Mr. Heller

March 16, 2014

This week, the 6th graders completed their unit on the period of Jewish Kings with a formal debate. The topic: Should the Jewish people have had a king? Our principal, Dori, as well as two of the school’s TAs observed and served as our impartial judges panel – they agreed that both sides did fantastically, and ultimately determined that the rebuttals for the “yes” side swung the debate in their favor. Everyone participated, presented arguments and rebuttals, and overall did a great job!

In ivrit, the students worked on learning the Hebrew words for the different questions – “who,” “what,” “where,” “why,” “how,” and “how much” – their homework is to write 3 original questions, using those words and the vocabulary words they’ve taken down in their notebooks this year.
Finally, the Big Idea Brigade discussed money, comparing the two ideas – “money is the root of all evil,” versus “money makes the world go round.”

March 9, 2014

Purim celebration!

Feb, 9, 2014

Last Sunday, the 6th graders spent a good part of their morning completing another successful fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation – thank you to all the SSJS parents, students and teachers who helped support our healthy snack sale!

After that, the students began prepping for their debate on the question of whether or not the Jewish people should’ve had a king.

In Ivrit, the students continued reading portions of the Amidah, while reviewing the prefixes and suffixes for ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘our’ and masculine/feminine plurals. For homework, the students were assigned to write out the following phrases: the green cheese; our breads; land and cheeses. The Hebrew words for those words were in their notes.

The Big Idea Brigade discussed war and peace, with a very productive discussion on their roles in human history and Jewish history specifically.

Feb. 2, 2014

This week, the students opened with brainstorming different snacks for their healthy snack sale/tzedakah project next sunday.

Next we moved forward in our study of Jewish Kings by learning about the failed reign of Jeroboam after King Solomon, and how Israel split into two separate peoples divided by North and South. We studied how this weakened the Jewish people, and began discussing the question that will be at the center of our formal debate later this month: Should the Jewish people have had a King?

In Ivrit, the students practiced the first section of the Amidah, with the homework of practicing it (reading all of page 47) aloud to a parent, and having the parent sign off.

The “Big Ideas Brigade” discussed the question of “what is the ideal government?” We focused on questions of what government’s responsibilities are, touching on what role religion should or should not have in it.

See everyone next week!

-Mr. Heller


Jan. 26, 2014

We started Sunday’s welcoming a new student, and then dove into a quick review of what we knew about the two Jewish kings we’ve studied (Saul and David). The class then listened to a reading that covered the reign of King Solomon, focusing on his alliances and marriages with other nations, and then the flourishing of the Jewish people and the building of the holy temple, concluding with the seeds of rebellion that were growing in response to his taxation.
The students then did an activity in which they each ranked 12 events from the period of the kings in order of importance. We then compared the different rankings, discussing why the different values were chosen, and acknowledged how wide a range of scores a given event could have. We discussed how different people value different types of events, and how this creates different histories from the same set of events.
In Ivrit, the students reviewed the different Hebrew prefixes and suffixes they’ve learned this year, and then practiced reading the 3rd section of the Amidah. Their homework is to read all of page 64 aloud to a parent, with the parent signing off in the student’s machberet that the reading was completed.
The “Big Idea Brigade” held a very stimulating discussion of communication. We covered non verbal communication, and how art can be communication, and how different types are needed in a different situations. We then considered how violence can be a negative type of communication, and asked whether violence can be ever be a good thing. We brought in the idea that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and considered what Jewish ethics have to say, concluding that even when it might seem that violence could help a situation (like bullying) in the short term, that it leads to future negative consequences.