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May 7, 2023

The Bet students were introduced to the Hebrew letter Ayin and the vowels that make the “AY” sound in Hebrew. They read lines of Hebrew aloud as a class and completed a Hebrew writing activity. Having learned that Israel is the Jewish homeland last week, we watched a video about the geography of Israel and then filled in maps of Israel with major cities and bodies of water. I will miss the last day of school to attend a wedding, so we marked the end of the year by watching a video of our time together in the Bet Class. The video included photos of our Passover seder, Purim carnival, time reading Hebrew with friends, and learning about the synagogue. We also reviewed questions about everything we learned this year including our units on the synagogue, how we dress to pray, the Torah, and the Ten Commandments. It has been a wonderful year in the Bet Class!

April 30, 2023

The Bet students learned to read with Hebrew letter Tet. They read in small groups and completed a packet where they wrote Hebrew words with the letter tet and completed a word search with Hebrew letters. The use of reading and writing helps reinforce their recognition and memory of Hebrew letters. In Judaic studies, students focused on the concept of Israel being a homeland for the Jewish people. Students worked in small groups to identify what makes a home, and each group presented their ideas to the class. They also brainstormed what we think of when we say the word land. Then, they combined the two lists to discuss how Israel is a homeland. We also examined where Israel is on the map and geographic features of Israel. In Tefillah, we continued learning Ain Keloheinu and sang the Hatikvah- making sure that students know the words to the Israel’s national anthem.

April 23, 2023

The Bet students learned to read with the Hebrew letter Vav. They practiced reading aloud as a class and then practiced writing Hebrew words with Vav’s. They learned that a Vav with the sh’vah vowel is how we say “and” in Hebrew. In Judaic studies, we learned how there are Jews all around the world and that Jewish people living outside of Israel (our homeland) are said to live in the Diaspora.  We located countries on the globe and then saw pictures of Jewish people and synagogues in different parts of the world. We discussed that Jewish people may look different and speak different languages, but we all share common customs such as lighting the menorah, wearing a tallit, and having a Magen David on the outside of our synagogues. We read excerpts from a book called Shabbat Around the World where we heard short stories about Jewish children celebrating Shabbat in Australia, Southern France, and Thailand. I will be absent next week to attend a family Bar Mitzvah, so I look forward to seeing the students on May 7th.

March 26, 2023

Students learned to read with the Hebrew letter Vet. They practiced writing Hebrew sounds on white boards and read lines of Hebrew aloud. We also read the story of Passover about the exodus from Egypt and had fun using props to act out the ten plagues. We discussed the meaning of the Passover symbols and created beautiful Passover seder plates that the students can use at the seders. Students that finished their seder plates also completed a matching activity worksheet about the symbols.

March 19, 2023

The Bet students learned to read with the tsere and segol vowels, which make the “EH” sound, and practiced reading lines of Hebrew in small groups. In Judaic studies, we continued learning about the Ten Commandments. We explored the ninth commandment (you shall not make up stories about other people) by reading a story called “The Gossip” and the tenth commandment (you shall not envy what belongs to others) by reading a story called “The Peach, The Pitcher, and the Fur Coat”. By discussing the theme and characters in each story, the students saw how gossiping and being jealous of others hurts others. We also discussed how we can turn negative commandments, which focus on telling us what not to do, into positive commandments. Relating to the ninth commandment, the students were each secretly assigned a classmate to write a letter to with true compliments. The letters were sealed in envelopes and will be given out on the last day of religious school this year. Additionally, the students enjoyed singing Jewish songs with Mr. Alex and started learning to sing the prayer Ein Keloheinu. 

March 12, 2023

The Bet Class students are very excited to present their class play and lead parts of the service this Friday, March 17th. The students rehearsed their play as well as prayers from the Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv services. We also reviewed our hand motions for remembering the Ten Commandments and read a story focusing on the fifth commandment, to honor your mother and father. The story pointed out what happens when a girl becomes too absorbed in helping others and performing mitzvot outside of her home that she ends up neglecting her family.

February 26, 2023

The Bet class learned to read with the Hebrew letter Resh. They rotated through stations where they read and wrote Hebrew words. In Judaic studies, the class explored the story of Purim and created a class megillah. Each student illustrated a scene from Megillat Esther, which we will tape together and roll up to create a megillah. The class is also creating a cover for our megillah.

