May 23

Remembering and Reflecting

Can you believe it’s already the end of May? With just a few weeks left of the school year, Anafim (“Branches” for 2nd and 3rd grade) is taking some time to remember all of the awesome things that we’ve done together as a community this year.

We started by thinking about our current theme, nosei v’ol im chaveiro (helping a friend carry a burden.) We’ve made up stories and read texts about nosei v’ol im chaveiro, but have there been any examples of it in our classroom this year? Anafimers responded with a unanimous “YES!”

Some examples of nosei v’ol im chaveiro from our classroom that Anafimers came up with were going slowly with your partner during Ivrit, inviting other children to build with you, taking turns talking, and cleaning up materials.

Next, we looked at pictures of some of the awesome things we did together this year, like all of our past themes, holidays, and Hebrew challenges.

Then it was time to really step back inside of those moments from this past year that we loved. Children set to work recreating their favorite explorations and activities from the year.

Rebuilding the ladder that appeared in a dream to Ya’akov.
Revisiting reasons someone might do a tefilla (prayer).
Retelling the Channukah story

All of this is in preparation for our end of the year project, which is a newspaper covering all of the biggest stories from Anafim this year! Keep your eyes peeled for it to be hitting the shelves at a local newsstand near you!

May 21

Making Memories!

In שׁוֹרָשִׁים (Shorashim– ‘roots’ for nursery) and שְׁתִּילִים (Shteelim– ‘saplings’ for kindergarten), we have been reflecting on all the wonderful ways we’ve played as a community this year. To help us wrap up our year together we are making a memory box with many handcrafted treasures inside for us to look back on in the years to come!

What can we but in our box to remember Sukkot? A lulav!
What can we put in our box to remember our first theme Ya’akov v’Esav? A tent!
What else can we put in our box to remember our first theme Ya’akov v’Esav? A pot of stew!

I can’t wait to see what else shorashim v’shteelim thinks up to put inside…

May 21

Acquiring Torah from nosei v’ol im chaveiro

This week children in Anafim v’Alonim (“Branches” and “Oak trees” for 4th and 5th grades)  took the example of נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden) from the text of Megillat Rut, and thought about what it means to get Torah from doing  נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden).

Many children explored the burden that Rut carried with Naomi by staying with her. Children who chose this example took some time to think about what it might have looked like or felt like in that moment.

First, children chose a couple of words to describe the setting. For example: “old village” and “sidewalks”.

Then, children said what was learned during the instance of נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden) they chose to explore.

“It’s important because they’ll be stuck together for the rest of their life”

Then each child created a sentence starting with: “The kind of Torah a person can get from נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִנוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden) is”

This child finish that sentence saying “… to learn more about your friend because you’ll be with each other the rest of your life.”
Each child has created a sentence to reflect what they believe is the kind of Torah one can get from נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden).

Over the next few sessions as we wrap of this theme, children will continue to grow their sentences as they read each others’ and find words they connect with.

May 20

A new project

It’s hard to believe that we only have a few weeks left before we say goodbye for the summer. Nitzanim children are beginning to reflect on all of the learning, playing, and growing we’ve done as a community this year.

Today we started working on a final project that makes visible the immense kindness and love these children have for each other.

Step one? Interviews!

Last week, children brainstormed a list of questions they wanted to ask each other like, “What theme or Jewish holiday was your favorite this year?” and “What project were you the most proud of?” Children are asking each other these questions in pairs, listening closely, and very carefully taking notes.

Step two? Kind notes.

Children are writing post-its to each other with kind words and wishes. How exciting to write and receive anonymous notes!

Children jumped right in, overjoyed to be starting our super special final project. I can’t wait for them to share it with you!

May 17

Does The Story of Rut Have Examples of Nosei v’Ol Im Chaveiro?

In שׁוֹרָשִׁים (Shorashim– ‘roots’ for nursery) and שְׁתִּילִים (Shteelim– ‘saplings’ for kindergarten), we are well into our theme, נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרוֹ (Nosei v’ol im chaveiro– Help a friend carry their burden, or, their heavy thing). This week we have been reading the story of Rut and trying to find examples of Nosei v’Ol Im Chaveiro.

Here are three ideas that children shared:

  • When the family moves to a new place because of famine, the characters were helping each other with moving which can be hard, by staying together.
  • When Rut stayed with her mother-in-law after her husband died, a hard thing that happened to both of them, they were helping each other with their feelings and take care of each other.
  • When Rut goes to glean in the field to get food for herself and her Mother-in-law, Rut is helping with hunger (a hard thing).

Here are some photos of the children acting out parts of the story of Rut:

Harvesting Wheat!
Rut follows behind the harvesters, gleaning any wheat that they drop.
Rut gleaning wheat, again!
When Boaz, the owner of the field notices Rut gleaning in the field, he asks her to stay at his field and offers her water. Rut bows to Boaz for being so kind to her.

