October 13

Grade 7: Lashon Hara Analysis (Due: Monday 10/26)

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.

Lashon Hara Analysis

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)

 

October 5

Grades 6-8: Shake Your Lulav (Sukkot 2020)

This week our students will be participating in variety of Sukkot activities!

Today in Grade 6 we started to watch and analyze a video created by Rabbi David Fohrman about Sukkot. The video asks students to dive deeper and examine various elements of Sukkot.

Why We Celebrate Sukkot (Aleph Beta)

Our classes will also examine and discuss the sources that were provided by Kehillat Beth Israel. These resources provide food for thought along with a detailed explanation of “how to” shake the lulav and etrog.

Tomorrow Dr. Mitzmacher will be shaking the lulav and etrog with the Grade 8 and Grade 7 cohorts. Never fear, the Grade 6 cohort will be shaking the lulav and etrog on Wednesday.

Lulav & Etrog Purchase - Columbia Barnard Hillel : Columbia Barnard Hillel

 

Last but certainly not least, Morah Ruthie prepared an incredible Google Slides Presentation that contains exciting games and trivia related to Sukkot.

 

September 21

Grade 7: Interpersonal Mitzvot

This week we will begin discussing interpersonal mitzvot. Our course will focus on understanding and incorporating Jewish values into our lives. As the year progresses, we will begin to read and analyze Pirkei Avot.

The link below can be used to access the Google Slides Presentation that we will be using in class to take notes/participate in activities. Students should feel free to bookmark this page on their device. Please note that this document is a living tool, which will be changed and updated regularly.

Grade 7 Jewish Studies Slideshow

September 10

Grade 6-8: D’var Torah Weekly Assignment

As we have discussed throughout the week, tefillah will look and feel a bit different this year. We will be having various tefillah experiences in our classroom during our Jewish studies class.

Each week, a student from each class will compose a d’var Torah and present it to their peers.

What is a D’var Torah?

A D’var Torah (a word of Torah) is a discussion or explanation based on the weekly parsha. The D’var Torah provides a brief summary and analysis of a lesson or interesting interpretation regarding the weekly Torah portion. 

Assignment: Each student will create a D’var Torah for an assigned portion that will be shared with their peers during the correlating Thursday tefillah service. Students will practice their public speaking skills and actively engage in Torah study. This assignment will count towards your grade for both Language Arts and Jewish Studies rubrics. 

We will create a schedule in class to assign the various parshiyot.

Jewish Calendar

 

Click here to access the assignment:

Washerstein D’var Torah Assignment

 

Click here to access the example: 

Washerstein D’var Torah Example

 

Click here to access the D’var Torah schedule:

Grade 8 D’var Torah Schedule

Grade 7 D’var Torah Schedule

Grade 6 D’var Torah Schedule

 

 

September 8

Grades 6-8: Introduction to Jewish Studies 2020

Good morning middle school students! Over the course of this week we will be reading and discussing a few articles pertaining to Judaism and the pandemic. The purpose of these discussion are to stimulate discussion and think about current events through a Jewish lens. Reflection is essential as we prepare to enter the High Holidays.

9 Things Coronavirus Has Taught Us (So Far)

Are We Emerging From Isolation Better Than We Came In?

How Jews Have Fared During Pandemics Throughout History

June 14

Grades 6-8: Why Not Incorporate Judaism Into Your Summer Reading Plans?

Are you unsure of your summer plans due to COVID-19?

Did your sibling change the password to your Netflix account?

Are your parents nagging you to pick up a book?

Never fear…summer reading is here!

Reading Dog - Meme on Imgur

Click the link below to check out a bunch of fantastic books that have a Jewish connection:

Jewish Novel Recommendations

June 11

Grades 6-8: Middle School Current Event Discussion Panel

As we continue our conversations on racial injustice and our responsibilities to aid change, our middle school students (and many parents) participated in a panel discussion on race and racism in Canada and the US.
Briellen Griffin, an American scholar on race and education, introduced our students to the concepts of systemic racism and the concepts of White Privilege. She also shared a bit of the privilege she receives as a black woman who can “pass” as white.
Kayne Alleyne-Adams, a former CJPAC fellow, discussed the history of racism and inequality in Canada, as well as his own experiences including seeing his mother falsely arrested three times, and being told that he could not wear his hair in a preferred style due to racist policies of his school.

Our middle school students were empowered to “pray with their legs” and speak out against injustices they encounter with Dr. Mitzmacher sharing the recent example of the young adult who, with the power of an email, was able to persuade the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to official update the definition of “racism”.

June 4

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot “Your Vision” Video Project

Today students will begin an exploratory project as we analyze and create our own interpretations of the final three chapters of Pirkei Avot. Over the last four months, we have spent time reading, analyzing, creating connections, and developing personal interpretations connected to different verses of Pirkei Avot. This final project incorporates all of those components along with a chance to show off your creative abilities and media literacy skills.

Assignment: Students are being tasked with diving deeper into one specific mishnah from the final three chapters of Pirkei Avot. Each student will create their own video that demonstrates their mastery of our interpretive skill sets. 

Important note: You are only choosing ONE mishnah to focus on for this entire project

Process

Step 1: Read/skim through the Ch. 4, Ch. 5, Ch. 6 of Pirkei Avot

Step 2: Select one mishnah (verse) that interests you 

Step 3: Plan your video

  • Analyze the text and develop your interpretation
  • Write about how this lesson connects to your life
  • Think about how this lesson connects modern every-day life situations
  • Plan your skit
  • Find visuals that you can connect to your mishnah

Step 4: Film your video

Step 5: Submit to Mr. Washerstein by Friday, June 19th, 2020

 

Due Dates:

By June 9th- Choose mishnah and get it approved by Mr. Washerstein 

By June 12th- Check in with Mr. Washerstein and share your plan

By June 19th- Submit video to Mr. Washerstein

 

 

Click here to access: Pirkei Avot Your Vision Project Instructions/Rubric

Click here to access:Pirkei Avot Your Vision Graphic Organizer

April 21

Grades 6-8: Virtual Conversation with Holocaust Survivor Irene Zisblatt

Yesterday we watched a live stream of the Yom HaShoah ceremony that took place in Israel. Today the middle school students had a unique opportunity to chat with Holocaust survivor Irene Zisblatt via Google Meet. She shared her unimaginable story and distinctive perspective about hatred, faith, and the Holocaust. We are incredibly appreciative that Irene was able to take the time to spend a few hours with our students. I shared with the students that we are all truly lucky to be able to interact with a Holocaust survivor, as this opportunity will not be afforded to the next generation of individuals. We have the responsibility to never forget these atrocities and to retell their stories.

 

Click here to watch the our Google Meet conversation with Irene:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jpW6-GA7jNX5yrk5tE_J4mFz_9S6VMYI/view

 

7 Ideas for Observing Yom HaShoah from Home | ReformJudaism.org

March 29

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot + Learning about the Haggadah= A Great Week of Jewish Studies

As Passover approaches, we will spend the week in Jewish Studies focusing on the modern meaning of the Haggadah. Students will be creating their own 2020 Virtual Haggadah. Students will work in groups to design their own Haggadah. You will have the opportunity to work on this assignment Dr. Marcovitz and Mr. Washerstein’s Jewish Studies classes. For those groups that finish early, there is an optional extended learning opportunity. Reminder the Pirkei Avot Playlist Assignment will still be due on Friday, April 3rd, 2020. 

 

Click here to find out more information about this assignment: Virtual Haggadah Assignment Details

Click here to learn more about each component of the Passover Seder: Stages of the Passover Seder

  • This document will be incredibly useful as students read, analyze, and develop their own virtual Haggadah.

 

Due Date: Your Virtual Haggadah must be submitted by the end of class on Friday, April 3rd. Please share your Haggadah with Dr. Marcovitz and Mr. Washerstein via Google Doc. 

 

Part 1- Creating a Virtual Haggadah (Required)

  • Students will dive into the various components of the Passover Seder and provide a new modern meaning.
  • Stages of the Seder Explanation (Click here to learn more about each part of the Passover Seder from Kadesh to Nirtzah)  

 

Part 2- Creating a Modern Passover Tune (extended learning opportunity)

  • Please note that this portion of the project is not required. Groups that finish early and would like an additional challenge can choose to rewrite one of the classic passover songs. 

 

Groups

Group 1: Maayan, Jenny, Noam, Ruben, Talia

Group 2: Yamaya, Abby, Brandon, Sarah K., Jordana

Group 3: Jacob, Jordan, Sarah N., Sasha

 

Check out this video to get into the musical spirit!