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session 25 4/10/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents,

In Judaica class, we learned about the miraculous rescue missions called Operation Moses, Operation Joshua and Operation Solomon where over twenty thousand Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel to escape hardship. This Jewish Ethiopian community called Beta Israel lived in relative isolation from the rest of the Jewish world for centuries. We connected these rescue missions to the Israelites Exodus from Egypt in the Passover story and discussed what push factors made the Jews of Ethiopia want to leave and what made it difficult for them to leave as well.

After pizza, we joined the 7th graders to participate in three Passover stations which centered on the following discussion activities:

  • When Have you Not Been Free?
  • How does the Jewish concept of Freedom relate to our lives?
  • For Whom are We Responsible?

Please discuss with your child the take aways from these activities- your child created a brief prayer to share at your Seder in the rotation led by Mrs. Deckert and me.

CJL is not in session next Wednesday, April 17th. We look forward to seeing everyone on April 24th!

A permission slip went out via email yesterday from the CJL Office regarding our class trip to the VA Hospital on May 1st from 5:30-6:45 pm. Drop off and pickup are at the VA and this visit will be in lieu of class at the Temple that day.

Happy Passover and enjoy the Spring break!


Shalom mishpachot!

We started the day on Wednesday reviewing the four questions in Hebrew with Cantor Fogelman after which she introduced us to a wonderful musical setting by Noah Aronson and Elana Aryan of B'chal Dor Va'dor Chayav adam lirot et atzmo K'ilu hu yatzah mimitzrayimYatzah MiMitzrayaim - the central core of the Passover seder which tells each person present to imagine that they were personally freed from bondage in Egypt.

This is why we rotated around different Passover questions later in the day, as Mrs. Smith wrote. Ask your student how s/he responded to the question at my and Ariela's station: For whom are we responsible? How do we ensure the freedom of others who aren't yet free?

All the students have now started the blessings for reading the Haftarah with either me or Mr. Chazdon. If they want to practice them at home, they can be found in the free blessings section of Behrman House. If your child has access to Hebrew in Harmony, they can choose to show me their proficiency in that platform by picking the Birchot HaHaftarah section from the available prayer list. You and your student can hear Cantor Fogelman chant the Haftarah blessings at her Bar/Bat Mitzvah page on the temple web site.

While Mr. Chazdon and I worked with half the class on haftarah blessings, Ariela continued to teach the four questions of Pesach using Hebrew Through Movement.


Have a wonderful break.

Shabbat shalom,

Laura Copel

session 24 4/3/19

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Today we had Chinese food for dinner! Delicious!

Why? To celebrate the international flavor of the sixth grade World Jewry presentations! Woohoo!

In Hebrew class we continued with our small group approach in which half the Hebrew class explores b'nai mitzvah blessings with me and/or Mr. Chazdon while the other half explores Hebrew Through Movement (HTM) in Ariela's classroom.

Today some of the students were introduced to the blessings before reading the Haftarah while others continued with the Torah blessings while still others only did HTM in relation to Pesach. Next week all will be working on Haftarah blessings which come before and after reading from the book of Prophets.

Enjoy the spring weather,

Laura Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-


In Judaica class our Vavniks made finishing touches to their posters and practiced their presentations in front of the other groups.


Our Vavniks did an outstanding job presenting in front of the other CJL students!  Each group was stationed at a round table with their poster. The other CJL students traveled in small groups to each table for a 3- minute presentation and to record in a CJL Passport book

answers to guided questions about their Jewish communities.   Some groups brought in a sampling of food representing their community.

Please visit the school staircase hallway to see the posters.

We concluded the presentations by enjoying Italian ices provided by the CJL.

A big thank you to all who made our presentation a huge and meaningful success: Rabbi Pein for her collaboration on the project, Roberta who assembled the Passport book (which included maps of the countries of the Jewish Communities), Howard Pein, for his personal interview of South Africa, candy and for joining the South Africa group for their presentation, Mrs. Copel for her support,  Rueben for his assistance, and thank you parents for supporting and encouraging this project at home and for your assistance in the food preparation.

Please mark your calendar that the CJL classes has been extended to Wednesday, May 15th.

Shabbat Shalom,


session 23 3/37/19

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Today we started with a short Tefilah with Cantor Fogelman

The main Hebrew class time was spent on learning the blessings before and after the Torah reading which each child will need to recite upon becoming b’nai mitzvah. We split the students so that Mr. Chazdon and I each had 1/4 of the class for small groups to work on blessings while Ariella had the other half for Hebrew Through Movement. The smaller group work was a great way to focus the students on their reading skills. In HTM the students explored the first of the four questions by learning the difference between chameitz (leavened food) and matzah (unleavened food).

The day ended with Cantor Fogelman again for a rehearsal in anticipation of our April 6 Havdalah service. I believe Roberta has sent out a request to get more responses and ask about an alternate time. Earlier today only 10 of our 28 students had been categorized as yes or no. Hopefully that number will increase!

