education – hey wed

Today in class we worked on: 

2/1-

  1. Participated in Tefillah with Rabbi Prass. During silent prayer, we wrote notes which will be put in the kotel in Jerusalem by Rabbi Bellows next week when she goes there. 
  1. Today we watched the movie “The Wave.” The movie is based on a high school class in the late 60s that tried to answer how people in Germany could say they did not know what was going on during the Holocaust. It follows a class that goes from a new way to gain success, power, and learning just for the class’s students to an organization that they are to recruit for, rules to follow, enforcers to report anyone not following the rules. One student starts to feel uncomfortable and writes in the school paper against the new group – the Wave – and is targeted to make her stop. As the movie wraps up, the teacher announces a big rally that day. He says it is not a class experiment, but part of a national network of other teachers working to create a national student program and movement, and the movement’s leader will speak to them all at the assembly, which is only open to true Wave members.  
  1. We talked about what the experiment showed. We discussed how finding ways to be successful, to be more organized, to join with other people are good. We should always have a support network of some sort. But if that group begins to say that they are superior to others, starts reporting on fellow members, and becomes focused on excluding or deriding others, by skin color, ability, religion, political party, gender identity, etc, then it is time to step back and look at exactly what the purpose of the group is. 
  1. It is important to remember only about 10% of Germans actually joined the Nazi party. In Germany, the populace had faced a devastating defeat in the 1st World War, made worse by the fact their government told them they were winning. Then came the crushing impact of the reparations imposed by the Allies which sent their economy into free fall, later exacerbated by the Great Depression. Many people were highly susceptible to being told none of the pain and suffering they were feeling was their fault and that the German people were a strong people and could withstand anything. By laying this type of basis for appealing to the nation, and after taking control of the national school systems and other institutions, including the press, they were able to craft a narrative that gave people a sense of belonging, as well as a reason to not pay attention to what was happening to the ‘others’ – Jews, blacks, members of the LGBTQ+ community, Communists, Catholics, Roma (Gypsies) and other so-called undesirables. 
  1. If you have not watched the movie, it is available for free online.  https://www.aghseagles.org/apps/video/watch.jsp?v=72327 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Review chapter 3 in your Hebrew book and complete any exercises you have not. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day, focusing on the dialogues in the first 3 chapters. Write 3 unique Hebrew sentences using vocabulary we have learned so far. 

Today in class we worked on: 

1/25-

  1. Today we continued our study of the Shoah by learning how Hitler came to power in Germany. First we looked at the history and outcome of World War I, which set the stage for post-war Germany and the appeal of blaming someone else for the collapse of their economic system under crippling reparations imposed by the Allies and later the Great Depression. We learned how Hitler, a WWI vet, had been arrested trying to foment a coup, and was sentenced to prison for treason. In prison, he wrote his book “Mein Kampf,” which when published was a huge success and led him to becoming a millionaire, while his countrymen were struggling to survive. We learned how the Nazi party became more and more ideological and violent, being elected to the newly established democratic parliament, with a modest showing initially. Later, they were to win a substantial number of seats, leading Hitler to demand to be made Chancellor. A new election was triggered, and while the Nazi party lost seats, they still had over 200 and Hitler was named Chancellor. Shortly thereafter, an attack on the Reichstag (German Congress) allowed him to declare a state of emergency and grabbed all power of the state. State institutions, except for the Army and a couple others, were made state institutions, including schools, press, universities, and more. Finally, the Nuremburg laws were passed, which stripped citizenship from German Jews, and made them ‘subjects’ of the Reich with no rights at all. 
  1. We then reviewed Hebrew vocabulary and joined Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school for Hebrew through Movement. We also joined in for tefillah at the beginning of class. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Review chapter 3 in your Hebrew book and complete any exercises you have not. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day, focusing on the dialogues in the first 3 chapters. Write 3 unique Hebrew sentences using vocabulary we have learned so far. 
  1. Please sign up in advance for the 7th grade Shabbat Family Dinner for Friday, January 27th, 6:15 – 7:00 https://bethambg.shulcloud.com/event/7thGradeFamilyShabbatDinner  
  1. RSVP to rabbiprass@bethambg.org for the 7th grade Field Trip to the CBA food pantry, Sunday, January 29th, 12 – 2 pm 

Today in class we worked on: 

1/18-

  1. Today we learned about the history of antisemitism, from the time of the bible and how it has grown and mutated through today, and how the concept of hatred of Jews helped lay the groundwork for the atrocities of the Holocaust. Students had good questions and participated in our discussion on a very difficult topic. 
  1. Students also joined Rabbi Bellows for tefillah today. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Homework: If you did not finish your homework over break, please do so now. Practice reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 min a day. 
  1. Please sign up in advance for the 7th grade Shabbat Family Dinner for Friday, January 27th, 6:15 – 7:00 https://bethambg.shulcloud.com/event/7thGradeFamilyShabbatDinner  
  1. RSVP to rabbiprass@bethambg.org for the 7th grade Field Trip to the CBA food pantry, Sunday, January 29th, 12 – 2 pm 

