Growth in maturity for 10 year olds doesn't happen overnight - but it can be seen - and it clearly was this past Sunday in your children's skits as they were the best of the year. They had real stories & character development which demonstrates how far they've come. You should be proud of your children - we certainly are!!
The skits were based on the two very broad topics that we discussed - stereotypes & disabilities (which was a follow up to the school-wide program of the previous week). We talked about the differences between groups & individuals in regards to such various categories as our class, Colorado and the United States. We talked about how there will always be examples of astereotypical people within a category (Sumo wrestlers as opposed to smaller Japanese people) and being sensitive to those stereotypes. This then led into the differences between reporting vs. tattle telling and then into bullying. All of the kids were able to relate to many of the different aspects of this topic and their notes were just great.
In following up on the topic of disabilities, we started by saying that everyone has abilities & disabilities. We then listed many different kinds, talked about how one acquires disabilities and what, if possible, one can do about them. We ended by bringing forth the concept that happiness is based on one's attitude of gratefulness and that is totally up to the individual, having no concern with one's abilities.
Thanks to all of you for the generous Purim bags that we received!! We really appreciated your thoughtfulness and look forward to enjoying the treats. Thank you also to Misty and Rachel for organizing our class bowling night. The kids & parents all had a great time and we hope these connections that have developed this past year continue to grow.
Believe it or not, we only have four sessions left of the year and we wanted to let you all know what our schedule is. March 19 we will discuss "Hardships" and how everyone has difficulties in their lives. This is always our most philosophical session as we will bring up God, fate and free will - and say that this is the definition of religion. We will clearly state that we do not have the answers but also are always searching.
April 9 will be our first
session on death. We approach this with the utmost sensitivity and start off by
reading a wonderful book which is geared for kids of this age, "A Candle
We will then have material from several books, just like we did for "Marriage" that will bring out all of the rituals & traditions our religion has. We will go through the kaddish and try to answer any questions that your kids will have.
Following that - and knowing your kids will have more questions - on April 23 Jim Cohen from Feldman's Mortuary will come in to be with us. Jim, for those who do not know him, is a saint and after he shows a 35-minute DVD which is geared towards kids of this age with interviews with children, parents & rabbis about the process, he will answer any of their questions. Our community is blessed to have someone so compassionate doing what he does and we are fortunate that he will be with us.
Because we know that after these sessions, adults might be interested to know more about death from a Jewish perspective, for the first year, Jim will return to the HEA on Wednesday April 26, during Hebrew school, to talk about everything related. This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone whom has ever had a question to ask - on a non-emotional basis - how things work, why they developed the way they did and so on. We will open this up to the entire school so anyone can take advantage of this time with Jim.
Our last session is on April 30 when we will discuss the afterlife. We will not have a guest speaker that day but will talk about why Judaism is so focused on this world and not the next, why our religion purposefully developed differently than the Egyptians and what that all means. Your kids will receive their prizes that they've earned that day.
As you can see, we will be doing a lot in these remaining sessions and we certainly look forward to being with your children. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let Bill know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
thank you - and Happy Purim.
Bill & Jessica
This week we learned the poend “Yima Yekara li” in honor of valentine’s day.
We also practiced basic vocabulary conversation topics: Such as what’s is your name? What is the time? What si your color of your hair? How are you ? after break we continued reading, and practicing in our text books.
See you next week
A person's identity is a very strong part of who they are. This past week we talked about two significant decisions that, while not everyone goes through them, for those who do, they are very significant lifecycle events. Mark Samuelson, a longtime HEA member, came in and discussed his conversion to Judaism and told us all about the process in general and the specifics of his own transformation with Rabbi Dollin. We talked how a person's membership in a religion is really up to them (just like their citizenship, their belonging to a political party or following a sports team), that it does not affect if they are a "good" person and that it can be done at any time in their life.
We also discussed divorce and how Judaism was the first religion to establish what would become divorce because of a development of women's rights. Again, just like in converting, there is a process but also how divorce is both religious and legal. Many of your children have really developed good note taking skills over the year and you'll be impressed by seeing their notes that they take each week. For those that do not bring their spiral notebook each week, we provide a notebook, which Bill keeps throughout the year, and this will be given to them to keep on the last day.
