January 19

Grade 6: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Unit Prep Assignment

As we continue our study of the responsibilities of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students are asked to research a variety of terms and reflect upon our previous lessons. The purpose of this activity is to learn research vocabulary terms related to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah as well as demonstrate knowledge and understand of the concepts we have discussed in class.


Click the link below to access the assignment:

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Unit Prep Assignment


Check out the following slides to answer questions and define terms:

Grade 6 Jewish Studies Notes

Slides 27-28: Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Slides 30, 33, 34: Tefillin

Slides 38, 39, 40, 41, 43: Tallit/Tzitzit

January 4

Grades 6-8: Current Event Update (Israel Leads the Way in COVID-19 Vaccinations)

Israel is leading the way in COVID-19 vaccination distribution. We often discuss the fact that despite being a smaller country, Israel is one of the most advanced nations in the entire world. Here is another example of incredible Israeli ingenuity!

Click the links below to learn more about the success of Israel’s vaccination rollout:

Here’s How Israel Prepared for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Israel Distributes Vaccine at a Rapid Rate

January 4

Grade 6: Responsibilities of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah (Watch and Respond)

Prior to the break, we began discussing the meaning behind reaching the milestone of Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We will spend the next month focusing on the responsibilities that one has once reaching the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah. In class, we often emphasize that everyone practices Judaism in their own unique way. When discussing traditions and practices within our class, we celebrate the idea that Judaism may look and feel differently in every household.


Take a look at the video below and comment your thoughts:

How does your Jewish community embrace the needs of others? In what way could it improve?

December 14

Grades 6-8: Chanukah Celebrations Continue!

The students are quite excited to celebrate Chanukah! Throughout the duration of this week, students will be participating in a variety of Chanukah activities. We will analyze the Chanukah story from a historical perspective and examine the story of Yehudit. Our class will also participate in a dreidel spinning competition! Who will be crowned dreidel champion in each class?

Click the link below to access our slideshow of activities:

Chanukah Activities Slideshow


Happy Hanukkah Gold Menorah, Baked Donuts With Blueberry And Confetti  Chocolate Glaze, Wood Dreidel Stock Vector - Illustration of bokeh,  background: 131658614

October 13

Grade 6: Brit Milah Analysis

Today we will be looking diving deeper into the covenant between G-d and Abraham as we discuss the brit milah. Students will be asked to read, highlight, annotate, and analyze verses from the Torah in order to comprehend the significance of the covenant.

We will read the text (Genesis 17: 1-27) together as a class and practice the following 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)

Click the link below to access the reading/questions:

Brit Milah Textual Analysis

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.


October 2

Grade 6: Mishpacha Project (Due: October 27th)

Your family history is important! Every family is filled with stories that you should learn about and record. In our Jewish Studies course, we are beginning the Jewish life cycle. We are currently discussing the process and traditions associated with naming a Jewish child. You are being tasked with conducting an interview of your parents/family members. The purpose of this activity is for you to explore your family history. As we begin our journey through the Jewish life cycle, students are being asked to engage their families in discussion.

Mishpacha Project Assignment/Rubric

Mishpacha Graphic Organizer

Due Dates

Part 1-Interview due October 14th (Check-in)

Part 2- Hebrew Name Research due October 20th (Check-in)

Part 3- Presentation due October 27th (Check-in)


Final presentations begin Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Final copies of videos, posters, presentations need to be shared with Mr. Washerstein by this date


Check out Mr. Washerstein’s example below:

September 21

Grade 6: Jewish Studies Life Cycle Presentation

This week we have begun to launch into our Jewish Life Cycle! Students will spend time brainstorming various events, moments, and holidays that could be incorporated into the Jewish Life Cycle.

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 6 Jewish Life Cycle Slideshow


Feel free to use this digital mind mapping tool to brainstorm life cycle events.

Jewish Life Cycle Digital Mind Map

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