I have attached a recording of Cantor Fogelman singing the Havdalah blessing. The students should listen to it if they're not comfortable with it yet. They can follow the words on either the Hebrew in Harmony site or for those who are having access issues, here in the free prayer section.

Shavuah tov - Have a good week! - the greeting spoken after the Havdalah service... Not using it appropriately because it's not Saturday at sundown, but I just wanted to tell you all to have a good week.

Laura Copel


Shalom Kitah Vav parents,

In Judaica class, our Vavniks created posters representing their selected Jewish communities. Please scroll down for photos. We will be sharing our posters and information with the upper grades of the CJL in small groups around 6:30 pm Wednesday night. There will also be class time beforehand to add information, practice and share for those who may need to leave prior to dismissal. A few students have expressed an interest in preparing a food item at home that represents their community to sample. This is optional but please let me know prior to class.

Due to the snow day we had on January 30th, Wednesday CJL classes will now end on May 15th.

Shabbat Shalom,


































































session 22 3/20/19

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Dear Mishapachot -

Last week was PURIM the entire time for Kita Vav, hence the late report.

Your students started with a brief tefilah service with Rabbi Pein and Cantor Fogelman, next spent an hour rotating around Purim games, next ate a hearty pasta meal and finally attended the silly Purim shpiel!

This week we will resume our class time focus on Torah Blessings while Cantor Fogelman will focus on Havdalah Blessings for April 6.

Many, but not all, students have submitted recordings for their Havdalah blessings. I gave them three weeks to do it three weeks ago, but since Purim came in between, this reminder is late, the Hebrew in Harmony software is not loading for everyone AND they're doing a big project for Mrs. Smith, I'll extend the deadline to April 3.

Let me know how I can help your student if you haven't already reached out to me.

Laura Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents,

We had a fun-filled night celebrating Purim with rotating stations of Purim trivia, Family feud, and participating in a Purim play.

The community pasta bar dinner was a success and we all enjoyed the Purim Sphiel! Scroll down for photos from the community dinner.

On Wednesday 3/27, we will continue working on our Vav Jewish Community Project and design our posters. We will present to the CJL students on April 3rd.

Save the date April 6th for our Havadalah program and service.

See everyone on Wednesday!






















































session 21

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav parents-

In Judaica class our Vavniks were assigned a Jewish Community to research and present to small groups to CJL students on April 3rd. Please note this is an in-class project assignment which we will be working on during the March 13th and March 27th classes. Rabbi Pein and I will provide research materials for each group as well as all supplies to create a poster. If class time is used productively, the research and poster piece should be able to be completed in class. Pictures may possibly be printed at home and if that is not possible that can be done in class as well.

The requirements for this project are attached in a letter below and were fully discussed in class last night. Please review this carefully with your child. If you or a relative have information about the community assigned it would be great if you could share this with your child.

Here are the groups and Jewish communities:

First session
South Africa-Elanna, Justin and Daniel
China- Eriella, Haley and Bailey
Italy-Nora and Emma
Germany-Craig, Paige and Rachel
Russia- Aaron
Poland-Jack and Andrew

Second session
Russia-Reese, Josh and Avery
France-Maddie, Owen, Hannah, Sophia
Italy-Sadie, Ellie and Liv
Phoebe and Aiden will let me know their choice next class.

Please save the date: Saturday, April 6th, Havadalah service and program.

Shavua Tov,

Letter to Kitah Vav

session 20 3/6/2019

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Shalom mishpachot!

Last night we started our Hebrew in Harmony packets for the Havdalah prayer. Four blessings which separate Shabbat from the rest of the week. We eagerly anticipate your students' participation on Saturday, April 5 when they lead the Havdalah ritual and receive their siddur (prayer book) from which they will study to become b'nai mitzvah.

Havdalah is about separation between holy and ordinary so we talked about things that fall into each category and started practicing the Hebrew words.

One class did anti-bullying scenarios to relate to the Purim story. The other class played the Havdalah Quiz-it game on Hebrew in Harmony to get more facts about it and re-familiarize themselves with H-i-H. Whether or not your child did the Quiz-it, you can do this at home as a family to learn about Havdalah.

The homework is to start making their recordings of the four Havdalah prayers for me to give them feedback as we did with the Kiddush prayer. Many students claimed they were too busy to do this. Remind them they all have a few weeks to do it, but I advise starting soon. Since the first blessing is the short form of the Kiddush, they can do the first two blessings the first week, the third blessing the next week, and the fourth the following week. The fourth blessing is the longest chunk and they can break it into smaller ones.

I've attached the Hebrew-in-Harmony recording instructions for Havdalah. PLEASE support your child in getting this started as soon as possible.

Please let me know if you have technical access issues and I will do my best to help.

