January 2015 Volume 48 Issue 5
Chanukah…Hanukkah…Pass the Latkes!
No matter how you spell it, everyone loves Chanukah. Latkes, apple sauce, sour cream. Stories about the Maccabees. Lighting candles. Did I mention latkes? Our 12/14 class consisted of our annual Chanukah party! All of the students participated in a service and performed songs and plays before playing games, decorating cookies, doing crafts and eating latkes!
Zahav (Randi – 2/3) & Pre-Mitzvah (Marnie – 4/5)
12/7: Today we practiced and blocked the Chanukah play – The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. Thank you to those who have already been working with your child, it really shows!
12/21: Today was a fun morning at Sunday School! We made latkes, where everyone took turns peeling and grating potatoes and onions! They added salt, pepper, eggs and potato starch (to keep it gluten-free). We cooked them in an electric skillet and served with applesauce. The classroom smelled delicious! While the latkes were frying, a festive game of dreidel was taking place.
We ended our session with a story called My Two Grandmothers, about a girl who has a grandmother who celebrates Christmas and one who celebrates Chanukah…a very relatable story for the students!
There was a drumming circle at Shalom Session today, and overall it was a great start to the Holiday break!
Mitzvah (Rachel – 6/7)
12/7: Today the students reconstructed the Hanukah story. After managing to piece together all of their bits of knowledge, we watched Matisyahu’s Miracle video and dissected it for symbolism related to the story of the Maccabee’s and King Antiochus.
The conversation then turned to struggles for religious freedom. Students named and listed other times that freedom defined peoples choices and actions. Some of the times mentioned were the Spanish Inquisition, Exodus from Egypt, and the starting of our own country. Students brought up North Korea and countries devoid of any religious freedom. They also brought up the idea of being persecuted, despite living in a “free” country. The topic of religious freedom will be explored more in the weeks to come.
12/21: At CHJ, the mitzvah class ended the year out by comparing and contrasting creation stories from different traditions. We started by piecing together parts of the Jewish creation myth. Between the seven of them (and a bit of gentle prodding for answers with leading questions from me) they managed to come up with something roughly close. There were seven days, a day of rest and days dedicated to creating animals, earth, etc.
Again, with a little prodding, the students remembered that this day of rest became shabbat and that our seven day week follows this time layout as well.
Then we heard different creations myths on the Big Myth website (see below). The students were then able to point out the similarities and difference between them. Connections were made to Greek mythology (I imagine thanks goes to Percy Jackson here) and the Norse myths were connected to Thor (thank you to Marvel comics.)
We did briefly touch on the big bang, to note that, the big bang is science and the creation stories are myths from different cultures, coming from a time when we didn’t have the science experience or tools of today, like telescopes.
In 2015 we will continue looking at Jewish culture in different times and places in history. Specifically, we will cover immigrants coming to the US and Russia during the 1800’s. Also, anything else that comes along and looks interesting through the eyes of a middle schooler!
Happy Holidays to everyone! See you next year!