We spent some type talking about famous Jewish people. Many of the students talked about famous Jews they had learned about themselves such as Albert Einstein, Shel Silverstein, Natalie Portman and Anne Frank. Of course we talked about Hanukkah and in our Hebrew lesson with Muriel we learned words associated with the holiday. We also sang the song S’vivon which we later taught to the pre-school students. The remainder of the class was spent rehearsing for the Hanukkah puppet show. We has a great time practicing and hope the audience enjoyed it!
At the November Or Emet Sunday school session, the 5th-8th grade class learned about Hasidic Jewish history, culture, and presence in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Students read a newspaper article together about the conflicts that have emerged between Hasidic Jews and Puerto Ricans, long-time residents of this neighborhood, and the recent influx of artists and hipster-types fleeing Manhattan for the cheaper rents and lively creative scene that have come to define Williamsburg. After discussing the article and talking a little about gentrification, the class created a large-scale drawing of the Williamsburg neighborhood, illustrating the different communities that live there, their homes, businesses, et cetera and their needs, interests, and conflicts. After the break, students continued discussing plans for a service-learning project, identifying doing work around hunger as the most important focus in their eyes. We made a decision together to volunteer at a food pantry/soup kitchen and to do some associated study/learning around issues of hunger; parents, I’ll be proposing some possible dates for a trip in December/January in an upcoming email. The class will also be participating in the November 22 rehearsals at Articulture, working on a presentation of our group’s Hanukkah play.
The main focus of last session was on the Ten Commandments. The students were introduced to the story of the Ten Commandments in a puppet show-type format. We followed the show with a discussion of each of the commandments. Of particular interest was the second commandment (commonly known as “do not make idols”) which in the details actually states that only were the Israelites not to make idols or any images of Yahweh, but they were to not “make any sculptured image or any likeness of anything that is in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.” We talked about this essentially meant people could not make pictures, sculptures, drawings, etc of anything in the natural world. I think they all decided that is not necessarily a commandment they felt they would want to follow (or one that makes sense to them). (more…)
Last session our focus was primarily on Sukkot. We played Sukkot Trivia (download here) and learned about how Sukkot is both a celebration of the harvest and a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. The kids really had a great time with the trivia game. We also discussed how Sukkot is about cooperation…working together to build and decorate the Sukkah, just as people work together during the harvest. To practice cooperation we played one of the students’ favorite games…the human knot. Everyone stands in a circle, reaches across the circle and takes the hands of others, and then the group works together to untangle the the knot and make a new, untangled circle. We had a great time and no one lost any limbs! The students made paper lanterns to decorate the Sukkah at Tom and Barbara’s. (more…)
The Pre-Schoolers spent most of this Sunday’s class learning about Sukkot. We began the day by greeting one another with last month’s new word- Shalom. We then learned the new Hebrew word of the month- Toda- meaning Thank You. We tried to use this word often throughout the day and I encouraged the students to say “toda” to their families when they got home! (more…)