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Religious School News

04/18/2013 07:11:10 PM


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April 17, 2013                                                                                                                    7 Iyar 5773

From the Cantor's Desk...

This week, our nation, so recently stunned by the tragedy of Newtown, finds itself once again forced to face the horror of senseless violence and terror. As we see the graphic images and hear the stories from the Boston Marathon bombings, we are overwhelmed by emotion—sadness, fear, confusion and anger. As parents, we wonder how we can speak to our children about this event, especially when we ourselves find it so incredibly painful to face. We want our children to feel safe and secure. We want our children to be safe and secure. We want them to grow up in a better world, one in which their childhoods won’t be tainted by evil and hatred.

As we struggle to find the words to speak to our children, though, it is important that we ourselves be the ones to shape our children’s understanding of the world. In that light, I am offering a brief Jewish perspective on teaching our children how to respond to violence, such as that which they have witnessed this week. At Chanukah, Rabbi Weiner spoke to the children about the power of light, and of the importance of spreading light in times of darkness. This is a powerful Jewish perspective on responding to evil. Our tradition teaches us that in times when there are no righteous people around us, we must struggle to be righteous. In the time of Sodom, when society was engulfed by evil, God planned to destroy the city. Abraham argued that for the sake of even one good person, God should save the city, and God was convinced by his argument. Indeed the Talmud presents the idea that there are 36 anonymous tzadikim—righteous people—in the world, who sustain the whole of the earth. The lesson here is that goodness, kindness and righteousness are more powerful than darkness and evil. One good person can change the world.

In talking about Boston, we can point out to our children that while one person did this terrible thing, countless people responded with courage, compassion and righteousness. There were too many tzadikim to count—those who rushed into the carnage to rescue others, gave blood, and literally opened their doors to survivors. There were incredible doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to save and heal the victims. People not only in the United States, but across the world responded with words of love and support, and prayed for all who were hurt or killed. We can acknowledge the terrible, while turning our focus to good and beauty.

We can encourage our children to react to tragedy by engaging in extra acts of loving kindness. They can tell others that they are doing kind acts to honor the victims of Boston, and they can encourage their friends to spread the word that we must answer fear and hatred with goodness and kindness. These acts can be tied to the tragedy itself. In the coming days, you will be receiving information about how you and your families can help. Acts of kindness can take place in our own communities, as well, and are a powerful and Jewish response to violence. 

In a time of darkness, let us spread light. In a time of violence, let us spread peace. In a time of hatred, let us spread love. We cannot undo what our children have heard, and we cannot make this world entirely safe or secure. What we can do is teach our children that they can be God’s partners in making this a better world. 


Thursday, April 18, 5:30-7:30: Rosh Hodesh for participating 7th grade girls.

Remaining First Grade Parent Education days:

                                April 28                       May 12

Sunday, April 28, Lag B'Omer celebration and the opening of our 5th and 6th grade Camp TBA Experience.  This year, we will be holding a school-wide Maccabiah, and our teams will be playing for tzedakah!  The winning team will earn money each week for the charity of their choice.  We need sponsor families!!  If your family would like to donate $18 for one of the weeks, you can sponsor this year’s TBA Tzedakah Maccabiah.  Please note that we can have more than one sponsor family each week.  This is a wonderful event, but the games cannot proceed without your help! Please send the money in an envelope labeled Maccabiah to school.


Tuesday, May 14, 7:30:  Congregation-wide Shavuot celebration and confirmation.


Please do NOT start lining up your cars until 10 minutes before dismissal.  Our pick-up line makes it difficult for cars to pass, and our neighbors are complaining.


          Grade 4 - 4x; Grade 5 - 5x; Grade 6 - 6x; Grade 7 - 7x


SNOW-DAY MAKEUPS:  There WILL be Religious School on Thursday, May 16 (7th Grade ONLY) and on Wednesday, May 22, for Grades 2-4.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  Sunday, June 2, Israel Day Parade!

BAKITAH:  What's going on in our classrooms?

Each week, we will try to give you a brief summary of what each class has been doing recently.  We welcome you to discuss these topics with your children and, of course, feel free to enhance their learning with your own input.  We hope you enjoy it! 


