April 19, 2024 |

Grade 2/Kitah Bet

Posted on May 12, 2019

Need a link for a class? ZOOM links are here.

Boker Tov (Good Morning) Bet Class Families,
I’m looking forward to “seeing” all of the students today and/or tomorrow at 4:00 on Zoom. We will be returning to our regular schedule, beginning with Hebrew, and continuing with Holidays after a short break.  There is now no need to log into Zoom twice as the session can now run for more than 40 minutes.  During the short break between the sessions, either Lisa or I will remain on the screen. Please remind your child to have the Hebrew text readily available.
Have a great day!



Shalom Bet Families,
This coming Sunday in honor of Israeli Independence Day our vacation fun will be Israel focussed.  We’ll play some trivia and word games, read a story, and share any personal connections we may have to Israel.  I’m hoping that each student can find something in their home from Israel, bring it to our Zoom session, and perhaps share a personal connection to the object.  If you can’s find something in the house a photo could also be used.
please access the session using this link, ZOOM links are here
Enjoy the beautiful weather tomorrow, Shabbat Shalom,


Shalom Bet Families,
I hope that this email finds everyone well and that you all had a Happy Passover. 
On Sunday the Bet Class will meet at 10:00 after singing with Anna at 9:30.  We will be telling jokes, challenging our friends with riddles and getting a little silly with Mad Libs.  Some of the kids mentioned that they had Mad Lib and riddle books at home, please encourage them to have them easily accessible.  
On Tuesday at 4:00, we’ll create some artwork that can be hung in the windows for people walking by to enjoy.  We’ll be creating bears (for people going on neighborhood “Bear Hunts”, hearts and/stars.
Please make sure that they have paper and any art materials that you think they would enjoy using.  The paper should be at least computer size so the finished product can be seen from outside. 
On Wednesday at 4:00, we’ll play some Pictionary and charades and try to stump our classmates. 
I imagine that these sessions will run for about 45 minutes. 
 ZOOM links are here.
Shabbat Shalom ,


Below are the links for tomorrow’s sessions, Hebrew at 4:00 and Holidays at 5:00.  Everyone is welcome to join in, please remember that there where will no classes on Wednesday due to Passover.
Please remind your children to have their Hebrew text, and if anyone drew a trick for remembering a letter I would love to share them.
If anyone wants to share a Passover trivia fact with the class that would also be great, there will be time for that.
I hope that everyone is able to enjoy a Happy Passover with their families in these unusual times. 
Topic: Second Grade Hebrew
Time: Apr 7, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 606 020 776
Password: 098788

Topic: Second Grade Holiday
Time: Apr 7, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 365 300 289
Password: 060395


Shalom Bet Families,
Looking forward to “seeing” everyone tomorrow morning.  Below are the links for Sunday mornings Zoom sessions for those of you who find it easier to access the links this way rather than through the Temple calendar.  We will begin the morning at 9:30 with Ken’s session for T’fillah. 
Please remind your child to come prepared with our Hebrew text, and if anyone prepared a “trick” for remembering one of the Hebrew letters there will be an opportunity to share. 
I hope that everyone is staying well.

Hebrew 10:00AM Sunday

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Meeting ID: 364 185 677
Topic: Second Grade Holidays Sunday 11:00
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime

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Meeting ID: 696 336 274


Shalom Second Grade Families,
I’m looking forward to “seeing” everyone tomorrow.  We will begin with Tefilah with Cantor Ken at 9:30, followed by 2nd Grade Zoom calls at 10:10 and 11:00.  The first call will be a short morning meeting followed by  Hebrew.  After a short break, we will reconvene to learn more about Passover. 
Please make sure that your students have their Hebrew books with them.  It would also be great if you have a Haggadah in the house if your child could “bring” it with them.  I also asked the kids to think of something which they would add to the Seder plate or the Seder table.  If there is something nontraditional which your family does please share that custom with your child.  Finally, we will be going over these sheets below and linked here. If you would like to print them awesome (I know the quality is not great) if not steps are also listed in every Haggadah, and a plain piece of paper would also work for drawing a Seder table.
Be Well,


Shalom Second Grade Families,
It was so great to see everyone yesterday! 
We will continue to have class this week on Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:00.  I have scheduled one call to last from 4:00 until 4:40 and a second to be from 5:00 until 5:30.  The first call will be a check-in on each other and Hebrew, please be sure to be prepared with your Hebrew text.  After a short break, we will meet up again at 5:00 to finish our Passover story and to begin to discuss the rituals associated with how we observe the holiday.
Attached is a sketch of a Seder plate to refresh our memories from last year.  Many families have a modern tradition of adding a new symbol to the seder plate or table if yours is among them please share this with your child.  The students will also have the opportunity to brainstorm what they would add and why. 
Looking forward to seeing you on either Tuesday or Wednesday. (If for some reason you are unable to attend on your regular day, feel free to zoom in on the other session.)

