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February 11, 2024

We had a great time in Gan this week. We began the morning with an extended Tefillah service, with the World Wide Wrap. Thank you to the Temple Israel Men’s Club for the delicious breakfast. We then returned to the classroom for our lesson on the mitzvah of “Hachnasat Orchim” or “Welcoming Guests”.  After watching a fun BimBam video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LA35K09hK4), we read the book, “Sarah Laughs” by Jacquline Jules. We discussed how both Abraham and Sarah welcomed guests into their tent and how. We then watched the clip “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast and discussed how they accomplished the mitzvah. We concluded the morning by making welcome signs for our classroom and practiced writing “Gan” in Hebrew.

February 4, 2024

Students learned about a tallit, why we wear it, how we put it on, the meaning behind the tzitzit and so much more. They also learned the letter “tet” which is the first letter in the word Tallit. It was a great morning with Morah Devorah, who was the sub for the morning.

January 28, 2024

We had a great time in Gan this week, continuing our lesson on Tu B’Shevat and the important of trees in our life. We had a lot of fun watching the movie “The Lorax” in our PJs and stuffies. Following the movie, we discussed the importance of trees and why we need to take care of them and the world. Finally, we ended our lesson with reviewing the Hebrew letter “Ayin” for “Tree” or עֵץ.

January 21, 2024

We had a great time in Gan this learning all about Tu B’Shevat or the Birthday of the Trees! Following Tefillah we returned to the classroom where we reviewed our previous lesson on Shabbat and Jewish objects. We then worked on our Hebrew worksheets reviewing the Hebrew Letter Kaf for כיפה or Kippah. We then turned our fun to Tu B’Shevat and started with the book, “Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat”. Then they made cards for the trees, hung them on the tree, hugged the trees and then danced around singing Yom Huledet Sameach! Before heading back in, the students gathered small sticks and leaves. We looked at pictures of trees in each of the four seasons, and then went to the table to create our own tree incorporating the items found outside. Finally, we ended our lesson with introducing the Hebrew letter “Ayin” for “Tree” or עֵץ.

 

Since the students have been doing such an incredible job, I wanted to reward them next week with a PJ & Movie Lesson. We will continue our conversation on Tu B’Shevat, and the importance of trees and nature in Judaism, by watching the movie, “The Lorax”. I encourage each child to come to school in their PJs and bring a stuffie.

January 7, 2024

We had a great time in Gan this week. Following Shira/Tefillah we returned to the classroom where we began our lesson on Shabbat and Jewish ritual objects and prayers. We started with the book, “Sammy Spider’s First Shabbat” and discussed what are some of the symbols of Shabbat and how we celebrate Shabbat at home with our family? We then practiced the various Shabbat blessings, including lighting the candles, saying Kiddush, washing our hands and saying the Hamotzi. After a short recess break, we returned to the classroom to discuss the ritual object of a “kippah”. We learned that “kippah” means “dome” and how there are lots of different kinds of kippot. Each student then had the opportunity to paint their own new kippah to wear at TIRS. We then headed over to the Temple and introduced the students to three basic Jewish symbols: Magen David (Jewish Star), Menorah, and Ten Commandments. The students were divided into 2 teams and had to work together to find three examples of each symbol around the Chapel. Finally, we headed back to TIRS, and ended the day with our weekly Hebrew lesson. This week, we introduced the Hebrew letter “kaf” and discussed how the word “kippah” begins with the Hebrew letter, kaf. 

December 10

Today was all about Chanukah. We talked about Chanukah, read a story about the holiday and had the chance to make our own Chanukah Menorah. The treat for the day were sufganiyot –donuts. The class loved these!

During Shira/Tefillah, we sang the candle blessings and had a great time singing Chanukah songs. 

December 3, 2023

For this week in Gan, we held our Family Education, learning all about the prayer Shema. We learned about what the Shema means and why it is an important prayer. We were joined by Rabbi Kornsgold to learn how to sing the Shema and V’havta with the sign-language and the meaning behind each movement. We read the book, “The Bedtime Shema” and talked about our routines before bedtime and how we are supposed to say the Shema before going to bed. We also learned our new Hebrew letter, “Shin”. As a family, each child decorated their special Shema pillowcase. I hope you enjoyed this special lesson and encourage your children to use their pillowcase and say the Shema together at bedtime and when they wake up in the morning.