Thank you,

Laura Copel

HIH Quiz it

session 19 2/27/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class we compared the similarities and differences in the origins, customs, languages, foods, of the Ashkenazic and Jewish Communities. We also discussed how Yiddush was the language spoken by the Ashkenazic community and shared some appropriate Yiddish words we have heard and their meanings. We also learned about the contributions of Rabbi Solomon Ben Isaac known as Rashi, who wrote comprehensive commentaries on the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud in simple explanations with words and concepts that people could understand. Both classes participated in creating a mural with facts and illustrations highlighting the similarities and differences between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities. Scroll down for photos and you are welcome to view the mural on our Vav bulletin board upstairs near our classrooms. See links below if you would like to know more about last night’s lesson.

Please save the date of Saturday, night April 6th for our Vav Havadalah program. More details of timing to follow. Our Vavniks met with Cantor Fogelman during clergy to learn the Havadalah blessings.

The Miss Barton Chocolate order forms are due back March 18th. support this important CJL fundraiser.

Shavua Tov,
























Shalom mishpachot!

It was wonderful to see all of our students after the February vacation. They were certainly happy to be together again.

In Hebrew class we examined the Purim story by writing the names of the characters in Hebrew and talking about their qualities. We used a word association technique - pictures attached. We briefly touched on how the story relates to us today. Next week will go a little deeper into the theme of standing up to bullies, one of the major lessons of Purim.

The students watched The Purim Story in 4 minutes (also known as: Go Esther!) - a big hit. Some of the students were at the Merkaz l'Ivrit at the time, so please share it with them.

With Cantor Fogelman, the students dived deeper into the Havdalah service to prepare for their April 6th service.

NEXT WEEK I will introduce the Havdalah unit in Hebrew-in-Harmony. Once again, the students will need to make recordings of the prayer. I understand that for some of you, the technology was a struggle. Once again, I will try to help you find work-arounds. Hopefully you'll agree that this method of recording in the privacy of home plus the personal feed-back was worth the effort.

Laura Copel

















































































session 18 2/13/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class we continued our exploration of the Golden Age of Spain by learning more about key Jewish figures of this time period.

Our Vavniks collaborated in small groups to read and present the contributions of Samuel Hanagid, Judah Halevi and delved deeper into the life of Moses Maimonides.  Then, we held a mock television show where we invited these figures as guests and other classmates served as talk show hosts to pose interview questions. Other guests were Jews living during that time period who shared their occupations and lifestyles.  This was also a warm up to our in class Vav history project beginning in March.  There will be more details to follow after the break.

The Miss Barton’s Chocolate forms went home. Please consider supporting this CJL fundraiser.

CJL is not in session next Wednesday, February 20th.  See everyone on February 27th!

Enjoy the winter break!


Dear Kita Vav families,

Last night, Feb 13, we finished our Kiddush unit! We celebrated by giving each student the chance to show his or her mastery of the blessing. They could choose from the attached options. I was delighted by the new melodies, the creative drawings, the knowledge of vocabulary and the deep connections students made with the meaning of the prayer. 

I attached a few pictures of some of the work.

Outside of the classroom, we worshipped with Cantor Fogelman and Rabbi Pein, focusing on what spiritual and emotional gifts we can bring to the sanctuary,

Oh, and we ate Chinese food for dinner - a big hit!

Have a wonderful break! I'll see your fabulous children and touch back with you all in two weeks!

Morah Laura Copel
(Morah means teacher in Hebrew)








































































session 17 2/6/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class we began our exploration of the Golden Age of Spain

and centered on the contributions and values of Maimonides.   We discussed the meaning and examples of the 8 different levels of giving according to Maimonides Ladder of Tzedakah which teaches that some ways of giving more valuable than others.  Then, we cut out and created individual paper ladders of Tzedakah that ranked from the least effective to the most effective way to give Tzedakah.  The lowest rung of the ladder was when the giver gives unwillingly and the highest rung is when the giver helps others to help themselves.

Please encourage your child to bring Tzedakah each week.

We concluded the evening with having clergy time with Rabbi Jaech.

Shavua Tov,



Shalom mishpachot!

On Wednesday we did a variety of things.

We started with Cantor Fogelman teaching the beautiful song "Lord Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary" in honor of the Torah portion this week in which God gives Moses instructions for the building of the Sanctuary - the Mishkan in Hebrew.

In class, the students created flash cards with important words from the Kiddush prayer in order to learn their meanings as well as work in their journals to understand the 'observe and remember' (shamor v'zachor) commandments regarding Shabbat.

We also divided up a bit so that some students studied the Torah portion of the week through a fun BimBam video with guided questions

T’rumah - Gifts - For Kita Vav

while other students piloted an experiment attending Hebrew Through Movement with Morah Ariela and Mr. Chazdon.

I am happy to say that nearly all of the students have either made a recording of themselves reading the Kiddush (with or without Hebrew in Harmony) or have read portions of it for me in person. I expect to finish up the Kiddush unit this coming Wednesday and start on the Havdalah blessings after the break.

At the end of the day, we met with Rabbi Jaech who answered the question "Do we have to believe everything in the Torah?" with her own life story of how she became a Jew after being raised in another faith. We were very proud of how all the students were engaged - you could hear a pin drop. The questions they asked were high-level and the rabbi responded in kind.