Time: Mar 24, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Password: 055135

Time: Mar 24, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 986 364 750

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Time: Mar 25, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Time: Mar 25, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Hi All,
It was so much fun to see everyone “in class”.  It’s definitely still a learning experience for me and I’m sorry that we were cut off mid-story.  We will finish the story on our next call, and begin to discuss how we celebrate the holiday of Passover-I’m sure many of the kids will share how it may be different for them this year. 
Stay tuned for more details………



Shalom Second Grade Families
I hope that everyone is doing well in these crazy times!
I miss seeing all of you, coming together at Temple Israel and all of our regular routines.  It’s an odd feeling to be told not to go to school and other activities, not to get together with friends and not to come together as a community in a place of prayer.  Thankfully we are all able to maintain relationships and social contacts on various virtual platforms.  I am looking forward to “seeing” all of the students on Sunday morning with Cantor Ken and the Kindergarten and First Grade at 9:30 on a Zoom call.  We will continue our morning at 10:30 on a Second Grade Zoom call (the link is provided below), with a short check-in with each other, some Hebrew practice and begin to get ready for Passover.  The call is scheduled to last for 40 minutes, which sounds like a a reasonable amount of time.  I’m sure that this first call will be a bit of a learning experience for all of us but it will provide a great opportunity to stay in touch.  Please make sure that your child has his or her Hebrew textbook with them for the call and is in a comfortable spot.  It might also be a fun time to have a Second Grade Pajama Party, so if your child wants to wear Pajamas to “school” we could have a little fashion show of sorts.
In the meantime, try to get outside if you can and take a walk or bike ride, read a good book and try to relax. 
Wishing everyone a Peaceful Shabbat,
Here’s the link for Ken’s tefila session: Grade K-2 Tefila with Cantor Ken 
Second Grade Zoom Call 10:30 Sunday Morning


Kitah Bet

In Kitah Bet we are concentrating a little more time on the first chapter of our second text as the students integrate our new vowels and letters into their reading. We can now read many more Hebrew words pertaining to the upcoming holidays of Purim and Passover. We practiced reading playing a chutes and ladders game with partners. 
We continued our Torah studies learning about the Tower of Babel. Have you ever thought about where the word “babble” comes from?  

The second graders enjoyed a Tu Bishvat seder with our friends in grade 1.

We are all looking forward to a well deserved February break followed by Purim!

Kitah Bet

We did it!!! He finished the first of our two Hebrew text books last week, celebrated with pop corn on Sunday and immediately dove right into volume two. 
We learned the two letters which make sound “s”; ס (Sameach ) and ש (sin). We also added new vowels which make the “eh” sound as in egg and learned a third which can be pronounced either “eh” or ”ee”. 
While we are able to read many more words now it is important to slow down and read accurately. 

We began learning about Tu B’Shvat, the holiday of the trees. We discussed that in ancient Israel most people were farmers who lived by the agricultural laws found in the Torah. We learned the Biblical rules of not harvesting the corners of the field and likened it too a modern food bank.


Kitah Bet
What a wonderful morning Kitah Bet had!  We began the day learning more of the v’ahavta prayer with Cantor Ken and ended with creating art to go with the prayer with our families. With Cantor Ken we added more hand motions to symbolize the words which we sing during the prayer. With our parents each created a drawing that represents one of the key words in the prayer after thinking about the importance of the word, wether it is an action, a place, a body part or part of what makes us who we are. 
The mezuzot which were created are beautiful!  They will be sent home with directions on how to hang them and the appropriate blessing. 

Sandwiched in between these activities we spent time reviewing our reading  and learning to write the ע and כ. We also continued learning about the Noa’s Ark story. 


Kitah Bet
In Hebrew we continued practicing our new silent vowel by breaking words into syllables and seeing that the letter with this vowel as always attached to the sound before it creating one syllable. It’s still a little tricky for some of the students and we will keep practicing.  We also looked at the roots of some Hebrew words, noticing that when certain letters appear sequentially their meaning is somehow related. For instance the Hebrew words for learning לומד and תלמיד student each have the letters  ל lamed, מ mem and ד Dalet. 
We have finished discussing the story of Adam and Eve, with many of the students wondering if God  was as responsible for the outcome of the story as the snake, Adam and Eve were. We likened the events to those of a child growing up and going out to discover the world on their own. 
For MLK day we read the book “as Good As Anyone”, about the friendship Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. We then talked about respecting all people. 

We also had the opportunity to pass out Israeli flags to those attending the JNF (Jewish National Fund) in the social hall. The kids were a huge hit!


