Easing into a Routine

As the month of Tishrei comes to a close and we celebrate Rosh Chodesh tonight, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past 30 days. One word comes to mind for me – מָלֵא (malay) – FULL. This month was full of holidays and celebrations, full of reflection and repentance, full of beginnings and new faces, full of friends and family, full of love. As I said before, I love this time of year. I’m sad that it is already over but I look forward to carrying this full feeling throughout the year ahead.

The torah portion this week was Bereishit – Creation. During our tefillah service, we briefly reviewed the story of creation and took a minute to discuss the fact that God rested on the seventh day – Shabbat. I challenged all of our kids to think about how they take time to rest from their busy schedules. What does Shabbat look like in your family? Do you take time to rest and rejuvenate for the week ahead? If not, think about ways that you can adjust your family life to build in a little “down time.” I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the result.

Important Announcements

PreK/Kindergarten Field Trip Reminder! – All parents of PreK/Kinder kids, please remember that we are headed to Rickey Ranch Pumpkin Patch this Sunday for our annual field trip. The cost is $7 per child. We will meet at the temple for tefillah and leave shortly after for the Ranch. Let me know if you have any questions!

November is going to be another fun month at Temple Or Rishon. Below is a list of ways to engage and build kehilla in the month of November.

  1. 2nd and 3rd Grade Family Education – Our next session is November 1st. I hope everyone will be able to join us for learning and discussion.
  2. Friday Night Family Shabbat – November 6, 2016. Join us at 6:45 for Shabbat services with a special presentation by the 4th and 5th grade class. Stay for the Oneg and enjoy a special treat!
  3. The Annual Book Fair is here! Hanukkah comes early this year and November 4 – 15 will be a great time to start taking care of those Hanukkah gifts.
  4. Family Challah Bake – November 8th from 3pm to 6pm. It’s time to reserve your slot for our Fall religious school fundraiser, the Family Challah Bake. Challah stations are $36 – only 96 stations will be sold. Don’t be left out, call and reserve yours today! To help with preparations or donate items, please follow this link to our VolunteerSpot site. http://vols.pt/Y2wuDd
  5. TASTY Lock-in at TOR – November 14th at 6:30pm. Calling all TASTY teens! Come to TOR for a night of Super Hero themed games, activities and fun!
  6. Havdallah, Dessert and Discussion with author Gina Nahai. November 14 at 7:00pm.

For information on the Challah Bake, Havdallah and Bookfair, click here.

Order forms for Wednesday night Hebrew School Pizza went home with your students on Sunday. I am attaching the form here as well. Please try to bring it with your payment on Wednesday night. Pizza Order form

Religious School Updates


This week, in preparation for our trip to Rickey Ranch and the animals we will see there, the kids learned about Noah and the Ark. They created a super cute ark craft complete with animals. It even floats! After snack the class learned about the first letter in the Hebrew alef bet, ALEF! See if your little one can tell you a few words that start with alef. (ima – mom; abba – dad)

Remember we’re headed to Rickey Ranch next week. We’ll bring our bagels with us and have our snack there with the animals! So fun!

1st Grade

Our first grade class also learned about the letter Alef. They traced their bodies in the shape of an alef on large sheets of papers. Ask them to show your their creations and give them time to finish decorating them if you can.

Next, we learned the story of creation and made circle drawings of each of the seven days. They should be able to tell you the story of creation using their neat artwork.

In this class, Efrat teaches the students Hebrew vocabulary through the use of movement and music. They reviewed the numbers while jumping rope and a learned a few new Hebrew words.  Be sure to have them teach them to you as well.

Remember to have your child bring tzedakah each week. Also, Efrat is requesting that each student bring in two toilet paper rolls (just the empty core) for a future project.

2nd and 3rd Grade

This week, the 2nd/3rd grade class continued their study of Abraham and Sarah and the impact they had on the Jewish people. They learned more about Abraham’s relationship with God and the trust that he had to have to believe in a God he could not see. The students discussed this concept in greater depth as a class.

Then, they participated in a centers-based Hebrew lesson. This year, the students will be learning more about the Hebrew letters, the vowels and will gain skills in blending letters and reading Hebrew. With centers-based learning, the students work in smaller groups and rotate through a series of centers where they practice a skill in different ways. This week, the students worked on the following letters: Alef, Bet, Kuf, Shin, Tav and Yud. They practiced reading the letters, writing the letters, and creating words for the Barechu blessing.

As you continue through this week, help your student review by asking the following:

  1. What did you learn about God this week?
  2. What sounds do Alef, Bet, Kuf, Shin, Tav and Yud make?

4th and 5th Grade

Sara sent you a wonderful synopsis of this week’s class. Her challenge for you was to try to say the Shema with your child each evening before bedtime. It really is a nice addition to your bedtime routine.

6th Grade

Wednesday: This past Wednesday, the students spent some time reviewing the names and sounds of all of the vowels. They then practiced their prayers together.

This week, students began working in their Hineini textbook, reviewing their Hebrew reading skills by reviewing their prayers. The discussed the following prayers and their meanings:

  • Bar’chu is like an announcement to the community.
  • Yotzeir Or is a blessing of thanks for the wonders of creation.
  • Shema is the prayer in which we promise to be loyal to G-d.
  • The V’ahavtah reminds us to show love for G-d by following G-d’s commandments.
  • The Mi Chamocha expresses gratitude to G-d for our freedom.

They then read a chapter from Night and a section from Ten Thousand Children. The students discussed difficulties that Jewish children might have faced as World War II began. It would be good to ask the children about what they read and see if there were any issues that bother them or that they need to discuss further.

7th Grade

Wednesday: Last Wednesday, the students had the opportunity to practice delivering their prayers from the bimah with the encouragement of their classmates. I enjoyed listening to them. They are all progressing well.

This week, Avi tested most of the class on the Shema and the V’hafta. Your student should know if they need to work on those further for the coming week. Please remember that all students should be working a minimum of 20 minutes per day on their Hebrew.

During the transition between Hebrew and Judaics, I came into the class and briefly discussed Mitzvah projects. I gave the students a questionnaire to fill out, to help them begin thinking about what they might want to pursue as their project. Over the next several weeks, I’ll speak to each student individually to help them get going. The idea with mitzvah projects is for the kids to find something that is meaningful to them, and incorporates Torah, avot (works) and gimilut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness). In addition, we would love for them to explore options that also help the Jewish community. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Art continued the theme with a discussion of how teens can change the world with acts of kindness and social action. They also discussed the importance of listening to and learning from the stories of our grandparents.

This week, we are asking that your child bring in stories about their parents and grandparents – stories of courage, wisdom, and caring for others.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you again to all of you. Thank you for supporting our endeavors at home and for providing meaningful feedback to make our school a wonderful place for our children to grow.

L’hitraot (until we meet again),