There is no religious school on February 19. On February 26, both Bill & Jessica will be gone but Victoria Cantor, Jessica's mother & long-time HEA member will be leading our session on disabilities. They will discuss many aspects of disabilities - the many different kinds, how they can be acquired, and how everyone has abilities & everyone has disabilities. It promises to be a most interesting session.
Saturday March 4 will be our second family social event - and this will be bowling at Arapahoe Lanes. For information, please contact Rachel Troutman at email@example.com or Misty Litt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill & Jessica will both be back on March 5 when we will talk about stereotypes.
Thank you for raising such wonderful children. It continues to be a pleasure to be with them.
Bill & Jessica
We did it!! We really did go to Israel!! Your kids had a taste of the Jewish homeland which we hope will inspire them to want to go again and again - specifically in the summer after their junior year of high school on the Israel Study Trip. Josh Samet, the director of that trip, and one of our local ambassadors from Israel, Barak Mannor, spent the morning with us this past Sunday and were just fabulous. In addition to having Israeli snacks and "flying" there aboard an El Al plane, we literally saw the Western Wall - via the web - we saw videos of touring in Jerusalem, we made notes to go into the Wall - which have been delivered - and we learned about the geography. We talked about essentials from passports to security to food - everything that one would need to know before they venture there. A truly memorable morning.
If you'd like to see more about the trip that we hope your
kids will do, please check out the following link:
For those students who were not with us, we have a goodie bag of items from Israel for them. This was done with the generosity of El Al and the IST program. The point of presenting this to you & your children now is to give you the idea to start saving, even $50 a month, which if you do that for the next seven years, you will have the trip mostly paid for. (The cost for this year is approximately $7000 and we would imagine it will be about that amount seven years from now). It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and we hope you can all do this.
Our next session will be on two topics that while not everyone goes through, many do - and that's conversion & divorce. One of our HEA members who has converted, Mark Samuelson, will be with us to talk about his reasons for undertaking such an important lifecycle event and be able to discuss the process. We will also discuss the procedures that Judaism establishes for acquiring a "get" which is the basis of a Jewish divorce. While this session will not be as "fun" as our last one, the kids will learn a lot about how our religion works.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Bill at email@example.com. Being with your kids is truly a pleasure.
Bill & Jessica
This week we continued learning about Tu’ BeShvat. We read the story of “six in a bag” we learned its vocabulary including תמר,תאנה,חרוב,בננה,תפוז,ושקד.
We then learned the song connected to Tu Be’Shvat as well as practice our reading of Tefilot form our tefilah curriculum. After break we had a friendly competition and were edged in different practice exercises
While working may not be considered a lifecycle event, each one of us spends more time doing this than anything else we will discuss during the year - and that's why we spent a session on this very broad topic. Your kids were just great and we hope you're able to look at the notes they took from our session. After we talked about what each of you do - and then listed many, many categories of jobs - we discussed everything from benefits & consequences of working, does money equal happiness and the purpose of a business in addition to many other topics. This was a very educational time and we feel they learned a lot.
Next Sunday we will go to
Israel - and our main tour guide will be Josh Samet, the director of the Israel
Study Tour. Josh has led this tour, for kids in the summer after their junior
year of high school, many years now and we really want to put the spark both in
you & your kids. We hope to encourage you to start saving for this
once-in-a-lifetime trip (it'll be approximately $7,000) and if you start saving
now, even $50 a month, you'll have most of it paid for seven years from now.
Here is a link to the tour:
We are asking all parents to come at 11:30 so Josh can show you the video from last year's trip and be able to answer any questions you might have. If you went on this trip - and have any mementos from your excursion - please bring them in to share.
Homework for this week is to read Chapter 14 on page 114,
Your kids will also receive a lot of souvenirs from Israel this week so we hope they can all be with us. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill & Jessica
Our last class discussion and activities revolved the topic of Tu Be’Shvat
started with a seder focusing on the different blessing on fruits , we then
learned the story of the
We then moved to a word search using these vocabulary words followed by a Hebrew Song.
After break we discussed the different aspects of the Holiday and tits meaning to us today
See you next week
This past Sunday was special for us - and we hope it was for you as well. Spending time with your children discussing why you chose their American & Hebrew names, what their ancestors were like and what words describe your children's personality - this was a time that you'll always appreciate. Your children heard you and their friends talk about what's important to them - and were able to come up with poems & art work to bring out their traits - and we saw the pride that your kids had in themselves. Judaism believes in strong families and one of our goals for this year in religious school is to help your kids appreciate you and trust in your judgment for them & your family. This was truly a wonderful morning.
