© 2019 by Rabbi David Paskin

JPaL is a program of Temple Sinai of North Dade
Call Us: 305-932-9012   /   rabbi.david@tsnd.org   /  18801 NE 22nd Ave, Miami, FL 33180

Welcome to the Nachshonim online learning page for JPaL. We're glad you're here. Each month we tackle a different unit of study.

September - Renewal/Yamim Noraim

October - Lifelong Learning/Talmud Torah

November - Holiness/Shabbat

December - Miracles/Hanukkah

January - Living Jewishly

February - Joy/Purim

March - Freedom/Pesach

April - Hope/Israel

 

Throughout the year we also learn Hebrew, participate in t'fillah (prayer) and celebrate middot (Jewish values/character traits.)

Click on this month's unit to get started.

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Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

Explain the meaning and significance of the holiday symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on two ritual items - the שׁוֹפָר and the סֻכָּה.

שׁוֹפָר

 

The various notes of the שׁוֹפָר that are blown are:

 

-תְּקִיעָה‎ — one long blast

 

-שְׁבָרִים‎ — three broken sounds

 

-תְּרוּעָה‎ ‑ nine staccato notes

Click above to listen to each note. What do you hear? What do the sounds make you think of?

The תְּקִיעָה‎, we are taught, is a sound of triumph and joy, while the שְׁבָרִים‎ and תְּרוּעָה‎ are sounds of pain and suffering.

The final תְּקִיעָה‎ is longer (it is called תְּקִיעָה גְּדוֹלָה, a “great blast”).

Listen to the תְּקִיעָה גְּדוֹלָה. What does the long תְּקִיעָה‎ make you think of? What do you feel when you hear it?

There are lots of different things the שׁוֹפָר might make you think of. Here's a list of ten things the שׁוֹפָר symbolizes. Which of these are meaningful to you? What would you add to the list?

סֻכָּה

According to rabbinic tradition, these tent-like structures represent the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. In the Torah it says:

On the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Tishrei) when you gather into your silos the year's produce, you shall celebrate the holiday of ADONAI for seven days.... You shall live in Sukkot for seven days... in order that the generations to come shall know that I provided Sukkot for the Children of Israel when I took them out of Egypt. (Vayikra 23:39-43)

 

 

 

According to the Rabbi Eliezer the words, "I provided Sukkot for the Children of Israel" don't mean literal sukkot (huts) but instead mean God protected us with clouds of God's Glory. Tradition teaches that a “cloud of glory” accompanied the Jewish people in the desert and provided comfort and cover through their treacherous trek. 

What do you think? Did God give us actual "sukkot" or was there a Cloud of Glory protecting us?

Describe the big ideas of each holiday and will be able to draw connections to their lives

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים. Using all you've learned about these holy days - what would you say are the BIG ideas of רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, יוֹם כִּפּוּר and סֻכּוֹת?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

What's the Big Idea.png

Recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

circle calendar - Edited.png

Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

Use appropriate holiday vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for these חַגִּים. You know the names of the חַגִּים in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the holiday greetings. When you speak about these חַגִּים with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים:

Holiday Names

יָמִים נוֹרָאִים - High Holy Days
רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה - Rosh Hashanah
יוֹם תְּרוּעָה - Yom T'ruah
יוֹם כִּפּוּר - Yom Kippur

Holiday Greetings

חַג שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Holidays
שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה - A Good and Sweet New Year

גְּמָר טוֹב - May it be a good end of the year

צוֹם קַל - Have an easy fast

גְּמַר חֲתִימָה טוֹבָה - May you be sealed for goodness
מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה...חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן - Happy times for festivals

Holiday Symbols

שׁוֹפַר - Shofar
קִיטְל - Kitel
רִמוֹן - Pomegranate
תְּשׁוּבָה - Repentance
תַּפּוּחִים וּדְבַשׁ - Apples and Honey
לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג - Lulav and Etrog
סֻכָּה - Sukkah
תּוֹרָה - Torah

Express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the holiday symbols and of selected liturgical pieces

Let's take a closer look at some of the בְּרָכוֹת and תְּפִלּוֹת we say on these חַגִּים. 

On רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה:

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חָנֵּֽנוּ וַעֲנֵֽנוּ כִּי אֵין בָּֽנוּ מַעֲשִׂים עֲשֵׂה עִמָּֽנוּ צְדָקָה וָחֶֽסֶד וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ

There are so many different ways of imagining God. Some of our תְּפִלּוֹת imagine God as a "Healing God" or a "Loving God. This תְּפִלָּה talks about God as אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ, which means "Our Father, Our King." Why do you think the מַחְזוֹר (High Holy Day prayer book) would imagine God this way on the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים?

For sitting in the סֻכָּה:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוׂתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לִישֵׁב בַּסֻּכָּה:

According to this בְּרָכָה, there is something special about just sitting in the סֻּכָּה. This seems a bit strange - after all, most מִצְווֹת have us up and moving around. Why do you think it's a מִצְוָה to just sit in the סֻּכָּה? 

 

For shaking the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוׂתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב:

This בְּרָכָה isn't actually about "shaking" the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג. The words at the end, "עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב" actually mean, "lifting up the לוּלָב". Why do you think we shake the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג instead of just lifting them up?

 

When you are sitting in the סֻכָּה or shaking לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג for the first time each year:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה:

Doing something new or for the first time is always exciting. In this בְּרָכָה we thank God for "keeping us alive and helping us reach this moment"? What does God have to do with us reaching a new moment or doing something for the first time?

Draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of each holiday and the holiday narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

When we bring together the four parts of the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג on סֻכּוֹת it's like we're bringing together all the Jews from all over the world to Jerusalem to celebrate. The textures, smells and tastes of the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג connect us to nature and remind us of all the fruits and vegetables that we harvest each year. Sitting in the סֻכָּה listening to the wind blow and feeling rain drops on my head reminds me how fragile life is. Having to build a סֻכָּה teaches me how important it is to always be building safe spaces for me and my family especially when we are journeying outside of the comfort and safety of our own home.

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holidays?

Express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of the holiday

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים. Here are two of them: 

הַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים

 

“When the people of Israel leave their homes and enter the sukkah for the sake of God’s name, they merit to welcome the Divine Presence there, and all the seven shepherds descend from Gan Eden and come to the סֻכָּה as their guests.”  (Zohar, Emor 103a).

The Zohar teaches us that the סֻכָּה contains such an intense concentration of spiritual energy that it becomes a paradise on earth, providing a holy space for the gathering of our ancestors. The seven guests (ushpizin), who were traditionally invited into our סֻכּוֹת, were: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. Today, we also invite into our sukkot seven female leaders of Israel: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, and Esther.

 

As we invite these traditional, spiritual guests, we are reminded of the importance of inviting others into our סֻכּוֹת. The מִצְוָה of הַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים, the welcoming of guests, extends to all those groups, friends and strangers, whom we invite to share the bounty of our סֻכָּה. Symbolically, we might invite all those who inspire us to strive for holiness; practically, we might invite all those in need to partake of our hospitality.

If you could invite any person, living or dead, into your סֻכָּה - who would it be and why?

תְּשׁוּבָה

n the Jewish tradition, repentance is called תְּשׁוּבָה , a Hebrew word translated as “returning.” One of the Hebrew words for sin is chet, which in Hebrew means “to go astray.” Thus the idea of repentance in Jewish thought is a return to the path of righteousness.

תְּשׁוּבָה can be done at any time, but the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים and יוֹם כִּפּוּר especially are considered an especially important time for it. The process of repentance, as laid out by Maimonides, who lived in the 12th century, includes three stages: confession, regret and a vow not to repeat the misdeed. The person who does real תְּשׁוּבָה, Maimonides says, is the one who finds him or herself with the opportunity to commit the same sin again and doesn't do it. Prayer, charity, and fasting are also said to help one win forgiveness.

