March 25

Procrastination and Parables (Lookstein update)

Dear OJCS Families,

In the last few weeks we have had a great time becoming acquainted with the wisdom contained in Pirkei Avot-Ethics of the Fathers. In our class we have been exploring how the sages of the Mishna related to age-old problems such as how to build a strong and positive community or how to be efficient with time management.

In a week when we are busy preparing for Pesach it has served as a timely reminder on how to prioritise our time. The last thing we explored was how the Mishna uses parables to teach important lessons. This too resonates with Pesach when during the Seder we will tell the story of the Children of Israel’s bid for freedom.

Wishing us all a Pesach of meaningful narratives,

Mr. Lipman

March 25

Grades 6-7: Passover Update (Morah Rivky)

The Haggadah states, in every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt, as it is said: “You shall tell your child on that day, it is because of this that the L-rd did for me when I left Egypt.”

There are – at least — two ways to understand this phrase. The first is for us to sit at the seder and imagine ourselves living in an ancient world, enslaved, and suffering and then experiencing the undulated joy of the Exodus. The second is for us to sit at the seder and contemplate what enslaves us in our lives today. Is it our commute to work? Our reliance on technology? Living for the past year through a pandemic?

The students in 6th and 7th grade Navi addressed this idea this week in class in preparation for Passover and developed a third option: to combine the two approaches. Yes, we sit at the seder and connect to our past, and at the same time, we think about how many of the ideas expressed at the seder are relevant to our lives today. We discussed a few ways to “own” the story and some ideas to incorporate into the conversations around the table.

As the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said: “Education is the conversation between the generations. An army protects a country. Education protects a civilization.” May this Passover celebration protect us and inspire us going forward.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Morah Rivky

March 12

Grade 7: Lookstein Virtual Update

We recently finished a unit about David’s conquests and the care that he took to make sure to treat his enemies, allies, and army fairly. Those are high standards! Even all the more challenging since God told David that he is not allowed to build the Temple.

It is under this umbrella that we began a new unit this week. The story of David and Batsheva. The students handled the sensitive material with maturity. The story in and of itself is intriguing. It also lends itself to great discussions such as: how can such a principled person make sure a huge mistake? What do you do when you are confronted with a challenge? And, how do we view David now that we have this different perspective on him?   The unit began but we have a lot to learn and to consider.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Rivky

March 12

Grade 6: Lookstein Virtual Update

The sixth grade has spent many months learning about the wars Yehoshua raged against the tribes of Canaan. We had many conversations about ancient warfare and the moral justification for the attacks that Bnei Yisrael waged against the tribes of Canaan. The students had really important insights and questions and we all concluded that some of the wars were easier to understand than others.

This past week, we started talking about settling the land. The students were all assigned a tribe to research.  They looked at historic and modern maps to locate each tribe’s portion of land. Each student presented their findings to each other.  We concluded the unit considering how to settle this land after all this time. What emotions were in play and can we connect to what the Children of Israel felt so long ago.

Shabbat Shalom!

Morah Rivky

November 13

Grade 7: “Lookstein Virtual Update – Shmuel II, Perek 4,”

Dear Parents –

I wanted to share with you some of what we are learning about in 7th grade Navi.  Today we wrapped up Perek (Chapter) 4 of Shmuel II. For the past 4 chapters, David has been establishing himself on the throne. First he learned and eulogized his predecessor Shaul. He outlasted a coup organized by Shaul’s heirs that questioned David’s right to assume the throne. Eventually, he recruited all the lagging citizens to follow him and support him. Finally, this week we learned of the assassination of Ish Boshet, Shaul’s son. In class we discussed whether the assassins were justified in killing some guilty of treason or if Ish Boshet had a right to stand trial. The class discussed the place of vigilantism and connected it to the anniversary (November 5) of Rabin’s assassination.

We will now focus on the building the house of David – literally and figuratively – when we start Perek 5 and learn about the choice of Jerusalem as his capital city.

-Rivky