 

November 12

We had a great time in Gan this week. Following Tefillah we had a fun visit to the Chanukah Boutique. We then returned to the classroom where we began our lesson on Abraham. We started with the book, “Abraham’s Search for God” and discussed how we think and talk about God. We also discussed about some of the wonders in the world. Each child then drew an image of a wonder and shared their picture with the class. After a short recess break, we discussed how God promised to make Abraham and his descendants a blessing. We thought about “I am a blessing when I…” and “I am a blessing because I…”. Finally, we ended the day with our weekly Hebrew lesson. This week, we introduced the Hebrew letter “Yud” and discussed one way to write God in Hebrew is “יהוה”. Students then grabbed their binders and worked  on their “Yud” worksheets.

November 5

We reviewed the story of Noah and then moved on to the Tower of Babel. We talked about communicating in different languages. I asked the students to name all the languages they have heard of.  Then, we read The Tower and discussed the story.  Next, the students went to the playground and worked together to build a tower without talking - it was not easy, but they did a great job!! Great teamwork!

After, the class met Rabbi Kornsgold in the chapel. She showed us the Torah. Each student had the chance to see inside the Torah, Students saw the Hebrew letters, learned that they should not touch the parchment with their hands and learned about the Torahs "clothing". 
When we returned to the classroom, the students drew pictures of the Tower of Babel.

At the end of the morning, we talked (or babbled) using nonsense words. We tried to figure out what each person was saying. They really enjoyed this!

It was another great morning!

 

October 29

We had a wonderful class in Gan. We started our lesson on the story of Noah and the Ark. We read the book, “This is the Ark that Noah Built” by Shirley Neitzel. We learned that God commanded Noah to build the ark 300 cubits long (a cubit is 18ft). We then investigated how long a cubit is and went around measuring the classroom and building. Then we explored what it would take to make the ark float by guessing which items in the classroom would float or sink. Then we had fun creating our own boats and seeing how many coins each one could hold before sinking. Next we talked about how Noah was commanded to take care of all the creatures of the world. We drew our own ark with different floors, and each student got to decide where Noah’s family would sleep and which animals would go where. Finally, we had our weekly Hebrew lesson, learning about the letter Nun for Noah. We practiced writing the letter and learning about words that begin with the letter Noah.

October 22, 2023

We had a wonderful class in Gan. We welcomed our new madricha Maia! We started our lesson on the story of Adam & Eve, but also about Adam’s responsibility to name all the animals on the Earth. We read the book, “Adam’s Animals” by Barry L. Schwartz. We then drew our own never before seen animals and had the opportunity to name them. After spending a few minutes outside, running our sillies out, we turned our conversation to the important task that Adam & Eve were given to take care of the Earth. We walked to the Shalom Park Garden and marveled at the various different vegetables, herbs and fruits growing. We imagined what the Garden of Eden must have looked like compared to our own gardens. We then walked back to the school where we painted bird feeders to help take care of the birds in our own yards. Finally, we had our weekly Hebrew lesson, learning about the letter Bet. We practiced writing the letter and learning about words that begin with the letter Bet. 

October 15, 2023

We had a wonderful class in Gan. The kids began their morning learning our “Bo Bo Bo Boker Tov” song, as we learned each other’s names. We then started our lesson on the story of Creation. We read the book, “And There Was Evening, And There Was Morning”. We then played a fun charades game acting out each day of Creation, experiencing each day of creation with their entire bodies. After spending a few minutes outside, running our sillies out, we headed over to the synagogue to explore our sanctuary. We sat in various seats and wondered what it feels like to sit here and who typically sits here. We explored the various books and discussed what is in each book and why are they important. Lastly, we looked at the stain glass windows and pointed out different objects we recognized. We even found the story of creation! Finally, we returned to the classroom and began our weekly Hebrew lesson, learning about the letter Aleph. We practiced writing the letter and learning about words that begin with the letter Aleph. 

 

May 7, 2023

We had so much fun in Gan this week! After starting our morning with t'fillah and school pictures, we began our lesson on the Jewish holiday begin celebrated this week, Lag B'Omer. We read the book, "Sadie's Lag B'Omer Mystery" by Jamie Korngold. We talked about how children would dress up as hunters, wearing bows and arrows, when heading out into the woods to study Judaism, during a time it was forbidden by the Roman rulers. To celebrate Lag B'Omer, we headed out to the JCC Camp Mindy Archery field, where Camp Director Mark DiDonato, assisted each child in a fun archery lesson. Following our archery outing, the class headed back to the Temple sanctuary where we rehearsed with Cantor Lissek for our class Shabbat this Friday. We can't wait to show everyone all the songs and prayers we know!

