With the conclusion of the holidays of Tishrei celebrations, one of the central focuses of our Ohr Chadash classes’ began, the studying of the Parashat HaShavuah (the weekly Torah portion). Each class, on age-appropriate levels, studied the myriad multi-faceted stories of Bereshit (Genesis), beginning with the miracle of Creation, continuing with Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain, Noach and the destruction of earthly life by means of the Flood, and the advent of Judaism through our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
With the dearth of Jewish holidays in the month of Cheshvan, our younger Sunday-only classes were able to devote vital class time to the study of Shabbat and its important role in weekly Jewish life. Morah Emily and Morah Miriam conducted a joint Gan-Katan and Shorashim activity, preparing challah in class for baking at home for Shabbat.
At the core of our curriculum is the learning of Hebrew. For Gan-Katan, Shorashim, and Mechina, this involves learning the names, sounds, and the print versions of the consonants and the names and sounds of the nekudot (vowels). The children also learn certain preliminary words upon which they will build their future vocabulary lexicons.
For Aleph through Hey, there are reading groups based upon each student’s capabilities, not chronological age. Each teacher gears her twice-a-week class to her students’ fluency, hoping to provide an ever-increasing capability as the school year progresses. Additionally, our reading specialist, Morah Cherie, provides the opportunity for individualized Hebrew enrichment, so that each child can realize his/her full potential of the language.
In Gesher, our post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah students read short stories in Hebrew, study Israeli newspapers, and write stories, with the aspiration that the students will become completely fluent in the Hebrew language.
With the passing of Elie Wiesel, our Dalet class’ year-long Holocaust studies curriculum took on a special added concentration, with a look at the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to increasing global awareness of the genocide of the Jewish people during World War II.
On specially designated Sundays, our Aleph through Hey classes meet en masse and each teacher conducts a discussion on a certain topic which is her expertise. Morah Judy talked about Eli Wiesel and the Holocaust, Morah Carmela led a seminar on Israel, and Morot Zehava and Simcha related stories of the lessons of the weekly Parshiyot. The children sat enthralled at each presentation, ever ready with pertinent questions and comments.
The weekly Wednesday sessions of Ask The Rabbi provide our students with added insights into that week’s Torah portion and form the foundation for lively interaction between our clergy and our children. The rabbis also conduct tefillah learning, which enriches the school prayer curricula.
As the month of Kislev begins, both teachers and students look forward to an in-depth study of Chanukah, concentrating on the struggle of the Maccabees to retain the Jewish way of life and the miracle God afforded our people, which we yearly commemorate with the lighting of the Hanukkiah.
Our Education Director, Ruth Merrill, and the Morot of Ohr Chadash wish all our families an illuminating and bright Festival of Lights, filled with joyous celebration and familial warmth.