Kitah Bet got off to a great start for 2020!  
We started our Sunday morning class with a morning greeting in Hebrew and are learning how to ask each other how we are. We learned that we ask the question differently to a boy/ man or girl/woman because (as one child phrased it) hebrew is a gendered language.  We were then able to practice asking the question of each other, Cantor Ken, Robin and Yahav. 
We reviewed all of the letters and vowels that we have learned this far. A few of us were a little rusty after the long winter break, but it didn’t take long for the Hebrew reading to sound as great as it did before break. 
We had T’filah With Cantor Ken and played a fun game with Yahav about music and the many languages spoken in Israel. 

With Hanukkah behind us we were able to return to our Torah studies. We read about Adam, Eve, the snake and the forbidden fruit. We began thinking about who was actually the guilty party in this story and will talk about wether it was better for Adam and Eve to live in the Garden of Eden or to live in the larger world. What do you think?

Bet Class Update

In the midst of the winter darkness ( the Hebrew month of Kislev) Kitah Bet continues to shine brightly.  In Hebrew we have moved on to the letters ח “Chet”, ל “lamed” and another way to write ת “Tav”(with a fit in the middle). We got a little silly learning to pronounce the Chet like an Israeli. We can now read all sorts of Shabbat words; שבת Shabbat, יין yayin -wine, קדוש kiddish and חלה challah. The students continue to amaze me with their reading!  I hope that you all take time to listen to your child read at home. 
On Sunday we were treated to latkes provided by the Men’s Club. While the kids ate I read my favorite kids story, “Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins” and Yahav shared a bit about Hanukkah in Israel. 

At the end of the day we joined Third Graders for Hanukkah Yoga. The kids had lots of fun learning different poses and the playing a game of yoga bingo. 


Bet Class Update

It’s starting to  feel like Hanukkah in the second grade. On Sunday we began and ended the morning with songs getting us into the holiday spirit, first with cantor Ken during T’fila and then with Anna during singing.  
We read a story about the story of Hanukkah and then delved into the holiday. We discussed how it would feel if some foreign king came to the US and told us we couldn’t do the things that make us Americans the way king Achashverious did to the Israelites, talked about TWO miracles, the miracle of the oil and the miracle of a group of farmers standing up to a large army and finally discussed the difference between  a menorah and a hanukiya (a Hanukkah menorah).  We also began to decorate the room with some light catcher art on the window. 
In Hebrew we continued on to the letters pey  and resh. We learned to write the letters, and discovered the “ magic resh” hidden in so many other letters. We now know all the letters on a dreidel, including an Israeli one. 

We also had the first few students complete homework 10 homework assignments and they were rewarded with being able to pick something out of the prize basket! 


Bet Class Update

In Hebrew, we added the letters Nun and Yud.  We learned that the Yud can either make the Y sound as in the word you or can be part of a vowel combination, in this case, help make the sound “e” as in we.  We also learned that a letter cannot have more than one vowel, though not every letter has a vowel. 
We learned that the Torah teaches us that God made man and woman in God’s image.  We discussed what the students thought that this means while acknowledging that there is no definitive answer   Some of the students thought it’s not about how humans appear but rather about how we think and feel.  Someone else suggested that it’s about the unique human qualities which set us apart from animals.  We also learned that some say it might mean that everyone has a spark of God with themselves. Each student then created a self-portrait to add to their pictures of creation and Shabbat on our bulletin board. As a follow-up, Anna taught us a song called Btzelem Elohim (In God’s Image) by Dan Nichols.

Mid-week our Tifilah time is different due to the electives being run for some of the other grades.  We have been meeting in the chapel with the Sixth and Seventh Graders.  It’s been a quiet way to begin the day in a smaller and more intimate space, starting with a full 60 seconds of quiet, followed by Ashrei, a short Amidah and Oseh Shalom.  It’s been an opportunity to interact with some of the older students, have some short discussions about things such as reasons people may pray and what a minyan (a quorum of 10 Jewish adults) is.  It has also been an opportunity for some of the students to get to know a new part of the synagogue.  


Yet another busy week in Kitah Bet!  On Sunday we began the day with a program about Veteran’s Day presented by three Temple Israel members. They showed a short video about serving in the armed forces with the service members portrayed by animated penguins!  They then answered questions posed by the students in the K-3 classes.  The kids were interested in things ranging from how they communicated with one another, what kind of training they received and where they served.  Some of the students shared that they have family members who served in the US or Israeli army.  Thanks to Ben Hochberg, Phil Legro, and Richard Sugarman.
After a quick snack, we had music with Anna where we learned a song about Noah’s ark and met with Yahav who played an Israeli geography bingo game with us.  I wonder which places in Israel the students remember. For a little movement break, the students learned the Hebrew word “to jump” (l’kpotz), and then we counted how many times to jump in Hebrew.
We continued working on the letters Hey and Tzadee which were introduced midweek, learning to write them and practiced reading.  We learned a new reading game, Roll and Read.  Ask your child when the Hey makes the “H” sound and when it is silent. 

