Dear Kitah Zayin 1 (7th grade) Parents,
I am pleased to provide you with an update about what we have been learning.
Honoring one’s parents has been out topic for the past several sessions. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who lived around 2000 years ago, wrote that this is the most difficult of mitzvot to fulfill. We spent quite a bit of time discussing this and my students were quite vocal and willing to share be very open about their feelings. We did some engaging activities and we dove into the question: “What do I want my parents to understand about….?” This proved to be a most enlightening activity in which everyone was willing to be an active participant.
We have been learning about the Revolutionary War and spent much of our time focusing on some of the Jewish personalities during this time. What did they do? Which side were they on?
Each student became a character and presented to the class. I am impressed by how much they are engaged in the study of American Jewish History!
Our next visit to Sholom Home will be on February 10, when we will celebrate Tu B’Shevat with a Tu B’Shevat Seder for the residents.
Zayin 2 paused from its exploration of Judaism and technology for two weeks to prepare for a panel of guests (two St. Louis Park Councilpersons and a senior at St. Louis Park high school who is the student chair of their Human Rights Commission) who visited us on January 15th. (Shown in photos above)
The focus of the panel and the preparation has been in what ways are Jews and people of color natural allies around issues of social justice. We have had a particular focus on the special relationship between Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., both committed to making real the message of social justice emanating from the Hebrew prophets. A dozen parents joined us for the panel as well.
Later this month, we will continue to explore in greater depth the relationship between the three Jewish holidays of Tu B'shevat, Purim, and Pesach and what it means to be a GJDGC, a good Jewish global digital citizen. Post Pesach, the culminating project for the year will unfold. Each student will be developing their own ten commandments of being a good Jewish digital citizen. This honors the Shavuot tradition of responsibility at every moment to Torah, including the moments that we are connected to the internet and social media.
Our recent Hot Topics discussions have centered around gun violence and gun control.
As you can imagine, students had much to say about this topic. They were eager to debate the pros and cons of gun control and we were privy to opinions on both sides of the issue. The Jewish perspective regarding gun control focused on our being created in the image of God and the value of human life.
We also spent some time on laying the groundwork for our study of MLK and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.