Keeping Connected with our Ed Director
June 2022 Keeping Connected
We did it! We have reached the end of another successful school year. No words can express my gratitude and pride for all the students, teachers and families that have worked together this year to allow us the joy of the school year. You will have a chance to express your gratitude at the Teacher Appreciation Shabbat which is scheduled for June 10 at 7pm! It is also our Graduation service, in which we will be hearing from some of our 12th graders before they continue on with their own journeys and all that lies ahead for them. Please plan to attend this special Shabbat and please consider bringing a nut-free food to share for the oneg.
I am also so excited and proud to let everyone know that we surpassed our tzedakah goal for this year. As of this writing, we collected $1009.50 in cash and another $1665 in gift cards, all of which will support the refugees from Afghanistan through the work of the International Institute of New England. Check out the truck full of goods in the photo!
The last day of Sunday school brought with it great joy and enthusiasm in the building. Families joined in on their children’s classes for lots of end of the year wrap ups. It was a spirited atmosphere in the building. You could hear the K-2 class singing out loud and strong to “Do a Mitzvah.” The 3rd graders celebrated their completion of their first year of Hebrew with the Siyyum HaSefer service and the receiving their own personalized prayer book. The 4th graders recreated the many bible stories that they explored this year by creating an awesome timeline mural. The 5th graders hosted an awesome prophet museum, showcasing some of the information they learned this year.The 6th graders recalled 10 things they learned this year and also had the Torah passed down to them. For the 7th graders, it was bittersweet, as they passed the Torah down to the rising 7th graders for next year, shared their ketubah gallery and had their last Sunday morning class in the building! (7th graders can come back on Sundays as madrichim!)
The last day of Hebrew School included teachers and students wrapping up the year with different games, activities and treats! All well-deserved after a year of lots of Hebrew learning.
The 7th graders did offer some advice to the incoming 7th graders, as the rising 7th graders begin their year of becoming B’nai Mitzvah. Here is their advice for practicing Hebrew:
- When you practice, have a goal set for your practice session.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to learn your Hebrew.
- Study, study, study.
- When you are reviewing, review the spots you messed up.
- Pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Do extra practice on the prayers you don’t know.
- Review old prayers.
- Try to have fun during all this Hebrew practicing. It is worth it!
Thank you to everyone for working together this year to create an environment of learning and laughter, community and care, and friendship and fun.
I hope to see you all on June 10 for the Teacher Appreciation Shabbat.
Remember to practice Hebrew several times a week during the summer months.
Friday, June 10 – Teacher Appreciation/Graduation Shabbat
- Please bring a nut-free oneg item to share
Saturday, June 18 – Temple Parking Lot Party
- Children’s activities begin at 4:30pm
- RSVP if you are planning on attending – http://evite.me/9htk3uGgnC
May 2022. Keeping Connected
Time flies when you are having fun and this year seems to have gone by very quickly! We have a jam-packed month of classes, services, special ceremonies and Shabbats as we finish up a successful school year at Congregation Shalom. Please take time to look at the schedule at the end of this letter. In addition, individual classes will be inviting families to join the class to mark the end of the year, so stay tuned for more information coming your way regarding your participation in some end of the year plans.
As we finish up this year, we begin to think about next year. Registration packets for the 2022/2023 Religious and Hebrew School year will be sent out at the beginning of May. Please fill them out and return them before June 1. It is really important for us to have as much information as possible as we spend the summer planning for the new school year. So much of what we need to do is based on enrollment.
When thinking about your children and next year, here are some things for you to know. When students are in third grade, they begin their formal Hebrew studies at Congregation Shalom. We have found success for the past few years with offering Hebrew School for the third graders for an hour on Sunday mornings, following Religious School. As of now, these are the plans for next year so if you have a rising 3rd grader you can plan on school on Sunday mornings from 8:30am-11:30am. Fifth graders move to the second session. If you have rising 5th graders, you can plan on then attending school on Sundays from 10:30am-12:30pm.
Hebrew School for 4th – 7th graders will continue to be held on Wednesday afternoons and while the exact plans for Hebrew School are still in the planning stages, you are asked to put aside Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm for Hebrew School time.
We will miss our current 7th graders on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons, but look forward to them joining our Wednesday evening Chai School program. Chai Schoolers gather around 6:00pm for pizza and socializing before heading off to learn about unique and interesting topics each year. The Chai School students enjoy their time together, continuing their friendships with their classmates, engaging in thoughtful topics and learning new skills.
Our current 10th graders will move on to Post Confirmation which meets once a month with Rabbi Perry. Together the 11th and 12th graders meet each month to engage in discussions surrounding current events, Judaism and other topics of interest and relevance to their lives. They often meet over a plate of homemade brownies!
As we finish up this year, we will continue to collect tzedakah to help out the refugees from Afghanistan. Your kindness and generosity have been appreciated all year. We are still a little more than $100 shy of our goal for this year, so continue to keep calm and tzedakah on!
As always, continue to encourage your students to practice their Hebrew at home, offer Jewish experiences at home and make the word a better place.
With gratitude, Deborah
Sunday, May 1 – Religious School
- K – 7th, regular times
- 6th grade Kallah
Wednesday, May 4
- Hebrew School
- Chai School
Friday, May 6 – Shabbat at 7pm, led by the 4th graders. All are encouraged to attend.