As a final way to bid goodbye to the fall holidays, we had the opportunity to taste the etrog from Sukkot.  Most of us agreed that it had a much better aroma than taste!


With the holidays behind us, the Bet Class has finally begun to settle into a routine.  In Hebrew, we learned how to write the letters Mem and Aleph and practiced reading, both in our textbooks and by playing games.  This was the first week that reading homework was assigned, and the kids were excited!  The assignment is almost always to practice reading material that was covered that day in class, for a minimum of five minutes.  When a student brings back a homework log with an adult’s signature that the reading was done the student receives a sticker.  Everyone is looking forward to earning ten stickers and being able to be rewarded with a prize. 
In Torah studies, we read more about the story of creation and learned that there are parallels between the first and fourth days, the second and fifth days and the third and sixth days.  For example, light and darkness were created on the first day and on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.  Perhaps the students can explain the connections between the other days.  We then drew pictures of different days of creation to hang on our bulletin board.  The next step is to connect the seventh day of creation to our celebration of Shabbat. 

We sang some songs about Noah’s ark with Cantor Ken during tefilah, and played a short game about the colors in Hebrew back in the classroom.  We were able to enjoy the beautiful day outside with third Graders as Yahav taught us two popular Israeli children’s games.


Shalom Kitah Bet Families,

What a whirlwind of a month it’s been for Kita Bet!  We had a great Hebrew month of Tishrei learning about and experiencing the fall Jewish holidays, culminating with a great Sukkot party in Caleb’s Sukkah.  
Just when I thought it was time to settle into our regular routine we had a very busy Sunday morning with lots of special activities. We began our morning reading a story about creation. It was written (and read) in both Hebrew and English, the students were able to get a feel for the rhythm of the narrative with G-d speaking, creating and seeing that it was good each day. We noticed that each day of creation ended with the words “it was evening’ it was morning”. We will look at the Creation Story in more depth in the coming sessions. 
We then had T’filah with cantor Ken and the younger students learning lots of different  ways of singing “hallelujah” and thinking of different things we are thankful for. 
After a quick snack we joined our parents for a program about  Hebrew names. We all shared why our parents chose our names and whom we are named for. We also began to learn a bit about the wimples that each family will create to be displayed at our Kabbalat Siddur Program in the spring, and then to be used at each students Bar/Bat Mitzvah. From there we had singing in the sanctuary with Anna our song leader   
When we went upstairs there was a huge surprise waiting for us; Bar our shin shin from two years ago was there. Everyone was so excited to see him!  We chatted and learned that he is in the Israeli army working in a canine unit. Of course we had to play one of our favorite games with Bar, limbo to Israeli music. Just as Bar walked out the door Yahav, our new shin shin came in. We talked about doves being the symbol of peace and made some to hang in the classroom. 

Maybe getting back into our routine (with Hebrew and homework) will happen this week?


Shalom Kitah Bet Families,
Kitah Bet has been a busy place as we begin to establish our routines.  On Sundays, we join in with the Pre K/K Class and first grade for Tefillah (prayer) with Cantor Ken.  This week we sang many familiar prayers and songs for the Jewish New Year.  We also took one of the Torah scrolls out of the ark and saw what looks like open.  We then watched as that scroll was “dressed” in a special cover for the holidays.  Ask your children if they remember what is the special color in honor of the holidays. 
We read two books for Rosh Hashanah, “Even Higher” and Gershon’s monster.  In the first book, a skeptical student learns that his Rabbi is quietly helping out an elderly person in need and thinks that by doing so the Rabbi might be going to heaven.  We discussed that perhaps by helping others the Rabbi was also helping God make the world a better place. After reading Gershon’s Monsters we talked about the concepts of thinking about our behavior with other people (especially siblings!) and of asking for forgiveness.
The students made beautiful decorations to hang in the temple Sukkah.  It was wonderful to see how well the students were able to work together to decorate frames which will be hung up during the holiday of Sukkot, I hope that you will all have the opportunity to see them and spend a little time in the Sukkah.
We also began Hebrew this past week. WOW!! I cannot believe what wonderful readers the students are! We reviewed the letters, Shin, Bet and Tav and the “ah” vowels and were able to make the word Shabbat.  On Sunday we also reviewed the Gimmel and Dalet letters.  Everyone was so excited to be able to read from our textbooks.  We are also learning how to write the letters in print. After the fall holidays, the students will begin receiving reading homework on a regular basis.  In the meantime perhaps your child could point out familiar letters in a prayerbook.
I hope that you and your families have a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year,



