January 27, 2021 |
Posted on September 6, 2020
This blog contains updates for Grades 6 and 7.
Grade 6 Update from Hilary (Sunday, January 24, 2021)
Hello 6th Grade families!
Grade 7 Update from Mr. Frim (Sunday, January 24, 2021)
It was great seeing your children again this morning after the MLK break.
This morning we engaged in a lesson from Moving Traditions on Making Friends. We explored Jewish and cultural ideas about making friends and what qualities go into a good friendship. We then learned about Robin Dunbar’s theories of “Circles of Friendship,” from 5 closest friends/family to 15 close friends, to 50 friends we are connected to, to 150 people to whom we are connected in some way. We then discussed the commentary from the 12th-century rabbi Maimonides:
“Friends? There are three kinds: friends made to achieve a goal, friends who have fun together, and friends who lift one another up.”
We finished with an activity to show us how it is important to choose friends who will be mutually supportive.
For the last part of class, we viewed a BimBam video and discussed this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, which describes the Israelites’ escape from Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, and the subsequently repeated complaints by the Israelites to Moses and God regarding water and food. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wNil8rikr8) We finished with an activity to show how complaining can be contagious, just as praise can also spread in a positive way.
Please ask your child to talk about how they can change a complaint into something positive, whether it’s at school, home, or elsewhere.
Next Sunday we’ll be spending time on our Israel curriculum, and begin our series on Great Debates in Judaism. Please make sure that they have the Great Debates book available.
Grade 6& 7 Update from Mr. Frim (January 24, 2021)
Sorry for the hiatus in updates – we’ve had a busy few weeks since vacation.
The two weeks after vacation (January 5-7 and January 12-14), in our study of the Jewish life cycle, we learned about the different elements and significance of a Jewish wedding ceremony, including the various blessings for the betrothal section, sanctifying the ceremony over wine, exchanging rings, the Ketubah/marriage contract, the seven wedding blessings and breaking the glass. The following week we spent time learning more about the Ketubah/marriage contract, and how contemporary couples are using it to express their values and obligations to one another. The students added their suggestions for what should be in a Ketubah.
This past week, we started learning about honoring elders and why relationships with older family members and teachers help transmit and maintain Jewish traditions. We talked about the Mitzvah to rise before the aged and to honor elders, whether in age or wisdom. In the coming weeks, we’ll be discussing how we could do a virtual Mitzvah project with some senior citizens.
This coming week we’ll be going back to our Jewish holidays curriculum to learn about Tu Bishvat/17th of Shvat, the New Year of the Trees.
For this week’s class, please have your child bring an example of their favorite fruit (we’ll also be learning the blessings over fruit and then eating them!).
For the following week (February 2-4) we’ll be continuing our discussion of honoring elders. For that class, please have your child speak with one of their grandparents, and ask them to recount one of the following:
Finally, in addition to our work on Tu Bishvat in the Religious School, the Temple is hosting a special remote multi-generational Tu Bishvat program at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, which we encourage you to join in with your children.
Grade 7 Update from Mr. Frim (January 20, 2020)
I apologize for the delay in getting this out – the new year has been busy! It was great seeing your child last week on Sunday, and I hope everyone enjoyed a good MLK weekend.
Our schedule of topics changed a bit to accommodate the Moving Traditions program for rising teens. Last Sunday we had the first of four classes on issues for teens in a Jewish context. The goals of the lesson were (1) to help the students recognize that moving from childhood to adolescence involves physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth and (2) to help students identify that becoming a teenager and a b’nai mitzvah involves balancing between personal growth and receiving and giving support to others.
Our activities in class included a “balancing” activity consisting of a Yoga “airplane” pose to show how support helps create balance. (You can try it out here: https://youtu.be/fP4-KNIZEb0)
We then engaged in a “sorting” exercise to help students identify which “tasks” they have as teens to help them grow and develop their Soul (Spiritual/Emotional), Body (Physical) and Mind (Intellectual/Cultural), and how there are different expectations from friends, parents, teachers and others for these tasks. To finish up, we then read Rabbi Hillel’s famous saying: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, then what am I,” and discussed how we need to balance individual needs with the needs and desires of others.
