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session 3

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents,

In Judaica class, we continued our study of Jewish history and learned more about the "12 tribes of Israel".  Students were assigned a tribe and created a poster including fun facts and qualities about the tribe's leader, locations and an illustration with the tribe's emblem.

Then the classes thought about the challenges the Israelites faced to become a unified people.  We discussed that this is not an easy task to settle disputes or maintain law and order without a unified government.  This will lead to our next class activity where Saul becomes the first King of Israel.

After pizza, our Vavniks met with Rabbi Jaech who asked us to prepare questions for her to answer during the year.

Please save the date for our Vav class service November 2nd at 7:00 pm, with a pot luck dinner before.

Shavua Tov,


As the sun sets sooner and the days turn cooler, I thought it would be nice to do some deep thinking outside.

I challenged our students to come up with ways that THEY can show love for God so that they could have a CURRENT lens on the ancient ואהבת V'ahavta whose text comes right from our Torah.

Too often we, yes even adults, recite our liturgy by rote without really understanding what it all means or why we do it.

We identified the root alef-hay-vav אהב which means love. What does love mean? Who are we loving? Who/what/where is God? That was a great conversation.

By identifying God, it was easier to think of ways to show love to him/her/it.

You can find the lists from each class at this link.

I also helped them figure out why the word צדקה tzedakah - which means justice- is the name of the money we collect for charity.

We did the same for מצוה mitzvah - which means commandment, but is commonly used as a catch all for 'good deed.'

Ask them what the connections are. Think of what things YOU could add to the list. They later shared some of their ideas with Rabbi Jaech.

We will incorporate their creations into their service on Friday, November 2.

As wonderful as the shared thinking moments were, it is important to share with you that many of the students needed to be reminded to focus and stop chatting. I temporarily took away a few phones and separated some friends and thus will assign seats in the future. You can contact me at with any questions.

Laura Copel

session 2 10/3/18

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

In Hebrew class, Kita vav began studying the V’ahavta (And you shall love) prayer. We read the English and talked about its pattern of repeated words to help understand the Hebrew grammar and meaning.

When we met with Cantor Lauren today, she also worked on the V’ahavta with the whole grade. She explained that learning its melody will help learn torah portions in the future B’nai mitzvah process. Ask your student why!

Cantor’s recording of V’ahavta can be found on the temple website at

Starting next week I will start assigning homework to prepare for the Nov 2 Shabbat service.

The students are at different levels of Hebrew skills and practice at home is the only way to improve.

Morah Ariella and Mr. Chazdon are already sending some decoding sheets home as they continue to assess the whole class.

Morah Laura Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class tonight our Vavniks began to explore our new text book, The History of the Jewish People: A Story of Tradition and Change by Jonathan D. Sarna and Jonathan B. Krasner. I am very excited for us to be using this book since the information presented will help our Vavniks compare their lives with the lives of our ancestors, how each generation adapts Judaism to its time and place, and how the decisions of our forebears influence our own lives and decisions in today's world. Our Vavniks began to learn tonight that they are very much a part of the action of Jewish history!

As an introduction, our Vavniks thought about what might be said about them in a Jewish textbook 100 years from now and what role would they like to play in the story of the Jewish people. We also discussed the major differences between the early Israelites and their ancient neighbors and the concept of monotheism and the Torah. We learned that monotheism fostered the Israelites' development of a strong ethical code and that today we are guided by the same core ethical values as our ancestors. We also discussed that the Sh'ma prayer represents our belief in one God. We took a closer look at our Patriarch Abraham and his values and contributions to the world and what values we might want to emulate.

We also completed our Facebook profile pages which will be on display on our class bulletin board soon. Our even concluded with clergy time with Cantor Fogelman.

Shavua Tov,


Session 1 9/26/18

Morah Laura Copel and Morah Susan Smith

It was delightful to meet your children today. They were certainly glad to see each other! I’m always pleased when kids from different public schools greet friends they only see at Temple Israel’s CJL. I was also pleased that the veterans welcomed our two new students as well.

We heard and sang a new melody for Hinei Mah Tov - by Mikey Pauker. Very upbeat way to welcome everyone to class - “How great it is for brothers and sisters to hang out on this day!” We looked at the Hebrew words to learn what they literally meant. I told them we’d learn a new melody for Hinei Mah Tov on a regular basis.

We also learned to say “My name is…” in Hebrew: “Sh’mee...” I told the students “Sh’mee Morah Copel” which means “My name is Teacher Copel.”

Lastly, we played a game in which each student had to say “Sh’mee..” followed by their name and then a motion about something they like to do. The goal was for me to remember the motions for each student in the room. One of my classes got to the next level where nearly each kid was able to remember everyone’s motions!

Homework - Have your child tell you which representative motion he or she chose plus that of at least two other students.

We had a BBQ dinner with the whole school and then had a Sukkot lesson from the 8-10 graders!

Special things to note -

  • Kita Vav/Grade 6 service will be Friday, November 2 at 7 pm.

  • Cell phones are not allowed to be used in class or in the sanctuary.

  • Each day, students will be pulled out of the class for Hebrew assessment by Morah Ariella or Mr. Chazdon until each have had a turn.


    Shalom Kitah Vav Parents,

    It was great to see everyone back at the CJL!

    In Judaica class we:

  • Played an ice breaker game which revealed our similar interests and shared what we did over the summer
  • Established class routines and had an overview of Kitah Vav's Jewish history curriculum to the mid 1800's with a focus on studying famous Jewish historical figures and how we might emulate the values they embodied in our lives today
  • Created a class Brit

  • a reminder that you must pick up your child inside the Temple at dismissal time, 7:00 PM. We can not release students into the parking lot as a matter of safety. Also, tzedakah is collected each week, and classes start promptly at 4:30 PM.

    Our Vavniks joined the upper grades for a barbecue. After dinner, we joined Kitah Zayin (7th) for Tefilah with Cantor Fogelman and Rabbi Pein. We concluded the evening with an all-CJL gathering by the outdoor Sukkah with Italian ices.

    Please mark your calendar for our grade level service on November 2nd at 7 PM. There will be a Pot Luck supper prior to the service.

    Shavua Tov,

  • Susan

  • Refreshed our knowledge of the customs/traditions of Sukkot. First session acted out a Sukkot play.
Wed, October 17 2018 8 Cheshvan 5779