Today in class we worked on: 

12/21-

  1. What a great semester we have had. We finished up our semester on Tzedakah and Tikun Olam by reviewing some of what we have learned and talked about and discussing the idea of taking action to make a difference. We can’t just pray for things to happen – we are partners with God in this world and our actions must help to make it better.  
  1. Then we played Hebrew football, which students did great at.  
  1. We had tefillah with Rabbi Prass and then ended the semester with pizza dinner with the rest of the school. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Craft 5 unique sentences in Hebrew using the vocabulary we have learned. Make sure you have completed all the exercises through chapter 3. 
  1. Play some online Hebrew games to practice reading and vocabulary: 
  1. https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching 
  1. https://www.lingo-play.com/en/learn-hebrew-online/ 
  1. https://www.behrmanhouse.com/PlayLearn 
  1. The CBA Winter Break schedule is: 
  1. Sunday, December 25 - Sunday, January 8 NO Religious & Hebrew School – Winter Break 
  1. Tuesday, January 10 - Tuesday Hebrew School Resumes 
  1. Wednesday, January 11 - Wednesday Hebrew School Resumes 
  1. Sunday, January 15 - Religious School Resumes 

Today in class we worked on: 

12/14-

  1. Today we continued to discuss tzedakah and tikun olam by talking about change and ways to welcome it, or at least accept it, even if change makes us uncomfortable. We looked at what the Torah says about Moses’ reaction when God chose him to be the spokesman on behalf of the Israelites, and later, how Saul became the first king of Israel and how the Rabbis say he was from a small clan in the smallest tribe, with not much wealth or power, yet was chosen for his modesty and willingness to work with others. 
  1. We began the 3rd chapter in our Hebrew book learning new vocabulary and working on the dialogue in chapter 3.  
  1. We also joined Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school for tefilah and Hebrew through Movement. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Continue reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day. Focus on the dialogue in chapter 3 to practice reading. Write 5 unique sentences utilizing vocabulary from the first 3 chapters of your book. 

Today in class we worked on: 

  1. Today we discussed how to identify the suffering of others and empathy. We looked at how a person can be ‘awakened’ to what is going on around them and the actions they may take to improve things. We looked at the awakening of Moses, from when he was a young man just starting to identify injustices around him to later becoming someone who would lead the Israelites from Egypt. 
  1. We also worked on our Hebrew in Chapter 2, reviewing the vocabulary and working on exercises in the book together.  
  1. We also joined Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school for tefillah and Hebrew through Movement. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day – practice reading the dialogue in Chapter 3 as we will be moving on next week. Complete the last 2 pages of Chapter 2 in your Hebrew book. Work with online tools on vocabulary and reading for 45 minutes during the week. 
  1. https://www.learnhebrewpod.com/multimediacontent/matching 
  1. https://hebrew-language.com/hebrew-games/ 

Today in class we worked on: 

11/30-

  1. Today we discussed hunger, what the Torah tells us we have a responsibility to resolve or ease it, and other ways we can work together to help alleviate hunger. We looked at the Holiness Code in the Torah which begins with the instructions from God to not harvest all of the fields or to pick up anything that falls, since that is for the widow, orphan, and stranger. Students had a great conversation on what hunger is, what causes it, and ways we can work together to help alleviate it – everything from donating to food pantries to speaking to lawmakers to make things more equitable. 
  1. We also joined Rabbi Prass for tefilah and for Hebrew thru Movement. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Keep reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Practice the dialogue and vocabulary for Chapter 2 in our Hebrew book, and complete the exercises on the first 2 pages of the chapter. 

Today in class we worked on: 

  1. Today we continued our discussion of tzedakah and tikun olam by discussing actual actions we can take to make the world a better place. Students were asked to think big, beyond simply giving money or volunteering to actions they could take on issues important to them. We then discussed government and its potential role in tzedakah and how it could be used to make the lives of its people better. Students then created jigsaw puzzles of a variety of ways they can help make the world a better place. 
  1. We also joined Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school for tefilot and for Hebrew Through Movement. 

Homework to be completed by next class:  

  1. Finish your puzzles if you did not have a chance during class. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes every day and make sure you have finished the 1st exercise in chapter 2 of your Hebrew book. 

Today in class we worked on:

11/2-

  • Today we continued our discussion on tzedakah and tikun olam by talking about personal responsibility. Part of working to make the world better is to accept the responsibility of doing so. As we grow older, there are more things we need to do. We also talked about the beginning of the verse “do not stand idly by” which tells us we are not to be tale bearers and spread rumors or false statements. We talked about the danger and long-term damage false statements can make and the importance of being careful what we say.
  • We also began chapter 2 of our Hebrew book, learning the words for my, yours, hers, and more.
  • We ended class with the other Hebrew classes and watched a video about OSRUI summer 2023 and Rabbi Prass led Hebrew Through Movement.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day, focusing on the dialogue in chapter 2. Complete the first page of exercises in chapter 2.

