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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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
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:
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.