Our next session will be on "Working" and homework is to discuss with your kids what you do, how you arrived at this point in your life and what you had to do to get there. We will discuss many, many aspects of this very broad topic on Sunday - from trade offs to learning skills to economics. We guarantee they'll learn a lot - and be in a much better position to appreciate you.
The following week, Feb. 5, we will go to Israel. Literally. Josh Samet, the director of the Israel Study Tour, will be with us and your kids will learn & experience Israel for the whole morning. We ask all parents to join us at 11:30 that day as Josh will show you a video of last summer's trip - with the idea that we want to encourage you to start saving for this once-in-a-lifetime trip that your kids can do the summer after their junior year of high school. We guarantee that this will be one of the favorite sessions of the year.
The following week, Feb. 12, we will discuss conversion & divorce. One of our HEA members who did convert will speak about his conversion and we will approach these subjects from a Jewish perspective of how our religion deals with them. While not everyone goes through one or both of these, many people do and we want to show the kids that Judaism does have established parameters.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Bill at email@example.com.
It truly is a pleasure to get to know you and your children and we look forward to many more thoughtful times together.
Bill & Jessica
Weddings have been sources of celebration for millennia - and your kids now have a much better understanding of the many traditions that brides & grooms experience in this particular Jewish simcha. We talked about many aspects - from the concept that all marriages are inter-marriages (a Yankee fan & a Red Sox fan, someone from a large family & someone from a small family, someone from a big city & someone from a small town, etc.), to rituals going back to the Torah (Jacob and the veil) to things being done in the present day (like having weddings over weekends so they're more convenient). We talked about breaking the glass, diamond rings and ketubas - and because there are so many terms, this session was one of the two (with death) that we use worksheets which have been written specifically for kids of this age. Each child - including the ones who were not with us on Sunday - have received a packet. If you would like another, please let us know and we would be glad to make one for you.
Our next session is our parents program and we hope that you can all be with us for the morning. The title of the program is "Crown of a good name" and you should have received several pages of "homework" to do beforehand. While it is not critical to do this beforehand, it will make your time more productive if you have thought through some of the questions. If you cannot make it, that is OK as we will have other adults be with your child to help them but we would really encourage you to be with us as you will become much closer discussing why you named your child what you chose. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
We will start getting into some meaty topics over these next few months and hope your children can be with us for as many sessions as possible - and as always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please write to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill & Jessica
Last class we started with the students learning vocabulary for different shapes : rectangle, square, triangle, and d etc..
We focused on identified shapes by describing pictures in Hebrew as well as a familiar children song.
We then went to the kitchen and baked different shape cookies as well as learned vocabulary around the ingredients for making the cookies.
After break we learned the Sh'ma chapter and it blessing using the text in our books as well as connecting it to everyday life actions.
See you on the 25th
Yesterday we started by making our own chanukiyut, we then played Derides while talking about the symbolic on it followed by Chanukah Hebrew songs.
We then reviewed the vocabulary words about Chanukah. As well as focus on new vocab words from our books בוקר טוב,ערב טוב ,בוקר אור,עריב ערבים. We then shifted our attention to practicing reading from the our books.
Enjoy the time off Happy Chanukah
See you in January
Tattoos, Piercings, Peer Pressure & Discrimination. All
subjects that your kids will face in high school - and we covered all of them
this past Sunday. Debbie Grillo, the owner of Tattoo Undo & Veins too
came in and spoke to your children about the dangers of tattoos - and really made an impression. They asked just fabulous questions and could understand the differences in decision levels between big & little, easy & hard, permanent & temporary and mandatory & optional. We followed up by reading the story of David & Goliath which blended perfectly by showing how young people can make a difference if they have courage.
All of the kids selected a prize in the order of which they had earned them - and we will do this again at the end of the year in May. The format in which we do this - where everyone does earn a prize but the order of selection is based on the number of points - helps encourage attendance, and we are so glad that so many of your kids have been with us every week.
We do not have class again until January 8 when we will talk about weddings. While we are not big fans of worksheets, there are two subjects, weddings & death, that have so many traditions & rituals that we will pass out sheets so your kids will know & understand what happens. We'll also have a lot of fun that day.
Our program with parents is on January 22 and we hope you can all stay with us that day. More information will follow but you and your kids will become much closer with what we present.
