“V’smahta B’hagecha v’hayita ach sameiah. “ Rejoice on your holiday and be happy.
The infants enjoyed posing with these plush Sifrei Torah, which they took home to celebrate Simhat Torah.
Sukkah Hoppers Welcome
If your children want to get out for a walk on the first day of yom tov, several families will be happy to have you stop by between 4pm and 5:30pm. Even if there is no one in the sukkah, you are welcome to make yourselves comfortable and enjoy some refreshments, but first try to answer the Sukkot trivia question that will be waiting for you there!
Getraer (Morah Jean) – 801 South 2nd Ave.
Bar (formerly known as “Morah Wendy”) – 232 South 3rd Ave.
Bodzin (Morah Shoshana) – 216 South 4th Ave.
Greene (Morah Esther) – 34 South 4th Ave.
Margolis (Morah Melody) – 24 N. 4th Ave. (enter from Denison)
Schwartz (Dr. Aly) – 367 North 4th Ave.
In Pre-primary this week we excitedly began to prepare for Sukkot. The children are looking forward to spending time in their own sukkot, eating and maybe even sleeping in them. Together, we assembled a miniature sukkah frame, and we collected sticks for the schach. Then, we set up a table and chairs inside and have been taking turns using the miniature environment and inviting one another to come “eat in the sukkah.”
During circle we read a book called The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery, and we sang a song about shaking the lulav (to the tune of “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”):
Did you ever shake a lulav, a lulav, a lulav?
Did you ever shake a lulav on Sukkot day?
Shake it upwards and downwards
And forwards and backwards
Did you ever shake a lulav on Sukkot day?
All the friends loved using a new Sukkot work from the language shelf. It is an arba’at haminim (four species) picture-to-picture matching work with lulav, etrog, hadasim and aravot. We also practiced shaking a real lulav and etrog so we will be ready to try this mitzvah once sukkot is finally here.
Eisenberg, Gribetz, Erani(week 5), Balsam, Cenci
For information on quantities, allergies, etc. see the Parents section of the website.
We have had a very busy week and a half! The children enjoyed sharing their Rosh Hashanah experiences, including hearing the shofar, eating apples and challah with honey, and tasting new fruits.
We started our lessons about Yom Kippur by reading the book Peace Rose, by Alicia Jewel. This book – a mainstay in the Montessori classroom – describes how to use a Peace Rose to support peaceful conversations and resolve conflict. We then talked about how Hashem loves when there is shalom (peace).
The children enjoyed a lesson demonstrating the weighing of mitzvot – ways that we become close to Hashem, and “opposite of mitzvot” – deeds that make people feel farther away from Hashem. We went through a series of cards with pictures depicting different actions. For a mitzvah, a stone went on one side of the scale, and for the opposite of a mitzvah, it went onto the other side of the scale. The children were very excited to see the mitzvah side of the scale weighed down more at the end of the lesson. This was a very popular work for the rest of the week!
We also talked about 5 things we don’t do on Yom Kippur – eating, drinking, wearing leather shoes, using cosmetics, and washing. A work on the shelf enabled the students to classify different shoes into categories of leather and non-leather. We discussed ways that the children can be helpful on Yom Kippur when their caretaker may be may be tired from fasting, or might want to daven at home while watching them. We hope your children remembered this discussion! On Thursday, we talked about the minhag (custom) of kapparot, and practiced with a life-sized stuffed chicken.
Although we discussed Sukkot briefly before Yom Kippur, lessons for the hag were in full swing Monday and Tuesday. We talked about how happy we are that we became close to Hashem over Yom Kippur, and this is one reason why another name for Sukkot is Z’man Simchateinu (“the time of our joy”). We learned that a Sukkah can have 4, 3, or even 2 ½ walls to be kosher, and that the s’chach needs to be made from something that grew but that is now detached from the ground. We talked about the arba’at haminim (four species), and the children learned how to hold a real set and say the bracha! The children heard about the comparison between each of the minim and a particular kind of Jew, and we discussed how just as we can only do the mitzvah of arba’at haminim with all four types, we also need Jews of all types to be united as one nation. Sukkot works on the shelves include pin-punching etrogim, labeling the arba’at haminim, and making Sukkot booklets.
We introduced snack work to the classroom this week. Until now, we were eating snack as a group. Now that Morah Niza has given the lesson, the students know how to check if there is a place available for them, take a plate, serve themselves the appropriate amount of food, and listen to a recording of the correct brachot before they make their own! When they are finished, they clean up any crumbs and push in their chair, so the next friend can enjoy the work too.
We hope you enjoy the sukkah decorations your children made. First, they painted their paper lanterns, careful to use a very gentle touch so as not to poke any holes! Then, they counted out the right number of beads and threaded them onto pipe cleaners in the shapes of a lulav and etrog. They are delighted with the outcome and look forward to hanging them in your Sukkah!
Thank you to Erez Shimoni and Aviva Wein for donating four sets of arba’at haminim to our classrooms!