Shabbat shalom,

Laura Copel

session 16 1/30/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel


session 14 1/16/19

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Shalom mishpachot! Hello families!

Today I told our students that this week's Torah portion - B'Shalach - is one of my favorites. It tells the story of when the Israelites cross the Sea of Reeds to finally escape slavery in Egypt. We studied a worksheet (attached) that related the Kiddush we're learning and the V'ahavta we learned a couple of months ago to the Mi Chamocha which comes directly from this week's text.

We also watched a video of the song "If You Believe" sung by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston with clips from the movie Prince of Egypt to illustrate the dramatic climax.

I am pleased that many of the students successfully began their Kiddush recordings. I've given digital feedback to all the submissions. Correction recordings are now welcome!

Please remember that I expect a recording from each student.

ONCE AGAIN, I've attached the instructions. PLEASE be aware that there are three settings for the recording - EASY (word by word), INTERMEDIATE (line by line) and EXPERT (the whole prayer). It defaults to easy but you can change it!

I've been working with families that have reached out to me with technical issues. For those families and any others who have yet to gain access for any reason, here is a short explanation of how to get into the Hebrew in Harmony app:

How Students Access Hebrew in Harmony Digital:

On a computer (Windows 10 or Mac OS 10.12 Sierra or later plus most recent version of Google Chrome web browser):

1) Go to

2) Log in using the email address and password sent by Behrman House to the email address given to CJL on the permission slip.

3) After logging in, you will see the learning app.

On a smartphone or tablet (Apple iPhone or iPad - iOS 10.0 or later,1.52 GB storage (free space)) Android phone or tablet Android 5.1 or later):

1) Download the app from the App Store.

2) Open it and wait for files to download

3) Log in using your email and password (see above).

If for some reason you've forgotten the password, you will get the option to click the Forgot Password link to change it.

Handout 1
Handout 2


Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class, our Vavniks learned about the evolution of Tu B'Shevat through history and took on the part of one of four historical groups. We divided into 4 groups: The Rabbis of the Mishna, the Kabbalists of the Middle Ages, the Chalutzim and the Diaspora Jews.  After reading a short passage about their assigned historical group, our Vavniks noted the following:

- When and where their historical group lived

- What was the meaning of Tu B'Shevat for them

- How their historical group observed Tu B'Shevat

Illustrations were then made from the information learned with words from the passages read.

See below link of brief video we watched for the changes of Tu B'Shevat through the ages.

Start with the video at the top and scroll down for more information about Tu B'Shevat.

We also joined Kitah Zayin and had tefillah with Rabbi Pein and Cantor Fogelman.

Shavua Tov,



session 13 1/9/19

Mrs. Copel

Shalom mishpachot (Hello families!)

Last night we:

  • wrote Hebrish words about Havdalah
  • delved deeper into our Kiddush packets
  • practiced singing the Kiddush with Cantor Fogelman's recording in Hebrew in Harmony
  • started to learn blessings for Havdalah in preparation for our April 6 Havdalah service

I am waiting for Kiddush recordings from many of the students. I will send personal reminders for them... Those who had them done for yesterday get a break this week.


Laura Copel

session 15 1/23/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class our study of Jewish history centered on the Jews adjusting to Babylonian society after the destruction of the Second Temple, and how the Diaspora became the new center of Jewish life.  We discussed how the Talmud helped adapt Judaism to life in Babylonia and helped our ancestors maintain their Jewish identities.  We thought about the relationship between the Torah and the Talmud and how both guide many aspects of Jewish life today.  To connect this to present day, we interpreted a quote from the Talmud regarding a parent's obligation to raise a child, and further discussed what other obligations parents should have to their children as well as what obligations children should have to their parents.  Many students gave very thoughtful responses.

We also refreshed our knowledge of the customs associated with Tu Bishvat in preparation for the Seder led by the Confirmation class at the end of the evening.

Please note that we will be dismissing students from the oneg room promptly at 7:00 pm.  Thank you for your assistance with this new dismissal procedure.

Shavua Tov,


Shalom mishpachot!

FIRST: Rabbi Pein asked us to remind you that the Mitzvah Morning festivities were rescheduled for Sunday Jan 27th from 9:30 – 11:30 AM. (Please note the later starting time of 9:30 AM). This is a family community service experience (for CJL students and their parents/families) which will include a light community lunch. Please let us know if we can expect you by clicking this link, Sixth graders and their whole families are warmly welcome!

SECOND: I couldn't resist relating one more Torah portion of the week to our Kiddush unit. This week we read about the Ten Commandments. Our students figured out that after 500 years of slavery, the newly freed Israelites (see last week's report on the crossing of the Sea of Reeds) needed rules to create order from chaos. We found the commandment to celebrate the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. We were reminded of what that means and how to spell holy in Hebrew - קדש

I reminded the students that each of them is expected to record the Kiddush. Their homework is to either correct the recordings they've already made - according to my comments in the app or emailed to parents - or make an initial recording.