Shalom Kitah Bet Families,
We got off to a great start this week in Kitah Bet (Second Grade).  In the middle of the week, we spent some time getting reacquainted with each other and put up stars on the bulletin board with things we are already good at or enjoy and other stars with things we would love to learn.  Of course, we all enjoyed the Temple Israel  Honey and Apple Olympics.
On Sunday we began class with the story On One Foot by Linda Glaser, in which a student is looking for a great teacher, one whom can teach the entire Torah while standing on one foot.  After much searching, the student meets Rabbi Hillel who taught the essence of the Torah’s teaching is “Do not do unto others what you do not want done to you”, and that the rest of the Torah is comments and explanations.   This story led to the creation of our class rules or expectations, centered around being safe, being respectful of others and our materials, using kind words and having fun.
We then had tefilah (prayers) with the PreK/K and Kindergarten classes led by Cantor Ken, met our new Israeli  Shin Shin, Yahav, and played a game using the symbols of Rosh Hashanah.  We managed to do that all in two hours, including time for a snack and a short game of Hebrew Simon Says! I wonder what was your child’s favorite part of the morning?
It was great to see so many of you at the party outside as we begin celebrating Temple Israel’s 75th year. 


The second graders had lots of spirit on Sunday during t’filah with Cantor Ken, singing songs in honor of Israel’s independence day.

In class, we continued to practice our reading. It’s unbelievable how much progress the second graders have made! The students have learned how to break long words down into individual sounds in order to decode longer words. They are ready for third grade and learning more prayers!

Each student also made a small poster of a Hebrew letter with a trick to help remember it. For instance, “Samech is for stew” and “Gimel gets a goal”.

We talked about the holiday of Shavuot and receiving the Torah. We also discussed the custom of eating dairy on Shavuot. Are you a cheesecake or blintz lover?


Second graders loved the drumming session on Sunday! Everybody was able to try a large assortment of percussion instruments, from the “Mother Drum” to small egg-shaped shakers. It sounded fantastic as we drummed along to different prayers and songs such as “Hinei Ma Tov”.

Leading up to Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel’s independence day, we played a short Israel-themed game of True or False. I was impressed with how many answers they got right, drawing on their knowledge and on taking some educated guesses. The students were hoping to get more right – expressing their desire to learn more!

In Hebrew we are still finishing the last few vowel combinations and practicing, practicing, practicing. All of the students have come so far with their reading!


With Passover behind us we are in the final stretch before the end of school!

In Hebrew we are learning some of the vowels and vowel combinations that appear less often.

On Sunday we reviewed that a letter can only have one vowel, and that helps us know to read a “vo” sound with the missing vav. (For a more complete explanation, see page 49 in our text.)

We have learned that we count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot and have been counting together in school. Ask your child how many weeks we count, and the connection to the name of the holiday Shavuot. We also learned that Passover and Shavuot are two of the pilgrimage holidays mentioned in the Torah.


Second grade is Passover Central!

On Sunday we learned about making matzah at the Model Matzah Factory. We learned about the wheat being harvested in dry conditions, and that it is then kept dry and clean under constant supervision until it is baked into matzah. Ask your children what the only two ingredients are in matzah, and how many minutes the process takes.

In class we have learned the story of Passover, and have discussed what it means to be free. We also discussed what is typically on the Seder table and the steps of the Seder, and we practiced singing the Four Questions. We also talked about our favorite ways to eat matzah – with chocolate was a crowd favorite.

We are all looking forward to sharing the holiday with our families, and to vacation!


WOW! What a wonderful Kabbalat Siddur ceremony! All of the kids were amazing. They led the prayers with such confidence and poise, spoke wonderfully, and helped to lead Josh’s song with enthusiasm. I loved learning their Hebrew names and hearing about the beautiful wimpels.

On Sunday morning we followed up by making new name tags – in Hebrew! Everyone was so excited to be able to write their names. We also learned the letter zayin, and a new vowel combination – ach.

We finished the morning with prayers in the sanctuary led by Josh Warshawsky. The kids were all delighted to reconnect with their “new friend”.

Now it’s on to Passover. We’ve begun reviewing the story and will go on to the rituals next.


We are ready!

We practiced with Cantor Ken in the sanctuary in preparation for Kabbalat Siddur. We sang all the prayers, practiced what each student will say, and sang a special song that we will sing with Josh Warshawsky.

For the last hour of class, we met with Gary Alpert from Gateways. We read a book called Candlewick by Jennifer Rosner. It’s about a deaf candlemaker who can’t hear her customers at the door. Before Gary finished the story, he asked the students to brainstorm solutions to the problem. The kids worked in groups and came up with ideas such as cameras, vibrating wrist buzzers, seeing eye dogs, and glass doors. The kids were then able to make models of their ideas with Play-Doh. Ask your child what their solution was and why.

I am looking forward to celebrating with everyone this coming Shabbat, and continuing the weekend with Josh W. on Sunday morning!


The second graders had lots of fun drumming on Sunday! Everyone had the opportunity to try different types of drums: hand drums, tambourines, drums made out of gourds, and lots of shakers.

We also practiced the morning prayers with Cantor Ken. They are sounding better every time we practice, louder and more confident. We encourage you to have your kids practice at home, perhaps even in the car.

