Our Jewish Cultural School  met on Sunday, October 4, 2020.  Each  covered a range of topics with engaging activities developed by our excellent teachers.  We concluded with a celebration of Sukkot – all on Zoom!

The Sukkot celebration offered a condensed (befitting both the Zoom format and the attention span of our younger JCS students) service led by Eva Cohen who, in addition to being our B’Mitzvah group’s teacher, is Or Emet’s rabbinic candidate and ritual leader.  That was followed with two songs for Sukkot led by Or Emet’s vocal music leader, Sarah Berman Young.

We concluded with an  Build an Instant Sukkah contest.  Participants were challenged to build a sukkah in three minutes, using materials found around the house.  It needed at least 3 walls, a roof that let light through, and be large enough for “someone” to fit inside.  Those “someones” included babies, Lego people, pets, and the child builders themselves.  Among the building materials were sofa cushions, cardboard boxes, blankets, newspaper, patio chairs and long grasses.  Everyone was a winner!

Instant Sukkah builder Rosie King with her sukkah


The Littles Group, PreK- Kindergarten, teacher Josh Kaplan

This month at JCS we learned about Sukkot! We talked about why we build a sukkah, and why you shake a lulav and etrog. We also read two awesome books about Sukkut. It was great to see all our friends in the Littles class!

Aravit (willow), Lulav (palm branch), Hdassin (myrtle) and Etrog (citron)


Colline Roland

For our class we managed to all stay on Zoom for 1.5 hours, yay!   We started off with Halloween plans And costumes and then moved on to Jewish holidays! We learned about why and what Sukkot is.  Then we read ‘Tamar’s Sukkah’ on Epic! and scored an 80% on the quiz. We also created and decorated our hand drawn and computer drawn Sukkots. We learned the best thing to fill them with is friends (socially distanced of course) and food!

The Juniors Group, Grades 3-5, teacher Renee Dorman
In October the Juniors group learned about the Jewish and Arab nationalist movements from the beginning of the 20th century through WWI, using a historical role play involving European Jews,  Palestinians and British officials.
With Sukkot upon us, we watched a cool video taken at Sukkah City, a gathering of sukkah’s as modern sculptural art held in 2010 at New York City’s Union Square.  Then, after reviewing the purpose and requirements for a sukkah, we each designed our own in the medium of our choice, whether that was drawing, Minecraft, or fort building.
“Fractured Bubble” received the People’s Choice Award
at the Sukkah City Competition (2010)
The B’Mitzvah Group, Grades 6-8, teacher Eva Cohen
This month the B Mitzvah Prep class expanded their knowledge about the Talmud as well as the Jewish holiday calendar. We started out with our regular Hebrew greeting warm-up, and then Leah Chazdon, our teacher’s assistant, led a movement game based on Sukkot vocabulary.
After this opening, students read a quote from the Mishnah that describes “the four new years” in Jewish tradition, and we discussed the timing and significance of these four occasions. Looking closer at how the quote describes a disagreement between “Bet Hillel” and “Bet Shammai” about when the New Year for the Trees happens, we shifted to learning more about Hillel, Shammai, and the famous two-thousand-plus-year-old debates between these two scholars that are recorded in the Talmud and that shape Jewish tradition to this day.  We watched two animated video clips about Hillel and Shammai–one serious and one silly–and students discussed the differences between Shammai’s severity and Hillel’s leniency or flexibility in interpreting Jewish law. Drawing on this knowledge of the two scholars’ differences, and knowing that most Jewish customs came to follow Hillel’s approach, students did an activity where they looked at a series of quotes from the Talmud and guessed which were attributed to Shammai and which to Hillel.
Finally, shifting gears but continuing to focus on the Talmud, we got in the Halloween spirit and learned about creepy Jewish myths and legends that have some roots in the Talmud–including stories about golems, demons, and dybbuks. Then we wrapped up class a little early to join the large-group Or Emet Sukkot celebration.
Painting of a Sukkah, 19th C., Austria – painted on pine

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