education – 7th grade

Today in class we worked on:
5/11-
1. Today was our last day of the year.
2. We watched a special on the family experiences of the grandparents of actress Helena Bonham Carter from a series called “My Grandparents’ War.” Grandparents on both sides of her family made significant contributions that impacted the lives of others. Her maternal grandfather defied a decree from his native Spain and hand signed potentially thousands of visas to allow Jews to leave occupied France via Spain to safety elsewhere. Her paternal grandmother was a vocal advocate for helping Jews leave occupied countries and sponsored families coming to England. She was also a black out warden and close friend of Prime Minister Churchill.
3. We discussed things students learned this year and lessons would remember.
4. We then joined the rest of the school for a pizza dinner to round out the year. Thank you for a great year!

Today in class we worked on:
5/4-
1. Today we joined Rabbi Bellows for tefillah where we learned about Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Remembrance Day & Israel Independence Day).
2. We then watched the movie “Paperclips” about a school in a small town in rural Tennessee that decided to learn about the Holocaust as a way to increase the understanding of their students diversity and tolerance.
Homework to be completed by next class:
5/4-
1. Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day and finish exercises in chapter 5 of your Hebrew book.

Today in class we worked on:
4/27-
1. We began the day with our all school t’fillah.
2. Today we were fortunate to host and hear from Doris Fogel, a Survivor of the Shoah. Born in Berlin, she and her mother were able to find passage on a ship to Shanghai, the only place that did not require a visa to enter at the time. In the 7 years they spent there, they lived in the Jewish ghetto in harsh conditions imposed by the Japanese in conjunction with their alliance with the Nazis.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/27-
1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day.
2. Identify something Mrs. Fogel mentioned that resonated with you for a thank you note next week.
3. If you have not completed your collage, you may bring in some images to add to it.

Today in class we worked on:
4/20-
1) Today we worked on our Shoah collages while watching a film adaptation of a young woman’s diary from the Holocaust which was created on Instagram. The movie, Eva.Stories is told as if Instagram was a thing during the Shoah and shows Eva’s experiences, drawn from her diary. This movie is available on Instagram at the page eva.stories.
2) Note: Next week we have the privilege of hearing from a Shoah Survivor, who will tell us her personal story and experiences during the Holocaust.
3) We had an all school t’fillah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/20-
1) Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day.
2) If you still need to work on your collage, look for additional photos to include on it.

Today in class we worked on:
4/13-
1) Today we had the privilege of hearing from Marianne Shure, Beth Am member and daughter and niece of Shoah survivors. She joined us and with maps, photos, and stories, told us of the experiences of her mother and aunt in France during the Shoah, including a period when they were actually sent to an internment camp. We greatly appreciate her willingness to share her family’s experiences.
2) We also joined the rest of the school in a Model Seder, where each class interpreted a part of the Seder. 7th graders discussed the meaning and tradition of Elijah’s Cup and opening the door for Elijah, and how we end the Seder with Next Year in Jerusalem. You can check out their performance on the CBA youtube channel
3) Wishing you all a healthy, safe, and happy Passover.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/13-
1) Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day.
2) Look for images (PG) to bring in to add to your Shoah collage.

Today in class we worked on:
4/6-
1) Students also joined in the school tefillah with Rabbi Prass.
2) Today we worked on several projects.
a. Students worked with Rabbi Prass on their presentation for the model Seder
b. we read a choose your own adventure book about the Shoah
c. And then students began working on a collage about what they have learned about the Shoah. They will be working on the collage for the rest of the semester.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/6-
1. Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day, focusing on the dialogue in Chapter 5 of your Hebrew book and practice the new vocabulary.

Today in class we worked on:
3/30-
1. We had an all school t’fillah with Rabbi Prass.
2. In class we continued our unit on the Shoah (Holocaust).
3. We looked at the history of the Torah scrolls Beth Am keeps in sacred trust from the communities of Kojetin and Roudnice Czechoslovakia. We talked about how the Nazis wanted these scrolls for a planned museum for the extinct race of the Jewish people. And we talked about how Beth Am congregants worked to get them to our ark.
4. We then prepared for our class’ part in the Hebrew School model seder.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/30-
1. Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day, focusing on the dialogue in Chapter 5. Look for images to use in your Shoah collages and bring them in for our next class.

