During the September 13th Sunday School session, the class and I focused on learning about Sunday School, the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holiday, and Tikkun Olam. The day also started with singing-time along with the entire Sunday School.
First, the kids had a great time learning a new word, Shalom, and greeting one another. We welcomed each other into class and said “Shalom” to one another. We also learned the three different meanings of the word Shalom- hello, goodbye, and peace. We have a Aleph-Bet balll that we threw to one another as we practiced the word.
After that, we talked about where we were- here at Sunday School. We talked a bit about why we are at Sunday School and what we will be doing together throughout the year.
We then talked about the rules of the class:
1. Be nice to one another
2. Tell me, your teacher, if you need to use the bathroom
Once we’d covered those topics, we moved to the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. We talked about what the New Year means and what we do to celebrate it. We read a book about Rosh Hashanah, called Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride, which taught the students about a few different Rosh Hashanah objects, like apples, honey, challah, and a shofar, and the concept of “making things right.”
We then joined the rest of the students for a snack of apples and honey and talked about how honey represents the sweetness of life. While we were having our snack, we heard another student play the shofar for us.
After the snack, we talked about the second part of the new year holiday, Yom Kippur. We talked about what a goal or wish is and the students drew pictures of their wish for the upcoming year, which we placed in Rosh Hashanah picture frames.
When we finished that portion of the day, we started to talk about the phrase Tikkun Olam. We sat in a circle and talked about what it means to “help or heal” the world.
Because we had to talk to the “middle” classroom a bit later in the day, we took a break from that discussion and did our “final” activity at that point. Each student colored an apple and a leaf with something that had learned that day. These apples and leaves were then placed on our “class tree.” This tree is large enough to fit leaves and from each class on it and will be hung during each session so that the students will recognize the space and some of the things they’ve learned.
When the students finished that “final” activity, we went to the gym to take a few moments to play and talk about how we can “help and heal” in our lives. The students took turns telling the class things they could do once they got home and throwing our Aleph-Bet ball to each other.
At the end of the day, we met with the “middles” class and talked about what our Tikkum Olam focus would be for the year. The students deciding that helping animals would be their project, so we will be finding projects throughout the year to help in that way.
Overall, it was a great first session! The students had a great time learning about all of the objects associated with Rosh Hashanah and talking about what they would like to do in the upcoming year.