On a beautiful Sunday morning in May, our Jewish Cultural School students and teachers met over Zoom to connect with one another as members of the Or Emet community, and to continue the process of learning about our Jewish culture, history, traditions, arts and values though a humanistic lens.

The Littles Group – PreK – Kindergarten, teacher Josh Kaplan

This month at JCS we learned about Jewish folktales. We read a great book called Something From Nothing by Pheobe Gilman which is based on an old Jewish folktale. Then I (Teacher Josh) told the class a folktale and, afterwards, the class drew some illustrations for the story.

Note: we did have some background noise issues today. Just a reminder that, if parents are having a conversation while their Little is Zooming, we’ll all hear it on our end.


Middles Group, grades 1- 2 –  teacher Colline Roland

On Sunday we learned about Shavuot and craved dairy products and fruit.  We learned the story of the Ten Commandments being received, including the commandment not to kill Afterwards we each  created our own commandments for society.  We also read the book Kopecks for Blintzes.  We also read  Kopecks for Blintzes by Judy Goldman.

Here are the Ten Commandments each of the Middles Students thought up.


Juniors Group, grades 3-5 – teacher Renee Dorman

In May, the Juniors class learned about Shavuot. We watched a video about this lesser known holiday. We learned about the tradition of reciting acrostic poems of the alef-bet during the Shavuot service, and briefly looked at the content of one such poem, which is full of gratitude for God’s blessings. After a review of Hebrew, we took a humanist lens on the tradition and made our own (English) alphabet books of things we are grateful for. We also included the Hebrew letter(s) that makes the same sound in each alphabet page.


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

The B Mitzvah Prep class spent this session learning about the Holocaust. After our usual Hebrew conversation warm-up, Teacher Eva gave a presentation on Holocaust history. This presentation touched on the historical and economic conditions that enabled Nazism’s rise. It also explored the ways in which some people actively supported or silently enabled the Nazi cause while other people combatively or peacefully resisted Nazism.
Students then split into groups to study Holocaust survivor testimonies, reading transcript excerpts and watching videos from four different US Holocaust Memorial Museum survivor oral history interviews. After this, we came back together as a large group to discuss the survivor stories, including how each survivor had engaged in some form of resistance to the Nazis. Students concluded by making drawings representing important themes and details in the survivor oral histories.

  A Holocaust survivor’s remembrance of a glove dominated Neva F.’s reflection on oral histories listened to by the B’Mitzvah Prep Class

For next lesson, which will focus on Israel/Palestine, students should prepare for class by exploring the following link and reading/watching at least three of the articles/videos hyperlinked: https://teachmideast.org/resource_guides/the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

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