May 16

Rut-ing Around for Examples

This week in Anafim (“Branches” for 2nd and 3rd grade), we’ve been digging into Megillat Rut for examples of nosei v’ol im chaveiro (helping a friend carry a burden). Children have identified a bunch of possible examples of nosei v’ol im chaveiro in the text. Some have said that Rut going to pick barley was helping Naomi carry a burden by providing food for both of them. Others added that Boaz making sure that Rut got enough barley was also helping her carry a burden. And others postulated that maybe Adonai ending the famine was a way of carrying the burden of the people in Bethlehem.

Along with these new ideas about our theme, children have opened themselves up to new ways of exploring text.

This week alone, we’ve had two performances! One was a puppet show detailing Rut’s adventures picking barley.

And of course, after the show, there was a very thoughtful questions and comments session between the audience and the writer/director/performer.

Then, a group shared their ideas about Megillat Rut and nosei v’ol im chaveiro through an original song!

I’m so glad we have so much creative joy heading into our end of the year project!

May 16

Drops of Joy: A Nitzanim Tale

It’s almost the end of the school year and Nitzanim knows how to enter and get started in the studio….

They know we sit in a big circle for some instructions.

They know to put a smock on so their clothes don’t become evidence of their creations.

They know to find a spot to sit or stand in where they can do their most focused work.

But, what they didn’t know is that this visit to the studio would include some brand new ways of painting with watercolors:

Wow, sometimes not knowing can be such a joy!

May 14

Update from Anafim v’Alonim!

The last couple of weeks have been so generative and awesome!  Last week Anafim v’Alonim (“Branches” and “Oak trees” for 4th and 5th grades) looked back at what the early Rabbis said about נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden). We remembered that נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden) is actually part of a list of 48 things! Not just any 48 things: the early Rabbis said that these are 48 different ways to “acquire Torah.” נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden) is just one of those ways.

What does acquiring Torah even mean? Some children immediately answered, “well obviously it’s just reading the Torah, it’s all written there what you should do.”

We offered a couple more of the ways the ancient rabbis said people can acquire Torah, like caring for friends and questioning and responding.

Sustenance is key for opening our exploration of the Mishnah.


This hand represents the part of the text where it says “the hand of Adonai has turned against me.”
“I made this to represent Ruth and Naomi protecting each other.”

So, what next? We’ve come up with some great examples and ready to take it a step further. It’s time to go back through many of the texts we’ve explored this year, specifically looking for instances of נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden). What it is that the character in that text learns through נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרו (nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden)? What is it that the character has acquired?

Stay tuned for the awesome new ideas coming your way!

May 09

Searching for examples

This week, Nitzanim children are diving into the Book of Ruth to search for examples of נוֹשֵׂא בְעֹל עִם חֲבֵרוֹ(nosei v’ol im chaveiro–helping a friend carry a burden).

After hearing the text read aloud, children created comics, buildings, and collages. This second pass at the text is an opportunity to extend their thinking, use their hands, and work in partnership with other children. This exploration made it possible for children to begin identifying examples of nosei v’ol im chaveiro (helping a friend carry a burden) at the end of the day.

Here’s what children had to say:

Morah Sara: What does Nosei v’ol im chaveiro mean to you?

Child 1: Helping a friend carry a heavy thing

Child 2: Helping a friend carry a really big feeling

Child 3: Helping a friend carry a problem

Morah Sara: Some of us are starting to think that nosei v’ol im chaveiro has to do with problems or big feelings. Who’s a character that has a problem or hard feelings in our text?

Child 4: Naomi because all of her family has died.

Child 5: I think Rut is like having a heavy feeling ‘cause she doesn’t want to go and Naomi says go. I think it’s a problem for her.

Morah Sara: Is anybody helping Rut with a problem in the story?

Child 6: Boaz. He’s giving her extra food. Extra to eat, and he’s being nice to her.

May 09

WHAT are we learning?

One of the things I love most about doing projects with children is being together in that moment of new insight. It’s like a jolt of lighting that flashes between all of us.

I can’t know in advance what the children will find striking about the content we’re exploring. So when that connection happens, we experience the intensity of the discovery itself and also the marvel that it happened at all. (I wish for all of you readers a workplace that seeks such moments!)

Here are a few of the moments that surprised us all this week and sent electrical energy through our room.

“You want some aspects of your wedding to be more traditional, like, old and passed down. The ketubah should feel like a contract, I think. The ones that say, ‘valid and binding’ at the end feel more serious. I don’t think think it should end with ‘join hands in peace and love.'”
This middle schooler had assumed he would have his 15th century character’s mom be the rabbi, and an aunt sign the ketubah, but he was astounded to find out that women weren’t allowed!
“You could always have [made your wedding ketubah] egalitarian, but no not many people really did …Now, since more people are doing it, more people think of it as an actual option.”

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