Dear Zayin 1 parents,
We have been keeping busy since our return from winter break. We extend our welcome to Aviva who has joined us for the second semester. We love having you with us! It was wonderful hearing from Leah Grossman about her Dec. 31 Bat Mitzvah in Israel as well as from Leah Spencer about her family trip to Israel.
As Tu B’shevat approached, we focused on the mitzvah of “Bal Tashchit,” do not destroy. Students were given the opportunity to express their personal concerns regarding the environment, as well as what each of them does on a regular basis to show concern for our planet. They especially enjoyed preparing infomercials promoting a product or idea that
could help our environment.
In our study of history we learned about the move West and the California Gold Rush. Levi Strauss was one of the interesting characters we discussed. It is fascinating to think that he and a partner develop the #1 selling jeans of all time! He proved that necessity is the mother of invention as his trademark riveted pockets kept the pockets of miners from tearing all the time. Sadie and Bea ran the class for 1 hour recently. They planned creative and engaging activities for the group on the topic of the Gold Rush. I am so enjoying working with this group!
Our next visit to Sholom will be on January 28th.
Dear Zayin 2 parents,
We took a tour back to the parsha of the week where we read the Passover story, where the Israelites escaped Egypt. God punished the Egyptians with plague after plague in order to convince Pharaoh to allow them to leave; however, these plagues didn’t always exclusively punish Pharaoh or only the Egyptians. Some scholars think the Israelites were also impacted by the only source of drinking water (the Nile) turning to blood, or the locusts ravaging the food supply. In class, we looked closer at the trade-off the Israelites made in order to achieve freedom. Was it worth it? What are we sacrificing today in order to achieve what we want? Is it worth it for us?
Taking that trade-off the Israelites made--their “temporary” security for their freedom--we looked at a modern switch of this exchange. As tech giants build profiles on everyone, and with checkpoints at more locations, we discussed the modern trade-off of our freedoms for added security. Among our questions, we considered whether it’s worth it, what we’re gaining, and if it will continue to benefit or harm our society.
We also discussed the importance of a name. Everyone was able to explain the history they knew of their own name and why it was given to them. After playing some name games and understanding the meanings behind some select few biblical characters, we looked at the upcoming topics in preview mode: Other Religions, Abortion, Gun Violence, etc. The names each side of a debate chooses to call themselves has importance, and is certainly something we’ll be discussing in greater detail with each topic as we reach it.
We’ve been having very stimulating conversations intermixed with games. It’s amazing to see how well students handle the difficult and potentially confusing topics we’ve worked on so far. We look forward to continue working with the students to help discover their beliefs and articulate their thoughts.
Avi and Polly