Today in class we worked on:
3/16-
Today we continued with our Shoah semester by learning about the Warsaw Ghetto and its subsequent uprising, which was one of the first times Jews fought back against the Nazis in a concerted effort.
1. We also worked on our Hebrew vocabulary and played Hebrew football.
2. We had a special tefilah with Rabbi Prass discussing Purim and the synagogue’s megillah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/16-
1. Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day, focusing on the dialogue in Chapter 5. Look for images to use in your Shoah collages and bring them in for our next class.

Today in class we worked on:
3/9-
1) Today we watched “The Devil’s Arithmetic”, a movie based on the book of the same title by Jane Yolen. This fictional account is loosely based on the frame of The Wizard of Oz, where a young girl goes back in time to a small town in Poland where her relatives were from and experiences their capture and imprisonment in a concentration camp. The film is longer than our class and students may finish watching it on YouTube by following this link: https://youtu.be/eeZjISv9KoM .
2) We did stop the movie about ¾ through to discuss what students had seen and give students an opportunity to ask questions and offer observations.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/9-
1) Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Practice reading and translating the dialogue in chapter 5 of your Hebrew book.

Today in class we worked on:
3/2-
This week Rabbi Prass joined us to discuss some questions students have had about God, history, life, Torah, and more. We had a really good discussion. We then continued with our Shoah lessons discussing concentration camps and Auschwitz and the crafting of the so-called Final Solution by the Nazis to eliminate the Jews.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/2-
Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day. Practice reading the dialogue in Chapter 5 of your Hebrew book and focus on the new vocabulary.

Today in class we worked on:
2/23-
1. We joined the rest of the school for tefilah with Rabbi Prass.
2. Today we continued our Shoah semester by learning about Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass. This symbolized the first government backed attack against the Jews of Germany, targeting Jewish businesses, homes, synagogues, and communities. German police and fire departments were told not to fight any fires or arrest any attackers, unless German buildings were in danger. Over 30,000 Jews were arrested in the aftermath. Ultimately, the German people were outraged more by the mess than the attack on their neighbors, and the Nazi government charged the Jews with the cost of the damages, forcing them to sell their properties and leave Germany, if they could. At the same time, other countries met to discuss what to do with the Jews of Germany, all stating they would not take them as refugees. We watched videos of survivors of Kristallnacht, who described what they witnessed and experienced.
3. We also worked on the vocabulary in Chapter 5 of our Hebrew book.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/23-
1. Continue reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day, work on the vocabulary for chapter 5 and complete the 1st page of exercises for the chapter.

Today in class we worked on:
2/16-
1) Participated in T’fillah led by Rabbi Prass where we looked at 2 prayers about love.
2) Today we watched the film, “The Wave” based on a true story of a history class in California in the late 60’s whose teacher tried to answer the question “How could the Germans and others say they didn’t know what was going on in the Holocaust?” This made for tv movie shows how easy it can be to get caught up in a new idea or system that will mean betterment of self and how easy it can be to stop thinking or questioning what is being done.
3) Students who missed class can watch the movie here: https://youtu.be/4qlBC45jk3I
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/16-
1) Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Focus on the opening dialogue in Chapter 5 and the new vocabulary.

Today in class we worked on:
2/9-
1) T’fillah time with Rabbi Prass and all school. Learning about Jewish participants in the Olympics.
2) Today we learned how Hitler came to power. We learned a bit about World War One, how the reparations and financial constraints imposed on Germany after the war, and the fact that the German populace were surprised when they lost the war, contributed to further discontent and anger among many Germans. Hitler took this opportunity to seek power, and joined a small political party and was later arrested for trying to overthrow the government and imprisoned. After his release, he went back to politics, and following the further troubles of the Great Depression, was able to win election to the German Parliament, where he was appointed Chancellor, with the idea of being able to control him. Following an attack on the Parliament building, he declared martial law and took over the government and imposed new laws restricting the rights of German Jews. We also discussed the history of the swastika and how it was turned from a symbol of light and life to one of death and fear.
3) Students also played Hebrew football, with students practicing their Hebrew reading fluency.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/9-
1) Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Finish the exercises in Chapter 4 if you have not.