PLEASE NOTE that some people have had trouble due to a few different misunderstandings:

  1. Not holding the record button throughout the length of the recording (by the word, the line or whole thing, depending on the setting)
  2. Not remembering/finding the password Behrman House sent - solved by choosing 'forgot password' at login time and then successfully following directions to change it.
  3. Not configuring the microphone properly.

Hopefully their experiences will help your student successfully complete their assignment! This is only our second year using this technology so even I'm still learning.

THIRD: Tonight we celebrated Tu Bishvat a the end of the evening with a delicious seder organized by the Confirmation class. Many tree fruits and cups of grape juice were consumed.

Thank you for your patience with the new dismissal from the oneg room procedure.


Laura Copel

session 12 1/2/19

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Happy New Year Kitah Vav parents!

In Judaica class, our Vavniks shared some of their activities during the break as our ice breaker activity. Then, we continued our study of Jewish history and learned how the Jews adapted and survived after the destruction of the 2nd Temple as prayer eventually took the place of sacrifice which had previously been the central form of Jewish worship.

To get started, our Vavniks thought of different activities and places here at Temple Israel that help us develop our identities as Jews.

For examples, our Vavinks learn Jewish History, Jewish values and to read Hebrew prayers which helps us grow and live as Jews as well as to participate in services. Tzedakah projects helps put the mitzvah of giving to others into action. Temple activities such as grade level services  and dinners brings Jewish families together and makes us feel like part of a community.

We also thought about how our lives would be different if there wasn't a temple in our community.  How would we learn to read Hebrew and pray?  Where would we celebrate Jewish holidays or become a Bat or Bat Mitzvah?  This led to our learning how the first synagogues developed and became important in Jewish Life and the role Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zakkai had in making that happen.

To make a family connection from last night's class, please take a few moments during the week to think about the ways Temple Israel helps your family strengthen your Jewish identities.

Shavua Tov,


Dear Kita Vav parents,

Happy New Year!


We started 2019 with tefila in the sanctuary during which Rabbi Pein and Cantor Fogelman explained the similarities and differences between the Jewish and secular new year greetings and celebrations.

In Hebrew class, the students received their Kiddush paper packets from Hebrew in Harmony. We use the packets to review the words and try to establish relevance to our own lives.

At the end of the evening we had a session with Cantor Fogelman who introduced the celebration of Havdalah at the end of each Shabbat on Saturday at sunset. She framed it as the partner of Kiddush which is chanted as Shabbat begins.

Please save the date: Kita vav will lead a Havdalah service at temple Israel on Saturday April 6. Details will arrive as it approaches.

HOMEWORK!!! Each student received a paper copy of instructions to create a private recording of The Kiddush using the Hebrew in Harmony app. I've sent them previously, but am re-attaching them here.

The recording should be made well before class next week in order for me to have a chance to review and correct.



If your child has already made a prayer recording, I have made corrections and those parts need to be re-recorded OR they can choose to either record more words/lines OR advance to the next level of settings.

As usual, if you have ANY questions, let me know and i will do my best to answer.

Thank you,

Laura Copel

session 11 12/19/18

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Dear Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class, we continued our study of Jewish Communities around the world with the visual of the Festival of Lights exhibit.

First we worked in pairs and shared one Jewish community that we found interesting from the photos and compiled the responses on a white board.

Then, we reflected that although these Jewish communities are diverse, the pictures show that the Jewish communities are celebrating Hanukkah like we do- lighting the Hanukkiah,  being with family, having parties, telling the Maccabee story.  Also we learned that despite the distance and diversity, we share the same beliefs, practices and heritages in our lives at home and at TINW.

We then shared where are families originated and located our families origin on a world map using colored stickers. See photos below. Thank you parents for discussing and assisting with last week’s homework assignment. Your support at home truly enhanced the lesson!

To conclude, each class created a banner illustrating the prompt..,”Being part of the Jewish people is like.....” Please scroll down for photos below to see the beautiful illustrations. Your child also selected a Jewish community to learn more about for a spring class project.

A big thank you to Rabbi Pein for bringing the Festival of Lights Exhibit to TINW and sharing her creative ideas to make this project a huge success!

We ended the evening with Maccabiah games of Gaga and Jewopardy trivia led by Mr Chazdon.

Please note that CJL is not in session next Wednesday, December 26th.

Classes resume on January 2nd!

Wishing everyone a wonderful and relaxing vacation and see everyone in 2019!


Dear parents,


We delved a little deeper into the ׁקִדוּש Kiddush prayer by searching for six words based on the root קדש (kuf/dalet/shin).

The long form of this prayer is not just about blessing the wine or grape juice.

It's about drinking the fruit of the vine as a symbol to make the whole Sabbath holy, to remember all the reasons we celebrate the special time that is Shabbat.

I am pleased that slightly more than half of the students have logged in to Hebrew in Harmony to explore the digital classroom and prayer practice area.

For those students who have not yet logged in, I will try to help you and them with whatever technical issues you are having.

  1. is no Hebrew homework over the vacation, but I strongly suggest those who can't log in figure it out before the next assignment is due.

