Dear Zayin 1 Parents,
Here is an update of what we have been learning together in our class:
We have spoken about the mitzvah of “Shmirat Habriut,” taking care of oneself. My students had much to contribute to our discussion about this. We looked at some Jewish sources, one of which was Maimonides, who wrote extensively about this topic. It was very interesting to hear that this famous rabbi was also a medical doctor, who wrote extensively about taking care of oneself. Our discussion included taking care of one’s body as well as taking care of one’s soul.
The mitzvah which we most recently studied about was “Shmirat Halashon,” guarding one’s tongue. This is a very relevant topic for their stage in life right now. We spoke about bullying, lashon hara (evil speech) and spreading rumors. Judaism has much to say about this topic as well.
We are working on a unit about the Civil War. Students were divided into 3 groups to prepare presentations on the following:
Names of Jews who served as soldiers in the Civil War, their rank and any interesting facts about each one
Names of Jews and Jewish organizations who supported causes during the Civil War
Jewish observance of holidays and ritual during the Civil War
The groups worked diligently to accumulate information and to prepare their presentations.
It continues to be a pleasure to work with your children.
Chag Purim Sameach,
Zayin 1 students celebrate Purim with Sholom Home residents
Dear Zayin 2 Parents,
After more snow impeding our travels and our class, we finally were able to group back together. We reviewed part of Abraham’s story in Genesis when he was visited by three strangers and discussed the mitzvah of welcoming a stranger or a guest. We compare and contrasted hospitality to simply being nice. How sharing what is yours to your friends, family, and guests has its place in our society today, albeit different from how it was in biblical times.
The next week, we took a shallow dive into genetically modified crops. We learned of the three different methods (selective breeding, cross breeding, and CRISPR), read different parts of the Torah that seemed to have different views on genetic modification and manipulation, and discussed our own views in relation to each other and of Jewish philosophers. Of course, to help us have this conversation, we had a small buffet of different types of foods.
Recently, and in the wake of the anniversary of the Parkland Shooting, we used a teaching provided by Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon, a Rabbi at American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC. Using Jewish values, how do we cope with a tragedy and move forward from it.
We will continue to have these deep and meaningful conversations in the months to come, we are so impressed by the words expressed by students both in class and words they bring to the bima on their B’nai mitzvot that often references the topics in this class.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Avi and Polly