Hey 5 Hey – 7th grade
 
Morah Miranda Wilgus

 

Today in class we worked on:
5/15 – Today was our last day of the year. We did a review based on last year’s survey on what Americans know about the Shoah. We then reviewed the answers and discussed things that students wished we had covered this year. We finished the class by joining the rest of the school for a well-deserved pizza dinner.
Homework to be completed by next class:
5/15 – Thank you so much for a wonderful year. I hope you have a wonderful summer and would love to see you next year in our post-b’nai mitzvah program, jCo-Op.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
5/8 – Today we watched part of a new Instagram account about a young woman from Czechoslovakia whose diary about her experiences during the Shoah were turned into a first person experience on Instagram. Here is a link to watch the whole thing on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Z-vkLk8GJIw

We were also privileged enough to have a survivor from the Shoah come speak to us. Yvonne Aronson was a very young child during the Shoah who lived outside Brussels, Belgium, hiding in plain sight until the war was over. She came and discussed her family, her experiences, and how she came to the United States.
Homework to be completed by next class:
5/8 – Continue to read Hebrew 15 minutes a day.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
5/1 – Today we watched the movie “Paperclips” which follows a rural school in the small town of Whitwell, TN that decides to learn about the Holocaust and ends up creating a memorial to the victims of the Shoah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
5/1 – You can watch the movie here: http://www.oneclipatatime.org/paper-clips-project/paper-clips-film/

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
4/24 –
1) We talked about ways we can continue our Jewish journey after Bar/Bat MItzvah including jco-op; Ta’am Yisrael; NFTY, and more.
2) As a connection to our Shoah (Holocaust unit) we talked about if/where we have seen anti-semitsim in our lives during the last two years. Your children unfortunately all had at least one example to share. We then shared ways to combat anti-semitism.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/24 – Read the dialogue for chapter 7 at least 15 minutes each day and work on translating, especially with the new vocabulary. Write 5 new sentences using vocabulary we have learned this year.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
4/17 – Today we learned about the two Torah scrolls that Beth Am has the privilege to host that were rescued from the Shoah. We learned about the two towns these Torah scrolls are from, when they were written, what happened to the people of those towns and the work of the Torah Trust in rescuing and preserving these important links to history.

We also worked on our Hebrew.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/17 – Read the dialogue for chapter 7 at least 15 minutes each day and work on translating, especially with the new vocabulary. Write 5 new sentences using vocabulary we have learned this year.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
4/10 – Today we learned about some notable Jews of the Shoah, whose stories have helped to tell the world what happened under the Nazi regime. We learned about Hannah Senesh, a young Hungarian woman who left Hungary to live in then Palestine on a kibbutz, and volunteered with the British forces to parachute into Europe and try to help rescue Jewish prisoners. Unfortunately, she was captured and later executed. She was also a poet, and wrote what has come to be a very poignant and popular song, Eli Eli. We also learned about Elie Weisel, whose accounts of his experiences and later his campaign for human rights made him, in some eyes, the conscience of a generation. Lastly we learned about Anne Frank, whose diary of her experiences has been translated into numerous languages, spreading her story and experiences around the world.