There are two categories of sin in Jewish thought:

  1. Sins against God: Ritual infractions, such as breaking the Sabbath or eating non-kosher food.

  2. Sins against other people: Acts such as theft or slander.

 

According to Jewish tradition, only sins against God can be fixed for through confession, regret and promising not to repeat the action. Sins against other people can be fixed for only once the wrong has been made right — restitution has been paid for a financial crime, for example, and forgiveness received from the victim.

  • Create an infomercial about the holiday symbols and ritual items

  • Create a video showing how the holiday is celebrated incorporating vocabulary

  • Teach the b'racha and its meaning to a younger learner

 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • The Torah is the collective story of the Jewish people and teaches me how to be a part of the Jewish people.

  • The Jewish people began as a family and grew into a nation.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • Who are some of the important characters in the Bible, what are their stories, and why are they important in my life and in my family’s life?

  • How am I like the people in the story and how am I different?

  • What values can I learn from these characters?

  • What are some of the challenges that the families in the Torah face?

Identify the Torah as one of three parts of the Tanakh and will be able to identify when in the Jewish calendar we read selections from each

Tanakh Tree of Life.png

Identify the name of their bar/bat mitzvah parsha, the name of the book it comes from and the meaning of their parsha's name

You already know that there are 54 פָּרָשִׁיּוֹת in the תּוֹרָה and that they are organized into five books. Now that you know when you're בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה is let's figure out what the name of your פָּרָשָׁה is, what book it comes from and what it means. Follow these steps:

  1. Click here to visit www.hebcal.com

  2. Put in your בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה date under the heading "Convert from Gregorian to Hebrew date" and click the "Convert to Hebrew" button

  3. When you do that, at the top of the page you'll see the English and Hebrew dates of your בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה and the name of the פָּרָשָׁה in blue right underneath that.

  4. Click on the name of your פָּרָשָׁה. This will take you to a page all about your parsha, where it's found in the תּוֹרָה and what selections are read. There are also commentaries and more on this page.

  5. Click on the Book, chapter and verse next to the words "Torah Portion:" at the top of the page. This will take you to your פָּרָשָׁה. 

  6. Look at the Hebrew and see if you can find the name of your פָּרָשָׁה in the text. Highlight that word and a dictionary will pop up and you can see what the name of your פָּרָשָׁה means!

Distinguish between parshat hashavua and haftarah, indicating from where in the Tanakh each comes from

Remember the three parts of the תנך (Bible) that we learned about from the tree above? Take a look back at the tree and see if you can figure out the difference between a פָּרָשָׁה and a הַפְטָרָה. What book does your הַפְטָרָה come from? Click here and scroll through the calendar to your בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה date and פָּרָשָׁה. Click on your פָּרָשָׁה and you'll be able to see your הַפְטָרָה. 

Have an aliyah by reciting the appropriate b'rachot and following appropriate "stage direction"

Having an עֲלִיָּה is a really big deal. When you have an עֲלִיָּה, you are participating in the reading of the תּוֹרָה, the most holy and precious object Jews have. Use the video and text below to master how to have an עֲלִיָּה.

Before the תּוֹרָה reading you sing:

בָּרְכוּ אֶת יְהֹוָה הַמְברָךְ:

Everyone responds with:

בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה הַמְברָךְ לְעולָם וָעֶד:

You continue with:

בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה הַמְברָךְ לְעולָם וָעֶד:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם. אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים. וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת תּורָתו. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, נותֵן הַתּורָה:

After the תּוֹרָה reading you sing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם. אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָנוּ תּורַת אֱמֶת וְחַיֵּי עולָם נָטַע בְּתוכֵנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, נותֵן הַתּורָה:

Analyze and interpret a text using appropriate commentaries with guidance

The most important part of Torah study is asking questions. And the best kinds of questions are "why" and "how" questions. Why did God say that? Why did Moses do this? How was Miriam feeling about this? When you learn about a story from the Torah, make sure to ask lots of questions!

 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

Explain the meaning and significance of the holiday symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on two ritual items - the נֵרוֹת and the חָלָה.

