Jun 08

Completing the Year on a Sweet Note

Shorashim (‘roots’ for nursery) and Shteelim (‘saplings’ for Kindergarten) had a wonderful last week of Jewish Enrichment for the שנה (shanah– year)!

Playing one last game of מסטיק (Mastik– the Hebrew version of, “bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish”)!

Last עברית (Ivrit– Hebrew) choices!

Finishing our אותיות (otiot– Hebrew letters) book!

Playing a משחק צבע (mischak tzevah– color game) outside with the parachute!

We made the parachute into a tent!

Baking some of the favorite things we have baked!

See you next שנה (shanah– year)!

Jun 07

A Joyous Final Week

It was a joyous final week filled with some of our favorite things:


Making up skits together outside

Yetzirah (art/creativity) projects

And cozy Ivrit (Hebrew)

At the end of the day, we had a chance to speak our mind to our community. Here are just a few of the comments children shared:

  • “Thank you everybody for a really fun year…”
  • “It was the best day!”
  • “I liked the way that we worked together to come up with solutions.”

What a creative, imaginative, exciting, thoughtful year. Have a wonderful summer vacation!

May 25

Quick, quick.

There’s not a moment to lose! We only have a few real workdays left, and it turns out that this project we’ve undertaken is actually our biggest and most collaborative project yet. It’s just right for the end of the year, though: Look at how many skills and habits are going into it!

Familiarity and comfort with Torah texts, for one thing…


Planning together…

Creating together…

Steady, patient work…

Taking on different tasks independently…

Attention to detail…

…And working with joy!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got to get back to work!


May 24

New Ways of Playing Tzedakah!

This week Shorashim (‘Roots’ for Nursery) and Shteelim (‘Saplings’ for Kindergarten) have continued to play צדקה (Tzedakah) different ways.

We already know that צדקה (Tzedakah– charity/justice) is money we give to help people who need it, but צדקה (Tzedakah – charity/justice) might be used to help in different ways.

צדקה (Tzedakah- charity/justice) may be given to help build playgrounds in neighborhoods where there are none.


צדקה (Tzedakah– charity/justice) may be given to help people buy the things they need  celebrate Jewish Holidays like Chanukah and Shabbat.

צדקה (Tzedakah– charity/justice) may be given to help children who don’t have any toys, get toys.

צדקה (Tzedakah– charity/justice) may be given to help people pay for medical treatment, dentist visits and glasses.


Building a צדקה (Tzedakah- charity/justice) box!

May 23

Broken Telephone

Judaism grows and changes over time.

Nitzanim children have been exploring Shavuot and the way that ideas about Shavuot have changed over time. We started with ideas about Shavuot in the Torah and then moved onto exploring what the ancient early rabbis (1st-6th centuries) had to say. Now, we’re starting to talk about later developments, ideas about Shavuot that emerged after the 7th century.

On Monday, we spoke about a tradition of staying up all night to study Torah on Shavuot. This idea comes from the 16th century Kabbalists, who linked it to a rabbinic story (midrash) about a few lines in the Torah. That’s a lot of connections!

I was amazed at the way that Nitzanim children were able to express ideas about such tricky, multi-layered content. It’s incredible how our skills for talking with each other and sharing ideas have grown this year!

Here’s how one child explained her understanding of the way that ideas about Shavuot changed over time:

It’s like when you play broken telephone. It started out as one thing [in the Torah] and became completely different [according to the Kabbalists]. The new thing is not connected to the old thing.


May 23

Preparing to Say Shalom in Shalom Chaverim

This week in Shalom Chaverim was all about remembering the experiences we shared together.

In the sensory table, we searched for photos of many of the different learning experience we shared this year. Excitedly, we recognized our friends’ faces and our own face.

We also revisited some of our favorite explorations from the year together.

We remembered baking Shabbat breads together, and worked with our parents and families to create our own loaves of challah using play dough.

We shared Shabbat dinner with special people in our lives.

We examined photos of the ways we celebrated Hanukkah together, and built hanukiyot using blocks and toy candles.


We remembered our Purim celebration, and created (and modeled!) some colorful masks together.   

We remembered Tu B’shebat together, and set to work painting some trees– and remembering all the planting and growing we did together this year.

May 19


“Wait, the chalk slipped. Hold it still while I do it again.”

“Can you pull that side so it stays tight?”

“But look. If we make the swirls thinner, there’s more room for the scenes.”

“Is that the earth and the sea?” “No, I think it’s Noah’s Ark. See the flood and the mountain sticking out?”

Kedoshim tihiyu–” “That’s the words! Leviticus 19:2. That’s where it came from!”

This project couldn’t happen without each and every member of ענפים (Anafim, “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) pitching in!

May 18

Final project time!

This week in אלונים (“Oak trees,” for 5th and 6th grades), we’ve been busy working on our final projects for the year! Our final project prompt is: Tell the story of your encounter with a big idea or question this year.

Children are working independently or in pairs to identify a big question or idea they had, connect the dots for us as to how that idea or question relates to a Torah text we read this year, and tell us about how they explored that big idea or question, whether it be through yetzirah (art/creativity), conversations with other Alonimers, or something else. Alonimers are using a variety of modalities to tell us about their encounters, but many are choosing to make podcasts with a visual accompaniment.

This week, Alonimers started planning for their projects by making outlines. Some children told me that they are learning about outlines in school, too, so they were well-prepared for this task. They are looking forward to start doing what they call the more exciting work of recording and making visuals next week!

May 18

The Tzedakah is Flowing In

This week in Beit Shorashim/Shteelim (“Bud” for Nursery and “Saplings” for Kindergarten) we have been playing different ways to give צדקה (Tzedakah) . We have found out that we don’t just have to give it to poor people, but we can give it different organizations to help give food at a food pantry, get supplies for schools, help animals get healthy, and build houses for people.

May 16

One Final Project, Many Steps

We’ve started our final project in Beit Nitzanim. It’s a project that helps us reflect on our whole year AND a project we can work on together, so that we can show off all of our fabulous teamwork skills. The project has so many steps:
Step 1: Remember the three big themes from our year: Bamidbar (“In the Wilderness”), Kedushah (Holiness), and Shavuot (Weeks). We drew pictures and wrote words on chart paper that reminded us of our themes.

Step 2: Draw symbols to represent our themes.

Step 3: Crowd around all of the drafts of symbols and try to come to some consensus about a symbol that best represents the theme. We got stuck on Bamidbar (“In the Wilderness”). Half of the children decided a compass was the perfect symbol. Other children said, “No way. Number one: the Israelites weren’t lost. Number two: the Israelites didn’t have a symbol.” We went back to the drawing board to come up with a symbol we could agree on.

Step 4: Morah Shterna made our symbols bigger and more clear. We took a look at her drawings and gave feedback. For example, we wanted the people in our Kedushah (Holiness) symbol to have faces with two eyes and a smile.

Step 5: Use devek (glue) to trace the lines of each symbol onto cloth.

More steps to come! Check in with Nitzanim next week to see what comes next!

Older posts «

Facebook Like Button for Dummies