Last year around this time, William and I were chatting on our way home from Lehrhaus as we are wont to do. In Lehrhaus we learn from the texts of our tradition, the sage rabbis and scholars who came before us, our engaging teacher, Mr. Rosenberg, and from each other. It was 9 January 2018 and we were talking about the year ahead and what makes us happy. I had one of those special parenting moments that are precious and too rare.
The future of Judaism is secure! We started off the new year strong with William Gorstein being called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah on 6 October. All of us who know William know he is Mr. Personality—thoughtful, funny, generous, kind and always so stylish. It was wonderful to see him lead the service where all of these traits were evident as he led us in davening and shared an impressive d’var on B’reishit.
It's August, and you know what that means. School is right around the corner! Squeeze in the picnics, the swimming pools, the fishing, camp, camping, and camp outs.
9 August, Israeli dancing at 7:30pm at our synagogue
17 August, Shabbat in the park with us at Devonshire Park next to our synagogue at 4422 Greenwood St, in Skokie at 7pm.
22 September, Back to school! Register now.
We have sprouts! So many that I have transplanted our parsley to a new pot. The lovely planting project during religious school on Tu B’shevat has resulted in parsley sprouts growing for Pesach. They grow a little more every day. I can’t help thinking as I watch them grow, that they are a metaphor for us, who also take weeks to get ready for Pesach.
Purim is upon us, so that means things are a bit mixed up and not everything is what it seems. So what else is new? I’ve noticed that it’s not just me who has been lamenting these topsy-turvy times in which we live. Are our times really unique or, now that we are the adults, is this just our turn? Both are true.
Ah, the famous saying of parents. Time really does fly. Religious school starts in a month. Public school for my children begins in 10 days. It’s hard to believe that we are already in mid-August. We were talking about this today at the beach with our friends. What, pray tell, do you like about religious school, I asked. Darling Dalia chimed in immediately, I like studying big questions with good friends.
There are many things I love about Judaism. One of them is the premium Jews place on education. The Talmud states it is a parent’s responsibility to see that children are raised and educated in Judaism. I’ve drawn on a lot of resources to live up to my responsibility.
We started by having those present continue work on their Elijah’s posters while others were strolling in.
We learned some popular Hebrew slang words and phrases used in daily conversations. Students also used these to composed sentences.
Students read about the prophet Elisha who succeeded Elijah and his exploits as a miracle worker and healer. I posed review questions about the material.
Class Notes 3/5/16
Rabbi Weill joined us and introduced the Parsha “Vayakhel”. We followed with a Shabbat service led by Ariana and Verlin. Dalia, Oren, Verlin, Alyssa and 4 students from Josh’s class had Aliot.
In class we did the following:
Weekly Parsha Vayakhel
Students spent a few minutes reading the Parsha. We reviewed the material by posing questions about the main elements in this Parsha which deals with the actual construction of the Mishcan and all its implements.
Saturday was a productive and meaningful session. Ashley helped lead the service
with Dahlia and Verlin. The students are showing more confidence when
helping lead the Shabbat service. Molly and Leah both had Aliyot. Before the service, Rabbi Weill talked to the students about this week’s Parsha, Vayakhel.
Students did Hebrew exercises in handout 3 & 4 of the Ulpan Bet packet. Our new T.A. Adam provided assistance to those who needed it.
We started reading Kings II covering the post Ahab period and the events at the end of Elijah’s minister.
I posed review questions about the material. Going forward we will cover just the major events described in this book such as the Assyrian exile, the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the first Temple.
On this first day in March, the students came to school today with a new found energy and ruach. We began with Leo telling us about his sister’s Bat-Mitzvah followed by a quick Havdalah ritual. The students are growing more confident at that by the week.
Saturday was a meaningful Shabbat session as the students had the honor of watching Hey student
Julia Aptekar become a Bat Mitzvah. Ashley, Ruthie, and Sammy performed
an abbreviated service in the chapel and then joined the main
congregation for the Torah Service in the sanctuary. The students
listened patiently to Julia’s impeccable Haftorah!
Mr. Wallach was absent, so Dr. Batman-Levin taught the class.
Students were given two Hebrew exercises:
They had two different conversations which they were to read and then
answer two questions concerning each conversation. The students then wrote their answers in Hebrew.
In class today we switched things up. Rabbi Weill, our guide in teaching Maariv was unable to make it to our class today so we reviewed the service on
our own. We made a bit of a game out of it by allowing the kids to use
instruments and even trying to get them to harmonize some of the
different t’filot. We tried to give the service a bit of a different flavor today and the kids responded positively.
