October 19

Grade 8: Current Event (Due: Monday 10/26)

This year students will be responsible for researching, analyzing, and presenting a current event in our Jewish Studies course.

Directions: Find an article either in the newspaper or online from a newspaper source. Examples include: CBC News, USA Today,  CTV News, Associated Press, The New York Times, Ynetnews Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel,  etc., or any other reputable national or local source. Read the article and fill out the statements or answer the questions below.

Please find and read about important issues that relate/connect to antisemitism.

Because this is a current events assignment, you are to choose an article that is no more than two weeks old from when the assignment is given.

Be prepared to discuss your article in class on the due date!

 

Please click the link below to access the current event template: 

Current Events Write Up Assignment Instructions

 

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.

 

September 30

Grade 8: Defamation Questions (Due: 10/23)

As we continue our discussion of antisemitism, students will spend time analyzing the documentary Defamation. This documentary examines various perceptions of antisemitism around the world (Israeli, American, Polish, etc.) Through their analysis, students will be able to quickly determine that not everyone shares the same viewpoints in regard to antisemitism.

Defamation Documentary Link

Students will be asked to take notes and respond to four analysis questions as they watch.

Click the link below to access the questions:

Defamation Assignment

September 21

Grade 8: Antisemitism/Holocaust Notes

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 8 JS Antisemitism/Holocaust Presentation

This week we will dive into the origins of antisemitism. We will discuss prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination.

 

Check out this article from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance that discusses various spellings of the term antisemitism. The article discusses the implications of the term anti-semitism vs. antisemitism and the origins of its meaning.

https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/antisemitism/spelling-antisemitism

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

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”.

May 5

Grade 8: Holocaust Test (Monday, May 25nd, 2020)

This week we wrapped up our Holocaust unit. As a class, we decided that we will be taking an online assessment using Google Forms on Monday, May 25th. This assessment will be a mixture of multiple choice questions, matching, definitions, and short answers. Students should begin to review their notes daily.

If anyone is missing notes, our entire Google Slides notes presentation can be found here: Holocaust Notes Presentation

 

Students can begin to prepare for their assessment by making a copy and completing the study guide below:

Holocaust Test Study Guide

 

Click the link below to access a review Kahoot:

Holocaust Review Kahoot

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:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jpW6-GA7jNX5yrk5tE_J4mFz_9S6VMYI/view

 

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