[School] Netivot Weekly Newsletter-Parashat Vayeishev


Hadashot from Netivot-Parashat Vayeshev

In order for our children to get the most out of their day, they need to arrive on time!

Elementary: 8:05-8:15

Early Childhood: 8:45-8:55

The annual Netivot Hanukkah party will be Monday, December 2. Don’t miss the early bird registration. It ends today!



NJ State law requires all students from 6-59 months to have seasonal flu vaccine between Sept.1 and Dec. 31 every year.

Any child who has not received the vaccine by Dec. 31st cannot attend school until March 31, or until they receive the vaccine.

Questions? Contact the Edison Health Dept. 732 248-7285.


As Hanukkah approaches, the friends in Pre-Primary are becoming more and more excited! They can hardly wait to hear the Hanukkah story, eat special Hanukkah foods, and most importantly, light the hanukkiah.

One of our works is a cloth wall hanging picturing a hanukkiah. Friends Velcro cloth candles to the hanukkiah, then add flames to each candle. Once all the candles are lit, they remove the flames and candles from the wall hanging and place them back in the basket. This work has three steps and challenges the children to remember the sequence. Of course, everyone is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to light a real hanukkiah.

Another seasonal work on the shelf is a big and small work. Friends sort large and small hanukkiot, candles, and sevivonim on two sides of a divided tray. Children enjoy the sorting, and it also gives them a chance to discuss how we will use all of the objects in our homes on Hanukkah.

We have been working hard on our Hanukkah and Thanksgiving projects and cannot wait to show them to you next week!

Snack Families

Eisenberg, Lutzky, Lowell (week 4), Lowell, Bodzin

For information on quantities, allergies, etc. see the Parents section of the website.


Sammy sorts kosher and non-kosher hanukkiot pictures. Chloe sorts sevivonim by color and number. 

Primary friends are excitedly preparing for Hanukkah! We discussed the mitzvah of lighting the Hanukkiah, and the qualities that make a Hanukkiah appropriate for the mitzvah. The friends are now able to complete a work in which they classify pictures of different Hanukkiot as k’sheirah (kosher for the mitzvah) and lo k’sheirah (not kosher for the mitzvah).

We also talked about the origins of the sevivon (dreidel), looked at some samples, and learned what the letters on each side stand for. In a related work, the children are able to complete their own sevivon booklet, writing the words that are represented by each letter. We looked at a sevivon from Israel and noticed the “peh” instead of the “shin.” We then introduced a work which has pictures of famous landmarks from around the world. The children sort the pictures into the categories of poh (here-in Eretz Yisrael) and sham (there-in Chutz La’aretz, the rest of the world outside of Israel). We also talked about the custom to eat foods fried in oil, such as levivot (latkes) and sufganiyot (doughnuts), which remind us of the miracle that happened on Hanukkah.  Other Hanukkah works include transferring sevivonim with tongs in our practical life area, pin-punching sevivonim on our art shelf, and counting sets of different colored sevivonim in our math area.

In Parasha, the Primary friends are enjoying listening to the story of Yosef and his brothers. After hearing about the special coat that Yaakov made for Yosef, the children were able to make their own k’tonet pasim, lacing the edges of a coat-shaped paper with colorful yarn. The friends can’t wait until next week to hear what happened to Yosef in Mitzrayim, after his adventures in the house of Potifar and in jail!

In a popular new work in conjunction with our unit on deserts, the children use a sieve to sift through a bowl of sand to find creatures that burrow in the sand to keep cool during the hot desert days. We also learned about the Bactrian camel which lives in the deserts of Asia.  On the shelf we have a booklet and fact cards with pictures about this interesting animal.

In Hebrew language this week we we added two more colors to our tzvai’m work. The children are now familiar with yarok (green) and sagol (purple), and are enjoying sorting pictures into color categories.

Keep Shmuelly Warm!

Parents of  “lone soldiers” in Palhod, a company in the paratroopers battalion of the IDF, are raising money to provide their children’s comrades with cold weather gear. Among the Palhod soldiers is Shmuelly Mischel, the son of Netivot’s founder, ChanaSzenes. If you wish to read more or to contribute to this effort, click below.


Six Flags Read To Succeed Forms

Six Flags Read To Succeed Forms have been sent home with K-6 students. Log six hours of reading between now and February 14th and receive a free ticket to Six Flags. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Lower Elementary

This week, some students learned the different opinions of Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai when it comes to placing and kindling the Hanukkah candles. Please ask your student about the basis of each opinion and which one we follow today. They also had the opportunity to read a Hebrew book that discusses this topic, and many students have been writing the Hanukkah story in Hebrew and researching extra details when necessary. We also began some early preparations for one of our Hanukkah projects by making wax shavings from crayons. Can you guess what will happen next?

For Parashat Vayeshev we learned that Yaakov settled in Canaan with his family. Because Yaakov had a special place in his heart for Yosef, Rachel’s firstborn, he gave him a k’tonet pasim, a many-colored robe. We talked about Yosef’s dreams and how his brothers were angry and conspired to kill him, but Reuven suggested that they throw him into a  bor (pit). We learned the midrash that explains why the pasuk says the bor “was empty; it had no water in it.” The pit was empty of water, but it had snakes and scorpions in it! Another part of mesorah we discussed was the reasoning behind the different fates of the sar hamashkim and the sar ha’ofim. Par’oh allowed the sar hamashkim to live because he could not be expected to prevent a fly from getting into Par’oh’s drink. The sar ha’ofim, however, should have noticed the pebble that was in the dough for Par’oh’s bread and made sure it was removed.

