JCS Class Summaries–May 18, 2014

Littles

[coming soon]

Middles

[coming soon]

Juniors

Our ninth and final lesson of the school year gave students the opportunity to consider Humanistic Judaism and its place on the “Jewish spectrum,” and to learn more about notable Jewish figures of the 19th-21st centuries. After signing “JCS yearbooks,” students took a look at the new Society for Humanistic Judaism website and talked about Humanistic Judaism’s place on the spectrum vis-a-vis Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and other branches of Judaism. Then the class split into two teams and played “Notable Jewish Folk–The Trivia Game!”, a trivia game created by me (Eva) with questions designed to encourage critical thinking and learning about important Jewish figures of the 19th-21st centuries. Question subjects ranged from poet Emma Lazarus to Yiddish theater and film star Molly Picon to polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk. Students put good energy into the game, and because Sarah wasn’t able to join us for the usual Hebrew and music lesson, we used our extra time to continue the competition! To close the lesson, the whole class adjourned to the Middles classroom and joined Josh and Renee’s classes in a clay humanorah-making activity. Juniors students helped the younger kids to sculpt their visions of the humanorah out of clay. It was bitter-sweet to say goodbye at the end of the day. Thank you to my students for a great year!

 

JCS Class Summaries–April 13, 2014

Littles

This week we learned all about Passover! We studied the Seder plate, learned songs, and watched a cool music video about the afikomen. At the end of the day, we put the finishing touches on our mitzvah book.

Middles

[coming soon]

Juniors

Our eighth lesson of the school year focused on Israeli geography and life in modern Israel. After reviewing each other’s names and recalling what they had learned about Zionism, Israeli culture, and Israeli history so far this year, students located and labelled important cities and other geographical features (like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Negev Desert, etc) on a large map of Israel. Then they split into two teams and played a geographical bean bag toss game, taking turns throwing bean bags at the Israeli map and trying to hit the labelled geographical features. Students read aloud some interesting facts about each location that they hit and earned points for their teams. When we returned from break, Sarah Berman-Young led the morning’s music and Hebrew lesson, reviewing Passover vocabulary with the class as well as “Ma Nishtana”/“The Four Questions” and the Humanistic version of “Dayenu.” During the remaining class period, students participated in a Jerusalem marketplace simulation. Playing the roles of regular people you might encounter in a crowded Israeli marketplace—like an IDF soldier, a Palestinian cafe-owner, a Jewish peace activist, an old-time kibbutznik, a Chassidic Judaica seller, an Ethiopian Jewish artist, et cetera—each student learned about her/his character and their opinions and donned any relevant costumes/props. Then students gathered in the “marketplace” together to converse and debate in character, developing an appreciation for the cultural and ideological diversity that characterize modern Israeli life, as well as for the big conflicts around peace and treatment of Palestinians, Judaism’s role in the state, diversity and prejudice, and Israel’s changing economy that are central to the national conversation.

 

JCS Class Summaries–March 16, 2014

Littles

This week at Or Emet’s JCS, we learned a hilarious Purim song in both English and Hebrew with Mrs. Sarah. We watched a Shalom Sesame video about the story of Purim, and continued work on our Mitzvah Book. While we worked, Aayush sang “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” to great effect. At the end of the session, we sang for our parents and had our fun Purim carnival.

Middles

[coming soon]

Juniors

In March, during our seventh lesson of the school year, students prepared for Purim, learned about Jewish values, and helped to make the Or Emet Purim carnival a success! Students began the lesson by watching a short, funny animated video retelling of the Purim story entitled “The Purim Story for Kids and Other Double Dutch Jumping Hipsters.” Then the class brainstormed a list of Jewish values expressed by Esther and Mordechai in the Purim story. Next, students looked at a list of Jewish values with predominantly humanistic overtones. Each student considered six different values and determined the most important in her/his opinion. After splitting into small groups, students took turns sharing their most important Jewish values and then comparing them to more theistic Jewish values, considering whether and how a theistic Jewish value can still be meaningful to Humanistic Jews. Finally, members of each group worked together to sort all of their group’s values into group-defined categories, and then everyone came together to share their values discussions with the larger group. To close the activity, students looked at some examples of symbols that represent Jewish values and beliefs, and then used ink on paper to draw their own creative symbols to represent the Jewish values of their choosing. Sarah joined us toward the close of the lesson to teach some Purim songs, including “Chag Purim” and “Little Purim Clown,” and then the class went downstairs to join the Purim carnival! Juniors students led some carnival games and assisted with the hamantaschen-making activity; their assistance was a big help!

 

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.

Calendar
September 24, 2018
September 30, 2018
  • Sukkot Celebration and Fall Festival
    Time: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
October 4, 2018
  • Executive Committee Meeting
    Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
October 11, 2018
  • How Do We Envision and Build a Thriving Humanistic/Secular Future? by Paul Golin
    Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm