May 28

Grade 7: Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative Update

The Grade 7 class has been busy creating fun and joy for some incredible members of our community. Students created a variety of engaging stations relating to Yom Ha’atzmaut last month. We then invited some participants from Tamir to come to OJCS and celebrate Israel’s independence in our Makerspace. Students developed a Wordle activity, Israeli trivia, along with a variety of arts and crafts activities. The following week our class ventured over to Hillel Lodge to lead a Kabbalat Shabbat Program. The students led a short service followed by a Shabbat candle decorating activity. These mitzvah experiences allow our students to make a difference in the lives of others while continuing to foster their love for Judaism.  


May 9

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot Playlist Project (Due: Monday, June 5th)

We have spent the last few weeks analyzing the second chapter of Pirkei Avot. As we study these texts, it is important to think about personal connections that you can create. Additionally, I encourage you to take notes, look up unfamiliar terms, and experiment with decoding the Hebrew text prior to jumping into the English translation.

Think about the following:

  • What lesson does this Mishnah teach me?
  • What personal connection can I relate to this text?
  • How can I use this information to make me a better person?

Pirkei Avot Playlist Assignment

This assignment asks students to read and analyze the verses in the second chapter of Pirkei Avot. After you have read and analyzed the text, students are asked to create a playlist of five songs. I have provided additional sources along with a link to the Illustrated Pirkei Avot (Cartoon) text in the links below.

Important Dates:

  • Read and select five verses by  May 15th (let Mr. Wash know which verses you have selected)
  • Check-in #1 with Mr. Wash on Wednesday, May 17th
  • Check-in #2 with Mr. Wash on Monday, May 22nd
  • Assignment due (posted on the blog) by June 5th


Please click the links below to access the Google Docs for this assignment:

Pirkei Avot Playlist Instructions

Pirkei Avot Playlist Graphic Organizer

Pirkei Avot Playlist Rubric

Illustrated Pirkei Avot Ch. 2 (Cartoon Interpretation)

  • Create a playlist of 5 songs that are each related to a specific Pirkei Avot Chapter 2 verse
    1. You must choose 5 different verses; one for each song on your playlist. (There are 16 verses in Ch. 2)
    2. Decide how you will connect each verse to your song 
      1. Here are a few different ways you could create a connection:
          • The lesson/meaning
          • The way the song makes you feel 
          • The lyrics themselves
      2. You do not have to create your connection to the entire verse…your song may only connect to one part of that verse (which is okay!)
    3. Write 5-10 sentences explaining the connection between your song and the verse you choose
      1. Use these questions to guide your writing:
        1. What does the verse mean? What is the verse about?
        2. What is the song about?
        3. How does this song connect to the verse?
          • Remember that the connection does not mean the words are the same 


Day 1
  1. Read the instructions. If you have any questions, write them down and email Mr. Wash
  2. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 1-5
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  3. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
Day 2
  1. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 6-10
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  2. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
  3. Begin writing your explanations as you match a song to a particular verse
Day 3
  1. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 11-16
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  2. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
  3. Continue writing your explanations as you match a song to a particular verse
Day 4
  1. Spend 20 minutes reviewing your notes
  2. Focus your time and energy on creating your connections and developing your playlist


April 28

Grades 6-8: JNF Contest

We had a great time celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut at OJCS. The Jewish National Fund has created an art contest that students and families may participate in. Check out the pamphlet below to learn more about it!


  • Draw or paint a picture (8-1/2” X 11” and suitable for framing) following the story A Tree in the Desert by Avirama Golan.
  • Watch the story on YouTube (
  • The artwork can be of the Negev, Ben Gurion, or a tree in the desert.
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April 25

Grade 6: Jewish Wedding Webquest (Due: Tuesday, May 9th)

As we dive back into the Jewish life cycle students will be working on a Jewish Wedding Webquest! Over the course of the last two weeks, we have begun to analyze the various traditions and practices associated with the Jewish wedding.

Jewish Wedding Webquest Assignment

This assignment provides students with 11 response questions. Students will need to click and read the link above the question in order to find the answer. Please do not simply search for these answers on random internet sites. I will be looking for specific information from the articles/videos associated with each question. Your responses should be written in complete sentences. Be sure to read over the instructions prior to starting the assignment.

Due: Tuesday, May 9th 

April 25

Grades 6-8: Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative Update

The Grade 6 students planned an amazing Pesach program for the residents at Hillel Lodge. Students sang Pesach songs, created an engaging trivia quiz, and worked with residents to complete a Passover word search. Click here to listen to their rendition of Echad Mi Yodea.

Last month the Grade 8 students also visited Hillel Lodge to spend some time with the residents. They planned an engaging Shabbat program for the residents! Students helped the residents create a Shabbat-themed picture frame. We love spending time with our community and continuing to strengthen these important relationships.


April 24

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot Ch.1 Analysis (Due: Tuesday, May 2nd)

We have begun discussing and analyzing Ch.1 of Pirkei Avot. We will continue to break down this text as our cohort works on developing coherent interpretations and supporting their ideas. Students are being asked to review the 18 verses and select the two verses that they feel are most important. This activity requires students to synthesize information and create personal connections with historic Jewish texts.

Pirkei Avot - Kolot Mayim Reform Temple

Task Breakdown:

Step 1: Each student will read Pirkei Avot Chapter 1 individually

Step 2: Decide which two verses (lessons) you believe are most important

Step 3: Write two paragraphs (one per verse) explaining their importance and the lesson that you learned from contemplating these texts

  • What does the text say?
  • Why is this text important?
  • What lesson can we learn from this text?

Step 4: Share your Google Doc with Mr. Wash


Due: Tuesday, May 2nd

March 1

Grade 7: Introduction to Pirkei Avot

This week the students will dive into the first chapter of Pirkei Avot.  As we begin our major unit of study, students spent time discussing the importance of perspective. We reviewed the benefits of annotating a text as we read. Additionally, students were encouraged to read and analyze both the Hebrew and English text. As we came across unfamiliar terms, students looked up words in an attempt to uncover their meaning and better understand each lesson. We discussed the value of developing our own interpretations of each text. Students are being asked to create connections between these texts and their own lives. Each student has received a source packet that contains the verses in both Hebrew and English. We have also been using The Illustrated Pirkei Avot as an additional resource. Our sessions thus far have led to fantastic questions and interpretations.

Click here to access our classroom notes:

Pirkei Avot Google Slides

Pirkei Avot Ch. 1 (Hebrew and English)

The Illustrated Pirkei Avot Cartoons

February 6

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.

Interpersonal Mitzvot Project (instructions, organizer, rubric)

Peer and Self-Evaluation Form

 Each group will create a video presentation that explains:

  1. Where are the mitzvah and the connection to Judaism explained? (Torah? Mishnah?)
  2. The meaning/significance of the mitzvah 
    • What does the mitzvah mean?
    • Why is it important to Jewish life?
    • Can this mitzvah be interpreted/performed in more than one way?
  1. What have Jewish commentators said about your mitzvah? 
    • Utilize Sefaria to find various commentaries on your mitzvah
  1.   How does this mitzvah connect to your life and modern everyday situations? 
  2.   Why do you believe this mitzvah is essential?



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


Due Dates:

Monday (2/6)-Assigned

Monday (2/13)-Group graphic organizer complete (Group check-in #1)

Wednesday (2/15)- Script complete

Wednesday (2/28)-Group check-in #2

Friday (3/3)- Final project submitted to Mr. Washerstein

February 3

Grade 7: Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative Update (Grade 7 Visits Hillel Lodge)

Today the Grade 7 class visited Hillel Lodge to run a Shabbat Bingo Program. Students and residents alike enjoyed spending time together for a special Kabbalat Shabbat experience. Students engaged in conversation and helped facilitate an exciting game of bingo. We look forward to spending more time with the residents of Hillel Lodge. Next month Grade 8 will be planning a Shabbat activity!

January 31

Grades 6-7: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Last Friday we commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27th was chosen to memorialize International Holocaust Remembrance Day because it was the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet Forces. Students watched and discussed a video that was created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

We focused on the following questions:

  • Why is it important for us to remember the Holocaust today? 
  • How can we ensure that this history is not forgotten?

After our group discussion, students had the ability to dive further and examine various sources related to the Holocaust.

Option 1: Podcast

Echoes and Reflections Holocaust Podcasts

Option 2: Personal Narratives

Identification Cards | Holocaust Encyclopedia

Option 3: Compare and Contrast

Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust 

Who are the Righteous Among the Nations? | Animated Concepts | Yad Vashem 

Righteous Among the Nations from Monastir


Students will be reflecting upon their learning experiences on their blogfolios. Be sure to check out their posts next week.