January 8

Grades 6-8: Israeli Inventions with Shai

Today the middle school students learned about Israeli inventions with our shinshin Shai! They discussed the various narratives behind some of the most important Israeli inventions. The students learned about Waze, Pillcams, USB,  the Iron Dome, and Krembo Wings.

Students used this interactive website to record their responses  : https://www.mentimeter.com/features

Shai emphasized the idea that inventors and innovators are each unique in their own way. Each class participated in an activity that focused on utilizing their creativity and resourcefulness. Students were tasked with taking an everyday object and thinking about how they could repurpose those objects. Maybe the next greatest invention will be created in our very own OJCS Makerspace!

December 11

Grade 8: WWI/Treaty of Versailles Graphic Organizer + Various Perspective Assignment

The Grade 8 class been studying and analyzing the effects of WWI and The Treaty Versailles in order to build a stronger historical knowledge base. The purpose of this activity is to synthesize their comprehension and analyze various perspectives regarding the Treaty of Versailles. Throughout these discussions and activities, the students will begin to understand the desperation that was felt in Germany following WWI. By the end of the week, students will begin to learn about the rise of dictators and how Adolf Hitler came to power.

December 9

Grade 8: Celebrating Chanukah with Prime Minister Trudeau and Other Political Leaders

Earlier this evening, the students in Grade 8 had the opportunity to celebrate Chanukah with Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and other political party leaders. The students gathered with Members of Parliament and community leaders to light the menorah and take part in an early Chanukah celebration. Although we did not sing the blessings (due to Chanukah officially starting in two weeks), the menorah was symbolically lit. The political leaders spoke out against antisemitic events that have taken place throughout various university campuses nationwide. Students were able to engage with government officials, enjoy sufganiyot, and commemorate Chanukah with their peers.


Check out these pictures below:


December 2

Grade 8: Understanding the Historical Context (WWI/Treaty of Versailles)

How could the Holocaust happen?

As we continue to study and analyze the various components of the Grade 8 Jewish Studies curriculum, this week we are beginning to set up the Holocaust. Rather than diving directly into the start of the Holocaust, the Grade 8 class is learning about WWI. This foundation will play a very important role in understanding the historical context in which the Holocaust begins.

Attached you will find the WWI/Treaty of Versailles Presentation and Guided Notes Packet. This will be useful for any students that missed any of the notes during class. Students should be reviewing their notes throughout the week.

November 20

Grade 8: Current Event (Due: Wednesday 11/27)

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 you will be able to relate to our course regarding Anti-Semitism

 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!


November 4

Grade 8: Anti-Semitism Reflection (Due: Wednesday 11/13)

The past few weeks in Jewish Studies, we have been analyzing and discussing various accounts of Anti-Semitism throughout history. Today we wrapped up our discussion regarding the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Although we have only begun our journey, you are being tasked with writing a reflection piece to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the concepts we have discussed in class.

Students will be able to work on this assignment in-class throughout the week.

Here are some resources that might be useful:




Please be sure to carefully read the assignment instructions and rubric:



October 16

Grade 8: Journal Entry #4 Due: 10/24 (next Thursday)

I hope that everyone had the opportunity to eat a meal and spend some time in the sukkah. This week our friendship journal entry will focus on unlikely friendships that can develop. Students will be asked to read and respond to the following two articles posted below. 

Students have the option to type their journal entry, write their entry in a notebook, video record their response, or sketch note their thoughts.

Students that choose to write/type their journal entry need to include a minimum of two paragraphs. 

What you might include in this journal entry:

  • Your reaction to each story
  • Lessons you can take away
  • What surprised you?
  • Questions you still have
  • Have you ever developed an unlikely friendship?
  • What are the benefits from taking the time to understand the perspective of another?


Article 1:


Article 2:


October 11

Grades 6-8: Sukkot Decorations

I hope everyone had a meaningful and easy fast. With Sukkot right around the corner, we will spend some time in class today creating decorations for our OJCS sukkah.

We will be competing amongst the middle school grades today to come up with the most creative decoration along with the longest paper chain!

Although we might not have all of the materials used in the activities below, feel free to choose an idea and adapt it. Check out these links for inspiration:






October 2

Grade 8: Defamation Questions

As we continue our discussion of anti-semitism, students will spend time analyzing the documentary Defamation. This documentary examines various perceptions of anti-semitism 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 anti-semitism.

Defamation Documentary Link

Students will be asked to respond to the following questions as they watch the documentary. 

Defamation Video Questions:

  1. Describe the various opinions on Anti-Semitism that are presented by people in the film? How do they differ?
  2. What are some examples of Anti-Semitism that the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) typically deals with?
  3. How did the Israeli students react to the group of older men that were speaking to them in Poland? Was this reaction justified? Explain
  4. Is there a difference between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism? Explain using examples from the documentary