Grade 7: Introduction to Pirkei Avot

This week the students will dive into the first chapter of Pirkei Avot.  As we begin our major unit of study, students spent time discussing the importance of perspective. We reviewed the benefits of annotating a text as we read. Additionally, students were encouraged to read and analyze both the Hebrew and English text. As we came across unfamiliar terms, students looked up words in an attempt to uncover their meaning and better understand each lesson. We discussed the value of developing our own interpretations of each text. Students are being asked to create connections between these texts and their own lives. Each student has received a source packet that contains the verses in both Hebrew and English. We have also been using The Illustrated Pirkei Avot as an additional resource. Our sessions thus far have led to fantastic questions and interpretations.

Click here to access our classroom notes:

Pirkei Avot Google Slides

Pirkei Avot Ch. 1 (Hebrew and English)

The Illustrated Pirkei Avot Cartoons

Grade 8: None is Too Many Policy (Due: Wednesday, March 1st)

This week we will be discussing the horrific narrative of the MS St. Louis. We watched an incredible documentary that provided our class with testimonies from historians and survivors who experienced this infamous event firsthand. Students will read and analyze a document that discusses specific policies in Canada that were enacted to keep the Jewish people out.

Passengers aboard the St. Louis, seeking refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe, wait to find out if they will be allowed entry into Cuba in June 1939.

Click the link below to access the assignment:

Canada’s Role in the M.S. St. Louis

Grade 7: Interpersonal Mitzvot Video Project

Students are being tasked with diving deeper into one of the mitzvot we have studied in class. This is a fantastic opportunity to head down to the Makerspace and use the green room for video recording.

Interpersonal Mitzvot Project (instructions, organizer, rubric)

Peer and Self-Evaluation Form

 Each group will create a video presentation that explains:

  1. Where are the mitzvah and the connection to Judaism explained? (Torah? Mishnah?)
  2. The meaning/significance of the mitzvah 
    • What does the mitzvah mean?
    • Why is it important to Jewish life?
    • Can this mitzvah be interpreted/performed in more than one way?
  1. What have Jewish commentators said about your mitzvah? 
    • Utilize Sefaria to find various commentaries on your mitzvah
  1.   How does this mitzvah connect to your life and modern everyday situations? 
  2.   Why do you believe this mitzvah is essential?



  • Research your mitzvah to uncover various interpretations and applications
  • Answer all of the questions above
  • Each person in your group must speak at least once in the video
  • This video will also include a skit/visual representation of the lesson learned
  • Minimum of three minutes long (maximum of eight minutes)


Due Dates:

Monday (2/6)-Assigned

Monday (2/13)-Group graphic organizer complete (Group check-in #1)

Wednesday (2/15)- Script complete

Wednesday (2/28)-Group check-in #2

Friday (3/3)- Final project submitted to Mr. Washerstein

Grade 7: Yad B’Yad Mitzvah Initiative Update (Grade 7 Visits Hillel Lodge)

Today the Grade 7 class visited Hillel Lodge to run a Shabbat Bingo Program. Students and residents alike enjoyed spending time together for a special Kabbalat Shabbat experience. Students engaged in conversation and helped facilitate an exciting game of bingo. We look forward to spending more time with the residents of Hillel Lodge. Next month Grade 8 will be planning a Shabbat activity!

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!