We also worked on our Hebrew, focusing on the forms of ‘your’ and its use in conversation.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/10 – Continue to read Hebrew at least 15 minutes a day – focus on the dialogue in chapter 7 of your book. Complete the last 2 pages of chapter 6.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
4/3 – Today we learned about Terezin, or Therezinstadt. Originally a18th century fortress at the confluence of two rivers in Bohemia, just north of Prague, it became a sort of show camp where Nazis sent the most famous and difficult to disappear Jews of Germany – artists, musicians, composers, scholars, WWI veterans and others. It was here that the Nazis allowed the International Red Cross access to prove they were not doing anything wrong. We also learned that the vast majority of Jews who were sent there, were later sent on to the extermination camps of Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Treblinka. We looked at some of the art that was created by the children sent there who were taught by a famous artist, as a respit from their ordeal, and read one of the most famout poems of the Shoah, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” which was written by a 15 year old boy in Terezin.
Homework to be completed by next class:
4/3 – Keep reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day and be sure to complete all the exercises in Chapter 6 of your Hebrew book, and write 5 new sentences using the vocabulary we have learned so far.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
3/20 – Today we learned about the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. We learned that upon the conquest of Poland, the German Reich found itself with a country with over 2 million Jews, when they had been trying to expel all Jews from Germany. This helped to lead them to the so-called Final Solution to irradicate all Jews from Europe. We learned about the number of Jews housed in the ghetto which encompassed about 2% of Warsaw. At its height, it housed over 400,000 Jews, many of which were sent to the death camp Treblinka. We learned how the Jews of Warsaw rebelled when the final decision to liquidate the ghetto came down, delaying its elimination for over a month, signalling the arguably largest single rebellion of Jews in the Shoah.

We also joined the rest of the school for tefilah which was led by kitah daled.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/20 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day and make sure you have completed all the exercises in your Hebrew book through Chapter 5.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
3/13 – Today we watched ‘The Devil’s Arithmetic’ in class. This is a fictionalized account of the experiences of the Jewish population of a small town in Poland during the Shoah. We were not able to complete the whole movie, but it is available on Youtube and Netflix to watch.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/13 – You can watch the movie “The Devil’s Arithmetic” at this link: https://youtu.be/QhDhW2YPsrU

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
3/6 – Today we learned about concentration and death camps in Nazi-controlled Europe, including a bit about the conference that introduced the concept of the so-called ‘Final Solution’ to eliminate all Jews. We learned about Auschwitz – a bit about how the camp was run, and what the prisoners there experienced.

We also worked on chapter 5 in our Hebrew book, working on vocabulary, translating from Hebrew to English and vice versa.
Homework to be completed by next class:
3/6 – Complete the exercises in Chapter 5 of your Hebrew book. Continue reading Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day.

If you would like to watch a movie about the Wannsee Conference taken from the minutes of the meeting (with parental supervision and permission only) there are a couple of them available on YouTube and streaming services. One version is called “Conspiracy” and is done in English.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
2/27 – Today we learned about Kristalnacht – the Night of Broken Glass – the first government approved pogram against the Jewish people of Germany. The outcome of Kristalnacht was hoped to be that all Jews would leave Germany. Unfortunately, surrounding countries put limits on the number of Jews they would allow into their countries, stranding over 300,000 Jews in Germany prior to the German invasion of Poland. We also learned that the U.S. prohibited the immigration of refugees on the St. Louis, who was forced to return to Europe where all but a couple hundred of the over 900 passengers perished in the Shoah.

We also began Chapter 5 in our Hebrew book and reviewed Hebrew prefixes and suffixes.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/27 – Practice reading the dialogue on page 28-29 and review the glossary. Complete the exercises on pages 30 and 31, as well as practice reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
2/20 – Today we watched the movie “The Wave.” Made in the early 80s, it is based on an actual high school class in California in the 1970s, where a teacher tried to show students how the German people could fall under the sway of Adolph Hitler and his regime. The movie is available to view online, and a link will be below. Following the movie, we discussed students’ impressions and comments.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/20 – Be sure you have completed the exercises in your Hebrew book through chapter 4. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes each day and make sure you have completed 5 new sentences using vocabulary from our book so far.

Here is a link to watch The Wave online: https://youtu.be/ICng-KRxXJ8

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
2/13 – Today we had a Hebrew review, working on translating from English to Hebrew and back again – both individual words and sentences. Good job everyone.