Grade 2 (Mrs. Young):   Reviewed Alef thru Ayin.  Learned the letters Pay, Fay and Final Fay.  We also discussed the meaning of Rachamim (caring and compassion for each other).

Grade 2 (Morah Elizabeth):  We created individual min-Hebrew letter books.  We also talked about Israel.

Grade 3 Chai (Mrs. Wilbur's Class):  Discussed the connection between our bodies and our souls.  Talked about different ways to keep our bodies and minds healthy and strong.  Made a plan to try one new thing, this week, to help us stay healthy.

Grade 4 Chai (Mrs. Burns):  We discussed Yom Ha'Atzmaut, David Ben Gurion, Theodor Herzl, Hatikvah, and why Israel is truly a unique home land.


Mrs. Usen:  As always, we reviewed all consonants and vowels previously taught.  We introduced the final Tsadee and "a" sounding vowel. 

Mrs. Rosenberger:  Students continued working on individual lessons independently, with a friend and one-on-one.  Individual students read aloud to me today.

Ms. Lerner:  Handed out results of last week's review.  Determined that we needed to review letter and vowel sounds.  Did a review packet today as a class.


Grade 7

Mrs. Gartner:  Began discussing sibling rivalries and relationships as they relate to the story of Cain and Abel in the Torah. 

Ms. Lerner:  Torah study - reading of their own or each other's torah portions. 

Max:  Tonight we watched part of the documentary Paper Clips.  The documentary tells the story of a small Tennessee Middle School collecting 6,000,000 paper clips to visual represent the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.


Kindergarten (Morah Elizabeth):  We celebrated Israel Independence Day!  We created unique Israeli flags using varied shades of blue "tiles" of construction paper for the stripes and Jewish star.

Grade 1 (Mrs. Usen):  We had so much fun in school! We celebrated Israel Independence Day. Kaila's mom showed us a slide show of Israel, we read a book about Israel, made flags, danced to Israeli music and created an Israeli salad.  The entire school enjoyed a delicious cake to celebrate the day.

Grade 5 Chai (Mrs. Rosenberger):  Today the students discussed a G'milut Chasadim lesson about embarrassment or shame and honor.  This lead to a discussion about respect and how we talk to each other.  Students offered examples of when they were made to feel embarrassed and gave an alternate way of being spoken to that would have made them feel better. 

Grade 6 Chai (Mrs. Wilbur):  Isn't it wonderful how Israel segues from Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) directly into Yom Ma'Atzmaut (Independence Day)?  Did you know that Israel had a flag and a national anthem 100 years before they had a formal country?  No wonder why the anthem is called HaTikvah (The Hope).  We shared Israeli salad and pita and shared what we know about Israel to welcome the 65th anniversary of statehood.

Cooking (Mrs. Young):  "Grumbling in the Desert" - White bean flat breads with tomatoes and cheese.  The subject of the discussion was why the Hebrews had to wander the desert for 40 years, what they learned in order to prepare them for living in Israel.  We discussed the role of Moses.

Jewish Short Stories (Ms. Lerner):  We finished reading our story assignments.  Finished play presentations.  Read "The Daughters of Z" to first class and discussed Yom Ha'Atzmaut and going into the Promised Land.

Israel (Mrs. Burns):  Today we continued to discuss the holiday Yom Ha'Atzmaut.  In other words, why is Israel so unique to have its own Jewish state? It all started with the passion of a Jewish soul.  Theodor Herzl and many others who followed made it possible for a Jewish State/Yom Ha'Atzmaut.

Hebrew -

Ms. Lerner:  Reviewed letters and did school-wide alphabet evaluation.

Mrs. Rosenberger:  Students continued working on Mitkadem, their self-paced Hebrew program.  Each student progresses when they are ready to.

Mrs. Wilbur:  We had the school evaluation, then worked on studying the V'ahavta which we are reading (without transliteration), syllable-by-syllalble, wordy-by-word.

Mrs. Usen:  Evaluations, reviewed reading Hebrew.

 -- Mazel Tov to our April B'nei Mitzvah --

Bobby Gevanthor ♦ Danielle Sharp ♦ Jordan Grossberg


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