April 30, 2023

This week in Gan we learned all about mitzvot and especially Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming Guests). We first began our morning practicing our prayers and songs that we can't wait to sing at our Gan Shabbat on Friday, May 12th. We sound awesome! We then read the book, "It's a...It's a...It's a Mitzvah!" and talked about all the types of mitzvot we perform every day. We then watched a fun video from BimBam on Hachnasat Orchim. We then talked about how Abraham and Sarah practiced welcoming guests in the dessert and read the book, "Sarah Laughs" by Jacquline Jules. We discussed the ways of practicing this mitzvah and how it makes people feel. We then watched "Be Our Guest" from the movie "Beauty and the Beast" and talked about the ways the characters in the castle offer Belle hospitality. Finally, we paired up the kids and had them practice acting out this mitzvah. After a short recess, we came back to the classroom for our Hebrew lesson. This week the students learned the Hebrew letter "kuf" for “Kayitz” קיץ which means “Summer”. Students then took some time to work in their Hebrew binders.

April 23, 2023

This week in Gan we learned all about the State of Israel and Yom Ha'atzmaut. We ate special snacks from Israel, while reading "Sammy Spider's First Trip to Israel". We then looked at maps of the world to figure out where Israel is located compared to where we live and the size of Israel. We also talked about how we would get to Israel to visit. We also talked about the different locations in Israel, to get a feel for the variety of landscapes. We had a great conversation about where the water is and how Israel found a way to "make the dessert bloom". The class then discussed Israel as the "Jewish Homeland", as well as the difference between a "house" vs. a "home". Then in small groups the kids worked on filling an outline of a house on poster board, with words and pictures they think of when they think about a "home". We then moved on to talking about Yom Ha'atzmaut or Israel's Birthday, which was celebrated this past Tuesday night and Wednesday. We talked about the Israeli flag and how it compares with a traditional blue striped tallit and the Star of David as a Jewish symbol in the center of the flag. Each student then painted their own Israeli flag. We ended the day by parading around the school building with Israeli flags singing "Am Israel Chai"!

March 26, 2023

In class we read the book “More than Enough” by April Halprin Wayland. The book repeatedly says “Dayenu”- “it would have been enough.” Students were asked to think about some experiences and gifts which they are thankful for and the class responded, Dayenu!  For the past two weeks we have focused on the first and second of the Ma Nishtanah, this week we focused on the 3rd and 4th questions. Then the class talked about the order of the seder and did an art project related to this. In Hebrew, we reviewed the following letters: Shin, Samech, Lamed, Daled, Tav, Aleph, Nun, Bet, Yud, Chet, Mem, Tet, Vav, Pey (for Pesach), and introduced the letter Hey (for Haggadah), which means “telling”. It was a wonderful morning of learning

March 19, 2023

This week in Gan we continued our learning of Passover. We began our lesson learning about Elijah and Miriam's Cups. We looked at examples of both cups and noticed what made them similar and different. We talked about how we fill Elijah's cup with wine or grape juice, and we open the door for Elijah in the second half of the Seder. We then read the book "Welcoming Elijah" by Leslea Newman. With Miriam's cup, we talked about how we fill Miriam's cup with water to remember how she raised the Israelites' spirit with dancing as they crossed the Red Sea. We then sang and danced throughout the building with a Miriam timbrel. Each child then decorated an Elijah or Miriam's Cup to use during their Seder. Next, we began learning about the second of the Four Questions, about why we eat maror, or the bitter herb. We also practiced singing the Ma Nishtanah. We even had a smelling and tasting of maror to understand the bitter experience of Pesach. Finally, we ended the day with a fun SEDER BINGO game, to review all the symbols of Pesach.

March 12, 2023

This week in Gan we started our morning with Shira (music) with Alex. We practiced many of the songs and prayers we plan to lead during our class Shabbat in May. We then began our learning of Passover. Over the next several weeks, our class will learn the 4 Questions or the Ma Nishtanah. Today we began with eating matzah on Passover. We read, "Sammy Spider's First Passover" and talked about some of our family's Passover traditions. We then discussed why we eat Matzah on Passover. We played a matzah vs. chametz game and even had a matzah tasting party. We then talked all about Shehecheyanu moments in our life and why we say this important prayer on the first night of Passover. Finally, we ended our morning with a Hebrew lesson. We reviewed all the Hebrew letters we had previously learned, as well as learned a new Hebrew letter- Pey for Pesach. The kids then spent some time practicing writing the new letters in their Hebrew binders.

