A Morning in the Life of Religious School

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!

Moving along to the K-2 class, you hear joy and laughter and a lot of activity. The day I observed for this article, the class was learning about the torah and the holiday of Simchat Torah. They were talking about the torah as Morah Kara asked them about what you might find in the torah. A few students shared the idea of creation being in the torah and talked a lot about resting on the 7th day. The class has spent a lot of time on the holiday of Shabbat and the students were recalling some of their earlier lessons. The students got to go into the sanctuary and see the “real” torah being taken out of the ark and unrolled. The madrichim in the class each read a bit from the torah and the K-2 students will tell you that they used a yad to read from the torah and not their own fingers! These students went home on that day with their own little school-made torahs, complete with Hebrew letters and all.

Moreh Rich was sitting back in his classroom of 3rd graders as each student got the chance to be the teacher, teaching their classmates about different parts of the sanctuary. One student was up in front of the class, using the whiteboard, while teaching the class about the Star of David.  The other students were listening and engaged fully, while the madricha was making sure that each student was getting a turn to be the teacher.

The 4th graders were doing a quick review of some Hebrew letters and sounds as the madricha turned over the letter flashcards. (You can never practice the Hebrew letters and sounds too much!) The class was animated and engaged as they recalled the names and sounds of the alephbet.  Moreh Rob then moved on with the class as they learned about Rebecca. They each got to try to carry a book on their head, just like Rebecca did while carrying water from the well. The 4th grade class is small in size but mighty in energy and enthusiasm as their voices and excitement echo throughout the building on a Sunday morning.

For the third year in a row, we are offering the first year of Hebrew, Kitah Aleph, on Sunday morning. The third graders stay for one extra hour and spend time beginning to learn Hebrew. Moreh Rich and his madrich work with the class and individually with the students to support their Hebrew learning. One recent morning, a few 5th graders went into the 3rdgrade Hebrew class to help. The older students were each paired off with a younger student, allowing each 3rd grader to have the undivided attention of a 5th grader to read Hebrew to. It was a beautiful sight to see and a well- loved activity from both the 3rd and 5th graders.

During second session, one day the 5th and 6th graders met together to spend a morning sharing ideas and learning about this year’s tzedakah project of helping to collect money and gift cards to help refugees from Afghanistan resettle in our communities. It was lovely to see the students from these two classes getting to know each other and working together. They counted some of the collected tzedakah money and added items to the truck on the big tzedakah board. They went on to create posters and signs for the temple to help remind people about our tzedakah project, as they explored ideas of what it would be like to be a refugee and what we can continue to do to help our new neighbors. The students were spread out all around the sanctuary, working in small groups of mixed ages. Drawing and crafting were not for everyone, so a few students watched a video about the value of tzedakah.

The 7th graders work on exploring the Jewish Life Cycle during their studies and on this particular day, they were starting to learn about marriage. When I went into their classroom, they were moving around to different stations to see what qualities they consider important in finding a partner. They were also involved in a deep discussion about taking the name of your partner or not. I was barely in the room when I was bombarded with questions about what I did when I got married. Time spent in the 7th grade class is always sure to be filled with opinions, laughs and a lot of camaraderie.

As students leave at the end of the day, we are all appreciative of parents parking in a spot and walking to the curb to pick up their student(s).  This is clearly the safest way for a busy pick-up time with students and cars all over the place. Thank you for continuing to help keep our school safe each day.

Wishing you all the best in the new year,



Schedule for January

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – Hebrew School
  • Hebrew School – remote and in-person according to schedule
  • Kitah Hey – 4:15pm-6pm in temple
Friday, January 7 – Family Shabbat at 7:00pm (led by the2nd graders,) all are invited
Sunday, January 9 – Religious School
  • Preschool – 4th – 8:30m-10:15am
  • 5th – 7th – 10:30am – 12:30pm
Wednesday, January 12
  • Hebrew School – remote and in-person according to schedule
  • Kitah Hey – 4:15pm-6pm in temple
  • Chai School – 6:00 pizza, class 6:30pm-8:00pm
  • Post Confirmation- 6:00 pizza, class 6:30pm-8:00pm
Sunday, January 16 – No School – Holiday weekend
Wednesday, January 19
  • Hebrew School – Tu B’Shevat Seder online, more information will be shared soon
  • Chai School – 6:30pm-8:00pm (pizza at 6pm)
Sunday, January 23 – Religious School
  • Preschool-4th – 8:30m-10:15am
  • 5th – 7th – 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • 6th grade Family Ed – 10:30am-12:30am
Wednesday, January 26
  • Hebrew School – remote and in-person according to schedule
  • Kitah Hey – 4:15pm-6pm in temple
  • Chai School – 6:30pm – 8:30pm (pizza at 6pm)
Sunday, January 30 – Religious School
  • K – 4th – 8:30m-10:15am
  • 5th – 7th – 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences held on Zoom – more information will be shared