This week at Or Emet’s JCS program we got to explore our new space, welcome a new face to our class, and welcome back some others. We learned our “good morning” song with teacher Sarah, and spent some time coloring Rosh Hashanah pictures. At the end of the day, we read a Rosh Hashanah story while enjoying the nice weather on the playground. It was a great kick-off to a new year!
In September, the Middles class learned about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We learned about the shofar and had our own Tashlich. Sarah taught us a song for Rosh Hashanah, and how to say our names in Hebrew. We also learned about creation myths and the Torah. We looked at examples of creation stories from around the world, including the Torah, to see how people explained the world before they had science to help them. Then we made our own creation myth pictures and stories.
Please have your Middles student bring a canned good to donate in October, when we learn about generosity in celebration of Sukkot.
During our first session of the school year, our class focused on getting to know visitors, reconnecting with classmates after the summer break, and beginning to delve into Torah study. After a couple of icebreaker activities, students listened to a short talk focused on the Torah, how it can be divided into five books and into weekly readings or parshiyot, and how Humanistic, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews all believe different things about the Torah and to what extent events and characters described in it are true. Students briefly discussed who they believe wrote the Torah and why, as well as why we would study the Torah as Humanistic Jews—even when facts/evidence tell us that the stories in the Torah either aren’t true or can’t be proven. Then we moved on to doing performances from Sedra Scenes, a book of short, funny skits based on the weekly Torah portions. Students chose roles for each scene and then performed the skits for the Bereishit, Noah, Lech Lecha, and Vayeira portions, using costumes and props made of foam. In the middle of the skits we took a break for our music and Hebrew lesson with Sarah, who taught the class a variety of Hebrew vocabulary for the High Holidays along with the traditional shofar blasts and two holiday songs—“Apples and Honey (for Rosh Hashanah)” and “B’Rosh HaShanah.” We returned to our skits afterward, and then discussed the stories that students performed. Students compared the creation story described in the Torah to creation stories in other religions/cultures, talked Torah and sexism, discussed whether they would have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, and critically examined the stories of Noah and the Binding of Isaac. We wrapped up the morning with an all-school sing-along in honor of Harold, and I’m excited to regroup with this fun and thoughtful class in October!