This coming Sunday, we’ll be having a session from Moving Traditions on Making Friends, and, if time, we’ll be spending some time on our Israel – Innovation material.
Grade 6 and 7 Weekday Update (Thursday, December 17, 2020)
I hope everyone had a great Chanukah and that you’re all dug out by now – never a dull moment.
This past week we had a great time making Edible Menorahs. First we learned the rules of making a “kosher” Menorah (8 candles in a straight row, a separate “shamash” candle, and no more than 31 feet tall…). Then we watched three one-minute videos on making edible Menorahs, after which we made our own! A screenshot of all the kids’ Menorahs is attached. I think they were all amazing!
This coming week we’ll be moving on in our Life Cycle curriculum from Bar/Bat Mitzvah to Choosing a Partner/Relationships. We’ll be talking about qualities to look for in a friend.
After this week, vacation starts on December 25, and our next Religious School class will be on January 5.
Best wishes, Gerry and Hilary
Grade 6 Update from Hilary (Sunday, December 20, 2020)
Hello 6th Grade families!
Grade 7 Update from Mr. Frim (Sunday, December 20, 2020)
It was great seeing your kids again this morning. I hope they enjoyed the final leg of our tour of Israel and made some great Hummus!
Before the tour today we continued with the last lesson in our Facing History curriculum, on the topic of Choosing to Participate.
First, we talked about what it means to be and “upstander” to act when seeing injustice. We then watched a brief video on the response of Billings, Montana to anti-semitic incidents during Chanukah, entitled “Not in Our Town”: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/not-our-town-billings-montana
For more material to discuss with your child about being an “upstander”, here is a reading from Facing History: https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-12/what-difference-can-word-make
After watching the Not in Our Town video, we broke up into smaller groups to read about individuals and groups that used different strategies to respond to injustice, one involving bullying, and another about using social media to respond to social issues such as marriage rights and police shootings. We then discussed the problems addressed, what strategies were used, and which ones worked. You can find them here:
We finally discussed the reasons why it is important to choose to participate, both to face the consequences of inaction and to face our own behavior. Although we did not have time to view it during class today, I strongly recommend you watch the following video with your child about Congressman John Lewis, entitled, “Walking in the Wind,” which is a compelling call to act keep our “house” together:
If you would like some further material for discussion with your child on Holocaust related issues, I strongly recommend the following video (37 minutes) on “Who Will Write Our History” about the Oyneg Shabbos organization in the Warsaw Ghetto and how and why it preserved its archive on the Holocaust: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-who-will-write-our-history#:~:text=Who%20Will%20Write%20Our%20History%20tells%20the%20extraordinary%20story%20of,Nazi%20German%20occupation%20of%20Poland.
Our next Sunday classes will take place after vacation on January 10, when we’ll start our series on Judaism’s Great Debates and continue our study of Israel from the perspective of Israel’s history of innovation. After vacation I’ll send further information about the materials needed for our first innovation project.
Grade 6 and 7 Update from Mr. Frim and Hilary – Sunday, December 13, 2020
This past week we started learning about Chanukah. We watched a short video about the two Chanukah stories and about the holiday here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvFqBimGuIQ&feature=emb_logo
After completing a worksheet on Chanukah facts, we had a really competitive Kahoot on the Chanukah story and facts about the holiday.
This coming week, as part of our lesson on Chanukiyot/Chanukah Menorahs, we’ll be learning the rules of making a Chanukiah and lighting it. During class, we’ll be taking time to make “edible menorahs” to help the kids learn what the rules are (and to enjoy dessert afterwards!). In order to do this, the kids will need some appropriate foods with which to build an edible menorah.