February 26, 2023

This week in Gan we started our morning reviewing what we had learned about a B'nai Mitzvah and tallitot. We then began our fun lesson on the Jewish holiday of Purim. We read, "Sammy Spider's First Purim". We then talked about the main characters in the Purim story, as well as some of the traditions of Purim, such as dressing up, eating hamantaschen and telling the story of Esther. We then drew pictures of what we wanted to dress up as for Purim and shared them with the class (I have encouraged all the kids to come dressed up this coming Sunday)! Next, we made groggers to shake on Purim. Finally, we ended our morning with a Hebrew lesson. We reviewed all the Hebrew letters we had previously learned, as well as learned two new letters- Vav for Vashti and Tet for Tallit. The kids then spent some time practicing writing the new letters in their Hebrew binders.

February 12, 2023

This week in Gan we began our morning with tefillah and then music with Moreh Alex. We began practicing some of the prayers and songs we will lead during our Class Shabbat. We then learned about B'nai Mitzvot and the special gift we receive on our Bar/Bat Mitzvah- a tallit.  We looked at many different types of tallitot and talked about what made them similar and different. We practiced putting on a tallit and saying the blessing. We also had a special visit from Rabbi Kornsgold, who taught us about the tzitzit which are tied at the four corners of a tallit and the significance of their knots and wraps. Finally, we each drew what we wanted our own unique tallit to look like. Next week we will have fun learning all about Purim.

February 5, 2023

This week in Gan we started our morning reviewing the Hebrew word "Kippah" and then learned about the Hebrew letter "Kaf" for כיפה. The students then worked in their binders practicing writing the letter "kaf" and exploring its use. We then began our lesson on the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, or the Birthday of the Trees. We read "Sammy Spider's First Tu B'Shevat" and explored different types of trees and their importance in the world. We then created our own unique trees and shared them with the class. Finally, we went outside, and each child chose a tree to throw it a birthday party. So much fun!

January 29, 2023

This week in Gan we explored many different Jewish symbols. First, we read "Sammy Spider's First Shabbat." We then went through the practice of lighting the Shabbat candles, saying the Kiddush, ritually washing our hands, and then saying the blessing over the Challah. We even learned how to braid. With each of these rituals and objects we talked about the different traditions Jewish people have and why.

We then continued our lesson by heading over to Temple Israel’s chapel for a scavenger hunt to find three common sanctuary symbols- Magen David (Star of David), Menorah, and the Ten Commandments. Each child was given a worksheet and pencil to count all the ones they could find and draw a picture of each symbol.

We then returned to the classroom for our final lesson on kippot. We talked about what does the word "kippah" mean in English ("dome") and what are features of a kippah. What can it be made of? After looking at different examples, each child was given a white kippah for them to personalize and decorate. I encourage each of your children to wear their personal kippah, or any other kippah they choose, each week to TIRS! Jewish people wear a kippah to remind us of the Divine Presence above our heads.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

This week in Gan we continued our lesson on Mitzvot and being good mensch. After reading the book, "Mitzvah Pizza" we made Mitzvah thank you cards, which were given to our friends in the classroom. At the end of the day, each child gave their card to another student and thanked them for doing something nice and kind.  We then moved our lesson into learning about Mezuzahs. After reading "The Shema in the Mezuzah", we went on a mezuzah hunt around the school and Temple. We looked at all the different types of mezuzahs, but also discussed what made them alike (the Shema, the letter Shin, how they are positioned at an angle). We ended the day with reviewing our Hebrew letters and learning the letter Mem for Mitzvah and Mezuzah.

January 8, 2023

We had a wonderful week back in Gan. This week we learned about the four different Jewish food blessings, and worked in small groups to decide which foods went with each blessing. We then played a fun game of 4 corners as we practiced remembering what we learned about the blessings. We then began our next unit on learning about Mitzvot and being a mensch. After reading a book on different mitzvot, we talked about what mitzvot we had done recently. Each child then drew a picture of themselves doing a mitzvah, to be added to our Gan Class Mensch Book. We ended the day with reviewing our Hebrew letters and learning the letter Mem for Mitzvah. We also learned the song Od Yavo Shalom during music class.