We’ve also been continuing to learn about Purim, reviewing and acting out the story. Our crazy hat/hair day coincided perfectly with the day of the Purim carnival, helping to add a festive air to the classroom.

It’s amazing that with all this going on, we found time to practice our reading. We can read all but one of the letters – ask your children if they know which one is missing. All of the students are making great progress, able to decode longer words.


In Hebrew we added the letter “Tet” and reviewed the “OOH” vowels in Chapter 13 in our text.  We also jumped ahead and added the vowel which is introduced in Chapter 14.  We already know that the vowel with two dots, one on top of the other is in the middle of the word it acts as a mini stop sign, now we learned that when it is at the beginning of a word it makes a short “i” sound as in “it”.  I felt it was important to add this now to help the students who want to try the V”Ahavta prayer as it appears several times. 
We learned that there are four traditions for the holiday of Purim which in Hebrew all begin with the letter “mem”.  They are reading the Megilat Esther, giving gifts of food to friends,  having a festive meal and giving charity to the poor.  We will be doing at Temple Israel to celebrate the holiday.  Everyone knew about hearing the story of Esther read out loud and giving Mishloah Manot, we connected the family dinner to the festive meal and learned that someone always collects money during the reading of the Megaliat Esther which is usually used to help people buy food for Passover for whom that may be a hardship.
We are also preparing for our Kabbalat Siddur celebration by writing what we are thankful for and practicing singing with Cantor Ken.  The students will also be helping to lead a song with our guest musician and in preparation have been learning about the commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself.  We read three books which can be connected to the theme; Chick Chack Shabbat, Thank You Omu, and Do Unto Otters and discussed how neighbors can treat each other and come together to help each other.  We also brainstormed about why the Torah tells us to love your neighbor rather than your friend, what do you think?

Looking forward to celebrating with every one on Purim and at Kabbalat Siddur!


In Bet Class, we added two new letters, the Fey and Final Fey.  We learned that the Final Fey is only used at the end of a word and never has a vowel.  We also introduced the “O” vowels before they appear in our text.  These vowel sounds were added to help us decode the words of the V’Ahavta prayer.  The students received the words of the prayer in Hebrew and in pairs read the prayer aloud.  At this point, the students can identify most of the letters and vowels.  Some of the students found it easier to sing the prayer while others concentrated on reading the words in front of them.  This was a difficult challenge and the kids did great!
We have been reviewing the story of Purim, adding a little more detail than in years past.  The students love filling in the gaps in the story and are trying to decide what kind of person was King Achashverous; evil, good,  indifferent or too self involved.  What do you think?  We will be learning the different customs involved with the holdiday and their symbolism.  Though the class certainly remembers to boo at the sound of Haman’s name.
Our schedule has changed slightly mid-week, with Nitzan coming in earlier than she has been.  We are meeting with her together with the Third Grade, allowing her more time to run her activities, and having more students in the room makes some of the games she plays even more fun.
We have also begun to prepare for our  Siddur Ceromony, stay tuned for more details.  Looking forward to celebrating with you on March 30th.


We started book 2 in our Hebrew program and learned three new vowels (eh/ay) and two new letters, sin and samech. In our Torah studies we learned about Avram and Lot separating because the land could not support all their livestock. Avram stayed in the land of Israel. We had lots of fun acting it out!

We read The Perfect Prayer, about the three sounds in “Sh’ma”. “Sh” to remind us to listen, “mm” for thinking, and “ah” for being in awe.

We’re looking forward to sleeping late over vacation! I hope everyone has time to relax and enjoy being together. We’re also looking forward to celebrating Purim in March.

Ask your child what their perfect prayer is!


Yeah! We finished our first book in Hebrew! We’ve learned more than half the letters and some basic Hebrew vocabulary. The students are all very proud of how much they have learned. They are reading beautifully!

In our Torah studies we learned about Avram hearing God’s voice telling him to leave his father’s house and go to a new land. We had lots of fun acting this story out, taking turns being Avram, his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and their servants. Some of us thought they might be afraid or sad at the thought of leaving everything behind. Some of us thought they were excited and one student talked about trusting God. How do you think they felt?


We did it! The second graders had a fun pajama/popcorn/stuffed animal morning to celebrate all the great learning that has been happening over the last few weeks.

In Hebrew, we added the letters “Vav” and “Vet” and a new silent vowel. We learned that the new vowel acts like a stop sign in the middle of the word or a break between syllables. It’s a little tricky, but we are working hard to incorporate it into our reading.

In honor of MLK Day we read a book called “As Good As Anybody” about the friendship Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The book describes instances of prejudices that each man encountered, Dr. King in segregated south and Rabbi Heschel in Germany and Poland before World War II. We read that Rabbi Heschel joined Dr. King in the fight against injustice in this country. After we discussed the book and the idea of respect, we added speech bubbles to our self portraits on the bulletin board. They read: “I show respect for others when…” and “I show my love for God when…”

Please ask your child how he/she filled in the speech bubble. We are looking forward to celebrating Tu B’Shvat with the school at a seder organized by Nitzan on Sunday, January 27th!


