Grade 6: Welcome to Mr. Washerstein’s Jewish Studies Course

After an incredible Middle School Retreat, our students are beginning to dive into our Jewish Studies course. In Grade 6, the students will learn about the Jewish life cycle. Our journey will take us from the naming of the baby to the rituals and customs associated with the passing of a loved one. Students will analyze texts, discuss traditions, and examine various Jewish customs from a variety of perspectives.

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 devices. Please note that this document is a living tool, which will be changed and updated regularly.

Grade 6 Jewish Life Cycle Slideshow

As we embark on this learning journey together, students have been asked to complete their own River of Life task.

The River of Life is a visual narrative that helps people tell the stories of the past, present, and future. Students may use pictures, words, and phrases to indicate key moments/changes throughout the course of their life

River of Life must include: 

  • Visuals (drawings or pictures) depicting various moments in your life (5 points)
  • A written description of 5-8 complete sentences for each stage explaining a key event relating to each of the following: 
    • The Past      
    • The Present
    • The Future


This is an opportunity for you to share your story. You decide how it is told! This can be created by hand (on paper) or online via Google Slides/Canva. 

Students will have the opportunity to present their River of Life to the class starting on Thursday, September 21st.

I can’t wait to hear all about your narrative. Check out my example below!

Grades 6-8: Summer Reading with a Jewish Twist!

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


Below is a list of novels that relate to Judaism that you may choose to read over the summer. Although I have not yet read all of these books, the majority of these novels have come highly touted.

The Jewish Book Council has also created a variety of book lists based on interest: Reading Lists

25 YA Books Featuring Jewish Protagonists


Mitzvot/Jewish Teachings: 


Interesting Reads:

Graphic Novels:

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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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 

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.


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.

Grade 6: Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative Update (Grade 6 Visits Hillel Lodge)

The Grade 6 class visited Hillel Lodge on Friday! The students led a Kabbalat Shabbat program which included prayers, a D’var Torah, and a discussion about our favorite Shabbat memories. The students were excited to engage with the residents and help them bring in Shabbat with some OJCS ruach. Each month a different Middle School class will lead a Kabbalat Shabbat Program as a part of our Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative. Next month will be Grade 7!