This week at JCS we discussed Shabbat. We lit candles, ate challah, and learned some Secular Humanistic prayers. We read a Shabbat story, and drew some pictures of what we like to do during our “rest time.” Kai told some hilarious jokes, and we played an excellent game of Simon Says.


In November, the Middles class learned about Shabbat. We had a brief discussion of what Shabbat means. We learned what a traditional family might do on Shabbat, and what they might not do, and played a game to review. We then began our own “mini” Shabbat with a Kiddush and candle lighting. We read a story about how to have fun without technology and played a game of charades to practice. Students made their own spice pouches for Havdalah, and we closed the lesson with our own Havdalah ceremony.


In November, Juniors class students continued with their humanistic Torah study. After a quick icebreaker/warm-up, students reviewed the famous Torah-focused artwork covered in October, choosing a favorite piece and then sharing the Torah story it represents along with their reasons for choosing it. Then the class split into two smaller groups, doing reader’s theater-style readings of summaries of the Vayetze and Vayishlach Torah portions, of the Sedra Scenes for the Vayayshev and Mikaytz portions, of summaries of the Vayigash and Vayechi portions, and of the Sedra Scenes skit for the Shemot portion—it sounds like a mouthful, right? 🙂 Basically, students did dramatic readings of short, funny Sedra Scenes skits retelling the rest of Genesis and the very beginning of Exodus along with some quick summaries to connect the narrative dots. Groups briefly discussed each Torah portion after completing the reading for it; discussions touched on how Jacob, Leah, and Rachel must have felt when Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel, the source and value of Joseph’s dreams, the ethics of Joseph’s treatment of his brothers, and comparisons that can be drawn between Moses and different fictional characters/historical figures. When we returned from a quick break, we moved to our “Midrash Manicures” activity! Taking inspiration from the popular “Midrash Manicures” website, whose founder, Rabbi Yael Buechler, has decorated her nails with creative, symbolic art to match the week’s Torah portion for the past ten years, students painted decorative nail art on their fingernails to represent Torah stories they have studied so far this year. Student who didn’t want to paint their nails decorated pin-back buttons instead. It was a creative, fun, messy, and smelly—lots of open bottles of nail polish sure smell!—end to the lesson!

June 3, 2018