs and traditions. Sara gave a sort of pop quiz, all in Hebrew. She spoke and they listened, and wrote what they heard. Most everyone did really well, and as a class did GREAT!

5th Grade

This week our 5th grade concentrated on the idea that Shabbat helps us achieve peace and wholeness in our homes. The goal of these lessons are for students to become more comfortable with performing Shabbat rituals through videos and simulations. They will then identify behaviors they can use in their own lives to lead to Sh’lom bayit (peace in the home).
This week, consider discussing the following questions with your student: How can you add to the “wholeness” and peace in your home? On a weekly/Shabbat schedule, what chores and responsibilities could each individual take on that would benefit everyone in the home? What mitzvot can you do that contribute to the ”wholeness” of another person?

6th Grade

Barry’s class discussed the importance and proper way to affix the mezuzzah. They also discuss the meaning behind the Haskivenu, Shema, and Modeh Ani prayers.

Our 6th grade got to participate in art this week and created their own rendition of Marc Chagall’s My Village painting. Using oil pastels, they drew their own “village” showing the elements that they feel are part of their Jewish world.

7th grade

Our 7th grade class was rather small this week. They worked with Avi on perfecting their prayers and then also participated in the Chagall art project.

Please remember that May 21st is the annual 7th grade trip to San Francisco. If you need information, please contact Paul or Avi.