We also joined the rest of the school for pizza dinner which we earned due to great attendance.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/13 – Write 5 new Hebrew sentences usingl vocabulary we have learned so far, paying special attending to correct gender/word form, and word location in the sentences (adjectives after nouns). Also make sure you have completed all of your exercises up to chapter 5 in your Hebrew book. Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
2/6 – We continued our lessons on the Shoah, today learning about how Hitler rose to power in Germany. We looked that the outcome of WWI, which resulted in enormous reparations being imposed on Germany as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, causing the German economy to plummet, which was exacerbated by the Great Depression a few years later. We learned how Hitler had been jailed for treason, which was when he wrote his treatise “Mein Kampf,” a significant portion of which he blamed the Jews for the problems in his life and in the life of Germany. This book went on to sell millions of copies, making him a millionaire. We discussed the formation of the National Socialist Workers Party (the Nazi Party), how it came to power in 4 short years in the national political scene, resulting in receiving a majority of votes in the national Parlaiment, resulting in Hitler being named Chancellor of Germany. We also discussed some of the first actions of the new government, the passage of the Nuremberg laws, which stripped German citizenship and other rights from the Jews of Germany.

We also joined the rest of the school for tefilah with Rabbi Prass.
Homework to be completed by next class:
2/6 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes each day, focusing on the dialogues in your Hebrew textbook. Also work with online resources to reinforce your reading and translation abilities.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
1/23 – Today we completed our lesson on the history of antisemitism. We looked at how antisemitism manifested in the middle ages – from the Crusades, the Black Death, and the Inquisition. We learned about the more modern iterations of antisemitism, including the creation of the forged document the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which was produced in Russia, disceminated in Germany where it influenced Adolf Hitler, and was promoted here in the United States by people like Henry Ford. We looked at the statue of David by Michelangelo, where the rumor that Jews have horns originated – magnificent statue, but a true failure in implementation. We also discussed antisemitism in modern day – one of the students asked about the recent controversy surrounding the Women’s March, which also expanded our discussion of anti-Zionism in regards to antisemitism, and the difference between disagreeing with the policies of a nation and disputing that nation’s right to exist.
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/23 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes each day and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
1/16 – Today we started a discussion on the history and definition of antisemitism. We learned that the term was coined in 1879 as a definiable term of anti-Jewish. We learned that Jews have been subject to prejudice and persecution since biblical times, frequently stemming from differences in religious belief, different dietary traditions, a habit of staying isolated from the larger communities, and a refusal to pay lip-service to local religious beliefs to get by. We discussed the initial traditions of the Church to isolate and denegrate Jews, and how the introduction of Vatican II by Pope John XXIII reversed many of those positions within the Catholic Church. However, some of those prejudices and false beliefs persist today. We will continue this discussion next week.

We also joined the rest of the school for tefilah with Rabbi Prass.
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/16 – Continue reading Hebrew aloud 15 minutes each day. Work with online resources 45 minutes before our next class. If you have not completed your sentences, please write 10 unique sentences using the vocabulary we have learned so far. Practice the vocabulary we have learned so far – we will be learning more next week!

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
1/9 – Today we began our semester on the Shoah. To that end, we examined the phrase “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.” After discussing what students thought that meant and if they agreed with it, we took a look at a history of leaders around the world, both despotic and beneavolent. Students were then asked if there was a responsibility of the people to watch and be involved in selecting leadership and what those leaders choose to do. When asked why we would start a semester about the Shoah by examining a history of leadership, students stated that in order to better understand what happened in the Holocaust, we need to have a foundation in how leaders can shape a country.
Homework to be completed by next class:
1/9 – Continue reading Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day, and working with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class. If you did not complete your sentences (10 of them) over break, please make sure they are done for our next class.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:

12/19 – Today we reviewed what we have learned over the last semester and discussed what the Torah tells us about our needing to actually take action before God will step in to make things work. We studied about how God required the Israelites to take the first step before God would work to split the Sea of Reeds.

 We also continued in our Hebrew book in Chapter 4.

