Retiring JCSS Director Arty Dorman       New JCSS Director Molly Phipps

Our last Jewish Cultural Sunday School session of the school year was held on June 5, 2022, in-person, with a warm, slightly overcast sky that allowed for a lot of outdoor time.

Wary of covid, we held 8 of our 10 sessions masked but in-person this year – September and October being completely outdoors – and reverted to Zoom in January and February when the Omicron variant was most threatening.  Over the course of the past year, we brought a terrific new teacher, Amy Leavitt, on board, were able to hold all of our usual special events and added several new students.  This summer will see five of our students celebrate the capstone of their JCSS experience with B Mitzvahs.

June 5 was my last session as head of our JCSS.  It has been a distinct honor and total joy to lead this program, get to know all of our students and their parents, work with dedicated teachers Eva Cohen, Renee Dorman, Josh Kaplan, Amy Leavitt, Colline Roland and Sarah Berman Young and have the full support of Or Emet’s executive committee and membership.

Above, you can see one last photo of me, receiving an appreciation graphic that highlights words JCSS parents, and teachers used to describe me.  I could not be prouder that the word that stands out the most – meaning it was stated most often – is “kind”.

You also see a photo of our new JCSS Director, Molly Phipps.  Molly has wonderful experiences to bring to this position, including a PhD in Education, focusing on out-of-school learning, experience teaching Jewish history, and her own Jewish upbringing.   Molly’s two children currently attend the JCSS.  You can look forward to hearing more from her and to all the ways she no doubt will continue to grow and energize our program.

Here are our teachers’ summaries of what each class did this month at JCSS.

The Littles Group, PreK- Kindergarten – teacher Amy Leavitt 

        and the Middles Group, grades 1-2 – teacher Colline Roland

This month the Littles and Middles joined for one last school session. We learned about Tikun Olam in the book “A Hen for Izzy Pippik”. Our good deed to repair the world for the day was to plant flowers for our pollinators. We decorated little pots and read “Flight of the Honey Bee” and took a trip on the “Magic School Bus”

We are so grateful for our snacks: mangoes, berries, apples, peppers, and nuts and more importantly for pollinators!


The Juniors Group, grades 3-5 – teacher Renee Dorman

The Juniors group ended the year with a scavenger hunt that helped us review all the major Jewish holidays.

First, they had to solve a clue to figure out which holiday it referred to. Then, when they found the holiday (written on a posted somewhere on the playground) they had to solve a new clue about that holiday to find the code word. One letter from each code word combined to spell out the final answer: the Hebrew word for “happy”, sameach. We reviewed eight different holidays.

We also enjoyed a Star of David watercolor craft,

         Thanks for a great year!


B’Mitzvah Group, grades 6-7 – (teacher Eva Cohen) guest teacher Ian Zukor

We began class by comparing the traditional Sh’ma prayer with a humanistic version. Then we created our own mezuzahs out of model magic clay, which was filled with the humanistic Sh’ma.

Next, we discussed the prophets and how their words still persist today largely through examination of the prophets’ quotes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.  Lastly, we practiced Hebrew by transliterating the first two lines to Lo Yisa Goy and discussing the importance of the lyrics


An ancient mezuzah                   “Swords into Ploughshares” sculpture at the                                                             north garden of United Nations headquarters                                                            in New York City

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