There is no required list, but here is a list of suggested materials to choose from to have on hand for class (it is not exclusive – you and your child can be creative, as long as it works!). There needs to be a base/menorah body, candles, and decorations. PLEASE do not get everything on the list – just what you and your child want to use.
Base and body:
Cereal (e.g., Cheerios, Life, Chex, etc.)
Apples, Pears, Melon
Grade 7 Update from Mr. Frim – Sunday, December 13, 2020
It was great seeing your kids again this morning. Thank you all so much for the thank-you videos – they were great!
We continued with our Facing History and Ourselves curriculum on the Holocaust with a lesson on how individuals and organizations in the U.S. acted to help refugees escape from Nazi Europe before and during World War II.
First, after discussing the obstacles to immigration to the U.S. due to restrictive policies, we watched a brief video about the activities of the American Friends Service Committee here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdJ4WuSJzQo&feature=emb_logo
We then focused on the question of why individuals and groups went to such lengths to help those fleeing the Holocaust. The students, in small groups, read materials on how refugees and rescuers managed to work together to get refugees to the U.S.:
Finally, we read and discussed the famous quote by Martin Niemöller on why it is important to act:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Next week, at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning we’ll be tying up our study of Facing History and Ourselves with a lesson on “Choosing to Act.”
At 10:00 a.m., we’ll have our final tour of Israel, with a focus on the Tastes of Israel.
During the week, please discuss this question with your child:
What motivated “rescuers” in the United States to help Jewish refugees from the Holocaust? Why is it important for people to go out of their way to help?
Grade 6 Update from Hilary – Sunday, December 13
Hello 6th grade families!
Sunday, November 29, 2020 – Grade 7 Update
Dear Grade 7 Parents:
It was great seeing your kids last week on Sunday – I hope you all enjoyed a great Thanksgiving holiday.
Last Sunday, we had a lesson on Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers and Gemilut Chasadim/Acts of Loving Kindness, as well as Facing History and Ourselves.
In our Pirkei Avot class we reviewed the text of Chapter 1, verse 2, which says: The world stands on three things: on the study of Torah, on good works/worship of God, and on acts of loving-kindness. We read some commentaries that explained how acts of loving-kindness include even little things we do to “pay it forward.” Then we watched and discussed this video (https://youtu.be/X3ld9_p2bS0) and discussed how each persons’ actions can affect the world.
For Facing History, we discussed the importance of bearing witness to what happened during the Holocaust. We first reviewed the timeline of events in the Holocaust through a reading and video on the phases of the Holocaust: https://www.facinghistory.org/sites/default/files/Phases_Holocaust_0.pdf and https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/step-step-phases-holocaust. We then heard testimony from a survivor of the Vilna Ghetto about how the Germans occupied his town and instituted measures to isolate the Jewish population: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/nazis-vilna. Finally, we read and discussed how the Jews maintained a sense of dignity despite the indignities and all-encompassing control exercised by the Germans: https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-9/basic-feeling-human-dignity?reading=modified
Next Sunday is the 7th Grade family Bar/Bat Mitzvah program with Moving Traditions, so our next Sunday class on Facing History will be on December 13, followed by the next session of our virtual tour of Israel. During the week classes will be taking place as usual.
Sunday, November 22, 2020 – Grades 6 and 7 Update (Holidays and Life Cycle)
Hello 6th and 7th grade families!
Sunday, November 22, 2020 – Grade 6 Update (Israel)
Hello 6th families!
Sunday, November 15, 2020 – Grade 6
Hello 6th Grade families!
Sunday, November 15, 2020 – Grade 7
It was great seeing your kids this morning – I hope they enjoyed the second leg of our virtual tour of Israel at 10:00 a.m.
Before our tour, we had another class on Facing History and Ourselves, which covered the topic “Dismantling Democracy – Hitler’s Rise to Power.”