In humash, the students studying Hayei Sarah have just finished analyzing the test that Avraham’s servant devised to know when he had found the right girl for Yitzhak. To commemorate the “nezem” and “tzmidim” he presented to Rivkah, the students were delighted to string some of their own jewelry!

Throughout the subject areas this week, we focused on time management skills and discussed some tools that are available to students to succeed with their work goals. Some ideas are working individually on certain activities rather than with a partner or group, using a timer, and checking in regularly with the teachers. We encouraged the students to identify their personal challenges and consider which tools would work best for them.

Each student must bring in a non-disposable water bottle every day. Many students still have not brought in their own water bottles. Please make sure to send one in every day.

Coming up in December: Lower Elementary Parent Education Session. The topic will be Language: English and Hebrew. Watch for more information.

Snack for the week of November 25th – Week 4 – 2 large containers of cherry or grape tomatoes, 6 large cucumbers, 3 large bags of veggie chips or veggie straws (pareve), 1 box of saltines.

Upper Elementary

This week we shifted into full gear with our Hanukkah materials. The students studied  the laws of Hanukkah by playing the Hanukkiah game. Each flame has a question that can be found in the Mishnah Berurah regarding Hilchot Hanukkah. If a student correctly answers the question, they place the flame on their Hanukkiah. The first person to light all eight days and the shamash ends the game.

We also utilized the Hanukkah story to reflect on Jewish history.  Each student researched the particulars of one battle that the Maccabees fought during the period of the Hannukkah story. Students also learned about the rich historical meaning of Maoz Tzur. They lined up each stanza along the timeline of Jewish History. This afforded them the opportunity to encounter where the miracle of Hanukkah fits in the broader sweep of our story and to compare the similar narratives of redemption found in many other celebrated moments of Jewish history.  

In preparation for the sixth year girls’ shabbaton at Rav Gabi’s, Morah Esther welcomed the girls into her kitchen to bake challot, perform hafrashat challah (separation of challah), and discuss the three mitzvot particularly special to women.

Fourth grade girls studying Vayishlah were challenged with a question: Where is Dinah? They had to study Rashi to find out why the Torah says that there were only eleven children in Yaakov’s traveling brood.

In general studies, we learned about Gildas, the first documented historian of Britain. We talked about his life as a monk in post-Roman Britain and read excerpts from his book, The Ruin and Conquest of Britain, which led us into the famous legend of King Arthur. In science, we learned about emulsions and emulsifiers and discussed the concepts of suspension and kinetic stability of droplets of the immiscible liquids with and without surfactants.

We had our next lesson in our research project, this time about note cards, and students can now begin to work on taking notes. Click here for an example of the expected layout for note cards. A couple of important points about note cards: They are color coded by source, they may have no more than five words (in order limit the possibility of plagiarism), and they must be hand written.

This work can be done at home. However, please refer the student back to Mr. Gregg if they are struggling, and he will offer suggestions and support.

Step                                                                      Due

Topics and Sources                                          11/13/13

Outline (Questions)                                           11/20/13

Note Cards                                                         12/4/13

Final Outline                                                       12/11/13

Rough Draft                                                        12/18/13

Editing                                                                  1/2/14

Final Draft                                                            1/8/14

Presentation Note Cards/Visual Aids            1/14/14

Presentations                                                     1/14-1/16


Middle School


by Yossi Dietz


This week in the Middle School classroom, the students learned about the correct placement of the hanukkiyah by studying the sources in the Gemara and the halachic debate that followed. Then we looked at pictures of different residences and determined where the hanukkiya should be placed.

In Gemara, we finished the topic of pidyon haben, redeeming the first born, and we’re moving into Limmud Torah, learning Torah. This is another mitzvah which is incumbent upon the child, but the father is responsible to perform it on the child’s behalf.

In general studies, we had our first Socratic seminar, which is a method of discussing reading with the purpose of improving analytical thinking skills and to better learn from one another. In the Socratic seminar we talked about one of Kurt Vonnegut’s stories, “Harrison Bergeron,” a futuristic story were everyone is equal.

We have also started standardized test practice by studying probability and geometry, and some of our students are starting their visits to high schools for next year.


The following people appreciate your tefilot on their behalf:

Avigayil bat Behiya

Yoel ben Chana Henya

Upcoming Dates

Wednesday, November 27 – Staff In-Service Day – No School

Thurs-Fri, November 28-29 – Thanksgiving/Hanukkah Vacation – No School

December 2 – Hanukkah Party 5:30 p.m. (please note date change from summer calendar)

See our online calendar.

Parent Observations

As you may have noticed on the calendar, parent observations of classrooms have now begun. We expect parents to observe in their child’s classroom two times per year (in addition to Bring a Parent to Work Day or other parent events.) These twenty-minute, quiet observations are scheduled during the morning work cycle and are intended to give you insight into the classroom environment as well as your child’s interactions within it.

Observations can be scheduled Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10am.

Email earlychildhood@mynetivot.com for a Pre-Primary or Primary observation and office@mynetivot.com for an Elementary/Middle School observation.