Today in class we worked on:
2/2-
1) We began the day with an all school t’fillah.
2) Today we continued our discussion on antisemitism and its history.
3) Rabbi Prass joined us to discuss the latest controversy in Tennessee where parents in a school district called to ban the graphic novel “Maus” from the school library. We discussed book banning, attempts to essentially rewrite history by refusing to teach or talk about it, and the inherent dangers of doing so.
4) We continued our discussion on modern antisemitism, discussion the proven piece of plagiarism and propaganda, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and how it is still used today to foment hatred and prejudice against the Jews. We discussed the preposterous believe that persists that a secret cabal of Rabbis meets once every 100 years to plot out how to control the world for the next 100 years.
5) We also worked on our Hebrew, reviewing vocabulary we have learned over the last four chapters, and working on exercises in chapter 4.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/2-
1) Complete the exercises in chapter 4 of your Hebrew book. Write 5 unique sentences in Hebrew using vocabulary from our book. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day.

Today in class we worked on:
1/26-
1) Today in class we continued our discussion on antisemitism and its history. We traced it from biblical times up through the Middle Ages, looking at the lies about blood libel (Jews using the blood of Christian children to make matzah), the pogroms during the Crusades, and the persecution of the Inquisition in Europe and later in the New World.
2) Next week we will look at modern antisemitism, which began and was named as a concept in 1879.
3) We had a great assembly with Rabbi Prass and learned about this week’s Torah parshat, Mishpatim, which tells us to stand tall and do the right thing, even if others around us do wrong.
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/26-
1) Continue to read Hebrew aloud 15 minutes a day. Write the 5 unique sentences if you have not done so. Work with an online Hebrew resource for 45 minutes before our next class. Here is the matching game we played last week: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

Today in class we worked on:
1/19-
1) Today we continued our semester on the Shoah by talking about antisemitism – hatred of Jews. We discussed the idea of hate, of some people needing to feel superior to others because of differences, and that hate and fear can lead to horrible outcomes. We watched a video about the history of antisemitism from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
2) We also reviewed some of our Hebrew vocabulary and played on online game trying to match Hebrew words to fruits.
3) We had an opening session with Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school before we went into our class and talked about fear and the prayer & tradition in Judaism of saying a special prayer when we have experienced something awful. The prayer, haGomel, is one of the prayers we have that must be said with other people around you to acknowledge that you have survived an order and pray for good things.
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/19-
1) Continue reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Write 5 unique Hebrew sentences using vocabulary we have learned up through chapter 4 of our book.
2) Spend 45 minutes with online Hebrew resources to practice your Hebrew. Here is a link to the game we played today: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

Today in class we worked on:
1/12-
1. Today we began our semester learning about the Shoah. We started by looking at leaders over the past 2000 years, both benevolent and despotic leaders and the impact they had on their people and those around them. We discussed how leaders can impact the people of their countries, and asked if the people had a responsibility to make sure leaders care about the people and good of the nation or not.
2. Thank you to everyone for joining us back in Zoom class. I look forward to seeing you back in class.
3. Participated in a school wide Tu B’Shevat assembly led by Rabbi Prass
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/12-
1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Craft 5 new unique sentences using vocabulary we have learned so far.
2. Spend 45 minutes using online resources to reinforce Hebrew reading skills and vocabulary. Use this link: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

Today in class we worked on:
12/15-
1) Today we discussed personal responsibility. We talked about how parents may excuse some behavior when we are young, but as we grow older, we become more responsible and more is expected of us. We looked at the parshat of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the reactions of both when they were discovered having done the one thing they were told not to do – eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We also discussed the concept of free will and that we are expected to do the right thing, even if that is to own up when we have made a mistake.
2) For Hebrew, we worked on Hebrew vocabulary using an online site: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching. This game gives plenty of categories of words to learn, pronounces them for you, and you have to drag the Hebrew word to the correct picture. Students did really well on some of the objects that had words we have learned!
Homework to be completed by next class:
12/15-
1) Practice reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Work on Chapter 4, focusing on vocabulary and reading fluency. Write 5 unique Hebrew sentences using vocabulary from the first 4 chapters of our book. Play the matching game: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching at least 45 minutes a week to practice vocabulary meanings.
2) Have a great break!

