January 13

Grade 7: Interpersonal Mitzvot Video Project

Students are being tasked with diving deeper into one of the mitzvot we have studied in class. This is a fantastic opportunity to head down to the makerspace and use the green room for video recording.

Each group will create a video presentation that explains:

  1. The meaning/significance of the mitzvah (explain various interpretations)
    1. Where is it found within a Jewish context? (Torah? Mishnah?)
  2. How this mitzvah connects to your life/modern every-day life situations (applications)
  3. Your own interpretation on the value of this lesson (Why do you believe this is important?)

Remember that for each section, your group members may have different ideas. This is great! You can present more than one lesson/interpretation in these videos.


  • Research your mitzvah to uncover various interpretations and applications
  • Each person in your group must speak at least once
  • This video will also include a skit/visual representation of the lesson learned
  • Minimum of two minutes long (maximum eight minutes)


January 9

Grade 7: Mitzvah Projects Galore

This week our class began to prepare for our first lesson as apart of our TIPES Mitzvah Project. Next week our students will be meeting with a program coordinator from TIPES to learn more about the students we will be partnering with.

We watched and discussed a video that highlighted the strengths and challenges that many people face on the Autism Spectrum. The video did a great job providing students with tips and suggestions as they prepare to meet their new friends.



Lastly, we discussed the connection between this program and our Jewish values. How can you incorporate gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness) into your life?

Image result for the world rests on three things



January 8

Grades 6-8: Israeli Inventions with Shai

Today the middle school students learned about Israeli inventions with our shinshin Shai! They discussed the various narratives behind some of the most important Israeli inventions. The students learned about Waze, Pillcams, USB,  the Iron Dome, and Krembo Wings.

Students used this interactive website to record their responses  : https://www.mentimeter.com/features

Shai emphasized the idea that inventors and innovators are each unique in their own way. Each class participated in an activity that focused on utilizing their creativity and resourcefulness. Students were tasked with taking an everyday object and thinking about how they could repurpose those objects. Maybe the next greatest invention will be created in our very own OJCS Makerspace!

November 6

Grade 7: The Mitzvah Project Continues!

The Grade 7 Jewish Studies curriculum focuses on interpersonal mitzvot and the analysis of Jewish values. Last year, the Grade 7 class began a mitzvah project initiative. They  wanted to build a stronger relationship with students from TIPES (Thinking In Pictures Educational Services). The students recognized an opportunity to bridge a gap between two school communities that operated so closely together. The students invited members of the Edelweiss program within TIPES to join our class for incredible activities such as: a scavenger hunt, lego challenge, carnival, and team sports. This mutually beneficial program allowed the students to feel the effects of gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness) first hand.


This year’s Grade 7 class will be continuing the initiative with TIPES! Students are working in groups to design, plan, and organize their own respective activities for our friends at TIPES. Group members will work together to plan an activity (or series of activities) that lasts roughly 45 minutes.

  • Group 1- Sarah N., Brandon, Sasha
  • Group 2- Talia, Jordana, Jenny, Noam
  • Group 3- Jordan, Jacob, Maayan, Sarah K.
  • Group 4- Abby, Ruben, Yamaya

Each group has been asked to brainstorm and choose an activity to prototype. After they have come to a consensus, the group must submit the following:

    • Written instructions for peers/students
    • List of materials
      • Who/how are we getting the materials
    • Pictures/examples

Once this plan has been submitted to Mr. Washerstein, the group will move forward in creating their activity.

Additionally, the class has decided that they would like to volunteer at the Ottawa Food Bank. The students identified helping those who are in need within our local community as an important mitzvah.

Image result for gemilut hasadim

October 11

Grades 6-8: The Fun Has Just Begun With Our Shinshinim

Last week, the middle school students had the opportunity to participate in creative activities revolving around the chagim with our shinshinim. They used their directional skills to help guide their partner to the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah. The students also played a “headbands” activity that related to the customs and traditions of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. We can’t wait to see what other activities the shinshinim have in store for us!




October 11

Grades 6-8: Sukkot Decorations

I hope everyone had a meaningful and easy fast. With Sukkot right around the corner, we will spend some time in class today creating decorations for our OJCS sukkah.

We will be competing amongst the middle school grades today to come up with the most creative decoration along with the longest paper chain!

Although we might not have all of the materials used in the activities below, feel free to choose an idea and adapt it. Check out these links for inspiration:






September 25

Grade 7: Lashon Hara

Today students will be discussing, analyzing, and determining the significance of the concept of Lashon Hara. As we dive deeper into our discussion of interpersonal mitzvot, students will be asked to create connections between these lessons and their own lives. This lesson connects closely to one of our activities and discussions during the Middle School Retreat.

Students will also be practicing the following comprehension skills:

  • Previewing questions prior to reading
  • Highlighting key words/phrases
  • Looking up unfamiliar vocabulary terms
  • Taking notes/jotting down ideas while reading (annotation)
  • Answering questions in complete sentences (referencing the text)