Our 5779 Sukkot Party

Welcome back to the Or Emet – Jewish Cultural School Blog

On September 30, our annual Sukkot party took place at the Saint Paul Jewish Community Center, afterwards taking part in the gala Jewish Community Fall Festival celebrating the re-opening of the JCC after a year of major renovations.

Here are decorations from our Littles, Juniors and B’Mitzvah JCS groups, illuminated by light through the window at the JCC library.

Ritual leader Eva Cohen lead 30 attendees through the Humanistic Sukkot service

JCS students taking part in the service, shaking improvised Lulavs

Students won prizes playing “Build the Sukkah Roof”, constructing a roof of sticks sturdy enough to bear the weight of five gourds.

All Ages Take Part in High Holiday Services

I hope you spent the recent Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays in ways that were meaningful to you.  Those who attended the Or Emet programs had the pleasure of seeing some of our own youngsters among the members sharing in presenting our services.

At the Rosh Hashanah service, Jewish Cultural School alums took part.  Recent  Middlebury University graduate Sam Wegner led the candle lighting,  high school junior Ian Zukor offered an insightful personal commentary, and Leah Chazdon, whose B’Mitzvah was just last month, led a responsive reading.

At the Yom Kippur afternoon service, 4th grader Julian Young did a wonderful job leading us (along with his dad, Adrian) in reading the Yom Kippur Resolutions.

And let us not forget that all of the services were beautifully led by Jewish Cultural School alum (and our rabbinate candidate) Eva Cohen.


Smiles Abound on First Day of JCS, 2018

On September 16, twenty-six students, ages 3 – 12, attended the first of nine monthly Jewish Cultural School sessions for 2018-2019.   Below are photos of each happily engaged group that first day.

We still have space for additional students this year.  Contact arty@oremet.org for informati0n.

One thing all of the students did was create a decoration to enliven our Sukkot Party on Sunday, September 30, 11:00 AM at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center.

Below:  the Littles Group (age 3 – Kindergarten) and teacher Josh Kaplan.


Below: the Middles Group (grades 1-3) and teacher Colline Rowland


Below: the Juniors Group (grades 4-5) with teacher Renee Dorman and teacher aide Ian Zukor


Below: the B’Mitzvah Prep Group  (grades 6-7), holding up their New Years Resolutions for the year 5779.

Jewish Cultural School Blog Back in Business

Greetings – after a couple of years’ hiatus, the JCS Blog is up and running again.  I will aim to offer an update after most JCS sessions, to give parents and anyone else interested a glimpse of what goes on in our classes.

Since our April JCS session was shut down by that most unwelcome blizzard, we added a ninth session on Sunday, June 3 – also date of the Or Emet Annual Meeting, so a two-for-one deal!   The school session, annual meeting, and annual end-of-year picnic will all be held at Talmud Torah.

The highlight of our March session was the Purim Carnival.  Below are photos that capture some of our students having fun, some of the older students operating games, as well as teachers Josh Kaplan and Eva Cohen.  The Hamantashen baking was under the watchful eye of parent Dan Gladen –  many thanks to Dan and also to parents Dana Oken, Arielah King and Marissa Hill-Dongre for help setting up the carnival.



JCS Class Summaries–November 8, 2015


Today at JCS we learned about mitzvot, and role-played ways that we could help each other. We drew pictures of some mitzvot we could do for each other, and shared them with each other. We also sang songs that helped us learn the names of body parts in Hebrew! At the end of the day, Ari made us all some rock oatmeal outside.


In November, the Middles had a great time learning about Shabbat. We reviewed what Shabbat is all about, played a game to help us remember, and had our own candle-lighting and Kiddush ceremony. We sung “Shabbat Shalom” and learned body parts in Hebrew with Sarah. Awesome! Then each student decorated a trivet with a picture of her or his family, to remind us what Shabbat is all about.


[Coming Soon]

Bat/Bar Mitzvah Prep

After reviewing the Jewish history we’ve learned about so far this year, we turned our attention this lesson to the Talmudic Era. During this period in Jewish history—after the destruction of the Second Temple—the Oral Law grew quickly, people collected it together in the Talmud, and Jewish people across the diaspora began to use the Talmud to guide their daily lives. Students read a little about the Talmud and this period in history in a selection from The Veterans of History course text. Then we read an actual piece of the Talmud in translation; the excerpt, from Mas. Baba Kama 113a, is filled with arguments between rabbis about “dina de’malkhuta dina”—whether Jewish people should have to follow the laws of the non-Jewish lands where they live. After reading, students split into two groups and debated the question themselves in true Talmudic style! We learned a song with words that come from the Talmud along with Sarah, and then we talked about how the Talmud includes lots of discussions about blessings and rules for saying blessings. Students learned the traditional Shabbat blessings—for Jewish literacy’s sake—and then transliterated, learned, and practiced the Humanistic Shabbat blessings. We wrapped up class by creating Shabbat candleholders out of clay (imprinted with Star of David shapes made with Torx screws) and decoupage-ing plastic Kiddush cups with decorative, colorful tissue paper patterns. It was another full morning!