September 30, 2020 |

Grades 2 and 3 (2020-2021)

Posted on September 6, 2020

September 18, 2020

Shalom Bet and Gimel Families,

It was so amazing to meet your students during the week and on Sunday for our opening days, and I am so excited to be working with them this year!

During the week we spent time getting to know each other and our aides and madrichim, Emma & Gabe (Tuesday), Carter (Wednesday), and Lisa & Kayla (Sunday).  After an ice (or Zice) breaker activity, we talked about the different communities we belong to and shared some rules that make our communities work.  This week we will do some activities around the value of Derech Eretz and use these conversations to make a Class Brit together.

On Sunday in our Holiday class, we spent time reflecting on last year, and thinking how to make next year better.  We also played a matching game to review what we already know about Rosh Hashanah.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our Taschlich program on Sunday, September 27.  Please watch your email for more details.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Wishing you all a Shanah Tovah.


Sept. 13 – Music with Anna:
Shana Tova! Today, the PreK through 4th graders welcomed the new school year and the new year of 5781 with dancing (like Miriam) and a shofar blast (or at least the song version by Ellen Allard). It was wonderful to be together as a kehillah (community) again and to see so many familiar and new faces. I am looking forward to learning and growing through music and prayer with the PreK, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders!
Shavua Tov,


Dear Families of 2nd and 3rd Graders,


We, Elena Berelowitz and Margie Matross are writing to introduce ourselves as the Grade 2 and 3 Teaching Team.


My name is Elana Berelowitz. I am a member of Temple Israel of Natick and have been teaching in the Religious School since 1999.


I’m Margie Matross, and I have been a member of the Temple Israel community as a congregant, parent, and teacher for many years.  I grew up in Newton and lived in Israel for ten years after college before moving to Natick. I’m excited to continue working with the third graders and to get to know the second graders.  




I am excited to be working with second and third graders on Jewish Holidays and Ritual, and Torah.   In our holidays class on Sundays, we will learn to recite blessings appropriate to the holiday and learn about ritual objects, traditional foods, themes, and historical backgrounds.  We will use a variety of modalities.  Much of our focus will be enhancing the home celebration of each holiday.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we will explore different Torah stories focusing on the values of “community” in the book of Exodus and beyond, and will supplement our conversations with journal writing, art, games, and discussions. 




One thing we will do this year on Sundays is travel to Israel. Well, maybe my imagination got the best of me, but we will be learning about Israel and doing a virtual scavenger hunt and tour through the country.  I hope that the students will share personal experiences and family connections to Israel during our Israel tour.  In addition to studying Israel on Sundays, the second and third graders will also have a unit on Jewish values, exploring where in Jewish texts they are found and how we practice them in our own lives.




Margie will be teaching all the second graders Hebrew in small groups.  Second graders will review the letters, add in more vowels and final letters, and put them all together to read. It’s always amazing to see the second graders realize that by combining the letter sounds with the vowels, they can decode simple words….and off they go looking everywhere for familiar words. 


We will both teach small groups of Hebrew to third-graders.  In third grade, students will apply the skills gained in second grade to decode different prayers, and they will also learn to chant them.


This summer, we participated in online professional development, and we look forward to sharing some of the resources with your students. We are also excited that we have some wonderful teaching assistants and madrichim working with us – Carter Freedlander, Emma Freedlander, Kayla Wilen, Lisa Clover, Gabe Klawans, Ari Klawans, and Ethan Duncan.


Please feel free to reach out with any questions:


Margie –

Elana –


We are looking forward to connecting with everyone and forming a “virtual community” together as we begin the Jewish Year 5781.  




Elana and Margie


P.s. Please watch for an email from Robin with information on how to access Zoom links.