Chanukah is Coming! November Recap

This month, the children learned a wide variety of subjects – from Shabbat to Hebrew, and from Jewish athletes to the Lost Tribes. The children were engaged and excited to learn about all these interesting topics.  Chanukah is coming up quickly and the children have some thing special planned for this year’s Chanukah Party!

Shalom Session

11/23: Today’s Shalom Session featured our very own CHJ torah!

Taffy (K-1)

11/16: We read about Shabbat and read a story about a family celebrating Shabbat two
week age.

Last session we started our learning about Hanukah. We discussed the story of Hanukah, the symbols and the way we celebrate.  I taught them our song and dance for the party.  We will continue to talk about Hanukah and practice our part for the party.  By the time the party arrives, the kids will be very comfortable and knowledgeable about Hanukah.

Zahav (Randi – 2/3) 

11/23 (Randi & Marni): Today’s class was very exciting, we got our scripts for the Chanukah play that we will be performing on December 14. Each student wrote their names on them and highlighted their parts. Please, please, please have your child practice their parts as we only have one more class to put it all together.  If for some reason your child loses their script please email us and we can send you a new one that you can print yourself.

The children may start telling you about costume ideas, and we will follow up with another email with details. We don’t want anyone to have to buy anything for their costumes…use what you have and we may be able to supplement with other things to add to the costumes.

Mrs. Snow came for Hebrew, we had music with Abby and a special Shalom Session where we explored and discussed our Congregation’s Torah that came from Czechloslovakia.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we will see you December 7th.

11/16: Today we had a very small group with 2 students! We talked about the holiday of Shabbat and how we have celebrated it in our lives. One of the students talked about how she celebrated at camp, and another at home. We shared the Humanistic blessings for the wine, candles and challah. We read them together and “lit” the candles and had grape juice and challah.  While snacking on the challah we read the book “Once Upon A Shabbos” and learned some new Yiddish words from the story like gelt, Bubbe, meshuga, and kugel.  Afterwards we created our own challah covers!

We then met with Marni’s class to discuss the Chanukah play we are doing based on Lemony Snicket’s The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. Parts were assigned (even to absentees) and scripts will be distributed next Sunday.

11/9: Since this was my first class with your wonderful children, we spent some time getting to know each other. We learned to say good morning in Yiddish, and Mrs. Snow told the students that even though Yiddish is based on German and English it is written in Hebrew!

We also introduced ourselves to each other and talked about our names and what they might mean, and if we are named for anyone. Our homework is to find out who we are named for and if we have a Hebrew name.

In Hebrew with Mrs. Snow the children worked on the letters chet, tet, and zayin  in their new workbooks. They also worked on some brain teasers. Their books will be kept with Mrs. Snow until the end of the school year.

We read the story It Could Always Be Worse and talked about what we would be learning this year, and colored a Humanorah symbol. After a quick round of Simon Says with Hebrew body parts we were ready for music and Shalom Session!

Next week we will learn about Shabbat and have our own model Shabbat experience!

Pre-Mitzvah (Marnie – 4/5)

11/16: Here’s the quick recap for today’s class.  We learned a bit about Jewish athletes. The boys first named a few athletes they thought (or maybe wished) were Jewish.  It was a difficult question for them to answer.  I gave them copies of Jewish sports stars by David Goldman.  Since I only had 6 copies and 8 boys they shared.  Everyone picked one athlete to read about and present.  I asked they at least name the athlete, their sport, when they played/lived/died, and a few interesting facts.   For fun they could also name an actor that would play the athlete in a movie.

The boys picked NFL quarterback – Jay Fielder, skater – Sasha Cohen, pitcher – Sandy Koufax and MLB batting all star – Hank Greenberg.

We then met up with the 2/3 class to review the Hanukah play and assign parts.  We also held quick auditions for the role of the screaming latke.  We will be working together on the Hanukah play over the next two weeks and perform it at the Hanukah party.

11/9: We added one more new student today, Jack.  Our class is now 9 guys strong.  Today they learned about Ruth.  We read the book Ruth and Naomi by Jean Marzollo.  Ruth was King David’s great-grandmother and a well know convert to Judaism.  She was born a Moabite, who followed her mother-in-law, Naomi to Bethlehem.  In Bethlehem, Ruth decided to follow the religion and traditions of Naomi, who was Jewish. After the story we had a head to head quiz off to see who could remember the story.  Nathan had the lead thru most of the game.  However in the end bragging right’s were won by Julian who stole the win by having the answer to the very last question.

After Hebrew class we continued our study of Hebrew & Yiddish language.  We reviewed the parts of the body in Hebrew and added Yiddish to the mix.  We then played “Shimon” says.  The boys really like playing so I plan to continue adding more vocabulary in both languages.

We have class for two more Sundays in a row.  Next class Randi and I are planning to use the time set for Hebrew to have our classes begin to work together to plan this year’s Chanukah play.  The two classes will performed the play at the Chanukah party.  See you next week!

 10/26: We started today’s class with the introduction of two new boys, Eli & Harrison.  We are now up to 8 boys.  Then we read Molly’s Pilgrim, a story about a Russian immigrant who learns about Thanksgiving.  She learns about the American pilgrims as well as the “modern” pilgrim – a person who comes to this country today for religious freedom.  In the story Molly is bullied about being different, until her teacher explains how Thanksgiving comes from the Jewish holiday Sukkot. Since bullying is a big part of the story, I asked the class to think about how they would handle a situation where they saw someone being bullied. We then acted out several situations; since I had my iPad, I recorded them and then we discussed their response. The boys really enjoyed acting and I have to say a few of them are quite gifted.  They played their roles well.  They decided the best way to handle bullying is to speak up and when needed, find a grown up to stop things from getting out of hand.

 Mitzvah (Rachel – 6/7)

11/16: In keeping with the upcoming (Jewish and secular) holidays, the mitzvah class had a low-key session this week dealing with what they were thankful for. They discussed a PowerPoint detailing aspects of secular Judaism they could be thankful for, and then wrote cards describing what they were thankful for to be put in the sandwich bags given to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission on Mitzvah Day. The kids listened to the Adam Sandler Hanukkah Song and created a few of their own lyrics. They ended the class by practicing the song for their part in the CHJ Hanukkah Party next month.

 10/26: Continuing our discussion of the Lost Tribes of Israel and community of Jews round the world, we discussed and watched videos about the Benai Menache of India and the Falash Moura of Ethiopia.  The students compared the groups (along with the  Lemba from South Africa discussed last month).  Some similarities found were men and  women praying separately, men wearing yarmulkes, and singing hebrew songs.  As  one student observed, the men of the Benai Menache were singing He Nay Ma Tov, a song we sing here at CHJ.

 This discussion of these similarities brought the students back to thinking about Jewish communities in New York.  Through the videos of the Maccabeats (always a pre-teen crowd pleaser) we compared the dress and tradition of the an orthodox community in NYC with those of the other communities.

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