During the Ten Days of Repentance we practiced using the three steps of teshuva (admitting wrongdoing, regretting, and resolving not to do it again) to resolve any conflicts that arose between friends. We also learned about Yom Kippur’s laws and customs.
We had a lot of fun learning the names for our upcoming holiday. Because it is Z’man Simhateinu (Our Time of Joy), we learned an Israeli dance and danced to the song “V’samahta b’hagecha;” we experienced how much of Hashem’s help we need on Hag Ha’asif (Holiday of Gathering) when we scattered wheat throughout the classroom and then tried to gather it up with a partner who served as our hands; finally, we drew sukkot with our eyes closed and felt how vulnerable we are and how much care and protection we need from Hashem when we sit in our makeshift shelters on Sukkot. In one Sukkot work, students matched eyes, lips, heart, and spine (an x-ray of a real spine!) to the corresponding item, and they learned that the four species, used together, can be compared to a human being ready to perform mitzvot.
Some students also made flip booklets of the Ushpizin, the special visitors we welcome to our sukkot, and we all learned a song about this (to the tune of “The ants go marching one by one”):
B’hag Sukkot anahnu mazminim orhim
Shiv’a orhim meyuhadim, ha’ushpizin
(On the holiday of Sukkot we invite guests, seven special guests, the Ushpizin:)
Avraham, Yitzhak, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, David
We hope you enjoy the Chinese lantern decorations your children made depicting the arba’at haminim.
The whole class is invited to a sukkah party with Morah Vered and Morah Leora at 234 South 10th Ave, on Sunday, September 22, from 5-6:30pm. Pizza and ice cream will be served. Please RSVP to email@example.com by Motzaei Shabbat.
In General Studies we have begun giving math and language lessons. Some students have started on their weekly spelling as well. We have been meeting individually with students to do some basic assessments in preparation for literature groups. Our biggest lesson was the overview of the Timeline of Life. Our history studies will be based on this material. Throughout the year we will be looking at each era more closely.
Please make sure that your student has indoor shoes for our classroom and appropriate outdoor clothing for the playground. We will be go outside for recess unless it is extremely cold or raining.
We enjoyed our first birthday celebration this week, for Betzalel Franks. For birthday celebrations, students are invited to bring in a special snack (their favorite fruit, for instance) to share with the entire Lower El group (38 students, bli ayin hara!). We will invite the students to share about their favorite birthday tradition. If you would like, you may send in a book donation for our classroom library, and your child may present the book to the class.
Snack for the week of September 30th – Week 5 – 4 large tubs of raisins, 2 whole pineapple, 4 packs of celery, 12 packs of plain or lightly salted rice cakes, 4 large bags of tortilla chips, 4 packs small paper plates 100 count each, 2 fresh bouquets of flowers (optional).
In preparation for Yom Kippur we reenacted the avodat yom hakippurim – the service in the beit hamikdash. We laid out the classroom to approximate the layout in the beit hamikdash, and students dressed up in costumes that identified their roles in the service. The Kohein Gadol’s exhausting and nerve-racking task on Yom Kippur was easily appreciated as we labored through the exacting procedure ourselves.
We introduced a new work into the classroom for Yom Kippur as well. Students learned about mehilah, slihah and kaparah — words for forgiveness in a key formula in the viduy (confession) that we recite on Yom Kippur. Ask your child about the subtle differences into which we delved.
Older students successfully negotiated their first mishnayot of the year. We looked at which questions about fasting are answered in the Torah and which ones the Mishna helps us to understand.
For Sukkot, we built both kasher and non-kasher model sukkot using the Montessori geometry materials. Students also invested a lot of energy in the beautiful votives they crafted for your sukkot. They filled cans with sand and water and froze them. Then, they planned out their designs and used hammer and nails to punch them out. Among the designs were pomegranates, arba’at haminim and the word “shalom.” After the images were complete, they painted the cans. We hope they illuminate your sukkot. (The more tea lights you can fit into them, the prettier they will look.)
The entire class is invited to a Simhat Beit Hashoevah with Morah Esther and Rav Gabi on Tuesday, September 24th, from 3-5pm, at 38 South 4th Ave. Snacks will be served. Please RSVP by Motzaei Shabbat to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Middle School class prepared for Yom Kippur by learning halachot from the Rambam and the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, continuing to gain experience in learning from different sources with different styles. We also learned a poem from the machzor, “Ki Hinei KaHomer B’yad Hayotzer,” which analogizes G-d to different types of craftsmen who have the power to create or destroy their creations. The creations, of course, are the people davening. To bring the poem to life, students sewed kippot, painted on glass to make honey jars, or modeled with clay. We also learned a poem by Leonard Cohen and analyzed its modern take on teshuva.
For Sukkot, the students already had a head start on the halachot thanks to their summer homework, studying the mishnayot of Masechet Sukkah. In class, we learned the first page of Gemara Sukkah, which presents three different sources for the sukkah.
Wednesday-Friday, September 18-27: Sukkot vacation – No school.