Sara Sandmel

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Quick Community Challenge

Anafim was waiting for a few members to arrive at כיבוד (kibbud – snack) and needed something to do. I asked whether they’d ever done the counting challenge. The goal: as a group, count, in order, without having two people go at once. Some of them had, and were excited to see how we did. There …

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What Does a Sh’mitah Year Look Like?

Anafi’ms ideas range from “The community garden is overgrown with wild plants going crazy because there is no one to tend it, because it’s שְׁמִיטָה (Sh’mitah)” to “Poor people don’t have to work as hard to get food now…it’s more peaceful [the streets] because people aren’t asking for food.”        By the end of the week, …

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Real-Life Sh’mitah

What’s it like to work on a real-life Jewish farm, here in the US, that is following Sh’mitah? Anafim can tell you! On יום שני (yom sheini – Monday) Anafim Skyped with Matt, a farmer and educator and Leichtag Ranch in California. Anafim asked questions about what the farm grows, what it FEEL like to be …

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Imagining a Perfect World

Anafim never ceases to surprise me! This Sunday, in an effort to re-frame our exploration of שמיטה (Sh’mitah) to be more community focused–rather than an individual experience of rest–I gave each 3rd and 4th grader a large piece of paper, one marker, and 20 minutes to design their ideal town or village. Where would people …

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Seeing our Growth

Today, I had the following conversation at the end of the day with one Anafimer (3rd-4th grader). She’s one of our two Anafimers who, back in November, decided they wanted to learn to chant Torah. I said, “wow, you guys worked SUPER hard today–you each learned a whole pasuk (sentence) AND we did a bunch of review”. …

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Sh’mitah and Shabbat

As a staff, we weren’t sure whether the concept that שמיטה (Sh’mitah) , the periodic 7 year rest for the land, is parallel to שבת (Shabbat  – Sabbath). We didn’t know how our children had experienced Shabbat beyond lighting candels and singing special songs, so we weren’t sure the comparison would be helpful.   This week, without my …

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We started a new theme today! All Anafim learned about our new theme, שמיטה (Sh’mitah), were the following facts: שמיטה (Sh’mitah) happens every 7 years. שמיטה (Sh’mitah) means release.  During the שמיטה (Sh’mitah) year, all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden in the land of Israel. שמיטה (Sh’mitah) laws regarding the land apply only in the land …

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Matzah Celebration

    After 10 weeks of serious investigation of the Exodus story, our final week of preparation for Pesach was a little more lighthearted. Anafim (Branches, 3rd and 4th grade) spent last week cooking! We learned about how the Jews of Cochin, India celebrated–cleaning for months and then making matzah together as a community. On …

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Jewish Enrichment Center Camp: Matza Madness!

Five full days in a row at the Jewish Enrichment Center always leads to something new and special, and this past week was no different. Each day this past week was centered around one of the four names of passover: חג המצות (Chag haMatzot- Matzah Holiday) , חג האביב(Chag Heaviv – Spring Holiday) , זמן חרותינו, (Zeman Cheruteinu – Time …

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Working Together: Anafim Saturday

This Saturday, Anafim got together for another one of our special evenings. Tonight ended up being all about team work.   FIRST the children were challenged to complete a no-bake blintz recipe, in complete SILENCE. To add to the challenge, they had to put the steps in order before they could start cooking. THEN they …

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