Boker Tov!

 This week, I’m writing a Tuesday letter instead of our usual Friday letter, as there is no school tomorrow (Wednesday, November 23rd) to allow for travel time before Thanksgiving.

A note from Morah Alyssa:

“Today, we wrapped up our section of the Hannukkah unit that deals with things we want to preserve and share with others from our modern lives. This idea will return later in the unit when we do a project based around what we want to preserve and share from Judaism.

In Hebrew, Sigal and Alyssa switched groups to check in with everyone. Alyssa’s new group continued identifying “tricky letters” (in this case, chet and tav) and reading words that can be found in our regular t’filah.  Sigal’s group continued working on letter recognition, playing games in the hall, working on our mini-white boards, and reading together.

Next week, we will move on to learning about the song “Hannerot Hallalu” and the requirements that a hanukkiah should meet. Thank you for sending in some examples for us to look at!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Alyssa Schwager”

In t’filah, we had a visit from Lee, our visiting shaliach tzibbur (literally, “representative of the community,” used to mean someone who leads us in t’filah).  We had a great time singing with him, adding extra ruach (spirit) to our favorite t’filot, while also learning some new songs and melodies.

We studied parashat Chayei Sarah, in which we hear of Sarah’s sad passing, though we learned that Abraham’s sadness was not overwhelming, as she lived a very long, full and happy life.

We then read the story of Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, going out to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac.  He meets Rebecca at the well, who shows him and his camels great kindness.  She refuses his offers of gifts and jewels, showing genuine graciousness and generosity.  Eliezer then finds she is a relative of Abraham’s and knows that she is the one for Isaac, and upon her agreement, he brings her back to him.  We considered the signs of her goodness- her willingness to give of her water to Eliezer, and to also volunteer it to his animals, her refusal to do an act of kindness in exchange for anything, but rather because it was the right thing to do.

Spend the weekend talking to your children about how to be kind.

Ask them:

  • How can we show kindness to others?
  • Why should we be kind? Do we expect anything in return?
  • What are things that we are grateful for that we can work to share with others, rather than taking them for granted?

Judaism is a religion that has giving thanks built into our everyday lives, from saying Modeh Ani in the morning, when we thank God for returning our souls to our bodies, to regularly showing gratitude for what we have, in t’filah, in b’rachot (blessings), and in many of our rituals. I hope that you can infuse the Thanksgiving holiday with Jewish spirit and values, and that you all have a meaningful and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!