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)


September 5

Welcome Back OJCS Middle School!

I hope everyone had a fantastic summer! I am looking forward to teaching, challenging, and encouraging our middle school students this year in Jewish Studies. Yesterday we reviewed the Seven Habits, North Stars, behavior expectations, homework policy, and uniform policy. Our goal is for each student and parent to clearly understand these policies. There are a lot of exciting upcoming events in the middle school!

If you have not turned in the retreat and JCC permission slips, please do so ASAP!

Please bring in your shofar if you have one! The shofar patrol will be visiting various classes throughout the school. 

Please feel free to check out and review the presentation that we shared with the students yesterday. Additionally, you will find a link to my own classroom policies for the year.

Mr. Washerstein’s Classroom Policies


May 22

Grade 7: Jewnius Hour Project (Due: Monday 6/3)

This week students started working on their Jewnius Hour Project! The concept revolves around the fantastic idea of Genius Hour.

What is Jewnius Hour?

Jewnius Hour is an opportunity for students to explore their own passions and share their learning with the class. This project should involve research, creativity, and passion. The topic selection is completely up to you! The goal of this assignment is for you to choose an area of interest (that connects in some way to Judaism, Israel, Jewish values, etc.) and explore that topic. You will then create a presentation and an activity to share your findings with your peers. Please do not choose a subject that you are already an expert in! This project is designed to foster and support your own learning and growth regarding a topic of interest.


Due to the creative nature of this project, there are very few requirements that are set in stone.

  1. You must create a presentation (of some sort) and an interactive activity for your peers. The presentation should demonstrate what you learned throughout this process. Your peers should also leave your presentation learning something new!
  2. Time- Your presentation and activity (together) should last a minimum of 15 minutes. (The maximum time frame for one presentation/activity should be 45 minutes. Please see me if you are going to use an entire period)
  3. Review the rubric!
May 13

Grade 7: Jewish Studies Update

This week will we dive into a unit on Jewish History. Students worked in groups the past two classes analyzing and discussing various sets of Jewish values. Tomorrow students will share their findings with their peers in a class discussion. We are continuing to create connections between Jewish values and our everyday lives!


1. Rank the five most important values (most come to a group consensus…need to convince the other group members if there is a disagreement → compromise)

2. Create a group document where you:

  • Explain why you choose each value
  • Discuss the importance
  • Describe the way it can apply to your life
May 13

Grandparents’ Day –> Cities on Moon!

Today we celebrated Grandparents’ Day at the OJCS! Mr. Ray and myself planned an activity that focused on Israeli innovations. After watching Israeli Innovation (Start-Up Nation), we discussed some of the impressive inventions that have come out of the Holy Land. Students and grandparents were then given a mission to design the first city on the moon using the CoSpace program. Groups were asked to channel their Israeli innovative skills and explore their creative abilities.



April 2

Grade 7: Take A Look Through Our Lens

For the last few weeks our class, the Grade 7 students have been preparing for the TIPES Lego Challenge. This challenge occurred last Thursday which was a blast! We played with the students in our different lego challenges that we prepared. These challenges included: creating the tallest structures, strongest, most creative etc. It was really important for us to bond with the students at TIPES being that we all live in the same building! We were very proud as we facilitated an act of gemilut hasadim. We learned about the importance of treating others with respect and doing our part to create acts of loving kindness. The day turned out amazing and exciting. We are so excited for our next activity with them, which is next Thursday! We can’t wait for more interactions with TIPES in the future!

Written by Jessica Ages and Kiera Vered

Take a look at our amazing creations!