We learned 2½ new letters this week – Chet, Lamed, and the Tav with a dot in the middle, which we pronounce the same as without the dot in the middle. We can now read “Hallah” in Hebrew! We met with Cantor Ken and began learning the words and melody for the “VaAhavtah” prayer. We are also making hand motions to go with the words. Be sure to ask your child where in our class did we find the words for this prayer. We read the book “Abraham’s Search for God” and began discussing how Abraham’s belief in God was different than those around him I know that we will have many interesting discussions about Abraham. During T’Filah with the kindergarten and 1st graders, we sang songs for the holiday Tu B’Shvat. It is one of my favorite holidays and am looking forward to it.


In Hebrew, we have been learning the letters “Pey” and “Resh”. The chapter in our text also includes the “Final Mem” which we had already learned. When we learned how to write the “Resh” we saw that it’s actually the base fr writing many other letters such as “Bet”, “Pey”, “Tav”, and “Final Mem”.

After “T’filah” (prayer) on Sunday, the Bet class stayed in the sanctuary with the first grade class. We discussed what a Torah is made from (animal skins) and how it is written (by hand). We then took a Torah scroll out of the ark and carefully looked at it.

Ask your child about what we noticed about the writing and the letters. We also looked at a book called a Tikun which Torah readers use to practice before they read in front of a congregation.


Second Grade this week was full of Hanukkah spirit.  Midweek we began with a school-wide candle lighting ceremony.  In Hebrew the students played a reading game “Spin and Read”, using a dreidel they needed to read a word beginning with the letter the dreidel landed on.  The students then created beautiful “Stained Glass Art” to go with the theme of  Hanukkah as the Festival of Lights.  On Sunday we were treated to a party hosted by the Men’s Club with yummy snacks, singing with Cantor Ken and lots of Dreidel spinning.  The children also had the opportunity to share some of their favorite Hanukkah activities (the word presents was banned from the discussion!).  We heard about lots of family parties, dreidel competitions, and mountains of latkes which were consumed.  I read two of my favorite holiday books, both by Eric Kimmel, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins and The Golem’s Latkes.
I hope that everyone had a fun and joyous holiday!


Shalom Second Grade Families,

It was great to get back into the classroom after Thanksgiving. 

In Hebrew, we began Chapter 6 of our text learning  Koof, and a new vowel “oo” and a vowel combination “ooey”.  The class continues to impress me with wonderful their reading.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Rabbi Libben came to say hello and answer any questions that the students wanted to ask him, we had two very different discussions.  On Tuesday the kids were interested in talking about their Hebrew names which led to a discussion about where many of our families came from and immigration.   On Wednesday the discussion was centered more on God and “How do you know…. if you can’t see God?” We talked about things existing that you can’t see, such as wind and love, and about having faith in something that you believe in even if you can’t prove it’s existence. 

We’ve also been learning about Hanukkah.  We reviewed the basic story and discussed the miracles associated with the holiday.  The class agreed that a small group of Jewish farmers turned soldiers going up against a huge army and winning was indeed a miracle. 
Cantor Ken talked about Hanukkah in relation to the Jewish calendar and that it spans two Jewish months and in class as a follow up, we read a story called “Hanukkah Moon” by Deborah da Costa.  We also made decorations for the room using metallic markers on black paper.

On a sadder note, we discussed some of the rituals concerning Jewish mourning.  We focused on the process of sitting Shivah and learned that it has its roots in the Joseph story in the Torah.  We talked about trying to make a friend feel better, by playing, listening or just by being there.  We then made condolence cards for Emily and Jason.  I was very proud of how respectful the children were during this discussion, how they listened to each other’s experiences of going to Shiva Houses and seriously they took the task of making the cards.

Homework this week is both simple and fun-to light Hanukkah candles!  Ask your child the difference between a menorah and a hanukkiah.

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah,



The second grade learned נ Nun and י Yud and two new vowels (and ן Final Nun). Which allows us to be able to read Nitzan’s name! We read “Finding the Fruits of Peace,” – Cain and Abel. A very child friendly retelling of the story, which was new to many of them. The students met with Temple Israel veterans in honor of Veteran’s day and got to ask them questions. We are looking forward to continuing with our Torah stories we have begun Noah. Also, learning about your children’s homes this coming Sunday. We discussed different strategies which Cain could have used. Ask your child: What do you think he could have done instead of throwing the rock at Abel?


