Our final Jewish Cultural School session of the year was held on June 6, 2021.  The year was unlike any other, with every one of our ten sessions held on Zoom, as well as our Sukkot Celebration, Hanukkah Party, Tu’Bshevat Seder, Purim Carnival and Passover Seder.  I know our students missed seeing one another, being able to work with a range of hands-on materials, playing on the playground after class, and our teachers missed the direct contact with students.

Nonetheless, learning continued, values were developed, and there were lots of fun times.  Here is our our students in each group spent this year’s closing JCS session.

Littles Group – PreK-Kindergarten, teacher Josh Kaplan

This month at JCS we took a look back at our year of learning. We reviewed holidays, special occasions, and traditions. We reread one of our favorite books from the year, and even welcomed Max, an awesome visitor to our Littles’ class!

Middles Group – Grades 1-2, teacher Colline Roland

Our last class of the year was a planned virtual travel expedition to Israel. Because of the engagement and curious questions from the students we visited just two places. We went to Jerusalem and learned of the 3 different cultures and religions that consider Jersualm their holiest place. The students had a great discussion pertaining to kindness and human rights and dignity. We then left Jerusalem for Haifa where we explored the Baha’i Gardens.

Baha’i Gardens in Haifa


Juniors Group- Grades 3-5, teacher Renee Dorman

In June, the Juniors class discussed the history of peace between Jews and Muslims. We learned that the Moors allowed Jews to live peacefully during the Spanish Golden Age, and that our cultures share the symbol of the hamsa (in Arabic) or hamesh (in Hebrew). This hand shaped symbol is sometimes said to represent Miriam. We discussed it as a symbol for feeling protected and made hamsa art.
We also learned about a little known element of Sephardic Jewish history – the Jews who, when forced to flee during the inquisition, became pirates. The video we watched about this was a big hit. You can check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDvmzPlmra8

B’Mitzvah Group – Grades 6-8, teacher Eva Cohen

(from guest teacher Sam Wegner) The B’Mitzvah class rounded out the year with a necessary conversation about Israel, Palestine, and our perspectives on the conflict as American Jews. We visualized what partition might look like in our own living spaces, teased out the meaning of the word “homeland,” and reflected on the proportionality of violence in the region.

We also practiced our Hebrew introductions, sang Balalalaika with Sarah Berman-Young, and said goodbye to a great year in JCS.

And in parting …. for now

I look forward to seeing many of you – old friends, and hopefully some new ones as well – at our Family Havdalah Picnic on Saturday, August 7 at Crosby Farm Park in St. Paul, and of course back at JCS in the fall.  Stay tuned for our plans about reconvening in person – fingers crossed!

Last but not least,  Congratulations to Eliana on her B’Mitzvah, celebrated June 12, 2021.

–   Arty Dorman, Jewish Cultural School Director

One thought on “June JCS

  1. Rosalie and Leela King

    It was a really fun year. We saw the Bahai Center in our last class. Rosalie

    I really liked it. Leela

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