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Yom Sheini, 4 Adar 5778
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18 December 2015

Religious School is Amazing!

By Abra Lee, Religious School Director

We’ve been having a blast as we’ve watched our learning theme for the year play out.  The theme this year is Amazement. Through creative lesson planning, engaging new programs, and informal experiences for students and their families, our goal is to inspire the sense of amazement within our learners.  We aim to nurture within each student the ability to notice moments of “wow” and to appreciate those moments with an attitude of gratitude.  For example, each week, during Learner’s Minyan, 4th and 5th grade students are invited to share a “wow” moment, something special that happened for which they are thankful.  And, each week, I am reminded how fortunate I am to work with these incredible children, who do indeed notice the most amazing moments. Of course, each week one student is thankful for a sports victory or a new game they received and are eager to conquer.  And every week, at least one student shares that he or she is thankful for family, for friends and the many great blessing we enjoy every day.

The word amazing is defined as causing great surprise or wonder. Shouldn’t Torah education be AMAZING? It’s so much fun to watch the look of surprise on a child’s face when she learns a new fact or when he hears a story from our tradition that reminds him of something that he has experienced in his own life.  It’s even more fun to watch the wonder as they consider a new idea and make connections between prior knowledge and new learning. That little light bulb that you can almost see pop up above her head… that’s AMAZING.

How we make ancient Jewish ritual and practice relevant for today’s learners can make all the difference in a child’s development of his own Jewish identity.  Learners in 2015 are different and therefore our approach to learning in 2015 must be different.  With each program and each lesson, we challenge ourselves and our entire faculty team to inspire “wow” and to nurture the spirit.

I’d like to know… What makes you say, “Wow?”

11 December 2015

Madrichim - Bringing Light to Our School

By Shari Rothstein, Associate Director of Religious School

As we celebrated Hanukkah this past week and lit the hanukkiyah during mid-week Religious School, I have been reflecting on how Hanukkah brings light into our lives. When I think of bringing light into the Jewish education at Temple Emanu-El, I immediately think of our dedicated madrichim. The madrichim bring light into our school, both to our students and to our teachers.

This year we have over 80 teens working weekly in the Madrichim Program.  The word madrichim is best translated as “guides” and often refer to leaders -- a madrich is a male guide and a madricha is a female guide. They guide our younger students toward a positive Religious School experience by demonstrating their involvement, their skills and their initiative. Madrichim at TEE have several roles – many work in a classroom as a teacher’s assistant and can be found leading a group, running an activity, presenting a lesson or working 1:1 with a student teaching Hebrew. Some teens are a chaver (friend) and act as a shadow to a student who needs additional support in the classroom. Other madrichim work in our Ma’ayan program (special needs self-contained classroom), as a shadow to a student who needs additional support.  We have several students that work outside the classroom and can be found working the Religious School office or even the business office. We have madrichim who work as photographers, madrichim creating our beautiful bulletin boards and madrichim that help lead Religious School tefillah and shirah (music) with their guitars and/or their voices.   

If you are at the Religious School on Sunday mornings, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or on Wednesday evenings, look for the teens in the blue madrichim t- shirts – they are the ones bringing light into the hallways, classrooms and all around the building. 

Chag Hanukkah Sameach!

20 November 2015

ECE Students Prepare for Hanukkah

By Cantor Michelle Rubel

This week our Early Childhood Education and Religious School are hard at work preparing for Hanukkah! I have been visiting with each of our classes teaching Hanukkah songs to help get us ready to celebrate. Together we’ve been working on old favorites like “S’vivon Sov Sov Sov” and “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah” along with new tunes as well. In the ECE Giraffes class, we’ve been practicing the "Menorah Hora" – it’s one of our favorites!

There are many ways to bring the spirit of Hanukkah into your home, including Hanukkah music. Click here for a YouTube playlist with some fun Hanukkah tunes.

May you all have a Hanukkah filled with joy and light – Chag Urim Sameach!

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