December 11, 2022

For this week in Gan, we held our Family Education program, learning all about the prayer Shema. We learned about what the Shema means and why it is an important prayer. We were joined by Rabbi Kornsgold to learn how to sing the Shema and V’ahavta with the sign-language and the meaning behind each movement. We read the book, “The Bedtime Shema” and talked about our routines before bedtime and how we are supposed to say the Shema before going to bed. As a family, each child decorated their special Shema pillowcase. Parents were encouraged to help their children draw pictures or add comforting words. I hope you enjoyed this special lesson, and encourage your children to use their pillowcase and say the Shema together at bedtime. Thank you for joining us for this special program.

December 4, 2022

This week the Gan class learned about Chanukah! We read about Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah and then had the chance to examine different Chanukiyot. Afterwards, the students created their own Chanukiyah to light during Chanukah. Before creating the Chanukiyah they learned about the shamash, the helper candle, and where it needs to go on the Chanukiyah (it has to be taller than all the other candles). Next, students learned the 4 letters on the dreidel and the words which they stand for, Nes, Gadol, Haya, Sham – a great miracle happened there. We ended class with Hebrew, and learned the letter for Chanukah, the letter chet.  In addition to all of this, the class also had the chance to shop at the Chanukah boutique, and one of the students in the Gan class won a  raffle prize. It was a very exciting and fun-filled day! Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday at our Family Education Program.

November 20, 2022

Today’s topic was Abraham. We talked about who Abraham was in the Bible, the wonders he witnessed and how he talked to God.  Then we read the book Abraham’s Search for God. In the Book of Bereishit, God tells Abram he will be a blessing. The class discussed what it means to be a blessing, what Abram and Sari packed for their journey and how they might have felt leaving their homeland. It was a great discussion! In Hebrew, we learned the letter yud, the first letter in the name of God (yud, hey, vav, hey), even though we do not know how to pronounce this name.

November 13, 2022

This past week the Gan class learned all about the story of the Tower of Babel. We first read “The Tower of Babel by A.S. Gadot. We learned about how God became upset when the people tried to build a tower to the sky to rule Heaven. God taught the people a lesson about being humble, by making everyone speak different languages. The students then went outside to build their tower; first they worked together in English, then in silence, and then in babbling languages. We discussed how it was difficult to build a tower when no one could understand what you are saying. We then came back in and paired up. The students were given a fun prompt to act out in front of their classmates by only babbling. The class had to then guess what they thought the skit was about.  Next, we journeyed over to the Temple, to learn all about the sanctuary and how the beautiful stained-glass windows tell the story of the Torah. We had fun spotting different images in the glass that we recognized from our Bible stories. Finally, we learned a new Hebrew letter, “Bet” for “Babel”, and worked in our Hebrew binders.

November 6, 2022

This past week the Gan class learned all about the story of Noah. We first read “This is the Ark that Noah Built”. We first learned how the Ark was 300 cubits long and that 1 cubit = 18 feet. The students then paired up and were given a string one cubit long to measure around the school. We then talked about how the Ark needed to float or be buoyant, and tested different items in the classroom to see if they would float or sink. Then each student created their own boat made of foil and tested how well they floated by carefully adding coins one-at-a-time until it sunk. Next, we learned how Noah’s Ark had three levels. As a class we decided which animals would go on each level and why, as well as which level Noah and his family lived on. Finally, we learned a new Hebrew letter, “Nun” for “Noah”, and worked in our Hebrew binders.

October, 30, 2022

This past week the Gan class learned all about the story of Adam & Eve. We first read “Adam’s Animals” and how God commanded Adam to name all the animals. We then created our own unique animals out of play dough and named them. Next, we headed over to the Shalom Green Garden where we learned how God commanded Adam & Eve, to take care of the garden and Earth. We were given a special tour of the Shalom Green Garden and learned how plants grow into fruits, vegetables, and flowers from single seeds. We then each made a “Ball of Energy”, or a seed pocket wrapped in clay. The kids got to take these home to grow their own wildflowers and care for their garden. Finally, we took some time to work in our Hebrew binders and review all the Hebrew letters we had been working on this year- Aleph, Dalet, Lamed, Samech, Shin and Tav.

Tue, February 20 2024 11 Adar I 5784