Second Grade continues to be a busy class.  In Hebrew, we have been practicing our reading and writing and have learned a new game, Oy Va Voy.
It’s great to see how nicely all of the students work together in class.  I continue to be impressed at the student’s level of excitement about doing the homework reading.   Keep up the good work!
 In our Torah studies, we read “Why the Snake Crawls on Its Belly” by Eric Kimmel.   The book retells part of the Adam and Eve story and explains what the snake’s consequences were for tempting Eve.  We discussed that this story is not directly from the Torah but rather is based on a Midrash about the Torah passage. We then discussed a question I once heard Rabbi Kushner pose, “Was it good that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden?”  We delved a bit into the question to understand it as was it better for Adam and Eve to have everything provided for them or was it better to be challenged to learn to provide and create for themselves?  I wonder if you and your child would agree on an answer?


On Sunday we began Chapter 4 in our Hebrew text, adding the letters ה Hey and  צ Tzadi.  We also looked at the ץ final Tzadi, and discussed that this is the letter to use if there is a Tzadi at the end of word.  We learned that the Hey makes an H sound in the beginning or middle of a word and is silent when it comes at the end of a word.  The class is excited as we learn more vocabulary words.  We played two Hebrew reading games this week in class; “Buzz Off’ using Popsicle sticks and try not to get “stung” and a Candy land type game trying to get to the finish line before the other player.

In our Torah studies we went onto the story of Adam and Eve.  We discussed who the children would hold responsible for Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit.  The answers varied from just the serpent, just Eve, Eve and the serpent to both Adam and Eve.  We then had a short conversation about people making their own choices as to what they do.   Ask you children who they think is responsible. 


Did you know that we begin Sunday mornings with T’filah (prayer) with the Kindergarteners and First Graders?  We begin with prayers/songs thanking God for creating a new day, continue with the Sh’ma and personal thanks and a prayer for peace.  We often end with songs appropriate to the holidays or perhaps popular Israeli children’s songs.  This week the Second Graders were amazing role models for the younger children, singing beautifully, sharing what they are thankful for and answering questions about the different prayers.

In Hebrew we continued on to Chapter Three in our text, learning/reviewing the letters Alef א and Mem מ. While the final Mem מ is not introduced until later in the text we did cover it in class in order to understand that when the sound m comes at the end of a Hebrew word with no vowel we only use the final Mem מ.  We also learned a new vowel, which makes the “EE” sound.  We have two new important key words-Ima אמא and Abba אבא, ask your children if they remember what they mean.

In our Torah studies we continued discussing creation and that people are were created in God’s image.  We agreed that we don’t actually know what God looks like, though many of the students had their own ideas. The answers included God looks like a human (more often a man than a woman), an angle, different elements of nature such as the sun and the stars and God is invisible.  We discussed the need to treat each other with respect since we are all created in God’s image.  The students then created self-portraits to add to our bulletin board about creation.


Shalom Bet Families

We have finally had a regular week of religious school and we took advantage of every minute!

In Hebrew we began the second chapter of our text book.  We added the letters 
Gimmel ג and Dalet ד.  We have also added the new key word “dag” דג to the ones from Chapter 1, “bat”  בת and Shabbatשבת .  Please ask your child if s/he remembers what they mean.  We have been practicing reading and the kids are constantly amazing me!

We began our Torah studies with “Beresheit“, the beginning of the book of Genesis.  We read about what God created on each  day of creation, and began to create art work to decorate the bulletin board in our classroom.  

Homework began this past week.  I hope that you have all had the opportunity to see the homework sheet and to hear your child read.  In class we discussed that the expectation is to read 5-7 minutes for each assignment. Some children might read the entire page and that some children may not be able to do that in 5 minutes.  I stressed that accuracy is more important than speed, and that everyone reads at their own pace in every language.  It is important the reading be done out loud.  Please sign the homework sheet after your child reads, prizes will be given out after ten assignments are completed.  The work is meant to reinforce what is learned in class, not to learn new material.  If you have any questions please be in touch.

Looking forward to seeing you this coming Saturday at Synaplex, 



Hi Kitah Bet Families, 

We had a very busy first class today.   

We began with Tefillah (prayer) with Cantor Ken and the younger students in the sanctuary.  We talked about things we are thankful for, sang “Modeh Ani “, the Shema and Oseh Shalom.  We also saw that the Torah scrolls are still “dressed” in their special white clothes for the New Year celebrations.  

In the classroom, we played a “Getting To Know You Game”, had snack,  created class rules, learned about Sukkot and had a VERY short taste of Hebrew.  Rachel’s mom, Anna, came in and helped us make decorations and hang them in the Sukkah.  

The students created the list of class rules, or “will try to” as we phrased it, on their own with very little teacher input.  Please ask them if they remember any of those promises and if any of them may be challenging for them to try to do this year in class. (A little hint, we talked about expected classroom behavior and respecting each other.)

I’m looking forward to getting to know all of your children as they grow and learn in Kitah Bet this year.

Wishing all of you a Happy Sukkot,