We discussed how and why the democratic German Weimar Republic was transformed, in little more than six months, from a representative democracy to a dictatorship. We first watched a video of a survivor, Rabbi Alfred Wolf, discussing his experience during the 1933 German election that led to Hitler’s rise to power: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/democracy-dictatorship
After discussing Rabbi Wolf’s observations of how he knew a dictatorship had arrived, we then watched another short video explaining the factors that led to the rise to power of the Nazi party and Hitler: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/hitlers-rise-power-1933-1934
After each film, the students reflected on the how and why of the transformation from democracy to dictatorship, with the questions in the attached worksheets.
For a review, please ask your child to read the attached summary on Hitler’s rise to power, and to complete any unfinished questions on the first two pages of the attached material in his/her Google Doc. (The worksheets are all copied into each student’s Google Doc – I sent the links last week.) We’ll pick up with the questions on the third page about specific readings at our next Facing History lesson.
Next Sunday is a special family Bar/Bat Mitzvah program with Moving Traditions, so we will not be having our regular class. The following Sunday is Thanksgiving weekend, so we’ll be picking up with our Facing History and Jewish Literature class in three weeks, on December 6.
Friday, November 13, 2020 – Grades 6 and 7 Update
This past week we had a fascinating lesson learning about a special Jewish holiday – the Sigd holiday celebrated by Ethiopian Jews. We first learned a bit about the history and Aliyah of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel over the past 40 years, by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJvTAjotZvI&feature=emb_logo
We then learned about the Sigd holiday, that occurs 50 days after Yom Kippur and was celebrated by Ezra and Nechemiah when the Second Temple was built. The Sigd holiday is about accepting the Torah and yearning for a return to Israel and the Temple. It is thought to be the date on which God first revealed himself to Moses and is also a time for renewing the Israelite covenant with God. You can learn about the Sigd in this video and summary:
We ended class with a fun Kahoot about Ethiopian Jews.
Next week we’ll be getting back to our Life Cycle curriculum, with another lesson about Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We’ll also be making “monitor mezuzahs” to create our Jewish virtual space during class.
For this Shabbat, please ask your child what they’d like to do to celebrate the Sigd holiday on Sunday night/Monday.
Please don’t forget to have your kids join us for Shabbat services at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. Also, class on Sunday morning is at 9:00 a.m. (NOT 9:45), in order to accommodate our virtual Israel tour at 10:00 a.m.
Gerry & Hilary
Sunday, November 1, 2020 – Grade 7 Update
Last Sunday, after a fantastic Apples & Honey Olympics, we had a lesson from Facing History and Ourselves about Anti-semitism. We talked about how the “in-group” sometimes mistreats the “out-group”, and how Jews’ identity sometimes led to myths and rumors about them. We then read and commented on an Overview of Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism, that you can find here: https://www.facinghistory.org/chunk/overview-anti-judaism-and-antisemitism
We then continued our discussion of how myths and stereotypes are perpetuated, and read some examples, including this:
This morning, after the parents’ meeting with Facing History, we first had a lesson on this week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, and how it related to refugees and asylum seekers in Judaism. We watched a video about Lech Lecha (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuZVq0Mmbxg), reviewed Jewish texts on refugees, and then learned about asylum seekers from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (https://www.hias.org/what/asylum).
In our Facing History class, we learned about the Jewish community in Eastern Europe before World War II. We first learned about life in the Shtetl (https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/sholem-aleichem-understanding-life-shtetl-jews), and discussed how it was affected by modernity. We then considered the transition to modern life in cities like Warsaw through photos (https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/gallery/pre-war-jewish-life-eastern-europe) and film (https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/day-warsaw) and how Jews might have been seen by the surrounding society.
Next week on Sunday we’ll be having our first virtual tour of Israel, followed by a lesson from Facing History on how the Nazi party came to power in Germany.
For next Sunday, please ask your children how they are affected personally by stereotyping and myths about different groups.
