Boker Tov (Good morning)!
It is a delight to be back in the swing of things, with regular Monday/Wednesday classes back in action! Our first full week of school since September was great, as students jumped easily and eagerly back into learning.
A note from Morah Alyssa:
“Welcome back to Mondays! It was a pleasure getting to have religious school twice this week, and I look forward to it continuing! This week, we started learning to read Hebrew. We have been dividing into two groups (one with Alyssa and one with Sigal) to give everyone a chance to learn on their level.
In Alyssa’s group, we learned four letters and three vowels this week- the letters ש (shin), ב (bet), ת (tav), ל (lamed) and the vowels for the “ah” and “oh” sounds. We practiced reading, writing, and saying these sounds in different combinations, and during T’filah, we have been finding combinations we recognize in the siddur! We also had students read their very first Hebrew words ever, which we celebrated by saying the “Shehechiyanu” blessing from Unit 1.
Sigal could hardly keep up with her group! Their retention of Hebrew learning from past years was clear.  Sigal reviewed all the letters and vowels with them, very impressed by their abilities. They worked on increasing ease of recognizing letters (specifically those that look alike), and then moved right into reading words, many of which we see in our daily lives as Jews – קידוש (kiddush), which we say on Friday evenings to sanctify Shabbat, רב (Rav- rabbi), and ברכו (barchu), which we say every day in T’filah, along with many more.  Sigal reported that it won’t be long before students are reading along comfortable as we pray during t’filah!
As the whole class came together, we have been playing games that are at everyone’s reading level and working on a fun project. We are learning how to say different body parts in Hebrew (head, eye, ear, hand, foot, belly), and we are demonstrating our knowledge of reading and writing in Hebrew by tracing each other on butcher paper and labeling those body parts. Our “people” are a work in progress, but they were lots of fun to make!
Shabbat Shalom,
Morah Alyssa”
In T’filah, we had a very exciting week, starting off with a visit from Rabbi Bolton on Monday.  He took out a Torah, and showed everyone the words ראשי חדשיכם (your new months), as we celebrated Rosh Hodesh (the start of the new month) Heshvan earlier this week! Then, students had the opportunity to “Ask the Rabbi,” and ask they did!  Rabbi Bolton shared answers to questions like “Is it hard being a rabbi?” and “How heavy is a Torah?” along with “Who was the first person to believe in God?”  Students look forward to many more chances to “Ask the Rabbi” in the future!
On Wednesday, we explored the story of Noah, in which God tells Noah to build an ark, as God is going to have it rain for 40 days and 40 nights, flooding the earth, and destroying all the wicked people.  Students asked some incredibly insightful questions about the story- “If God says there will never be a flood like that again, which he showed with a rainbow, how come there are such destructive floods today?”  “Is the number 40 important in Judaism?  This is not the only time we hear ’40 days and 40 nights!’  Are there other important numbers in Judaism?”  I continue to be impressed by your children’s ability to engage in active listening to our stories, and to really think carefully about them, raising their own questions in order to develop deeper understandings.
I look forward to finally settling into a rhythm of weekly Hebrew School classes, so we can get back to rich and consistent learning!
Shabbat Shalom,
Sigal