Juniors Class Summary--December 2, 2012
The Juniors class spent the December session focused mostly on Hanukkah. Students opened the class by sharing sentences that included Yiddish terms like “gelt” and “shvitsn” that they learned at the previous session. Then, after briefly reviewing the history of the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora, they listened to a short talk on the subject of Ashkenazi Jewish folklore and folk heroes that introduced them to the character of Hershel of Ostropol–a famous prankster figure celebrated in Ashkenazi stories for his skill in outwitting the rich and powerful, and whose exploits are based on those of a real person who lived in 18th century Ukraine. Students took turns reading aloud the story Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, breaking in the middle for a lesson with Sarah where they learned to sing the classic Yiddish song “Oy, Chanukah.” After returning to the book and finishing their reading, students took a snack break and then turned their attention to a short play script based on the Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins story, choosing roles and, after a brief round of auditions, voting to select the play’s lead. Once all roles were assigned, the class rehearsed the short play twice and brainstormed simple costuming ideas. The lesson closed with a class discussion that touched on the ways that Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins can be read as an allegory for the Ashkenazi Jewish struggle against antisemitism, and students shared their knowledge about antisemitism, their experiences with it, and thoughts about how best to respond to it. After a morning by turns joyously lively and more thoughtful, the Juniors left the classroom prepared to sing “Oy, Chanukah” and perform their play at the upcoming Or Emet Hanukkah party.