Our first Jewish Cultural School session of the 2020-2021 school year, and last of the year 5780 on the Jewish calendar, was on Sunday, September 13.

While we’d much rather be together in person, we continue to meet over Zoom, so that our kids connect with one another, with the bonus of being able to have a glimpse into their homes, perhaps a look at a pet, and share in other ways we cannot in the classroom.  And, of course, our teachers are able to provide lessons and activities to foster appreciation for our Jewish values, traditions, culture and history, seen through a lens of Humanism – see below for some examples.  Each class also had a visit from our Hebrew & Music specialist, Sarah Berman Young.

Some of our current students and recent graduates will be taking part in our upcoming High Holiday services.  Our next JCS session will be the first after the Jewish New Year, 5781, on Sunday, October 4, and will be followed by a celebration of Sukkot.  Hope to see you there!


Littles Group, Pre-school – Kindergarten,  teacher Josh Kaplan

This month at JCS, we welcomed a new student and a guest! They were super fun to meet! We talked about Rosh Hashanah, Tashlikh, we read a story, we shared apples and honey, and we colored together. Even though we wished we could have seen each other in person, it was great to safely get together via Zoom.


Middles Group –  Grades 1 – 3, teacher Colline Roland

For our first session we read a book about Rusty Patched Bumblebee’s and learned they are important for our food supply. We learned that without them we wouldn’t have apples and honey to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. We also talked about our New Year’s goals and what we were most looking forward to this year. And parents (and teachers), your kids miss school just as much as you if not more!

above: Middle group student Ben’s drawing of his New Year celebration.\


Juniors Group – grades 4-5, teacher Renee Dorman

In the Juniors class, we reviewed the High Holidays and focused on the act of Teshuva. We thought about what we’re looking forward to in the year ahead and reflected on how to be our best selves. Ask your child about their teshuva reflection! We also did some very tricky Hebrew word hunting. It was great to see everyone again and meet our new classmates!

above: Teacher Renee (center) and Juniors sharing their wishes for the year 5781.  

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

It was great to see everyone in class today, and to have JCS teaching assistant Leah Chazdon join us! We opened the morning with an introduction to the class and time for each of us to introduce ourselves. Then students took turns asking and responding in Hebrew to the question of how they were doing. We played a movement game to learn the High Holidays shofar calls and a verbal response game to learn/review the following three Hebrew words/phrases for Rosh Hashanah: tapuach (apple), d’vash (honey), and shanah tovah (literally “a good year”–greeting to express “happy new year”). After a music and Hebrew lesson with Sarah–including singing “B’chol Adam”–and a short break, we regrouped for discussion. We had a conversation about the High Holidays as a time for thinking about our values, our actions and behaviors, and whether our actions have lined up with our values over the past year. Students shared their core values, reflected on whether their actions of the past year aligned with these values, and wrote down personal goals for the new year to make teshuvah–to return to their values. We also took a group picture holding signs listing the things that we are most looking forward to in the new year. Finally, we looked at examples of “Shanah Tovah” greeting cards from the late 19th century until today. Taking inspiration from these cards and their diverse visual styles and themes, students created their own “Shanah Tovah” greeting cards to give to family or friends.

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