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09 Sep

It is only the second week of school and the children are all quite comfortable with their new surroundings! We were very lucky to have some special guests come talk to us this week. Orly and Michal’s Saba came to tell us about where he was from in Israel. He shared some maps and photos with us and even brought in a coloring page of the symbol if Israel! Today Raba Sabba!
We also had another special guest named Gilah Benson-Tilson. If that sounds familiar to any of you it should! Gilah is Morah Miriam’s daughter and an Ezra alum who came to share her artistic ability and hebrew vocabulary. She taught us how to make trees, with leaves and flowers and taught us some hebrew vocabulary to go along with the lesson.
tree – etz
leaf – ale
apple – ta-pu-ach
honey – d’vash
This week during Tefillah the children continued with the Modeh Ani,  Ma Tovu, and Shemah. We added the Barchu, which is a tefillah that begins the shacharit service. It is a way to call everyone to prayer. Children are also clapping along to the words of Hallelujah. They learned that there are many different musical instruments talked about in this tefillah. See if they can name a few for you! Brachot for the Birka Hashchar are slowly being added in. This week the children learned the first …
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam asher natan la-sech-vi vina l’hav-chin beyn yom u-veyn laila. 
and last …Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam matir asurim.
 Tefillah is ended with an energetic version of Oseh Shalom. 
In Circle time we are continuing to learn about the calendar. (Days of the week, months of the year, date, and weather in Hebrew and English).  We sing songs, count numbers, make graphs, and use movement to help reinforce these skills. 
Monday Morning’s circle is also a time for the Parshah. Last week the children learned about parsha, Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17).  Some of the major concepts were discussed, and we sang songs, completed puzzles, watched a “godcast”, and read books regarding the concepts of Kashrut, Tzedaka, and the 3 Pilgrimage festivals.  We opened the Torah scroll on Monday and Thursday, and showed the children where our Parsha is located.  We are imparting proper practice with a Torah scroll — special care and attention.   We counted out Monopoly money and chose 1/10 of each person’s income — whether rich or poor — for Tzedaka (Ma’aser, or 1/10).  We tied in our fish project and kashrut — as we read the books “Fins and Scales” and “Joseph and the Sabbat Fish”.  I shared my daughter Tova’s extensive Piggy collection with the children, including 2 Piggy Banks which linked the concepts of Kashrut and Tzedaka.  😄😄
This week’s Parsha is, parshat Shoftim meaning “judges” Deuteronomy 16,18-21,9 . We have many rules, including “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof” — Justice Justice you shall pursue.  We played a game similar to Duck Duck Goose — with Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.  Even Dr. Waynik got in on the fun!We also explored the phrase “Lo Tashchit Et Haetzah”  — the rule prohibiting the wanton destruction of trees, even in times of war.  We read books about trees, recycling and pollution — as this rule is the basis for Jewish environmentalism and conservation.  We had an art project lead by Gilah Benson-Tilsen, an Ezra Alumna — 2005, which you can view on our hallway bulletin board.  
The children are continuing to be exposed to a great deal of Hebrew vocabulary. In addition to our Ha Mishpacha Sheli words…
Family – Mishpacha; Father – Abba; Mother – Ima; Brother – Ach; Sister – Achot; House – Ba’it…
body words; Head – Rosh; Hands – Yadiam; Legs – Raglan; Shoulders – Ketafayim; Stomach – Beten, 
Children have learned about the colors; Red – Adom; blue – cachol; green; yarok; yellow- tsahov; orange – katom; pink-varod; purple-sagul
The children in both grades are continuing their Hebrew programs. Each grade level has a workbook to refer to. Kindergarten children are learning about the Alef Bet letters and the sounds they make. First graders are learning to read and write with the Tal-Am series. There is a great deal of repetition through the use of big books, songs, and workbooks. 
Children are continuing to practice how to properly hold and use their writing utensils through the Zaner- Blozner Handwriting program. They are reminded of the vocabulary that we use when writing as well. (vertical, horizontal, forward circle, backward circle, and slant lines.) We are really focusing on how to properly use the lines on paper. “Tall letters” go from the top line to the base line, “short letters” begin at the mid-line and bump the base line, while “tail letters” begin at the mid-line and go below the base line.
While using this program Kindergarten students are also developing their letter/sound recognition, (Phonics), as well as proper formation of the letters. Last week they learned about the short and long vowel sounds for /a/ and /e/. This week we moved on to /i/, /o/, and /u/.  
With the approach of Ha Mishpacha Sheli we have been talking a great deal about family. The concept son respecting your elders was tied in by reading a great story called Go Give Grandma a Kiss “We live in a world where lots of people think new is good and old is bad.” The story talks about how when some people get older they aren’t looked at as important or special. We are teaching the children that it is always important to show your loved ones that they are loved and a great way to do this is to give them hugs and kisses!
Another story the children heard was,Don’t talk to your Mother or Father Like That. The story talked about respecting your parents, and that they way we speak to our parents can be disrespectful by using the wrong tone of voice. If we, as people, are disrespectful to others it is as if we are disrespecting God as well. 
We are continuing to focus a great deal of our time on school expectations, classroom routine, how to treat others. They are responding well to the Behavior Chart, and are becoming familiar with the new vocabulary. 
We began the Open Circle program by learning how to get in and out of an Open Circle. Children are asked to sit on a letter of the carpet leaving a space opened for a guest should we have one. We then discussed the important rules for Open Circle (and other circle times as well)
1. raise your hands – The children were asked why this is such an important rule. They were able to express that if everyone speaks at the same time we will not be able to hear each other. 
2. Listen to others – Again, children were asked why this was important and they shared that is is so we can hear what others have to say and maybe even learn something from each other. 
After the rules we did a “Getting to Know You Activity” . We spoke about working with one and other and and in order to do that well we needed to make sure we knew everyone’s names and how to pronounce them properly. Morah Beth tried to show off, by reciting the children’s first and last names. Morah Miriam had to one up her by doing the last names first and first name last!
The skills that we have been working on in class are also skills that can be practiced at home. We encourage you to help your children master these necessary skills by working them into your home routines as well. 
We ended our week with a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat, where we sang songs, Lit the candles , made kiddish, and ate challah. The class has been introduced to the brachot that go along with these and will hopefully be able to share them with you at home. 

As the sun sets and Shabbat begins, the candles are lit and these words are recited:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָי אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vitzivanu

l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.

Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the unvierse,
who sanctified us with the commandment
of lighting Shabbat candles.


The person or people saying kiddush raises the cup and recites:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָי אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri hagafen


Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the unvierse,
Who creates the fruit of the vine.

This prayer is traditionally recited over two loaves of bread or challah:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָי אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם
לֶחם מן

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
hamotzee lehem min ha’aretz

.Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the universe,

Who creates bread from the earth.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom, 
Morah Beth and Morah Miriam!
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