Rabbi Weill introduced the Parsha “Tetzaveh”. We followed with a Shabbat service led by Alyssa and Verlin. Ariana walked with the Torah. Verlin, Alyssa, Ariana and 4 students from Josh’s class had Aliot.
In class we did the following:
Weekly Parsha Trumah
This Saturday was a productive and enjoyable class session. Rabbi Weill discussed the Torah portion for the week: Tetzevah. Ruthie helped lead this week’s service with some of the older kids. Stav and Leah had Aliyot. I am noticing more enthusiasm and Ruach during Shabbat services, which is always welcomed!
Students were given two Hebrew exercises. They had a set of sentences and were to fill in the blanks with the correct determinates: זה זו זאת אלה.
We then reviewed the answers and made corrections as needed.
We had a great day today in class. We began with Havdalah and the students showed that they are mastering this ritual. We did the Brachot for the wine, candle and the spices. Afterwards, we briefly recapped the significance of everything we do during this ritual. After this, we retired to our classroom for snack and we did the Brachot for oranges, wheat and dessert foods.
Rabbi Weill introduced the Parsha “Trumah”. We followed with a Shabbat service led by Dalia, Sam and Verlin.
Ariana walked with the Torah, Oren, William and 2 students from Josh’s class had Aliot.
We had a great day today in class and it was a day where many of
our students participated and showed how much knowledge they’ve acquired
throughout the year. We began doing our Havdallah ritual and Rabbi Weill joined us. It was nice and I believe the students showed a little more ruach this time. After, we stayed in the social hall and practiced Maariv with Rabbi Weill. We did Shalom Alechem and
in addition, studied what the prayer meant in English in order to
This Shabbat was a very productive class session. The students showed a lot of ruach in their davening. Some students are also showing more enthusiasm when it comes to leading the services with the older students. It is very encouraging.
Rabbi Weill introduced the Parsha “Mishpatim”. We followed with a Shabbat service led by Ariana, Verlin and 3 students from the Bet/Gimmel/Dalet class. Ariana and Alyssa had an Alia, as well as 4 students from the other class.
In class we did the following:
Tanach: King I (Chapter 20)
Student read the chapter regarding King Ahab's war with Aram and we followed with a q/a session to reinforce the material in the chapter.
We reviewed the conversational sheet from our last Hebrew session and students translated the Hebrew sentences into English.They also did written exercises pgs 7-8 in their Hebrew handout.
We had a lot of fun today in class and continued to embolden the
knowledge we already knew with different activities and exercises. We
started with Havdalah today and it appeared that kids took a more
active role in this ritual than in weeks past. Perhaps they are gaining
confidence in the prayer and ritual. In addition, we also reviewed some
of the things we knew about Havdalah and the meaning of the different T’filot.
Weekly Parsha Yitro
Today we read about and posed questions regarding the main elements in this Parsha regarding the journey into Sinai, the visit by Yitro and the grand event at Mount Sinai culminating with receiving the Ten Commandments.
We did an exercise where students practiced in pairs a conversation from a prepared text and then presented to the class.
All students practiced and presented.
Tanach: King I (Chapter 19)
Students read the chapter regarding Elijah fleeing from queen Jezebel and the events in the Sinai desert. There was no written assignment but we did follow with questions and answers to review the material in the chapter.
Written by guest blogger, Dr. Judith-Rae Ross
I am Dr. Judith-Rae Ross and I had the honor of substituting for Mr. Morell on January 26th. Your children are delightful. You have every reason to be proud of them.
We started class with our T’zedakah collection, and I’m happy to report the ambulance fund is now $8.64 heavier.
Rabbi Weil introduced the Parsha “BeShalach” We followed with a Shabbat service led by Alyssa and Verlin. Daniel and Alyssa had an aliah, as well as 3 students from Josh’s class.
In class we did the following:
Weekly Parsha BeShalach
Students read this week’s portion in Exodus. The studens discussed the events in this Parsha regarding the events at the Red sea: the songs of praise by Moses and Miriam and the battle against Amalek.
Bet, Gimmel and Dalet
This Saturday was a fun and productive class session. The students showed a little more ruach in their davening. Certain students are also showing more enthusiasm in leading the services or when being called up for an Aliyah. This week, Sammy helped lead the service with a few of the older students. Ashley and Molly were both called up for Aliyot.