Don’t forget to have your kids join us for Shabbat services at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Sunday, November 1, 2020 – G. 6 Update from Hilary
Hello 6th Grade families,
Sunday, November 1, 2020- Grade 6 and 7 Update from Hilary and Mr. Frim
This past week we continued with our weekday Life Cycle class with an introduction to Bar/Bat Mitzvah and “What is a Mitzvah?”). We considered various definitions of “Mitzvah” as meaning a commandment or good deed, both by reading sources and watching a short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61O_-sG2zsE). We talked about how Mitzvot are related to becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and how that is when Jews accept responsibility for observing Mitzvot. We then completed a worksheet and started a Kahoot on Mitzvot and becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. (https://create.kahoot.it/share/bnei-mitzvah-challenge/656bb000-7372-4169-89aa-3cc627759d73).
This coming week we’ll be learning about Tefillin, how they are made, and how they relate to Bar/Bat Mitzvah and our Jewish lives.
Please don’t forget to have your kids join us for Shabbat services at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Gerry & Hilary
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Hello 6th and 7th Grade parents!
October 18, 2020
Dear Grade 7 Parents,
It was great seeing your kids this past Sunday.
This past week we started our Jewish Literature curriculum with Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers. We learned about where Jewish law and texts come from (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTiQb_3FGSE), and then learned about Pirkei Avot (https://www.ccarpress.org/shopping_product_detail.asp?pid=50434) and read and discussed the first “Mishna” in Chapter 1 on the transmission of Jewish tradition, followed by a Kahoot on Jewish tradition.
For our second hour, we began our Facing History and Ourselves curriculum with a discussion of what elements make up one’s identity, how we change our identity depending on where we are, and how others treat us based upon their perception of our identity. We then watched and discussed a film clip on “Identity in a Changing World,” about the author Sholom Aleichem and changes in Jewish identity in Europe and America before World War II (https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/sholem-aleichem-identity-changing-world).
This coming Sunday we’ll be participating in the Apple & Honey Olympics – please pick up supplies at Temple Israel. We’ll then continue our study of Facing History about the history of Anti-Semitism, with a focus on Christian Anti-Semitism.
For discussion, please ask your kids to discuss what they consider to be the things (Jewish and general) that are parts of their identity, and how it changes in different places (e.g., home, school, synagogue, sports, etc.).
Also, please encourage your kids to go to the Zoom Tefilah on Shabbat morning at 9:15 a.m.
September 30, 2020
We hope you all had a meaningful Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Our first week together we learned about Rosh Hashanah, the shofar, and family traditions. We watched and discussed a great Bim Bam video on Rosh Hashanah (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AuMXq5sHDw&feature=youtu.be), heard the shofar and learned its fuels, and saw how a shofar is made (https://youtu.be/orbGA3wD4qM). We then wrote a short personal story in our ongoing Jewish Stories about our own family Rosh Hashanah traditions.
The following week, we focused on Yom Kippur and different Yom Kippur traditions. We watched another Bim Bam video about Yom Kippur and learned that we read the book of Jonah. We had a nice discussion on Teshuva, what that means and how we do it. We learned that when we apologize to people we may have hurt, it has to be sincere and we have to try three different times/ways if that person doesn’t forgive us right away!
This week we will be learning about and discussing Sukkot!
For the next class, please discuss with your children about your own family Jewish holiday stories.
Gerry and Hilary
September 18, 2020
It was great seeing your kids on Sunday for the first time this year, even if it was on Zoom.
This past week, we started working on our class “Brit”, the rules for our virtual classroom. We then had an introduction to our Sunday curriculum, which will include Facing History and Ourselves (Holocaust), Judaism’s Great Debates, Israel, and Jewish Literature (Weekly Torah Portion and Pirkei Avot – Ethics of the Fathers). We introduced our theme of “Writing Your Jewish Story” by viewing an amazing video from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “On Being Jewish,” that you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7B8ycURLGc
Due to the Jewish holidays, we won’t be having a formal class again until October 18. However, I look forward to seeing all of you and your children on Sunday morning, September 27 at 11:15 for Tashlikh at the South Natick Dam (sunny side). When we pick up in October, we’ll be starting our study of the Holocaust, as well as beginning our Israel curriculum.
