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Posts tagged ‘Jews’

Stretching and Reaching

Vegetation along the Nile. You can see the riv...

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In Parshas Shemos, we learned all about baby Moshe being placed by his mother Yocheved in a waterproof  basket that would keep him safe in the Nile River. We viewed images of moses baskets but the ones we saw didn’t look as safe as the one the Torah explains Moshe’s was.

Moshe’s older sister Miriam hid among the tall reeds and waited to see what would happen to her baby brother. She was worried when she saw Princess Batya approaching. Batya was the daughter of mean King Pharoh! She was at the river to take a bath, because in that time people did not have bathtubs in their homes – instead, they washed in the water of the river.

Batya heard a baby crying. She had a kind heart and cared about the baby. She sent her helpers to get the basket but they didn’t want to. So even though the basket was too far away for her to reach, Batya stretched out her arm to get it. Hashem saw how hard Batya was trying to help and do a mitzva, so Hashem made her able to reach the baby.

The baby refused to be fed by all the Egyptian women, because the baby Moshe would grow up to talk to Hashem and be given the Torah and teach it to all the Jews. His neshama was holy.

Miriam was worried and may have felt embarrassed, but she knew that she should be brave to do a mitzva. She stood up and didn’t hide anymore. Miriam asked Princess Batya if Miriam should go find a Jewish woman to feed the crying baby. Batya said yes.

Who do you think Miriam brought to take care of Moshe? His real mother, Yov cheved! yocheved was so happy to take care of her baby, but she didn’t tell anyone that she was his real mother.

Moshe grew up with Princess Batya and her father King Pharoh in the palace. When he grew older, he would go out and help the Jews with their hard work. He cared about their pain and tried to help them as much as he could.

Story Time: In Labels for Laibel, the boys realize that they feel very unhappy not sharing their toys and books or anything at all. then their mother and father label their things, to show the boys how it feels when people don’t share.

A student suggested that Morah Elana hold the pages up to the camera to show the pictures and this worked well! The same student taught Morah Elana what to do to reply to sticky notes. Even students can teach teachers! We can learn from everyone.

At the end the boys took off all the labels they had put on. Then they felt happy because they had made shalom. Hashem wants us to share and care for one another.

Students drew pictures about sharing.

In Aleph Beis Class, we practiced patach and kamatz sounds with one, and then two, letter combinations. Writing of two syllable words with patach and kamatz. We are progressing nicely!

In Parshas Vaeira, we learned all about the first seven makos, and how they were mida keneged mida. They were punishments that made sense because of the things the Egyptians did to the Jews.

When we make promises we should remember what we said and do it, not like Pharoh who always changed his mind and broke his promises.

A Rich Torah Curriculum

Vegetation along the Nile. You can see the riv...

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In Siddur Class, we continued learning the blessings for the Torah. Once we say the brachos for the Torah, we study some Torah right away – it’s right there in the siddur. In birkas kohanim we ask hashem to give us good things, and to protect them from anything bad happening to them. A person can give a gift but can;t make sure that the gift will last, but Hashem is the giver and the protecter, so Hashem can do this. We ask Hashem to show us a “shining face” be kind to us, and give us peace – shalom.

We continue to learn Torah by studying about mitzvos that don’t have a limit to how much we may do. We can leave large corners of our field for needy people to take whatever grows there. When we have the beis hamikdash, we can give a lot of fruits to the kohein. We may appear many times at the beis hamikdash on Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos, and every time is a mitzva. We can help many people every day, and each time it’s a mitzva. The more Torah we study, the more mitzvos we are doing, with every word. Thses are all mitzvos without a shiur – they are limitless – unlike the mitzvos of Sukkah or lighting Chanukah lights, which are limited in the number of days we may do them, or Shabbos, which we may observe only while the day lasts.

We drew examples of limitless mitzvos using the tools of the virtual classroom.

Book Club Class: In the story No Questions Asked, we discussed assumptions, and speculated about whether Aliza’s assumptions about how fantastic Gita’s mother is will turn out to be true.

I enjoyed subbing for Rabbi Resnick’s Parsha class. Beginning of Parshas Shemos with selected Rashis.

We studied the psychology of Pharoh’s personality. There are opinions that say that he was the sme man who was “not the same man” anymore, because he changed his attitude and his rules. He was also worried that the Children Of Israel, who were having six babies at once, would become so many and so strong that they would overpower the Egyptians and either leave Mitzrayim slaveless, or else chase out the Egyptians. Pharoh expressed concern that the Jews would leave, when his true concern was that he would be forced to leave.

