Boker Tov (Good morning)!

Our 3rd-5th grade class is doing wonderfully, engaging richly in their classwork and in t’filah.

A note from Morah Alyssa:

“This week, we learned about the Jewish calendar and some different traditions people have for the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days. These traditions included eating different and special foods, spending our time differently, trying things for the first time, and other rituals such as giving tzedakah (charity), doing Tashlich (a ritual in which we throw breadcrumbs in a body of water to symbolize throwing away our sins), and lighting yizkor candles to remember those we have lost. We also learned the “Shehechiyanu” prayer, which we say upon doing something new, or achieving a milestone in life, and brainstormed appropriate times to say it. Next week, we will discuss the shofar and the shofar service in preparation for our own High Holy Day experiences.

-Morah Alyssa”

In t’filah, our students began to lead the rest of the community on Wednesday, stepping up on the bimah as shlichei tzibbur, representatives of the community.  We also began our study of parashat hashavua, the weekly Torah portion.  This week we read from Ki Tavo.  We focused on one section of the parashah, in which we read that the Israelites must bring the first fruits of the land as gifts to God, bikkurim, to thank God for taking them out of Egypt and bringing them into the land of Israel.  We discussed why it was that the Israelites were told to bring their first fruits – the importance of the gift being significant in some way – the best, the ripest, the freshest, the most valuable.  We considered the value of saying thank you to God for things we are grateful for in our every day lives.

On Wednesday, the students put themselves in the place of the ancient Israelites, considering what gifts they might give to God as a way to say thank you.  They shared things they loved deeply, in addition to different ways we could behave to show our thanks to God, like giving God respect and love.  Students were given just two minutes to consider this big question, and so I encourage you to take the time to speak more deeply with them about these questions:

  • What in our lives would we want to thank God for?
  • How would you show your thanks to God?  With a gift? With our actions?
  • What could we give to God as a gift to show our thanks?
  • What could we do to show our thanks?

Shabbat Shalom,

Sigal