Homework to be completed by next class:

12/19 – Write 10 new sentences using vocabulary of the first 4 chapters of our Hebrew book. Compete the exercises in Chapter 4 of your Hebrew book. Read Hebrew aloud (especially the first 4 chapters of dialogue in your textbook) before our next class, with the understanding of the vocabulary.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
12/12 – Today we discussed rules – who makes them, why we have them, what life would be without them. We then looked at Torah and Talmud texts to figure out what rules they were telling us about how to live our lives and be the best people we can be.

We also continued in our Hebrew book, working on vocabulary and tenses.
Homework to be completed by next class:
12/12 – Please finish all exercises in Chapter 3 of your Hebrew textbook. Read Hebrew aloud and work with online resources for 45 minutes before the next class. Please complete 5 new sentences using the vocabulary we have learned so far, paying attention to tenses and suffixes.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
12/5 – Today we talked about change – whether it was a good or bad thing, something to be feared or embraced. We studied how Moses feared being tapped by God to be the leader of the Israelites who would go before Pharoah to demand the Israelites be free. At first, Moses was afraid and said no, he couldn’t do it. He did not feel he was up to it. God told him his brother would help him, but Moses was not allowed to step away from the task. When he agreed to be God’s agent to Pharoah, he helped to usher in the next phase of the Jewish people and became our greatest teacher.

We also went over the Hebrew sentences students wrote and translated them.

We then joined the rest of the class for tefilah with Rabbi Prass, where we also talked about Chanukah.
Homework to be completed by next class:
12/5 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes a day and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class. Write another 5 sentences using vocabulary from the first 3 chapters of your Hebrew book – paying attention to grammar and suffixes. (Remember nouns come before adjectives in Hebrew.)

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
11/28 – Today we worked on our Hebrew vocabulary, going over sentences students have learned so far, grammar rules, and began chapter 3 in our textbook.

Rabbi Prass joined us for a ‘Stump the Rabbi’ session, where students asked him a variety of questions they had.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/28 – Complete the exercises in your Hebrew book on pages 18 and 19 and practice the dialogue on pages 16-17. Read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class. Also write 5 unique sentences in Hebrew utilizing the vocabulary we have learned so far. Pay close attention to verb forms and proper location of adjectives.

Please remember to bring tzedakah every week.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
11/14 – Today we continued to look at the issue of poverty. Students played the ‘Budget Game,’ wherein they broke up into groups and tried to make a monthly budget of $1525 for a family of 4 cover their needs, including housing, transportation, groceries, health care, and more. Students struggled to make their budget cover everything, frequently having to settle for the least expensive, and sometimes least desireable, options.

We also joined the rest of the school for pizza dinner! Great job on earning that dinner – let’s keep that attendance up and earn another dinner.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/14 – Play at least one time (or as many as you would like) www.playspent.org. This is similar to what we did in class, but in an electronic format that throws some kinks in your experience. We will discuss it next class.

Write 5 more sentences using the vocabulary we have learned in the first 4 chapters of our Hebrew book. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day and work with online Hebrew resources for at least 45 minutes a week.
Have a great Thanksgiving!

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
11/7 – Today we discussed poverty and hunger and the direct commandments Judaism has to help us alleviate these problems. We discussed the Holiness Code outlined in the Torah in the book of Leviticus. The code starts off with the commandment to not harvest the edges of your fields or to pick up gleanings (those crops that have been harvests that may fall on the ground) and leave those for the poor and the stranger.

We discussed how people around the world, including here in the U.S., that do not know where their next meal will come from. We also learned some interesting statistics. According to some reports, poverty as a plague could be ended for approximately the same amount that people in the U.S. and Europe spend on pet food in a year.

We discussed ways in which we can abide by the holiness code today, when very few of us are farmers. Suggestions included donating food to a food pantry, purchasing groceries during the holiday season that are set aside for those in need and more.

