October 16

Grade 8: Journal Entry #4 Due: 10/24 (next Thursday)

I hope that everyone had the opportunity to eat a meal and spend some time in the sukkah. This week our friendship journal entry will focus on unlikely friendships that can develop. Students will be asked to read and respond to the following two articles posted below. 

Students have the option to type their journal entry, write their entry in a notebook, video record their response, or sketch note their thoughts.

Students that choose to write/type their journal entry need to include a minimum of two paragraphs. 

What you might include in this journal entry:

  • Your reaction to each story
  • Lessons you can take away
  • What surprised you?
  • Questions you still have
  • Have you ever developed an unlikely friendship?
  • What are the benefits from taking the time to understand the perspective of another?

 

Article 1:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/nowornever/stuck-in-a-cycle-here-s-how-to-break-out-1.5034764/a-taste-of-coexistence-how-a-palestinian-and-an-israeli-found-friendship-through-food-1.5034791

Article 2:

https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-07-30/how-two-women-israeli-and-palestinian-forged-friendship-endures-through-war

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:

https://www.pinterest.ca/maship/sukkot-crafts-and-activities/

https://www.judaica.com/jliving/sukkah-decorations-kids-crafts.html

https://toriavey.com/home-garden/family-fun-citron-sun-catchers-for-sukkot/

https://www.etsy.com/market/sukkot_decorations

 

October 2

Grade 8: Defamation Questions

As we continue our discussion of anti-semitism, students will spend time analyzing the documentary Defamation. This documentary examines various perceptions of anti-semitism around the world (Israeli, American, Polish, etc.) Through their analysis, students will be able to quickly determine that not everyone shares the same viewpoints in regard to anti-semitism.

Defamation Documentary Link

Students will be asked to respond to the following questions as they watch the documentary. 

Defamation Video Questions:

  1. Describe the various opinions on Anti-Semitism that are presented by people in the film? How do they differ?
  2. What are some examples of Anti-Semitism that the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) typically deals with?
  3. How did the Israeli students react to the group of older men that were speaking to them in Poland? Was this reaction justified? Explain
  4. Is there a difference between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism? Explain using examples from the documentary
October 2

Grade 8: Journal Entry #3 Due: Thursday 10/10

Friendship Seminar Journal Entry #3

Students have the option to type their journal entry, write their entry in a notebook, video record their response, or sketch note their thoughts. Respond to the following post in your journal:

Describe your first impressions of your new friend at Hillel Lodge.

  • What have you learned about their lives?
    • Family, friends, origins, jobs, etc.
  • What you like to learn more about?
  • Has it been easy to develop this friendship thus far? Why or why not? Explain
  • How can you begin to build a stronger relationship with your friend?
  • How can you show your appreciation for this newfound friendship?

For this entry, if students have decided to write, there is a minimum of two paragraphs for this response.

September 18

Grade 8: Friendship Journal Entry #2 (Due: Monday 9/23)

Friendship Seminar Journal Entry #2

Students have the option to type their journal entry, write their entry in a notebook, video record their response, or sketch note their thoughts. Respond to the following post in your journal:

  • Have you and a friend ever drifted apart? What happened?
    • How do you feel about it?
  • How do you deal with that loss?
    • Is there anything you could (or should) do to get back together?
  • Create a connection between your own experience and Jewish morals, ethics, or values. ( You may need to do a little bit of research to include this piece. Hint- think about lessons that we discuss revolving around holidays, Pirkei Avot teachings, and commentaries on other Jewish texts)

You could check out the following sites as a brainstorming exercise:

https://www.aish.com/jl/sp/bas/48924947.html

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/friendship-in-jewish-thought/

https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/4031501/jewish/Faith-and-Friendship.htm

 

  • For this entry, if students have decided to write, there is a minimum of two paragraphs for this response.
September 17

Grade 8: Friendship Seminar

This past Monday the students spent time during Jewish Studies building new friendships at Hillel Lodge. Each student was paired with a Hillel Lodge resident based on their own personal interests. They discussed their families, hobbies, and began to get to know each other.

We will be discussing the following themes throughout our Friendship Seminar:

1.     If I am only for myself, what am I? (Ethics of our Fathers, Pirkei Avot 1:14)

What is a friend?

2.     R’ Pinchas said: When a person is singing and cannot lift his voice and another, who has the strength, comes and sings along – then then the first person is able to lift his voice too. That is the secret of the bond between two souls. (Adapted from Buber, Tales of Chasidim p.126)

How does harmony symbolize friendships?

3.     Friendship and the meaning of support. Using tangible objects beams, walls, ladders, etc., students will understand the impact of friendship

4.     The verse says: “When things are going well, be joyful, at time when things are difficult – Look!” (Kohelet 7:14) R’ Tanchum explained this to mean that when things are going well for your friend – celebrate with him. If your friend is having difficulties – “LOOK” and see what you can do to help and support him. (Pesikta Kahana 191b)

What makes a true friend?

5.     Any friendship (love) that is dependent upon something, as soon as that thing is gone – the friendship is over! A friendship (love) that is not dependent on anything, that friendship will last forever! (Ethics of Our Fathers, Pirkei Avot 5:16)

Are there different classifications of friendships?

6.     The book of Ruth describes a phenomenal relationship between no less than a mother in-law and daughter in-law. Initially brought together through marriage, their relationship developed into one of sacrifice and ultimately great joy.

Can family members truly have friendships with one another?

 

September 9

Grade 8: Jewish Studies Journal Entry #1 Due: Wednesday 9/11

Building meaningful friendships is an extremely important skill. The Grade 8 class is going to be meeting with residents of Hillel Lodge in order to form authentic relationships. Students will be creating weekly journal entries to document their experiences throughout this program. Additionally, students will be participating in friendship seminars that align with our Jewish Studies Curriculum, North Stars, and Seven Habits.

Journal Entry #1 (Due: Wednesday 9/11)

Students have the option to type their journal entry, write their entry in a notebook, video record their response, or sketch note their thoughts.

Respond to the following post:

  • Explain the essential elements of a successful friendship
    • You can provide personal examples
    • Are there different types of friendships?
      • What makes them work?
  • For this entry, if students have decided to write, there is a minimum of two paragraphs for this response.

Grade 8 Jewish Studies Journal Entries

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 8: Jewish History Final Exam Review

Exam Information: Students will have 30 minutes to answer three questions for the Jewish History portion of the exam. Each question will be a short answer. Remember that these three questions will ask you to explain/create a connection related to our major units of study. The Jewish History Exam will take place in the afternoon on Wednesday, June 12th. Students will be given an hour and a half to complete entire Judaics Exam. This exam will be divided into three parts (Hebrew, Jewish History, a text-based portion from Rabbi Finkelstein).

Major Units of Study: Anti-Semitism, The Holocaust, Israel

There will be a response question selected from each of these three units. Take time to look at this outline and go back through your notes.