Pizza time is working much smoother with our camp style serving. Ask your child about it.

The second half of the evening revolved around Macabiah games.

Your children were split into four groups and did two of the following activities: Israeli dancing, gaga, Torah yoga or Sing-down.

Last night was our last session for 2018. Have a great vacation!

See you next year!


Laura Copel
Kita Vav 'כִּתָה ו



























































session 10 12/12/18

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Dear Parents,

In Judaica class, we embarked upon a two (2) week lesson which explores the cultural-socio diversity with Judiasm.  Specially, our Vavniks began to learn the differences in the historical origins of Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Mizrahi and Ethiopian Jewish communities.

As a warm up, we remembered that last week we enjoyed latkes and learned that eating latkes is a distinctly Ashkenazic Jewish custom. Vavniks also shared if they ate or prepared latkes at home during Hanukkah.  I then revealed and
gave each Vavnik a munchkin donut and some were surprised that jelly donuts are typically eaten in Israel during Hanukkah.  A few knew the Hebrew word for it (Sufganiyot).

We then watched a brief video which explains the historical origins of the Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Mizrahi and Ethiopian Jewish communities.  See link below and students who were absent should watch and compete the attached tree map note sheet.

Next, we observed the Festival of Lights picture exhibit in the Oneg Room and went on a Scavenger Hunt to learn more about the diverse Jewish world communities. Students wrote written responses from the clues.

For homework, your child will be asking you what is your families origin. Is your background Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Is there a special tradition that your family does that has been passed down or interesting fact to share. Your child should come to the 12/19 class prepared to share what you have discussed with the class.

Shavua Tov,


Today we started studying the Kiddush for Shabbat which your son or daughter will chant on the Friday night before he or she becomes bar or bat mitzvah. This long version of the Kiddush expands the simple blessing of the wine or grape juice into an explanation of why we keep the Sabbath as a holy day. We examined the word Kiddush and it's meaning - Holy. What does it mean to be holy?

I also pointed out that very few of the students had done their homework for the week, to get onto the Hebrew in Harmony website, and play the Kiddush Quiz It. For those who have done it, or for those who'd prefer to skip the QuizIt, they should study the actual prayer by using the dictation practice section. The instructions are at the links below:



I will see who has done these exercises, and thus will know who hasn't. If it's because the student is having trouble accessing Hebrew in Harmony, PLEASE let me know at

Laura Copel

Kita Vav Hebrew Teacher

session 9 12/5/18

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

  • I introduced the word achsav (with Hebrew spelling) for NOW.
  • Students used Hebrish to write activities they've done for Chanukah
  • I introduced the Hebrew in Harmony App section for the Kiddush - the long form for the blessing over the wine they'll need to learn for their bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies.
  • I assigned HOMEWORK - They must log on to the Hebrew in Harmony App using the instructions that were sent from Behrman house. They must go to the Kiddush section (not Kaddish or Kedusha!) and play the Quiz-it or Soup game.
  • I explained that I will be able to see that they logged in only if they use the Hebrew in Harmony app whose icon looks like this:

  • Please help your child access the site before next Wednesday, If you can't find the instructions, please write a note to both me and Roberta.
  • We had a thrilling drumming session before a fabulous feast of latkes and chicken fingers followed by a Chanukah menorah lighting and song session in the sanctuary.
  • Chocolate gelt and Chanukah candles from Sisterhood were distributed in the lobby at the end of the evening.

Happy Chanukah,

Laura Copel

Shalom Kitah Vav parents:

In Judaica class, our Vavniks worked in small groups using banana grams to create words expressing Hanukkah themes and related words to the holiday and Hanukkah story. See photos attached. Examples of themes created were: Freedom, Courage, Resilience, Perseverance, Light vs Dark. After that, dreidel was played using gelt! We had abbreviated classes and our Vavniks enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah together as well as the Jewish Drum Tales program and Hanukkah dinner.

Our evening concluded with lighting the 4th candle of Hanukkah by the Confirmation class in the Sanctuary and singing Hanukkah songs led by Cantor Fogelman.

Please also consider donating canned food to benefit the Croton Caring Committee through Sunday, December 16th - a community action project led by Kitah Dalet (4th grade)!

Happy Hanukkah!





























session 8 11/28/18

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Shalom Mishpachot - Hello Families!

Today we:

  1. Reviewed the Chanukah Blessings and talked about how we light the Chanukah candles because we are commanded to do so in response to the 3 miracles of long ago. Not just the oil lasting for 8 days, but because a small army defeated a large army, and that there are Jewish people today! We talked about how Chanukah will begin Dec 2 at sundown.
  2. Examined the lyrics to a song called Judah Maccabee - attached here


I pointed out how the writer wanted to show how important it is to act like Judah Maccabee even in modern times - wherever somebody is fighting for religious freedom . Due to technical issues, I couldn't play the original version - so here it is. Please share it with your child and whole family. I don't consider it Hanukkah unless I've heard this...