Today in class we worked on:
12/8 –
1. Today we discussed the importance of action in achieving goals. There is a time for prayer, but there is time for action, too. We studied the text of the Israelites at the Reed Sea during their escape from Egypt. At the edge of the sea, many cried out seeing the Egyptians coming upon them, asking why they couldn’t have remained back in Egypt if they were just going to die at the shore. Moses declared that God would save them. God’s response was essentially why are you asking me? Why aren’t you doing something? God told Moses to hold his staff over the waters and said the Israelites needed to start forward across the sea and the waters would part. It was not until the first steps were taken that the waters receded. In the same way, prayer has its place, often to strengthen us and our resolve, but we have to take action to make a difference in the world around us.
2. We began chapter 4 in our Hebrew books. We reviewed the new vocabulary – this chapter deals with food! We then went over the dialogue in the chapter, translating as we went.
Homework to be completed by next class:
12/8 –
1. Continue to read aloud for at least 15 minutes a day – you can practice reading the new dialogue. Complete the first 2 pages of exercises in Chapter 4. Write 5 new unique sentences in Hebrew.
2. Play online resources at least 45 minutes before our next class. This site has lots of vocabulary words. https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

Today in class we worked on:
12/1 –
1. Today we talked about embracing change and accepting new challenges and experiences. We discussed comfort, learning new things, even if we are uncomfortable or scared, and potential benefits or drawbacks. We looked at Moses when God spoke to him through the burning bush. Moses declined to be God’s spokesperson to the Israelites at first, until God pushed and suggesting Moses take Aaron with him. If Moses had allowed his fears and insecurities to keep him from going forth, we would not have had our greatest teacher and the path of the Jews may have been radically different.
2. Rabbi Prass also joined us to discuss ‘adult’ Chanukah and distribute gelt and dreidls. Students started class with Rabbi Prass for tefilah and the lighting of the chanukiah.
3. We reviewed the exercises in chapter 3 and went over sentences students wrote for homework.
4. Today the students met with Rabbi Prass in T’fillah where we prayed parts of the Amidah, to light the chanukiah, and to talk about Chanukkah. During T’fllah we talked about ways that we can spread light.
Homework to be completed by next class:
12/1 –
1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud f

Today in class we worked on:
11/17 –
1) We started with an all school t’fillah.
2) Today we did our ‘Budget Game’ – a lesson where students decide how to spend $1535 for a family of four over a month on things including housing, food, transportation and more. The budget reflects the income of a family with one parent earning $7.25 and hour and the other working part time as a server, earning $2.75 with tips making up the difference. Following our class project, we logged onto playspent.org which has a similar experience digitally and offers challenges and stumbling blocks based on real life experiences.
3) We also discussed a field trip we will be taking on January 31 to shop on a budget and help distribute food to people in need at Beth Am’s food pantry.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/17 –
Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Create 5 unique sentences using vocabulary we have learned in the first 4 chapters. Finish the exercises in chapter 4 of your Hebrew book.

1) Go shopping with your parents and pay attention to the costs of food and other items. Discuss how your parents budget for your family.

2) Have a great Thanksgiving!

Today in class we worked on:
11/10 –
1) Today we continued to talk about tzedakah and tikun olam by looking at several texts from Torah and Talmud about what type of people we should strive to be and how we should act. Students broke into groups and reviewed several texts and broke down what they were saying and what they meant. Great job!
2) We also worked on Chapter 3 in our Hebrew books, reviewing exercises in the chapter and reviewing vocabulary.
3) We started the session making Chanukah cards for US active Jewish military personnel.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/10 –
1) Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Complete all the exercises in Chapter 3 in your Hebrew book. Complete 5 new unique sentences using vocabulary we have learned so far – but not using ‘yesh li’ (I have).
2) Spend 45 minutes by next class working with online Hebrew resources to reinforce vocabulary and reading:

https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

https://jr.co.il/hotsites/hebrew.htm

Today in class we worked on:
11/3 –
1. Today we continued our discussion on tzedakah and tikun olam by looking at hunger. First we defined hunger – being hungry is needing food and usually being able to eat something, whereas hunger is the situation where obtaining enough food on a regular basis is not achievable. We looked at the Holiness Code in the Torah that begins with leaving the corners and sides of fields unharvested and leaving any dropped harvest for the poor, the orphan, and the stranger. While few of us have farms any more, we still can help do this by purchasing food to donate to a food pantry. We also discussed the idea of tithing – giving 10% of one’s income to help those less fortunate.
2. Students also joined Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school for tefillah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/3 –
1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Continue to practice the dialogue and vocabulary in Chapter 3 and complete the first 3 pages of exercises in Chapter 3. Write 5 new unique sentences using vocabulary we have learned in the first 3 chapters, paying attention to verb forms and adjective placement.

