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 9

Grade 6: Jewish Studies Life Cycle Video Project (Due: Friday, June 19th, 2020)

Today we will be wrapping up our notes/discussion revolving around how to mourn the loss of a loved one, as a part of our Jewish life cycle. The students will spend the next week and half creating an educational video project.

Assignment: Students are being tasked with diving deeper into a specific portion of the Jewish Life Cycle. The majority of these topics were studied/discussed in class at great length. The goal of this project is to demonstrate understanding, conduct further research, and exhibit creativity by creating an informational video that relates to a topic within the Jewish life cycle.    

Content: What information do I need to include?

  1.   The major concepts behind their Jewish life cycle topic (explain key information)
  2.   How this life cycle event connects to your life (family)/modern every-day life situations
  3.   Could be interesting to ask your parents about any personal traditions/experiences that might relate
  4. You could also reach out to a rabbi/other members of the Jewish community to learn more about traditions, customs, and information pertaining to your life cycle event in Ottawa 
  5.   Your own interpretation on the value of this moment/event within the Jewish life cycle (Why do you believe this is important?)


Video Requirements:

  • This video will also include a skit that relates to the life cycle event
  • You can also include pictures and provide explanations of these images
  • Minimum of two minutes long (maximum ten minutes)
  • Be sure to cite your sources if you use web documents


Jewish Life Cycle Topics (Choose One):

  1. Baby Naming
  2. Brit Milah 
  3. Pidyon Ha-Ben
  4. Shalom Zachar
  5. Bar Mitzvah
  6. Bat Mitzvah
  7. Marriage
  8. Divorce
  9. Death (Funeral)
  10. Stages of Mourning (Shiva/Shloshim)
  11. Kashrut


Due: Friday, June 19th, 2020

Click here to access: Jewish Life Cycle Project Instructions

Click here to access: My Jewish Life Cycle Planner (Graphic Organizer)

April 30

Grade 6: Jewish Wedding Webquest (Due Date Extended: 5/12)

Over the last two weeks we had the opportunity to participate in a variety of unique online experiences as we commemorated Yom HaShoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Haatzmaut. Today we will dive back into the Jewish life cycle. Students will be working on a Jewish wedding webquest!

Click here to open and make a copy of the Jewish wedding webquest

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.


This assignment will be due on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020.

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:



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

March 29

Grade 6: Who Says We Can’t Learn About Passover Virtually?

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. Additionally, students will be choosing one Passover song to rewrite with a modern twist. You will have the opportunity to work on this assignment Dr. Marcovitz and Mr. Washerstein’s Jewish Studies classes. 

Click here to find out more information about this assignment: Virtual Haggadah + Modern Passover Tune 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+ Modern Passover Tune 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

  • 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 

  • 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. 



Group 1: Audrey, Maytal, Matthew, Daniel, Sophie

Group 2: Elisha, Meirav, Yaakov, Leo, Griffin, Ava

Group 3: Samara, Maya, Yardayna, David, Becca


Check out this video to get into the musical spirit!




March 27

Grade 6: Let’s See Those Ketubahs

This week we continued discussing the various traditions associated with the Jewish wedding. Yesterday we reviewed the text of the ketubah. If possible, students are being asked to post a picture of their parents ketubah. As discussed in class yesterday if this is not applicable for every family or someone does not feel comfortable, feel free to disregard this task.

The purpose of this task is to allow the students to see how each ketubah is unique. The text and visuals can be adapted to meet specific requirements or choices that the couple has made.

Post a picture of your parents’ ketubah in the comments! If this post does not allow you to comment a picture…post the ketubah picture on your personal blog and comment the link to that blog post in the comment section below.


Here is my ketubah

March 24

Grade 6: Ask Your Family

Today we talked about a few different marital traditions within Judaism. We discussed the following:

  • The chatan and kallah not seeing each other week before the wedding
  • Fasting on the wedding day
  • Separation of men and women prior to the wedding ceremony
    • Chatan’s Tish
    • Kabbalat Panim

As we discussed, couples often choose to incorporate all, some, or a mix of these traditions into their own Jewish wedding. Every wedding is unique! The students were asking a variety of great questions.


Homework-Prepare for our class discussion tomorrow

Ask your parents the following questions:

  1. What traditions did they incorporate into their wedding?
  2. Did they have a chatan’s tish or kabbalat panim ceremony?
  3. What was unique about their wedding?

Jot down a few notes as they speak and be ready to share!


February 25

Grade 6: Shalom Bayit

This week in Jewish Studies our class is discussing dating, marriage, and the concept of Shalom Bayit. Students have been learning about the shidduch process. We have watched videos and discussed the importance of recognizing, understanding, and appreciating the values of peers and potential life partners. Over the next few days, we will be focusing on the importance of “peace within the home”. Students will read and analyze the following text in an attempt to draw their own conclusions and connections.



January 21

Grade 6: Responsibilities of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Quiz (Wednesday, January 29th, 2020)

Yesterday our class decided that our next Jewish studies assessment will take place on Wednesday, January 29th, 2020. The review sheet below provides students with key terms to define along with short answer practice questions. Students should review their notes in order to prepare for the quiz.


Click the link below to access the review sheet:

Responsibilities of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Review Sheet