February 12, 2023

Students learned to read with the Hebrew letter “Hey”. They combined the Hey with letters and vowels that they already know and read lots of Hebrew sounds and words. As we wrapped up our unit on Discovering the Synagogue, students played their board games with classmates. A few students brought their games home, but we also kept a few in class so the students can continue playing and reinforcing their knowledge about the synagogue. We began our next unit on the Ten Commandments. Students learned how to count the plagues with finger motions and also created their own Ten Commandment tablets.

The students will perform a short play during their Class Shabbat on March 17th. Each student will have a speaking part. It will be a special evening where the students will lead all of the prayers that they have been learning this year.


February 5, 2023

Students learned to read with the Hebrew letter “Nun” and Nun Sofit” today. Students rotated through three stations where they read lines of Hebrew aloud, wrote Hebrew sounds and words on mini white boards, and read Hebrew flashcards aloud. In Judaic Studies, we celebrated Tu B’Shvat (the birthday of the trees) by experiencing a model seder. Our seder revolved around the four seasons. We ate fruits with a hard exterior (oranges) and discussed how it is important not to judge a book by its cover; we ate fruits with a pit (apricots and nectarines) and discussed items that start small and grow bigger and more important; we ate fruits that can be eaten whole (grapes) and discussed when we feel truly happy; we smelled spices (cinnamon) and discussed how we must appreciate what we cannot see. We also discussed the many things that trees give us and watched a video about story of Honi and the Circle Maker that taught the importance of planting trees and taking care of our environment so it will be here for future generation. We also learned the chorus of the prayer “Lecha Dodi” and practiced singing all of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayers that we will lead at our class Shabbat on March 17th.

January 29, 2023

We visited the chapel to examine the Torah. Each student used the yad (pointer) to find Hebrew letters and was able to feel the parchment and see how a Torah is dressed. We finished off our unit about the synagogue by creating a “Let’s Discover the Synagogue” board game. Students worked on the boards today and will bring home their games that you can play as a family next Sunday. In Hebrew, we learned to read with the Hebrew letter Aleph. We learned that Aleph s silent, so we only need to make the sound of the vowel assigned to the Aleph when we read the Aleph. We learned a new melody for L’chu N’ranina and practiced singing the other prayers that we have learned in preparation of our class Shabbat. Remember- our class Shabbat is on March 17th!

Sunday, January 22, 2023


The Bet class enjoyed music with Alex! They sang Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu and learned a new song with Hebrew and English words about communication. In Judaic studies they learned all about the Torah – including that it is written on parchment by a sofer with a quill and ink, the first and last words (B’reishit and Yisrael), and how we dress the Torah with a cloth cover, crown, rimonim (bells), and a yad (pointer). Each student created their own paper cut out of a Torah and completed fill in the blank activities in their Discovering the Synagogue pamphlets. They also learned to read with the silent vowel and reviewed their Hebrew letters and vowels by playing a game where students faced off against each other reading Hebrew word flashcards.


January 8, 2023

As part of our unit on discovering the synagogue, Rabbi Wolk joined our class to discuss his role as a rabbi at Temple Israel. Each student asked the rabbi questions and then sketched his portrait. Some of the questions were about where he gets ideas for sermons, his favorite and worst part about being a rabbi, if he gets nervous, and how well his job pays. The students also practiced reading lines of Hebrew that reinforce the “EE” sound vowel and practiced singing prayers from the Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Please mark your calendars for our class Shabbat on Friday, March 17th!

December 11, 2022

The Bet students learned to read with the Hebrew letter Dalet and practiced reading and writing with all of the letters and vowels that they have learned. They also explored the stories and customs of Chanukah by watching a video about the Maccabees standing up for their right to practice Judaism, creating a Chanukiyah art project, and reading a story about a boy who made a dreidel with braille letters for his father who is blind. The students learned the blessings for lighting the Chanukiyah and discussed how we are thanking God for the miracles of Chanukah, including the Maccabees’ defeat of King Antiochus’s powerful army and the legend of the jar of oil burning for eight days.