Wishing you all the best for Hanukah and a terrific break.
Bill & Jessica
Serving in the military was a lifecycle event that almost all American men experienced for several decades in the past century - and men & women still do in Israel - and we were fortunate to have Adam Wallen, father of one of our students, come in and talk about his experience serving in the Air Force. He was able to talk to your kids in a manner that they could understand & appreciate by describing everything from jumping out of airplanes to saluting superior officers. The kids were just great in their respect for him and also learned a lot of history.
After Adam's presentation, we read the Biblical story of Job and brought out that things certainly can happen beyond our control. That people are always looking for answers but sometimes we just can't find them - and that is one of the reasons for religion.
Sunday is our last session of the year and we will have Debbie Grillo, the owner of Tattoo Undo and Veins too, come in and speak about tattoos and piercings under what we call "High School Choices." We will talk about peer pressure, discrimination, fairness and many other big concepts. Debbie has seen many examples of what people choose to do to their bodies and will talk with the kids about the health consequences and also how Judaism deals with tattoos. If you'd like to see her website, https://www.tattooundoandveinstoo.com
Thank you to Misty Litt & Rachel Troutman for organizing
our class dinner this past Friday We had a good turnout and the kids who were
there really enjoyed themselves - as did the parents. Much of what we do is
about developing relationships and kudos to Misty & Rachel for helping with
this. We will have another event in the spring and hope everyone can join us
We will also give out prizes to all of the kids on Sunday, which they will choose based on the number of points they have earned this semester. Every child will pick a prize and if your child is not with us on Sunday, a friend can pick for them. If that does not happen, Bill can be in touch with you to choose a prize on Wednesday.
We have really enjoyed being with your kids these past few months and look forward to being with them for many more weeks in 2017. As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, please let Bill know at email@example.com
Bill Geller & Jessica Cantor
Class today reviewed Chanukah with the specific vocabulary we learned last week. We then read and discussed the story associated with the holiday with a focus on specific vocabulary (סופגניות,סביבון,כד ,שמן,חושך ,אור). We then had a practice ceremony of lighting candles and made candy derides. After break we read from our text book and danced to Chanukah songs.
See you next week.
In class today we started focusing on Hanukah and specifically the following vocabulary word : אור,חושך,נרות,חנוכיה,נס,כד,סביבון וסופגניות
We then played musical chairs while listening to Hanukah Hebrew songs as well participate in our own version to a familiar Hanukah kid song.
Before class ended we practiced reading in our text book
See you next week
Becoming a Bar/t Mitzvah is one of the greatest days of a young person's life and your kids are now much better prepared & aware of what that means after our session. We had two mature 7th graders, Sophie Lesser & Ari Yardeny, come in & talk about everything from nerves to tutors to gifts. We went from the "big picture" of when Bat Mitzvahs for girls started (1922) to seeing where the light switches are for the bimah. We had the kids all go up on the bimah to recite the Sh'mah and see how big the sanctuary is to open & close the ark doors to see how heavy they are to learn how to go up in the chair while dancing the hora. This is always one of our favorite sessions and the kids just loved all what we did.
Our next session, December 4, will focus on military service which used to be a lifecycle event in the US and still is in Israel. We will talk about the differences between the two countries and have the father of one of our students, Adam Wallen who had served in the air force, come in and talk about his experiences. There is no homework for this session.
The following week, our last session for the semester, will focus on "High School Choices" where we will focus on tattoos, piercings & cars. (Your kids will get plenty of information on drugs & alcohol as they get older so we will not focus on that). Debbie Grillo who owns a tattoo removal business will come in and talk to the kids about the consequences of choosing something permanent on their bodies and we will talk about what this means from a Judaic standpoint as well. We will talk about how everyone makes mistakes every day, but that some decisions are bigger than others. We will certainly not be judgemental on anyone who has a tattoo but will bring up plenty of reasons not to do this.
On our last session also your kids will receive the prizes that they have earned. Every child will earn a prize but the order that they choose their prizes will be determined by the number of points they have earned this semester. If your child will not be with us that day, they will still receive a prize either from a friend of theirs or from Bill. We will do this again at the end of the year in May.
We hope you can be with us for our class-wide Shabbat dinner on Friday December 2. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to meet other parents and where this is really beneficial is when you do start planning for your child's Bar/t Mitzvah. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill & Jessica