A student brought up the issue that it might have been difficult for the Jews to take care of so many babies. We suggested that there were also so many older siblings to help out.

How did they come up with names for all the babies? one student wondered. We learned that at the time the Jews were slaves in Egypt, they actually invented many original and creative names that reflected the times they lived in and their trust in Hashem. Some names in the Torah are popular nowadays, and some are not commonly given. Students reflected on their Jewish names and those of their family members.

Kids asked insightful questions!

And I enjoyed subbing for Rabbi Resnick’s Halacha Class! Kitzur Shulchan Aruch – Siman Vav – Seifim Aleph Beis and Gimmel –

A Little Bit About Brachos

We learned that before we say a bracha, we have to know which bracha we are saying. The main part of the bracha is the first part, which mentions Hashem’s name, but when saying that we need to know how we will end off. Some foods can be challenging as far as knowing which bracha to say, because they are made of different ingredients. We should make sure we know which bracha is right! In Israel many foods actually have the correct bracha pinted on the packaging. One student in the US said that the snack Tiny Bits states its blessing on the packaging.

The only things that should be in the mouth when saying a bracha are the words praising G-d.

It is inappropriate to say Hashem’s name for no reason, in any language. It’s bad to curse a person using the name of G-d. One student said that some groups of Jews do it so maybe it’s allowed for them. We learned that although a student may know Jews who speak this way, all Jews need to try to speak in a refined manner.

Then I taught Parsha during Morah Miriam’s class. (Morah Miriam had a baby boy on Shabbos. MAZAL TOV!)

On Simchas Torah we started reading the Torah from the beginning, and last weel we completed all of the Book of Bereishis. This week we begin a new Book called Shemos. The parsha of the week is also called Shemos.

We – the Jews – our great great great great great etc. grandmothers and grandfathers were made slaves and had to work hard for the mean King Pharoh in Mitzrayim (Egypt). At first there were only 70 people from Yaakov’s family, but Hashem blessed the Jews and gave every mother six babies at one time! Pharoh was angry that the Jews were becoming so many, and wanted to kill them. He told the midwives (women who help mothers have babies) Shifra and Puah to kill the baby boys. But they didn’t listen. Hashem was so proud that Hashem made the people that came from them kohanim, leviim and Jewish kings.

Pharoh made a law that all Jewish baby boys had to be thrown into the Nile river. but Hashem made the water carry the babies to caves, and made milk and honey flow out of rocks for the babies to eat. Later the boys were able to go back to their families. Another way Hashem may have protected the babies was b making their mouths like the mouths of fish, so they were able to breathe under water.

Pharoh was told by people who read messages from the stars that a Jewish baby boy would be born, and when he grew up he would take the Jews out of Mitzrayim. A mother named Yocheved had a baby and hid him for three months. Then she placed him in a wooden box that she made waterproof, into the Nile river. She told his older sister Miriam to hide among the tall plants called reeds and watch to see what would happen to the baby. (We know that it was Moshe, and he would be fine, and really take the Jews out of Egypt when he grew up.)

Next  time we will see what happened to the baby.

Students drew a baby in a box in the river, and he was crying WAA!

In Book Club Class, we finished reading No Questions Asked. When Aliza finally realizes the truth about Gita’s amazing mother, she begins to appreciate her own. (Gita’s mother died.)

In the story we visit Gita’s pretty bedroom. The students drew their own rooms as we discussed the story.

A fast paced and very productive reading of the letters with vowels kamatz and patach occurred in Aleph Beis Class. Students did some drawing of letters on the board.

Fire Safety on Chanukah

Hanukkah menorah, known also as Hanukiah.

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We had a beis hamikdahs where we felt that Hashem was right here with us. But it went away. One reason is that the Jews forgot to keep in mind how special the Torah is and always say a bracha in the morning thanking Hashem for the Torah.

Hashem makes us special with mitzvos. One mitzvah is to study the Torah. We ask Hashem to make us all enjoy doing this. And we and our children and grandchildren should all study the Torah just because it’s the right thing to do and good to do.

Hashem chose us from all the nations (groups of people who live in different countries) and gave the Jews the Torah.

Hashem is called hamelamed – this means that Hashem is the greatest teacher in thw world! Hashem is also called nosein haTorah, the giver of the Torah.

Students used the tools of the virtual classroom to draw colorful open and closed Torah scrolls. Students also drew children lighting the menorah. The original menorah had seven brances and stood in the beis hamikdash. In Israel we call the one we light on Chanukah a chanukiah.

