Today at Or Emet’s JCS we learned about Tu B’Shevat. Teacher Sarah taught us a song, and then we got to color. After snack, we read a story and then participated in a Tu B’Shevat seder with our families. Everyone loved our song!


In February, the Middles class learned the story of Noah’s Ark. We decided that, even though it may not be true, the story can remind us to act in the face of climate change, even if other people don’t believe in it. Sarah taught us a great Humanistic version of “Rise and Shine” as well as a great Tu B’Shevat song, “Treee of Life”. We celebrated the New Year for Trees by making collages of trees to hang in the window. At the end of class, students joined in the annual Tu B’Shevat seder. Also, a big thank you to Jack, our volunteer helper of the month!


During our February lesson, the class focused on wrapping up our Torah study for the year and tying it to our celebration of Tu B’Shevat, aka “The New Year for the Trees.” After a brief tree-focused improv warm-up, students split into groups and tackled the last two books in the Torah—Numbers (BaMidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim)—using their critical thinking skills to sequence the names and descriptions of key events from each of the books’ parshiyot/Torah portions. Then the class focused in on “Korach,” an interesting parsha from Numbers, doing a dramatic reading of the Sedra Scenes skit that retells the story of Korach and discussing it afterward. Students analyzed Korach’s reasons for challenging the leadership of Aaron and Moses, weighed the legitimacy of his beef, and considered, as humanists, why the Torah talks so much about people challenging God and then being punished by God. Finally, the class did a fun art project that connected our Torah study and Tu B’Shevat. Riffing on the idea that the Torah is often called the Tree of Life, or Etz Chaim, we created Tree of Life sun-catchers, decoupaging squares of colorful tissue paper behind a round cut-out design featuring a tree and the Hebrew word “chai.” Then class learned to sing “Ha’Shkediyah Porachat,” a classic Tu B’Shevat song, with Sarah, and we ended the lesson early to join everyone in the gym and take part in Or Emet’s annual Tu B’Shevat seder!

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June 3, 2018