Today in class we worked on:
10/20 –
1) Today we continued our discussion on tzedakah and tikun olam by looking at the text that tells us we should not stand idly by when we see someone hurting. We also looked at text from Rabbi Tarfon who said:

2) The day is short, the task is long, the workers are lazy, the reward is abundant, and the master is impatient.

3) We discussed how this could be applied to tikun olam – making the world a better place. We cannot fix everything immediately, but when we do address some wrongs or fix some things, we make some progress on leaving the world a better place.

4) We also joined Rabbi Prass for a Stump the Rabbi session where students were free to ask Rabbi Prass a wide range of (preferably Jewish) questions. Students asked some fabulous questions! And the weather held so we could do this outside. ????

5) We then continued with Hebrew, reviewing exercises in chapter 2 of our Hebrew book.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/20 –
Complete the exercises in chapter 2 in your Hebrew book. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Write 5 unique sentences using vocabulary we have learned in the first 2 chapters, paying attention to correct verb form.

Work online for at least 45 minutes before our next class with one or more of these sites:
https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

http://freehebrewgames.com/

Today in class we worked on:
10/13 –
1) Today we continued our discussion on tzedakah/tikun olam with looking at Ladder of Tzedakah described by Maimonides. He identified 8 different ways that we give, and categorized them in levels, or degree, of holiness, starting with giving reluctantly when asked to helping a person in need to become self-sufficient.
2) We discussed how we give, and what we give, along with attitudes related to how we give. We discussed ensuring self-respect and dignity when helping others, and working on not taking our own preconceived notions about others when we help.
3) In Hebrew, we reviewed the vocabulary we have learned in chapter 2 and worked together on the exercises in chapter 2.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/13 –
Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Complete the exercises in chapter 2. Write 5 unique sentences using the vocabulary we have learned in the first 2 chapters.

Spend about 45 minutes this week working with online Hebrew resources like this one: https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

Today in class we worked on:
10/6 –
1) Today we discussed the concept of ‘Tikun Olam’ or repairing the world and how it coincides with tzedakah. We looked at texts and ow they discussed our role in repairing the world, and then students were given the opportunity to write a handbook given from God on how to repair the world.
2) We then reviewed the vocabulary in Hebrew we have learned so far and moved on to our 2nd chapter in our Hebrew book with new vocabulary, including the works for ‘my’, ‘travel’, and more. We were able to do our Ivrit outside which was great.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/6 –
Continue to read Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes a day. Complete the first 2 pages of exercises in Chapter 2 in your Hebrew book, and work for at least 45 minutes with online resources including these:

https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching

http://freehebrewgames.com/

Today in class we worked on:
9/29 –
Today we continued to talk about making the world a better place.

• Students discussed the last present they received and how they felt
• Students discussed the last gift they gave and how they felt.
• We then looked at the word tzedakah and what it means. Then we looked at the root word – tzedek – which means justice, then we discussed why they thought our word for charity is based in justice.
• Students then looked at text from Torah and Talmud about tzedakah and we discussed what they thought.
• We then sat at the picnic table and reviewed the words we learned last week in Hebrew and completed some of the exercises in chapter one together.
• Each class rotated outside to look at the Lulav, etrog, and Torah in celebration of our 3 holidays: hoshana rabba, shemini atzeret, and simchat Torah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
9/29 –
Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Complete exercises through page 10 in your textbook. Here is a new link to work with Hebrew resources at least 45 minutes before our next class.

https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching
https://freehebrewgames.com/

Today in class we worked on:
9/22 –
Today was our first day and we covered a lot of things.

• We went over what to expect for the year – what we will learn about and expectations of students
• We examined the text of Al Shloshah Devarim – On three things the world stands – Torah, Avodah, and Gimilut Chasasim. We also examined a later text that says the world stands on truth, justice, and peace and compared the two after translating them.
• We took advantage of the weather and went outside for a Hebrew review game.
• We joined Rabbi Prass in the Sukkah, had an opportunity to shake the lulav and etrog, and decorate the sukkah a bit.
• We received our Hebrew books for the year and started the first chapter.
Homework to be completed by next class:
9/22 –
• Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day
• Practice reading the dialogue in the first chapter of your Hebrew book.
• Practice translating the dialogue and become familiar with the words in the milon (dictionary).
• Here are a couple of online Hebrew games to play for at least 45 minutes before our next class: http://freehebrewgames.com/