BIG IDEAS

Welcome to our Big Ideas page, where you’ll find fresh and thought-provoking perspectives on Jewish children’s learning. Listen to children’s honest efforts to be compassionate, connected, courageous Jewish humans. Peer over educators’ shoulders as they partner with children in their efforts. Dive deep into Rabbi Rebecca’s writings for a profound, inspiring look into the complex, multifaceted world of Jewish children’s learning.

  • A four-year-old solemnly lights a Chanukah candle as nursery and older children look intently on.

    At the IJE, we have a tradition of asking our youngest children to light our chanukiyah. While an adult watches, our Shorashim u'Shteelim kids ("roots" and "saplings" for our nursery and kindergarteners) hold the shamash (the "helper" candle that lights the others on the chanukiyah), participate in reciting the Chanukah blessings, and independently light each of the other candles. Many, including some of our older children, ask, "Is that really responsible? Can a four-year-old be in charge of fire?" The  [ MORE ]

  • Another wonderful bunch of Special Days! Continuing our Special Day theme for the year of exploring Jewish communities around the world, this Monday and Tuesday we took a trip to India and got to know some of the various aspects of Jewish Indian culture. Children in the 1st-5th grade group took a look at the map and learned about where the three main Jewish communities in India are located. We learned about how Jews in India borrow a lot of  [ MORE ]

  • In שׁוֹרָשִׁים (Shorashim– ‘roots’ for nursery) and שְׁתִּילִים (Shteelim– ‘saplings’ for kindergarten) it is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of our רִבְקָה (Rivkah-Rebecca) theme! As we start to work on our theme project, children are finding more ways to engage with our תּוֹרָה (Torah). This week we brought out materials for making character puppets. Children thought about what part of the story their puppet of a character comes from, and made the character's feelings visible, on the face of  [ MORE ]

  • Hey! Did you know that when local schools are out, we get to explore, create, imagine ALL. DAY. LONG.? Special Days are our super awesome full days of Jewish Enrichment when local schools are out. We do AMAZING projects, spend time outside, bake, and so much more! This year, our Special Days take us to Jewish communities around the world. At the beginning of November, we spent three days exploring the Jewish community of Morocco. What fabulous, fun days! Here's  [ MORE ]

  • SO beautiful! What a special item made by our nursery and kindergarten children. Listening to the children, we heard their fascination with the items that show how special the Torah is: silver and gold, bells, crowns, lace. Every part of the Torah curtain's design was guided by children's voices and children's choices. "We should make a tree!" Children headed outside to look at trees and determine the shape they wanted. "It should have roots, because we're shorashim (roots)." "We need  [ MORE ]

  • From Moreh Ezra Kiers: In Anafim v'Alonim (“Branches and Oak Trees” for children in 3rd-5th grades), we've been diving deep into our fall Torah theme, Rivkah. The children have read and explored texts from Breishit כ׳׳ד, Breishit כ׳׳ה, and Breishit כ׳׳ז (Genesis 24, Genesis 25, and Genesis 27).  Children have begun to develop their skills working with clay as a modality to explore their ideas about the text. They're working together to brainstorm big questions... ... and getting ready to start working on their  [ MORE ]

  • In Nitzanim ("Buds" for 1st-2nd grades) last week we got to try out a new yetzirah (art/creativity) material: watercolor crayons! They can be drawn with like crayons, but when water is added they start acting like watercolors. We started by showing the children a few techniques they could do: draw on the paper and then add water with a brush, put water on the paper with a brush and then draw on it, press harder or lighter with the crayon,  [ MORE ]

  • In שׁוֹרָשִׁים (Shorashim– ‘roots’ for nursery) and שְׁתִּילִים (Shteelim– ‘saplings’ for kindergarten) we had an exciting opportunity to spend a week exploring, "what is תּוֹרָה (Torah)?" as we started our תּוֹרָה (Torah) theme for the year רִבְקָה (Rivkah). This year, many of the children were new and while many had seen a תּוֹרָה (Torah) before, few had ever looked inside. Here are some of the ways we explored torah this week: We visited locations around the building where a תּוֹרָה (Torah) can be found, and children  [ MORE ]

  • This week, children of all ages have been celebrating Sukkot at the Jewish Enrichment Center! In Nitzanim ("Buds" for 1st-2nd grade), we've been working on our Sukkot Ivrit (Hebrew) vocabularly: Explored the lulav and etrog ("what does it smell like?"): Baked special treats for the community to share in the sukkah: And even used dried lulavim from last year's Sukkot to paint! And of course, we've so enjoyed getting to sing and celebrate as a whole community in the sukkah!

  • At this time of the year, the Jewish Enrichment Center is celebrating Sukkot together! In Anafim v'Alonim (“Branches and Oak Trees” for children in 3rd-5th grades), we're working on building our own sukkah -- a sukkat shalom (shelter of peace). Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing: What is a shelter of peace? What brings us shalom (peace)? What can we do to help bring shalom to our community?  This week, we got to practice enacting our community agreement... Children  [ MORE ]

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