Until next time, please discuss with your kids the question of “what kind of bread crumbs are we discarding at Tashlikh, before Yom Kippur, and why?”
Shana Tova U’metuka – best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.
Early September 2020
Dear Families of 6th and 7th Graders:
We, Gerry, Hilary, Margie, and Cantor Ken, are writing to introduce ourselves as the grade 6 and 7 teaching team.
FROM HILARY (SUNDAYS, G. 6)
Hi everyone, my name is Hilary, and I am excited to be teaching your children this year! I am originally from Worcester and have moved around quite a bit since then. I graduated from Gann Academy, attended Binghamton University for my undergrad studying Arabic and Hebrew, and then continued at Gallaudet University for a MA in Deaf Education and Early Childhood Education. I am a Deaf teacher, teaching students across different grade levels, and I am beginning my fourth year at Temple Israel.
This year, I will teach the 6th graders on Sundays about Values and Israel. Each week we will look a the Parsha and see what we can extract and apply to our lives. Our Israel unit will focus on modern Israel and our partnership with a school in Haifa. My teaching style revolves around mutual respect. I believe that I have just as much to learn from my students as they have to learn from me. I believe in student-centered activities and look forward to many projects throughout the year!
FROM MR. FRIM (SUNDAYS, G. 7)
My name is Mr. Frim, and I grew up in Newton. I received undergraduate degrees from Hebrew College and the University of Pennsylvania and my law degree from Penn. After some time in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Israel, I returned to the Boston area. I am thrilled to be returning for my third year at Temple Israel. Though my day job is as an attorney, my passion is helping your children develop a strong Jewish identity. As a teacher, I try to have my students learn to explore on their own and to question themselves and me in their Jewish journey. I expect that the students will respect each other and contribute to an environment where they can learn from me, our texts, and, most importantly, from each other.
On Sundays, the 7th graders will focus on Jewish Literature, History (focusing on the Holocaust), Israel, and Values. On weekdays, Hilary and I will teach the 6th and 7th graders lessons on Jewish Holidays and the Jewish Life Cycle. We will be using a mix of texts, multimedia materials, discussion, small group work, and hands-on projects.
FROM MARGIE (SUNDAYS, G. 7)
I’m Margie, and have been a member of the Temple Israel community as a teacher, parent, and congregant for many years. Like Gerald, I grew up in Newton and spent ten years living in Israel after college before moving to Natick. For many years I taught both Second Grade and the Gesher (7th grade) class. I am excited to have the opportunity to be with the 7th-grade students on Sunday mornings for Conversational Hebrew. We will be learning basic vocabulary, playing games, and having some simple conversations. We are fortunate to have Shira Taman, a native Hebrew speaker, joining us in class as an aide.
During the week, Gerry and Hilary will teach the 6th and 7th graders a course on Jewish Holidays and the Jewish Life Cycle. We will be using a mix of texts, multimedia materials, discussion, small group work, and hands-on projects.
The 6th graders will also attend trope during the week with Cantor Ken. Please watch for an email from Cantor Ken with more details about trop. Trope will begin in the last week of September.
The aides and madrichim assisting in grades 6 and 7 are Naomi Hoffman, Emma Freedlander, Carter Freedlander, and Sam Burg, all of whom grew up at TI. Naomi is a junior in high school and lives in Framingham. Emma is currently a UMASS student, Sam is a student at Temple University (and spent much of last fall and spring in Israel), and Carter is a recent college graduate.
You can reach us:
Cantor Ken: email@example.com
We look forward to welcoming our students back as we begin the Jewish Year 5781.
Hilary, Gerry, Margie, and Ken
P.s. Please watch for an email from Robin with information on how to access Zoom links and class lists.