08 - Sons of Safam - Safam - Judah Macabbee.mp3

  1. Ate dinner in a new 'camp style' format that the kids really liked.
  2. Talked about proper behavior in class and generated some ideas about what the consequences should be for not following the rules.

Except for the people from whom we got permission slips recently, you (or your child whose email address you gave us) should have received instructional emails directly from Behrmann House about how to log in to the Hebrew in Harmony website and to download the Hebrew in Harmony app to any device. Your students will use the app to create recordings of prayers for me and to play games with which to learn prayers better. The sooner they log in to the system, the better.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Hanukkah!

Laura Copel -


Shalom Kitah Vav Parents,

In Judaica class, our Vavniks created present-day skits in small groups that paralleled situations the Jews of Israel faced under the rule of King Antiochus. Themes of skits centered on choices of assimilation, adaptation and resistance which the Jews of Israel also had to decide. Reflection questions were answered as well as thinking what we can do to make a positive difference in class, our family and in school. We concluded the evening with Tefilah led by Rabbi Pein and accompanied by Mrs. Copel and Mr. Chazdon.

We also enjoyed a fun Hanukkah-themed video here and shared all of the terms related to Hanukkah.

Next week, we will be participating in a special Hanukkah program- Jewish Drum Tales. The Jewish Drum Tales facilitators will bring the Hanukkah story of Hanukkah to life through an interactive musical program of drumming. A Hanukkah dinner with latkes will be served at 6:15 pm. At 6:40 pm, CJL parents are invited to join us in the sanctuary to participate in lighting the 4th candle of Hanukkah.

Please also consider donating canned food to benefit the Croton Caring Committee through Sunday, December 16th-a community action project led by Kitah Dalet (4th grade)!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Hanukkah!


session 7 11/14/18

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Kita Vav Hebrew - November 14

Today we started the day with a little conversational Hebrew, asking the boys - Mah shlomcha and the girls Mah shlomech? (How are you?) Each student had to answer 'tov m'od/very good,' 'kacha kacha/okay' or 'lo tov/not good.' If they (or you!) want to learn more conversational Hebrew, go straight to

We spent the rest of the time exploring Hebrish. - writing English words with Hebrew letters - a bit deeper than last week. To model, I used Hebrew letters and vowels to write the words "Vat are you doing for Tanksgiving?" There is no "W" or "Th" sound in Hebrew.

? וָתּ אַר יוּ דֻאִינג פֹר תֵנְקסגִבִינג

The students had to respond with at least one word about Thanksgiving -using Hebrew letters for the English words, first individually and then in pairs. It was instructive and fun - especially for me as I observed them help each other figure out how to write cranberries, mashed potatoes, happiness and more. I hung the resulting sheets on the bulletin board downstairs. Here are links to the posters:



We had a session with Rabbi Jaech who told the story of Adam and Eve as an answer to one of the student's questions - "Why did God only create two people in the beginning?" Her answer - The story helps us understand that all humans are related to each other because we're descended from the same original parents.

I did not assign explicit homework over the break but encouraged them to explore more on the Behrman House website. (See my post from last week for directions. The conversational Hebrew link above would be a fine place to visit.

When we return from the break, the Hebrew classes will revisit our Brit/Behavior agreements and add Consequences so that everyone knows clearly what is expected and what will happen if they don't meet those expectations.


Laura Copel


Shalom Kitah Vav parents-

In Judaica class, we:

  • Explored the part of Jewish history when the Romans dominated Judea. We learned that the Jews of Judea were diverse in their beliefs and practices and their lack of tolerance and respect for one another led them to the verge of destruction. We also defined the term Sinat Hinam (senseless hatred)
  • Learned that the Sadducees believed that the written Torah could only be interpreted by priests and the Pharisees believed that the written Torah could be understood with oral teachings as well. The differences between the Sadducee's and Pharisees were so great that they went to civil war while ignoring the threat of the expanding Roman Empire which eventually made Judea a Roman province.
  • Took a close look at Hillel and Shammai, both Pharisees and revered teachers who often had different interpretations of the Torah. We discussed that Hillel's summary of the Torah was like a motto that expressed an important value. "What is hateful to you, do not do to others. That is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary..."
  • Created and illustrated our own motto that expressed a Jewish value. Each Vavnik had the option to come to the front of the class, stand on one foot, and share his/her motto.
  • After pizza time, Rabbi Pein presented information regarding Tzedakah organizations. Each grade voted to decide what organization should receive their weekly Tzedakah.

Please note CJL is not in session November 21st.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!


session 6 11/7/18

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Copel

Dear Parents,

In Judaica class, we:

  • Shared qualities of a strong leader as our warm up (trustworthy, loyal, confident, smart, responsible, brave) and how we can practice these leadership qualities in our every day lives.
  • We took a closer look at the Hanukkah story and the strengths of Judah Maccabee as a leader
  • Further explored the conflict the Jews of Israel experienced between religious and secular commitments and discussed how this continues to this day
  • We looked back at daily life for Jews in the Seleucid kingdom in 175 BCE when Antiochus Epiphanes was king, and Jerusalem became more like a Greek-style city.
  • We learned that some of the high priests at that time chose to take part in neighboring athletic competitions instead of fulfilling their duties. Their choice to pursue Greek cultural activities caused traditional Jews to resist Hellenism.

