Weekly Summary Page4th and 5th Grade
November 8, 2020
October 25, 2020
We had another great week learning together! Your kids are so inspirational; thank you for sharing them with us! This week we learned about the parsha read by Jewish communities around the world – – Noah (parsha = chapter or section of the Torah; one parsha is read aloud and studied each week throughout the Jewish year). In Parshat Noah (parshat = chapter or section OF – the “t” added to the end of the word adds the English word of), we learn that HaShem (God) destroys the world with a flood, except for Noah and his family. Key highlights we focused on included:
1) Noah is righteous in his generation – most Jewish commentators agree that Noah may not have been considered a good person if he’d lived among a better group of people
2) Using COVID as an example, we learned that Noah’s response to the flood was to protect himself and his family, much as we wear masks in public to protect ourselves and our families, and others, from COVID. But, Noah did not go out and warn other people about the flood. There are two ways to be a good person: we can do the right thing, like Noah did. OR, we can do the right thing and take it a step further by being activists, when possible, safe and appropriate.
3) Some people who take the Torah, or Bible, literally claim that God will never destroy the world again, per Parshat Noah, and therefore, society does not need to worry about global warming. BUT, the story of Noah only says God will not destroy the world by flood, not some other method. And, it does not say that man cannot destroy the world. So if, as Jews, we want to use the Torah as an argument about the need to help the planet re global warming, we DO need to take seriously the science of global warming and do our part to help!
4) I also noted that many cultures have a flood story, including the Mayans, some Native American tribes, and the ancient Egyptians. So did the flood really happen? As a favorite teacher would say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there. BUT, we can learn lessons from the story.” (I find it fascinating that this myth is found across so many ancient cultures.)
We also tied the story of Noah into continued study of the idea of kehillah, community. Speaking of which, this coming Sunday (Nov. 1), we are going to have a “treasure hunt.” The students will be tasked with finding 5 objects to represent 5 common roles in a kehillah: The Planner, the Do-er, the Leader, the Supporter and the Encourager. We will watch a video about a kehillah in action to show what some of these roles look like in person, and then we will use string or yarn (in the building bag) to tie our “roles” together. If you don’t have the building bag I dropped off, stacking the objects or putting them close together will also work.
In Hebrew, I am thrilled to tell you that all the students are doing really well! They are brave enough to read aloud, and are definitely getting the hang of putting together the vowel sounds with the letter sounds. If anyone wants some extra help, I am available most of the week. Also, if your child reviews the aleph-bet sheet in their folder, also available at this link, it will be really helpful for their reading skills. Reviewing even once a week will help.
Please note: I will be emailing you some materials this week for class. If you can print these sheets out for your kids, it will be helpful.
If you would like to reach me, my email is email@example.com and my phone (texting is best) is 617*872*7048.
October 18, 2020
September 13, 2020
Thank you to all the parents for helping get your kids set up for our first e-class! We will be learning about Jewish values, aka middot, this year. The middah (singular of middot) we focused on this past week is “A Listening Ear,” which is the Attentive Listening value. Paying attention can be very difficult, especially in our current era of online learning. But as Jews, we have a wonderful opportunity to focus on using our listening skills when we hear the shofar blown this weekend during Rosh HaShana services. To emphasize both “A Listening Ear” and Rosh HaShana, students made a collage with Rosh HaShana symbols: shofar, pomegranate, honey, round challah, apples and a fish. Your child should be able to tell you what each symbol has to do with the Jewish New Year (they have a “cheat sheet”). Additionally, the collage should have included the inspirational message “May the blasts of the shofar remind us to live our lives with purpose.”