ChaiLights – Feivel Rubinstein

Feivel Rubinstein: 4th/5th and 6th/7th Grade Judaica

OCTOBER 2017

Dear Parents,

What a wonderful month of learning it has been!  And can you believe it… no more holidays until Hanukah!  Except Shabbat of course… It should be no surprise that our Hebrew school days have been filled with fun and festivities this month, but fortunately for us all, the holidays did not fall on Tuesdays this year, so we still got a lot of learning in as well.  Both about the holidays and other wonderful subjects.

4th/5th Grade:

This month our students continued in on their 5779 Jewish calendars.  They filled in all of the wonderful holidays that fall in the month of Tishrei and learned about them as we went through them.  It has been convenient that our curriculum this year focuses on the holidays.  As a result, while filling out their calendar projects, we learned about each holiday as it came up.  We not only learned about the laws and customs associated with each holiday, but also looked at each one in their biblical context.  Our students read the verses of the Torah that instruct the holidays, and compared and contrasted them to how we celebrate the holidays today.

This was all accompanied by discussion and analysis of the Jewish values associated with each holiday.  Values such as welcoming in guests (hachnasat orchim), repentance (teshuvah), and family (mishpachah) to name just a few.  Reading the bible and looking at Jewish values was a great segue into our new unit on the Prophets of the TaNaKh!  In the upcoming weeks, we will be looking at the weekly Haftarot and the books of prophets that are read each week.  Our students will gain familiarity with not only the prophets, but also a basic understanding of how to navigate our holy texts.

6th/7th Grade:

This month our students took a look at the very beginning of the Torah.  Being surrounded by the laws of all of the holidays each week, it was a smooth transition to a conversation of other laws given to the Jews and to all mankind by God.  In the very beginning, God commands Adam and Eve to engage in a supervisory position over the land and its plants and animals.  Since one of our main topics is the Land of Israel, what better way to begin the conversation than with looking at how this early commandment relates to environmentalism.

Of course, caring about the earth is only part of understanding why a particular part of the earth holds such value for us as Jews.  So, we ventured forward in our text to look at not only the first of our ancestors, but also the first to go into the land of Israel: Abraham.  We watched a fun clip online of Abraham’s early monotheistic ideas and his partnership with God.  We looked at bible verses themselves, and are in the midst of preparing short skits telling the tales of Abraham’s long journey from his homeland to Sodom and Gemorrah, Canaan (Israel), Egypt and back.  In the upcoming weeks we will look at the rest of the book of Genesis, following our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they each build a unique relationship with the land we call Israel.

In both of my classes, we got off to a great start this month, and we have a lot of exciting learning adventures ahead of ourselves!  I for one, am very excited to see where our learning takes us and look forward to the rest of the semester.  I would also encourage all of you, the parents, to engage your children in conversation about their learning while at home.  Ask them not “what they learned”, but rather to “teach me something”.  Instead of asking “how was religious school?” ask “what questions did you ask today?” or “what was the learning activity today? Did you look at a book? Did you act? Did you sing? Did you see a video?”  You may be surprised at the answers.

As always, I am available at any time via email to discuss the class or your specific child(ren) as it pertains to class.  I can be reached at prubinstein@aju.edu but I ask that you include the name of your child(ren) in the subject line of any email you send.

Thank you so much for entrusting me with your child(ren)’s Jewish education, and I look forward to getting to know each and every student and parent in the coming weeks!

Feivel Rubinstein

4th/5th & 6th/7th Grade Teacher

Kehillat Maarav