To connect this back to us we took a look at this example: In 1965 the Los Angeles Dodgers were in the World Series and wanted Sandy Koufax (their ace pitcher) to start Game 1. The conflict was that the game fell on Yom Kippur and Koufax chose to spend the day praying in Temple, but was criticized by a sports writer for his decision.

We had a lock down drill prior to dinner. We concluded the evening in the Sanctuary with Cantor Fogelman.

Shavua Tov,



Kita Vav Hebrew Report November 7

We started learning Hebrish- writing English words using Hebrew letters. It’s a great way to understand the sounds of letters and vowels by reversing the decoding. Many of the students thought it was a fun challenge.

We will continue this each week.

To be read for their Hebrew in Harmony accounts, HOMEWORK was assigned:

Go to

Choose Samples

Choose Hebrew in Harmony

Choose Reform prayer book

Choose Sh’ma or Mi Chamocha


Choose the game icon at the bottom and try the games

Let me know what you chose.

Have parent write to me at




Choose Prayer Practice

Choose V’ahavta (level 2, number 5)

Click the arrow to hear the dictation for each line


As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Mrs. Copel

session 5 10/24/18

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

Today the students interviewed each other a bit to learn things they didn't know before. Many found they have passions in common - drumming, reading, sports and so on.

We reviewed vocabulary for the V'ahavta and some of us explored building words with the Hebrew word for 'house' in them. Why? Because the V'ahavta includes instructions to say the words of the Sh'ma in your house and to post the words of the "Sh'ma' on the 'doorposts of your house'. Hence the mezuzzah!

Cantor Fogelman helped us rehearse our V'ahavta chant and song in preparation for the Nov 2 Sixth grade shabbat.

You can still sign up for the Perfect Potluck dinner beforehand.

If you haven't done so already, please send in the permission slips for the Hebrew in Harmony that Roberta emailed to you previously.

NO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK, October 31st.


Shalom Kitah Vav Parents-

In Judaica class, we began to explore how the Jews of Israel responded to the challenge of Hellenism by using different strategies: resistance, assimilation and adaptation. We also discussed temptations that existed for Jews to adopt Hellenistic ways.

As in introduction to this unit and to help make it relevant to present day, we imagined the following hypothetical scenario: A new principal in school required all students to wear orange and blue to school everyday. We divided in 3 groups: resist (ignores the rule), assimilate (follows the rule) or adapt (compromise). Each group was asked to come up with an explanation in support of their position. (I.e. Resisters - don't want to give up their individuality; Assimilate - Don't want to stand out or be labeled as trouble makers; Adaptors - Want to get along and show respect but don't want to completely lose their individuality).

We defined key terms and historical figures related to this time period such as Alexander the Great, Hellenism, resistance, assimilation, adaptation and Septuagint - the written Greek translation of the Torah.

We concluded with debating the question: "Should the entire Shabbat prayer service be conducted in English?" The first group represented the all-English position, the second group represented the part-English / Part-Hebrew position, and the third group represented the All-Hebrew position.

Our class service is on November 2 at 7:00 pm, with a potluck supper at 5:45 pm. Please go on Perfect Potluck beforehand to share what you are bringing for dinner.

Just a reminder that there are no classes next Wednesday, October 31st.

Shavua Tov,






Laura Copel

session 4 10/17/18

Mrs. Copel and Mrs. Smith

October 17 Hebrew update

The students played an alef-bet game, reviewed V'ahavta and got a brief introduction to different facets of Hebrew in Harmony, an online learning center where Hebrew prayers are taught with music and games. You will be receiving information soon about how to sign your child up for digital access to this incredible resource.

Looking forward to meeting you at our Shabbat service Nov 2, Friday night.

Shalom Kitah Vav parents,-

In Judaica class, we learned more about the early Israelites and how they adapted Judaism in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora. We also discussed that despite the many adaptions made, both in Israel and in exile, our ancestors kept their same values and beliefs in Judaism which continues with us today.

As in introduction to this unit we:

  • Thought of and shared what 2 Jewish items we would take on a long journey lasting several years that would help us maintain our Jewish identities and live as Jews and why we would choose them:
  • Defined key terms and historical figures related to this time period such as diaspora, exile, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, King Nebuchadnezzar, King Cyrus, Holy temple, Philistines, Assyria, Babylonian Kingdom.
  • Divided into small groups and each group researched and presented facts regarding either King Saul, King David or King Solomon

We also had a fire drill prior to pizza and concluded the evening with Tefilah led by Rabbi Pein, Mrs Copel and Mr Chazdon where our Vavniks led Avot v I'mahot and Gevurot.

Save the date for our Vav class service November 2nd at 7PM, with a pot luck dinner before. Submit your dish via Perfect Potluck.
Shavua Tov,



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.
Sun, June 16 2019 13 Sivan 5779