JCS Class Summaries–February 9, 2014

Littles Class

This week was super fun! We sang songs in the beginning of class, and we read our favorite ABC book on helping out and doing mitzvot. Then, inspired by the book, we began working on an ABC book of our own!

Middles Class

In February, the Middles class learned about the importance of respecting people of all religions. We read The Sandwich Swap, which reminded us to focus on all the things we have in common instead of the differences between us. The Holocaust was introduced as a time when people forgot about what they had in common. We learned a little bit about Anne Frank, and decorated our own diaries in Anne’s honor.

Juniors Class

During our February lesson, the sixth of the school year, we learned how to cook some delicious Israeli food! To open the lesson, students shared their favorite Jewish foods to eat. Then we returned to the timeline activity we began last lesson, and students worked to match undated episodes leading up to the founding of Israel with their correct dates. We corrected mismatches and talked about the flow of this history, from the First Zionist Congress and arrival of chalutzim (early pioneers) to Israeli independence, and discussed some of the struggles and conflicts between Jewish settlers, Palestinians, British colonial rulers, and others that characterized the period. After this introduction to Israeli history, the class read aloud a short reading on Israeli food from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Then we got down to business with cooking! Students worked together to prepare sabih, a popular Israeli street food introduced by Iraqi Jewish immigrants to Israel in the 1950s. Sabih combines fried eggplant and chopped hard-boiled eggs with tahini sauce layered on pita, with the classic Israeli salad of chopped cucumber, tomato and parsley served alongside and zhoug, a Yemenite Jewish green chili sauce, drizzled over the top. The class did a great job of cooperating on all the different food prep tasks needed to create this treat and the hummus that we served alongside. We enjoyed our Israeli meal with a great sense of accomplishment, and I was pleased to have several students ask to take home copies of the recipes!

 

JCS Class Summaries–January 12, 2014

Littles Class

This week at Or Emet’s JCS we celebrated Tu B’Shevat. Mrs. Sarah taught us a Tu B’Shevat song, and how to do a yoga tree pose.

We read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, an annual favorite. We also colored some pictures while engaged in an excellent, ADORABLE discussion about the moon, gravity, and where on earth it was currently night. We topped off our day with an excellent Tu B’Shevat seder.

Middles Class

In January, the Middles class learned about Tikkun Olam. We made art projects showing how we can help to repair the world. We also learned about Tu B’Shevat. Our class decided right away that taking care of nature is an excellent way to practice Tikkun Olam. Tree-planting isn’t very realistic in January, so we had fun planting parsley and forget-me-not seeds to take home. Then Sarah taught the class two songs, which the students performed at the Tu B’Shevat seder.

Juniors Class

Our fifth lesson of the school year focused on Zionism and the founding of Israel. We began the morning with a few rounds of “Maklot,” an Israeli game that challenged students to jump over three sticks spread increasingly far apart. From here we began our introduction to Zionism and Zionist ideas; students selected roles, donned costumes, and performed a short play presenting Theodor Herzl’s vision of a Jewish state and the Jewish community’s responses to it in dramatic form. After the performance, the class had a great discussion that explored Herzl’s reasons for wanting a Jewish homeland and the opposition he faced from many gentiles as well as Orthodox and Reform Jewish leaders. Imagining that they were alive during the late 19th/early 20th century, students reflected on whether or not they would have been eager—like many young Jewish people of the period—to join the Zionist movement. Next, Sarah came to teach the regular music and Hebrew lesson. She reviewed the Israeli pioneer song “Zum Gali Gali” with the class, and then taught students to sing “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem. We closed the lesson with a timeline exercise that required students to match undated episodes leading up to the founding of Israel with their correct date. Because the exercise was cut short for students to participate in the Or Emet Tu B’Shevat seder, we will return to it at the beginning of next session.

JCS Class Summaries–December 8, 2013

Littles Class

This week The Littles discussed Shabbat, and the need for rest days. We discussed how Shabbat is similar to vacations, and how it is different. We read a Shabbat story, we drew pictures of how we like to spend our rest days, and we discussed them as a class.

As I often do, when each student finishes their task for the day, the can look through the stack of JCS books that we have. This time, Manny grabbed a book and began to read aloud to the other students. It was a great moment.

Also, there was a tiny sweatshirt left behind at the end of class. It will be returned at the next session.

Middles Class

In December, the Middles class focused on tradition. We reviewed Chanukah by watching the Rugrats Chanukah Special. We followed this up by discussing who passes the traditions and stories down from one generation to the next in the movie, as well as in our own families (here’s looking at, you, moms and dads!). We thought about different kinds of traditions and enjoyed one of the best – food! Together we made some very delicious rugelach. We also had a great music and Hebrew lesson with Sarah.

