This week at Or Emet’s JCS, we learned a little bit about Shabbat from teacher Sarah, we colored, and we did a fun activity to practice tikkun olam. At the end of the day, we read a short story that the kids liked so much, they asked me to read it again.


The Middles class did a review of Passover in April. We watched the ’90s classic, “A Rugrats Passover,” played a game called “Pharaoh, Can We Go Free,” and then acted out the 10 plagues. It was a fun and active class this month! We practiced humanistic Hebrew blessings for wine, bread, and candle lighting with Sarah. She also taught us a beautiful song in Hebrew. At the end of class, we joined other JCS students in creating a model of Kibbutz Aleph, the first kibbutz in Israel. A huge thank you to Jack, our volunteer helper this month!


Our April lesson focused on learning about the food of ancient Israel through studying the Book of Prophets and cooking ancient Israeli-inspired recipes. After a class discussion about how we can study a text—any piece of media like a book, picture, song, or video—from any time and place, ancient or modern, to learn about the beliefs, customs, and daily lives of the people from that time and place, we turned our attention to Nevi’im, or the Book of Prophets. Students received and read different quotations or short summaries from Nevi’im that mention food, and then shared their selections with the group. Highlights included stories about the parched grain, bread, wine, fig cakes, et cetera sent to feed Saul’s and later David’s armies in I Samuel, and the prophet Elisha’s transformation of a wild gourd stew from poison to something palatable with the addition of flour in II Kings. We discussed what, based on our reading, are the foods we can guess that people ate in ancient Israel, as well as what we can hypothesize about their beliefs and attitudes. Then the whole class moved to the kitchen to cook up an ancient Israeli-style feast! Students worked in teams to prepare “Elisha’s gourd stew” (a non-poisonous adaptation!), parsley and barley salad, cucumber salad, and pressed fig cakes, and then enjoyed a meal of these dishes. After our fun lunch together, we closed out the day by helping other JCS students to create a model of Degania Aleph, the first kibbutz in Israel, for the MNIsrael display at the St. Paul JCC’s Yom Ha’atzmaut event.

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