We began a story by Libby Lazewnik called No Questions Asked.

In the story, Aliza has complaints against her mother’s way of doing things in a disorganized fashion, but she also appreciates her mother’s warm and loving personality.

Often we are called in many directions and we have to prioritize to decide which direction we will choose. Students decided that taking care of burning food was the most important thing to be done in the story. We have to be very careful around fire. When we light Chanukah menorahs we should roll up our sleeves, not get too close, and not behave wildly near the flames. We should keep an eye on babies and young children, because our parents may be called in many directions. it’s a mitzva to help keep everyone safe.

Vocabulary words we discussed were stoic, oblige, recoiled and sympathetically.

Spelling words were organized, laundry and directions.

Students were very considerate about sharing space on the board.

We had an advanced student today, so we did a quick review of the letters with kamatz and then moved on to some unusual vowel combinations such as the chataf patach and chataf segol.

Very good question from a student: Why is there sometimes a chataf patach (etc.) in the Torah (instead of just a patach)? What is its meaning? Morah Elana said that she would research this.

When Morah Elana said a bracha before she drank a cup of water, two students typed “amen” into the chat box! We wondered if that works as far as being considered as having answered amen to a bracha.

We read the word Chanukah. Students drew Chanukah related drawings on the board. We spoke about fire safety around the Chanukah lights. It’s a mitzva to protect our safety – venishmarten meod lenafshoseichem.

We talked about Parshas Mikeitz. Pharoh had two strange dreams. His wise men and magicians explained them, but Pharoh did not like their explanations. Yosef, who was known to be good at explaining dreams, was called to Pharoh – but was first given a haircut and clean clothes to stand before the king. When we daven we are standing or sitting before Hashem so we make sure to dress neatly and appropriately.

Yosef didn’t know that he would be taken out of jail suddenly. Sometimes we have difficulties but Hashem can make things better in an instant.

When Pharoh complimented Yosef for being able to explain dreams, Yosef did not brag or act like a big shot and say that he was the greatest. He said that Hashem is the One who understands everything, and maybe Hashem will make him thik of the right explanation.

Yosef’s explanations made sense to Pharoh. Pharoh chose Yosef as the wise person to collect and save food during the seven years when there would be extra, and give it out when there would not be enough food.

Yosef’s own brothers went to Mitzrayim to get food but Yosef pretended not to know them. They did not recognize Yosef after all the years they had been separated.

Students drew Yosef storing a lot of food for the future. Yosef explained that the reason that Hashem showed Pharoh the dreams was so that he could prepare for the future – he could do something about it and not just let things happen.

In Peanut Butter and Jelly for Shabbos, Laibel and Yossi managed to prepare an entire Shabbos meal. They met the challenge and saw that Hashem made them able to succeed. Studnts and Morah Elana discussed challenges we faced, and how we tried to do our best. Hashem helped us succeed!

 We began reading Laibels for Laibel. Sharing can be something we don’t want to do, but it’s not nice to live ina family when we keep everything for ourselves. We talked about things we share and drew pictures that represented sharing.

 

 

Good Morning, Good Choices

Sofer writing the last letters of the Torah bo...

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We learned about the prayer Elokai Neshama. Hashem does an amazing thing – returns our soul all the way back into our body each morning. our neshama is tehora – good and pure. Even if we did something not so good yesterday, today Hashem trusts us to make better choices.

Students used the virtual classroom tools to draw children who were happy to greet a brand new day with a neshama tehora. They were ready to make good choices on the brand new day that Hashem gave them.

Every morning we say a special bracha for the Torah because we are so happy to have the Torah and learn Torah. A long time ago we had the beis hamikdash, Hashem’s special house. Hashem lived there and we felt that Hashem was right here with us. But it went away because the Jews did some wrong things. One thing the Jews did is forget to say the bracha for the Torah and remember how special the Torah is.

Students drew open Torah scrolls with writing, and closed Torah scrolls with special coverings like in shul.

We reviewed all the letters out of order.

We wrote all the letters aleph through zayin.

We learned about the kamatz, and how we combine its sound with the sound of each letter, and we practiced with letters aleph through hay.

Students used the board to practice writing letters with and without the kamatz.

We finished reading Responsibility. We learned abbout the Gulf War in 1991, where in Israel, Uri chose to overcome his fears and care for his whole family because his parents were deaf and mute. Uri also translated to his father into sign language what his teacher said about Uri. We talked about whether these things are too much responsibility for a child, Students said yes, but that in these cases there was no choice. We cannot always choose the situations we are in, but we can choose a proper response.