Sunday, May 8 – NO Religious School – Happy Mother’s Day!
Wednesday, May 11
- Hebrew School
- Chai School
- Post Confirmation
Sunday, May 15 – Religious School
- NO Preschool
- K – 7th
- Shacharit at 10:15 for 3rd – 7th
- Siyyum HaSefer for 3rd graders – 10:15am
Wednesday, May 18
- Hebrew School
- Chai School – Last day
Friday, May 20 – Confirmation Shabbat at 7pm, all are encouraged to attend
Sunday, May 22 – Last Day of Religious School
- K – 7th
- Torah Passing Ceremony at 10:30am
Wednesday, May 25
- Hebrew School – Last Day
Mark your calendars for Friday, June 10 at 7:00pm for TEACHER APPRECIATION and GRADUATION!
Let’s join together to share our appreciation for all the wonderfulness of the teachers and graduates!
April 2022. Keeping Connected
We have rounded the corner and the end is in sight! Time flies when you are having fun and we have been having lots of fun this year, but we are getting closer to the end of the year. The last two months are just as important as the rest of the year so please support your students to finish out the year strong. It is tempting as the weather gets nicer and sports and other events kick in to easily skip Religious or Hebrew School. Please think about the decisions you are choosing and do not forget about the importance of your students’ Jewish education and Jewish experiences.
We are already thinking about plans for next year and would love your input. As of now, it looks like Religious School on Sundays will be back fully in person, without remote links. During these last few weeks, all the teachers have been embracing the in-person opportunities to explore more hands on and experiential learning with the students, something that is very difficult to do virtually. In addition, it has been a good few months really working to reconnect as whole class communities. We have some work to make up in that area due to the pandemic, but the teachers have been creating various experiences to engage the whole class together and we have seen some really positive results.More
March 2022 Keeping Connected
At the end of January (right after I wrote last month’s article,) the Religious School gathered (on Zoom) for two exciting programs centered around the idea of tzedakah. Kindergarten through 4th grade students gathered for a morning of TZEDAKAH! The students talked about the meaning of the word tzedakah (justice and fairness,) watched a short video about giving, heard a story about filling up the tzedakah box and sang songs. Each student found a tzedakah box, or something that can work like a tzedakah box from their home and were given the challenge to fill up their home tzedakah box. The second session students (grades 5th -7th) were given the opportunity to hear from a member from the International Institute of New England, to learn more about the refugee resettlement program and to get a better understanding of how the money we collect this year will be used to help the refugees from Afghanistan to resettle in our local communities. They thought about the experiences of refugees and considered what things would be essential to have as one resettles, what would be nice to have and what would be special to have. The older students also grabbed a tzedakah box from their home and were given the same challenge to fill it up. On March 6, all the students are being asked to bring their home tzedakah boxes (hopefully filled up) to Religious School in the morning for the Tzedakah Challenge, a little friendly competition between the first and second sessions, to see who can bring in the most money! One of the students asked what the winner will receive. The answer was that the refugees are the winners in this challenge! (That answer actually satisfied the questioning student!) I encourage you to support your student with this fun Tzedakah Challenge and continue supporting the tzedakah project for the rest of the year.More
February 2022 Keeping Connected
January leads us around the corner into the second half of the school year. By this time, families with students in Kitah Bet, Gimel and Dalet (4th, 5th and 6th grade) should have already received a quick progress write up of your student and their Hebrew progress. Families in Kitah Hey (7th grade) can continue to reach out to Rabbi Perry at any time. Families with students in grades Kindergarten through 7th grade have also had the opportunity to conference with your students’ teachers on Zoom to hear about how they are doing in Religious School on Sundays (and in Kitah Aleph!) Preschool families can continue to communicate with Morah Lauren at any time. If you were unable to conference on Zoom with your teacher and you would still like to, please reach out to either me or the teacher to set up a time to talk.More
January 2022 Keeping Connected
This year, due to covid restrictions, we are not having a lot of people in our temple building while school is in session. We all miss the hubbub of families dropping off and picking up, milling about in the lobby and peeking into classes to see what is going on each morning. Since you can’t be in the building, this month’s article will bring the action and excitement to you!
Our morning begins with students being dropped off along the curb for school. Many students stop and add money to the tzedakah collection before heading into the building. I hear parents shouting “Have a good morning,” “I love you,” and “See you soon.” I heard one parent ask their child, through the car window, if they had their snack and the student responded “I ate it on the way to school!” (We hooked her up with another snack to eat outside during class time.) Students eagerly enter the building, meet up with their classmates and begin a morning of learning, laughter and energy.
Our preschool class meets several times a month. The class of our youngest students is fast paced and full of activity. There is always book reading, song singing, crafting and often a creative food component (sometimes made and always eaten outside!) On one particular day recently, the children were gathered around Morah Lauren and her madricha on the rug all looking at and listening to a story of Jonah and the Whale. One child noticed a very big boat and a connection to Noah’s Ark was made. The class had a fun time making Jonah and the Whale out of graham crackers, blue frosting and goldfish. You had to look at them quickly before they were gobbled up, just like Jonah!More