December 4, 2022

The Bet students learned a new vowel- the vowel making the “E” sound. They learned by writing combinations of the letters with the E vowel on mini white boards and reading lines of Hebrew aloud. In our class tefillah, we practiced the prayers from the Kabbalat Shabbat service in preparation for our class Shabbat. In Judaic studies, we reviewed how we dress to pray and the names of items in the sanctuary, and then prepared for our class visit with Rabbi Wolk (in January) by compiling a list of questions for him. The students also had fun shopping at the Chanukah boutique.


November 20,2022

Bet The Bet students learned to read and write with the Hebrew letters Mem and Mem Sofit and continued reinforcing their reading skills with the letters and vowels they have already learned. We had our weekly Tefillah where students lead the class in the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat prayers. In Judaic studies, we continued our unit about exploring the synagogue by learning how we dress to pray. Students learned how the kippah puts us in mindset to learn through a Talmudic tale, learned that the tallit has fringes on four corners that consist of 4 strings knotted in five places, and learned that tefillin, small boxes containing words from the Shema V’ahavta and other Torah passages, are worn on the arm and head since the Torah commands us to “bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead”. A fifth-grade student joined our class and demonstrated how to put on tefiilin. Some of the students also put on tefillin, and we will have them in the class for other students to put on as well.

November 13, 2022

Bet students continued working with the four Hebrew letters and two Hebrew vowels sounds that they are learning. They completed an activity where the teacher called out letter and vowel combinations, and then the students wrote what they heard on individual white boards. They also practiced converting one sound to another sound. The students had fun challenging each other with their own made-up sounds. One student gave the class a seven letter (made-up) word to write, which all the students wrote correctly. This activity was very helpful in assisting some students that were struggling to read the letters and vowels while it also reinforced letter writing and reading with all students. In Tefillah, we sang Hatikvah, learned the prayer “L’chu N’ranina”, and continued practicing other prayers from the Kabbalat Shabbat service. In Judaic studies, the students learned that we face Jerusalem when we pray and then solved riddles and completed fill in the blank questions about what we do in synagogue and the meaningful items in a sanctuary-including the Aron Hakodesh (ark), Bimah, Ner Tamid (eternal light), and Menorahs. We ended the day by playing an around the circle game where each student said why they were going to Temple Israel and used their memories to repeat their classmates’ reasons (who had their turn before them). At this point, the students understand that we pray in a sanctuary or chapel facing Jerusalem and are aware that Torahs are kept in the Aron Hakodesh, the Ner Tamid, (eternal light) hangs over the Aron Hakodesh, and services are lead from the Bimah. Next week, we will learn how we dress to pray!  

November 6,2022

The Bet students practiced reading Hebrew words with the four letters and two vowel sounds that they had already learned. Students read in small groups and then played Tic-Tac-Toe on Hebrew Word boards with a partner. In Tefillah, students practiced prayers from the Kabbalat Shabbat Service including Tzadik Katamar, Romemu, and Yismechu Hashamayim. In Judaic studies, the students reviewed the items inside the sanctuary (including the bimah, Ner Tamid, Aron Hakodesh, and stained-glass windows) and then created their own beautiful stained-glass windows. Some of the students brought their windows home, while others chose to hang their designs on our classroom windows. If you’re on the playground, look up to the right corner on the top floor, and you will see the student’s beautiful stained-glass windows. Some of the themes they chose to depict are Jewish stars, a menorah, rainbows, a dove with an olive branch, a piece of matzah, hearts, and golden retrievers.

October 30, 2022

Last Sunday, the Bet class enjoyed our Family Education program. It was wonderful meeting the student’s families! We learned about the laws and customs of Shabbat, created a zany Shabbat Mad Lib, painted Kiddush cups, and wrote personal Shabbat blessings for our families. We hope that the kiddush cups and booklet can be used to enhance Shabbat in each student’s home.

October 23, 2022

The Bet students learned to read with the Hebrew letter “Lamed” and a new vowel sound, the “OH” sound. The students read lines of Hebrew aloud as a class and also in smaller reading groups. Since it was such a beautiful day outside, we had our class Tefillah in the Temple Israel outdoor amphitheater. We practiced singing the prayers we have already learned from the Friday night service, including Tzadik Katamar, Romemu, and Yismechu Hashamayim. We then visited the Temple Israel chapel and examined the objects in the chapel that make it a meaningful place to pray. We specifically learned that the Torahs are kept in an ark called the “Aron HaKodesh”, an eternal light called the “Ner Tamid” hangs over the ark, beautiful stained-glass windows adorn the walls, and the bimah is used by the leader to conduct services. Each student completed a worksheet where they labeled these and other items found in the chapel.