We also had a great tefillah with Rabbi Prass and the rest of the school.
Homework to be completed by next class:
11/7 – Continue reading Hebrew out loud at least 15 minutes each day, and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class. Write 5 more sentences using the vocabulary we have learned so far.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
10/24 – Today we discussed identifying with the suffering of others. We learned how Moses had to learn to do this in an effective way, and that this took time. We discussed why this should be a Jewish value and how it can help us with the work of Tikun Olam – repairing the world, as well as ways in which we can work to pay closer attention to what is going on around us.

We also reviewed chapter 2 Hebrew vocabulary and practiced putting it into practical use.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/24 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud for at least 15 minutes a day and work with online resources for at least 45 minutes before our next class. Also, write 10 different sentences using the vocabulary we have learned so far, paying attention to correct gender use of the words.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
10/17 – Today we continued to learn about Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. We discussed what would comprise our perfect community, and why those things students included were important. We learned that the Torah tells us not to stand idly by when someone is in danger and discussed ways to do that. We learned that Rabbi Tarfon acknowledged that the task to repair the world is enourmous and we are not expected to do it alone, but neither are we free to abstain from it. We illustrated puzzle pieces with ways to repair the world and put them together to make a whole picture on ways to make the world a better place.

We also joined the rest of the school for Tefilah with Rabbi Prass.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/17 – Continue to read Hebrew aloud at least 15 minutes a day, and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class. If you have not finished the exercises in Chapter 2 of your Hebrew book, please do so before the next class.

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
10/10 – Today we discussed the Jewish tradition of Tikun Olam – repairing the world.

We also continued with our Hebrew lessons, beginning Chapter 2.

In addition, Rabbi Prass offered an attendance challenge – if students achieve consistent 75% attendance for a set number of weeks, they will earn an opportunity to go to Pizza Dinner.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/10 – Complete the exercises in Chapter 2 of your Hebrew book – pages 12-15. Continue to read Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes a week and work with online resources 45 minutes before next class.

Here are some online resources:
The J Site: http://j.co.il/
My Jewish Games: http://www.my-jewish-games.com/
Hebrew Verbs: https://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/
Aleph Bet on the Net: https://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ylcflx/Aleph-Bet/index.html
Hebrew Hot Sites: https://jr.co.il/hotsites/hebrew.htm

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
10/3 – Today we continued to talk about tzedakah. We learned that Rabbi Maimonides thought tzedakah was so important and thought about it so much that he developed what he called a ladder of tzedakah with different levels of giving. While of course all giving is good, he ranked different actions and intentions in order according to how holy and righteous they were, starting with someone who does not give willingly or happily on the bottom and helping someone become self-sufficient and self-supporting at the top of the ladder.

We also began our Hebrew book. This year we are studying modern Hebrew as it is spoke in Israel. Our book follows a group of students as they travel to Israel and will learn together as we travel with them.

We also selected our tzedakah project for the year: Fat Cat Rescue.
Homework to be completed by next class:
10/3 – Complete pages 6-8 in your Hebrew book. Read Hebrew outloud at least 15 minutes each day and work with online resources for 45 minutes before our next class.
There are number of online resources to help further your Hebrew fluency. Here are a few:
The J Site: http://j.co.il/
My Jewish Games: http://www.my-jewish-games.com/
Hebrew Verbs: https://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/
Aleph Bet on the Net: https://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ylcflx/Aleph-Bet/index.html
Hebrew Hot Sites: https://jr.co.il/hotsites/hebrew.htm

 

 

Today in class we worked on:
9/26 – Today was a great first day. We discussed how we feel giving a gift and how it would be differently if that gift was something that was needed. We looked at text about Tzedakah and what it means and how it impacts our life.
We also played a Hebrew game, and Rabbi Prass joined us to shake the lulav.
Homework to be completed by next class:
9/26 – Practice reading Hebrew aloud for 15 minutes a day (use your Hebrew book if needed), and think up ideas for the year’s tzedakah project.