Spelling words included shoulder, strength and accept.

Assembly was a vocabulary word. It derives from the word assemble.

We learned what a simile is.

Uri honored his parents every day in unique ways.

Uri asks us not to laugh at a person like his father, who may appear strange.

One student drew Uri’s father without a ears or a mouth, representing his challenges of being deaf and mute.

Technology,Torah and Teaching

Personal Handy-phone System mobiles and modems...

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I am all ready to start teaching a class at Room 613, with my webcam reinstalled once again and my mic connected, my documents uploaded and my chat box resized to fit my full screen setting. A minute before class, my cell phone rings. It’s Avraham Weiss. “Hello,” he says. “This is Avraham Weiss, your son in law Moishe’s brother in law.”

“Hi Avraham,” I say pleasantly and quickly, the seconds ticking by. “I know it’s you; it says so on my telephone screen.”

“Really?” He has time. This is a great guy who leads a quiet life, who is reported by my daughter to say, “My wife and I enjoy socializing but only with each other.”

“It’s amazing what technology can do nowadays,” he marvels.

I pause and do a double take to my online classroom where my students await my ending this phone call. Amazing. Yeah!

In Aleph Beis Class, we reviewed all the letters in order, and also the sounds each letter makes. Talia was surprised that there is a letter called kaf sofis, but it’s really in the Torah! Not a final chaf, but a final kaf.

We tried naming the letters out of order, and it was a little difficult. But it’s important to know the alef beis out of order, because when we read Hebrew, the words are made of letters in all kinds of orders.

Reading from the Chumash and the Siddur starts with reading the letters. The alef beis is the basis for learning Torah. When we study the Hebrew letters we are learning Torah.

Esti said that she doesn’t know the aleph beis at all. Morah Elana told her that by the end of this class she will not be able to say that anymore!

I found myself emailing my principal the following line, which struck me as rather unique:

Bichlal mai nafka mina if blog dates are approximate? I was asking him in the Aramaic words of the Gemara what difference it makes.

Now does that sound like the typical question a teacher would ask a principal regarding school? 😉

Read my Recent Posts and Archives , located at the upper right of this page. 

 

Kids Collaborating

V11p128001 Torah

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We finished reading and discussing A Happy Birthday? We discussed why the Torah compares embarrassing someone to murder. We gave the girl on our computer screen red cheeks.

Students practiced spelling story words appreciate, happiness and gorgeous.

We began a new Jewish story called Responsibility. Students made good guesses about why an 8 year old boy was the one in charge of his siblings. Chavie thought it might be to teach him responsibility – but Naama and Michal pointed out that he is already responsible. Dena said maybe because he is the oldest in his family. We discussed how often more is expected of a child who is the oldest.

We delved into the vocabulary of the term deaf-mute. Students guessed that the reason these two conditions often go together is that a person learns to speak by hearing others speak.

In the next class we will learn how the mitzvah of honoring parents applies to the narrator of this story.

In Aleph Beis Class we studied letters kaf through sav.

We practiced writing the tes, yud, kaf, chaf, chaf sofit and lamed.

Chaf sofit appears only at the end of a word.

The dot in the middle of some letters is called a dagesh.

Yud is for Yair!

Tes is for Tes Teves – Moshe’s birthday!

Shuvi invented a game of Connecting the Dots with the aleph beis!

Students worked together to connect the dots.

When we, from different parts of the world, all work and learn together, we are collaborating.

It’s great to collaborate to learn Torah!

Happy Classdays

modehani.jpg

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In Siddur Class we learned all about Modeh Ani. We can just discuss and discuss…

Had a brand new group of kids, 8 to 12, in my Book Club. The Happy Birthday? story featured once again, this time on a higher maturity level.  We discussed sensitivity to others according to the Torah, rich vs. poor, reading between the lines, the narrator and courage.

We paused at a suspenseful point and discussed it.

We talked about what choice we would make if we were in the narrator’s situation.

We guessed how to spell announcement, decison and courage and practiced the correct spellings.

In Aleph Beis Class, I didn’t notice much participation from Ariella and Evyatar. The others were very enthusiastic.

We are moving ahead at a brisk pace! We identified all the letters from aleph through yud. We practiced drawing letters aleph through ches. Shuvi pointed out that the ches looks like a sukkah! Names that begin with ches are Chana, Chaim and Chafetz Chaim. Chanukah also begins with a ches. Before long we will be reading Hebrew!