Juniors Class

In December, during our fourth session of the school year, we focused on learning about the Holocaust and different forms of resistance to the Nazis. Students recalled facts that they already knew about the Holocaust and listened to a short talk (with accompanying slideshow) that outlined the historical conditions that gave rise to Nazism, many of the Holocaust’s tragic events, and the varied ways that people responded to the horror and tragedy. For the remainder of the lesson, students learned about Jewish and “righteous Gentile” resistance to the Nazis. After returning from break, Sarah taught us to sing “Zog Nit Keynmol,” the anthem of the Jewish partisans’ movement. Then the class split into groups and rotated through learning stations that focused, respectively, on Jewish armed resistance, Jewish cultural resistance, and “righteous Gentile” solidarity resistance efforts. At the first station, students read about partisans and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and then listened to another Yiddish partisan song. At the second station, they made realistic and imaginative drawings and then compared them to drawings made by children at the Terezin concentration camp, reflecting on how the children’s art constituted a form of cultural resistance. At the third station, students learned about “righteous Gentiles” who helped to hide, protect, or smuggle Jews to safety during the Holocaust, and created collages in honor of the “tzedek” or “tzedeket” (righteous man or woman) of their choice. Students left the classroom with an understanding that even in the face of Nazi terror, brave Jewish people and their Gentile allies fought to save Jewish lives and preserve hope in the future.

JCS Class Summaries–November 10, 2013

Littles Class

This week we learned about Hanukkah. We learned about the menorah, the letters on a dreidel, how to play the dreidel game, and practiced our Hanukkah party songs. We also made wonderful cards expressing our condolences to one of our classmates who lost a loved one between sessions.

Middles Class

In November, the Middles class learned about Hanukkah. We read Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah and played a game of Freeze (when the music stops) to remember how the Jews hid their studies from the Romans. Sarah taught us two Hanukkah songs, including Or Emet’s Hanukkah blessing. Then we found out why Hanukkah is so early this year by learning about the Jewish calendar. We played a matching game with the Jewish months, and found our Jewish calendar birthdays. For our craft project we drew turkey-themed menorahs in honor of “Thanksgivakah.” We wrapped the day up with a game of dreidel.

Juniors Class

During our third lesson of the school year, students learned more about the factors that caused so many Jewish people to emigrate from the Russian Empire to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920, and then prepared to sing and perform a short play at the Or Emet Hanukkah party. Class opened with a discussion comparing and contrasting the experiences of Jewish immigrants to the U.S. a hundred years ago and immigrants to the U.S. today. Then we watched a selection from the Minnesota-made documentary Ida’s Story, which explores how Or Emet member Donna Sherlock’s mother survived a 1918 pogrom and made a long and treacherous journey with her siblings from their small town in the Ukraine to Ellis Island. The class discussed how they would have felt in Ida’s position and ways that people can prevent the kinds of mass violence that caused such suffering for Ida’s family and millions of other Jews. Then we enjoyed a snack of Streit’s matzo and Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, classic NYC Jewish foods that Jewish immigrants like Ida’s family enjoyed after settling on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After break, we learned to sing “Mi Y’Malel” and “Oy Chanukah” with Sarah, and then started work with our Hanukkah play. The play, called Hanukka Gelt: A Short Play for Hanukka, by Leon Levenson, takes place at Hanukkah time in a shtetl in Russia ~100 years ago; it focuses on a Jewish family in the midst of deciding to immigrate to America in search of safety and opportunity. Students chose characters and then did a read-through of the play. Then the class split into two groups, and for the last half hour of the lesson one group made their own edits to the play script while the other group painted a backdrop for the performance. Students are excited to rehearse and perform the play!

 

Middles Class Summary–October 13, 2013

In October, the Middles Class learned about Ellis Island. We started by sharing where our ancestors were from before they came to the United States. We found those places on the map. With Sarah, we reviewed the Aleph-Bet, and learned a few Yiddish phrases. She also shared a folk song sung by immigrant families. Together, we “read” the pictures-only book The Arrival by Shaun Tan. It is the story of a man who emigrates to a new place. Although the book seems like fantasy, there are many parallels to the journeys some Jewish immigrants took to Ellis Island. As we read, we paused to act out different experiences the man went through – the big ship, seeing his destination for the first time, security, payment – and thought about how he might feel during each event. We decided that immigrating would be scary and confusing, but worth it to get away from something scary. We ended our time by celebrating our arrival in a new place – the playground!
Calendar
July 28, 2018
  • Family Havdalah with campfire, brief service/program, potluck, games
    Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
August 25, 2018
  • St Stephen's Shelter dinner provided by Or Emet volunteers
    Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
August 28, 2018
  • Second Harvest Heartland food shelf
    Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm