Our last Jewish Cultural School of 2021 was held December 19, overcoming several obstacles, including the absence – due to Covid exposure and holiday travel – of three of our four JCS teachers.  Sarah Berman Young guest-teachered for the combined Middles and Juniors group, and Arielah King guest-teachered for the Littles group – and all was well.   Thanks so much, Sarah and Arielah.

We expect everyone to be back and hope for all to be in good health for our first JCS session of 2022 on January 16.

Littles Group – age 3 – Kindergarten, teacher Amy Leavitt, guest teacher Arielah King

The Littles learned the word “mitzvah” and discussed the mitzvah of caring for the sick. They made drawings to be delivered to Children’s Hospital. We read the book “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”, and other books with a similar theme.

Middles Group – Grades 1-2, teacher Colline Roland, & Juniors Group, grades 3-5, teacher Renee Dorman – guest teacher Sarah Berman Young

“Renee left a lesson for the students that introduced Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism, and the students listened to two versions of the Golem tale. The students talked about what magical words they might use to bring their own Golem to life, and what type of shape their own Golem might take to protect them and those they cared about. Then they had a chance to build their own Golems out of air-dry clay. It was a lot of fun!”

Above: reproduction of Prague Golem

B’Mitzvah Prep Group, grades 6-7, teacher Eva Cohen

During our December class, students continued to explore Genesis/Bereishit (the first book in the Torah) from a humanistic perspective. After our regular Hebrew conversation warm-up and reviewing November’s lesson, students read a summary of Genesis, noted all the stories in it that were familiar to them, and discussed major themes in these stories.

Then the class acted out a funny skit from Sedra Scenes based on the Noah/Noach section of the book (Noah’s Ark and surrounding stories). We discussed similarities and differences between this flood story and others from the ancient Near East, and we considered the ethics of God’s actions in the story. One student made the interesting comparison between God flooding the world to destroy his creation that had ‘become evil,’ and mad scientists in works like Frankenstein who try to destroy the monsters they create.

After break we shifted to learning about Hebrew names, noting the connection between many Hebrew names and characters and concepts in Genesis. Students reviewed how to write the letters of the aleph-bet and then created Hebrew name art inspired by medieval Jewish illuminated manuscripts. The class brought great engagement and creativity to our lesson!



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