Today in class we worked on:

10/26-

  1. Participated in all school Tefillah with Rabbi Prass
  2. Today we continued our discussion on tzedakah by looking at the concept of Tikun Olam – repairing the world. Students discussed different ways to repair the world – with treasure, time, and talent. We looked at text telling us not to stand idly by from the Torah, and other text from Pirkei Avot explaining that while the work of repairing the world is big, we are not expected to finish it all, but neither are we free from ignoring it.
  3. Participated in Hebrew through Movement with our school community

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day. Practice reading the next dialogue in Chapter 2 of your Hebrew book and make sure you finish all the exercises in chapter 1.
  2. Go to www.thehungersite.com every day and click on donate to help alleviate hunger. Click on affiliate sites to help save rain forest land and more.

Today in class we worked on:

10/19-

  • Today we continued to talk about tzedakah by looking at how Maimonides organized the different ways of giving into a ‘ladder’. We used an online game to put the levels in what we thought was correct and compared with what was actually determined.
  • We also worked more on our Hebrew, practicing vocabulary and working on exercises in our Hebrew book.
  • We joined the rest of the school for tefilot and for Hebrew Through Movement and got to taste an etrog!

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1.  Read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. This can be dialogues from your textbook, Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons or other sources, but reading aloud is important to get your mouth used to the sounds and combinations of spoken Hebrew.

Today in class we worked on:

10/12-

  1. Students also joined the rest of the school for tefillah with Rabbi Prass.
  2. Today we created posters and graphics for the next synagogue-wide tzedakah project, raising money for an ambulance for Magen David Adom in Israel in a joint fundraiser with other Chicago synagogues. We discussed the MDA and its history, as well as what is does in providing medical care, transportation, and blood supplies to Israeli citizens.
  3. After making the posters, we worked on our Hebrew vocabulary and read the dialogue and translated it in chapter 1 of our Hebrew book.
  4. We also chose to make Zac’s Zoo the tzedakah project for the class for the year. If students bring in enough tzedakah, we may look into a field trip to purchase stuffed animals for the organization with the money raised.
  5. Rabbi Prass brough in the lulav/etrog so that our students could fulfill this sukkot mitzvah.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1.  Read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. This can be dialogues from your textbook, Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons or other sources, but reading aloud is important to get your mouth used to the sounds and combinations of spoken Hebrew.

Today in class we worked on:
9/28-

  1. We enjoyed an all-school t’fillah with Rabbi Prass where we heard the sound of the shofar.
  2. Today we discussed the idea of gifts, justice, tzedakah, and responsibility for our community. Students reflected on gifts received and given, looked at text describing both the commandment of tzedakah and the pursuit of justice.
  3. They also created a gift for a classmate where they were encouraged to make it as personalized as they could. We then discussed creating/giving something fun, something just to inspire a good day, or something more substantive, like housing, clothing, education and more.
  4. Students also discussed ideas for the synagogue tzedakah project coming up. Next week we will choose one and students will create posters and online ads to help get the Beth Am community involved.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1.  Practice reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Try to focus on dialogue in chapter 1 of your Hebrew book and we will begin studying it next week.
  2. Also bring in ideas for a class tzedakah project for the year and ideas for synagogue projects for the next couple of months.

Today in class we worked on:
9/21-
1) We enjoyed an all-school t’fillah with Rabbi Prass where we heard the sound of the shofar for the month of Elul.
2) We discussed the difference between charity vs tzedakah. Charity is for the love of another and tzedakah is a commandment.
3) We continued brain storming tzedakah organizations for the entire congregation. We did stump the rabbi asking Rabbi Prass various questions about Jewish ‘stuff’
4) We shared that while sitting at Rosh Hashanah worship and meals is not the same high as six flags, what is worth celebrating during the holiday
5) Rabbi Prass brought in 10 shofarot, and we had a Hebrew school band learning how to sound the shofar.
Homework to be completed by next class:
9/21-
1) Practice reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Try to focus on dialogue in chapter 1 of your Hebrew book and we will begin studying it next week.
2) Also bring in ideas for a class tzedakah project for the year and ideas for synagogue projects for the next couple of months.

Today in class we worked on:
9/14-
1) Today was our first day of Hey/7th grade together!
2) We discussed the passage and song from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Ancestors) that states the world rests on three things: Torah, Prayer/Service, and Acts of Loving Kindness. We talked about what that means, why it would be considered important, and what it has to do with our first semester studies of tzedakah and tikun olam.
3) Students will be working together to select tzedakah projects for the Synagogue for each of the next 3 months, as well as learning about why tzedakah is important in Judaism, learning about the impact of poverty and hunger on people, and more.
4) We also began working on conversational Hebrew with a review game of letters and sounds.
5) Great class – looking forward to a wonderful year.
Homework to be completed by next class:
9/14-
1) Practice reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. Try to focus on dialogue in chapter 1 of your Hebrew book and we will begin studying it next week.
2) Also bring in ideas for a class tzedakah project for the year and ideas for synagogue projects for the next couple of months.