Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Dear Kitah Hey (5th grade) 1 & 2 Families:
This has been a very busy and productive beginning of the school year. Here is a recap of what we have been doing:
In Hebrew we have been working on improving our reading fluency, both by reading texts in modern Hebrew, as well as reading Siddur phrases and sentences. Each child is being tested on their reading by one of our staff. Areas which need improvement are marked and will be shared with us. Writing in cursive remains a goal for each of our students and we will continue to work on this.
Our first language unit has focused on frequently used verbs in the present tense, new vocabulary and simple Hebrew sentences. We have also learned the days of the week and the Jewish calendar months.
Preparing for our fall holidays has kept us very busy. Teshuva, returning to the best that we can be, was one of our major themes. We spoke a lot about forgiveness and about whom we should ask for forgiveness and how we should ask. My students learned the word “atonement” and what we can do on Yom Kippur to atone for our sins.
We have been most-recently speaking about Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Sukkot is one of our three Pilgrimage Festivals and is known as the Jewish Thanksgiving. I hope that these discussions will garner the love and appreciation for our natural world.
We are progressing into deeper levels of Torah as the weeks go by. We started with the “Pshat” the simple meaning of what the words say and then we looked the 2nd level “Remez” at how different stylistic features of a text like the different key words repeating themselves gives us an idea of what some of the main themes of the texts are. Like the repetition of the phrase “God said it was good” on each of the days of creation (and sometimes twice!), and then “God said it was very good” after the creation of humans showed us God’s plan and how God really created us and all of Creation according to a plan that was good. The World was created to be good and humans were created to be the guardians of the world and to keep it beautiful and good.
The third level of text study that we concluded before Sukkot is called “Drash” this is the point in our study of a particular text when we read various commentaries (“midrashim”) of our sages on a particular text. We read about how the fact that all of humanity was descended from one couple teaches us that:
No one can say s/he is better than others because we all have the same parents.
No nation can say they are better than the rest of the world because we are all brothers and sisters.
The most important lesson - Because all of humanity were descended from one man and one woman, if we lose one life, it is equal to losing an entire world of people and if we save one life-we have saved an entire world since we not only save that one person but all the future generations that are to descend from that one person.
This has generated interesting discussions and is sure to generate more as the wisdom and the lessons sink in.
Both Mary and I are so pleased with both our classes’ progress, behavior and general attitude towards study and Talmud Torah. We appreciated your conscientiousness shown by the good attendance and thank you for all you do in support of TT.
Each class had the opportunity to perform the mitzvah of being in the Sukkah, shaking the lulav and etrog and having a snack during their class time. We also hope that you were able to attend Simchat Torah services with your families...this is one of our most joyous holidays!
Mary Baumgarten and Susie Chalom