Next Sunday is our Bet Family Education program. We’ll begin the day with Tefillah in the Temple Israel sanctuary and then move to Gorelick Hall in the Levine Jewish Community Center where we’ll have our program. I look forward to being together as a group!


October 16, 2022

The Bet students learned to read with the Hebrew letter Tav and discovered that they now can read their first Hebrew word - שָׁבַּת – Shabbat. The students practiced reading as a class and also read individually to our madrichot. In Tefillah (prayer), we learned a new prayer from the Friday night service, Yismechu Hashamayim, and continued practicing the prayers that we have previously learned (Romemu and Tzadik Katamar). For Judaic studies, we discussed how we celebrate sukkah as we recall the “booths” that our ancestors lived in for forty years as they traveled from Egypt to the land of Israel. We ate a snack, recited the Shehecheyanu, and shook the lulav and etrog in the Temple Israel sukkah. We also continued our unit on exploring the synagogue by taking a tour of Temple Israel. We visited all the rooms inside Temple Israel, including the sanctuary, chapel, social hall, gift shop, and kitchen-where all the students stepped inside the jumbo refrigerator. Next we will focus on learning about what is inside sanctuaries and chapel, which make them meaningful places to pray.


Sunday, October 9

The Bet students practiced reading and writing with the Bet, Shin, and AH vowels sounds. The students read words with these letter and vowels aloud as a class and individually to the teacher or madricha. The students completed an activity where they took turns telling the class to find a word on a sheet and label the word with a box, circle, cloud, etc. The students had fun coming up with lots of creative directions. Each week in our class Tefillah (prayer), three students are selected to help as the rabbi (leader), pointer, and flag holder, and then we practice Hebrew tefillot (prayers). This week in Tefillah, we practiced singing the Hatikvah, Tzadik Katamar, Shehecheyanu, and Romemu. In Judaic studies, we began our unit on “Discovering the Synagogue” by discussing how the synagogue is a part of the community. We created a community on the white board with a store, post office, park, school, bank, office, museum etc. and then added a photo of Temple Israel to our community. Each student completed the sentence “I’m going to Temple to …….”. Some of their responses were the following: to learn Hebrew, spend time with friends, celebrate holidays, and meet new people. We ended the day by creating paper chains and decorating card board pictures that will be hung in the Temple Israel sukkah.

First day of TIRS is SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11!

Shalom Bet Families,

I enjoyed meeting all of your children and am excited about teaching each of them this year!

In Hebrew, the students learned to read with the letter Shin and two “AH” vowel sounds. The students practiced reading aloud as a class, and each student individually read aloud to our class madrichot, Amia and Amalia. The students also completed two worksheets that reinforce their Shin reading skills and practiced writing Shins. The students are encouraged to practice their Shin Hebrew reading skills with the page they brought home.

In Judaic studies, we discussed how we are celebrating the Jewish new year-Rosh Hashanah for the year 5783, and that our Jewish calendar is based on the Jewish philosopher Maimonides’s interpretation that the world was created in 3761BCE. We made an acronym for the customs of Rosh Hashanah – BLAST which stands for Blasting the shofar, wishing each other a L’Shanah Tovah, eating apples and honey, saying the Shehecheyanu, and Tashlich (the students will learn about Tashlich next Sunday). We learned the Shehecheyanu prayer, and then discussed how Rosh Hashanah is a time to think about what we did well in the previous year, what we are sorry about, and how we can do better in the upcoming year. Each student wrote their own personal Rosh Hashanah reflections. 

We will be learning to read new letters and vowels sounds every Sunday, so it is very important to have strong attendance in the Bet class. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson. Today, we read very short words with only the Shin, but next week, we will learn a second letter, Bet, and then read words with Bet and Shin. As you can see, the curriculum reinforces lessons already learned while introducing new material, so regular attendance is key to developing strong Hebrew reading skills!

If you ever have any questions, please contact me at

Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784