נֵרוֹת

 

The way we light the שַׁבָּת נֵרוֹת is a little weird. Usually, we say a בְּרָכָה and then do the act. For example: If you're about to eat a sandwich, first you say הַמּוֹצִיא and then you take a bite of your sandwich. 

But when we light the שַׁבָּת נֵרוֹת we do it backwards. First we light the candles and then we say the בְּרָכָה. 

Why do you think this is?

Here's one answer: When we say the בְּרָכָה for the שַׁבָּת נֵרוֹת we are actually also beginning שַׁבָּת. Since we're not supposed to light a fire on שַׁבָּת we find ourselves in a bind: We want to say the בְּרָכָה and then light the candles, but we can't light the candles since we just started שַׁבָּת. 

 

To get over this bind, we light the candles and then cover our eyes while saying the blessing. When our eyes are opened, the already lit candles are enjoyed for the first time. This way we've said the בְּרָכָה and then done the act (of seeing the burning candles) without breaking שַׁבָּת.

Do you think it's important to not light a fire on שַׁבָּת? Since most of us don't light fires all the time - what might this rule mean for us in our lives?

חָלָה

There is a tradition that two whole challot should be used on שַׁבָּת. There are two possible reasons for this:

 

1. To remind us that when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and eating the manna that fell from heaven - a double portion of manna would fall on Friday so no one would have to collect manna on שַׁבָּת. 

 

2. To remind us of the two commandments about שַׁבָּת: To remember and to observe. Did you know that the 10 Commandments are actually in the תּוֹרָה twice and they are a little different each time. The first set in the book of שְׁמוֹת tells us to "Remember Shabbat" and the second set in the book of דְּבָרִים tells us to "Observe Shabbat."

Which of these reasons makes the most sense to you? Why do you think we have two challot for שַׁבָּת?

Describe the big ideas of each holiday and will be able to draw connections to their lives

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for שַׁבָּת. Using all you've learned about these holy days - what would you say are the BIG ideas of שַׁבָּת?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

What's the Big Idea.png

Recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

circle calendar - Edited.png

Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

Use appropriate holiday vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for שַׁבָּת. You know the names of שַׁבָּת in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the שַׁבָּת greetings. When you speak about שַׁבָּת with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to שַׁבָּת:

Holiday Greetings

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם - A Peaceful Shabbat
גוּט שַׁבָּת - Have a good Shabbat

Holiday Greetings

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם - A Peaceful Shabbat
גוּט שַׁבָּת - Have a good Shabbat

Holiday Symbols

כּוֹס יַיִן - Kiddush cup
חָלָה - Challah
נֵרוֹת - Candles
פָּמוֹט - Candle sticks

Express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the holiday symbols and of selected liturgical pieces

Let's take a closer look at some of the בְּרָכוֹת and תְּפִלּוֹת we say on שַׁבָּת

Blessing over נֵרוֹת:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת.

This בְּרָכָה, tells us that it is a מִצְוָה to light candles for שַׁבָּת. Light is an important symbol in Judaism. We have the lights of the מְנוֹרָה the lights of the חֲנֻכִּיָּה and lights of remembrance. Why do you think we light candles for שַׁבָּת?

 

Blessing over כּוֹס יַיִן:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ. אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם בּורֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:

When we say the בְּרָכָה over wine or grape juice (or any other food for that matter) we thank God for creating that food. But, wait, I thought the grape juice I'm drinking came from Publix? Why would we thank God for creating something that we can buy in any supermarket?

 

Blessing over washing hands:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְותָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיּם:

When we celebrate שַׁבָּת and sit at our dining room table, we imagine that table like the altar in the ancient Temple where the priests would make sacrifices. Since the priests would always wash their hands before working in the Temple, we wash our hands before eating at the table. But here's the weird part - we don't wash our hands with soap - just water. Why would we be washing our hands, like the priests did, with just water? What's the significance of that?

Blessing over חָלָה:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ

The הַמּוֹצִיא blessing is said anytime you eat any kind of bread, but something is different on שַׁבָּת. We don't eat just any bread - we eat חָלָה a braided, egg bread made especially for שַׁבָּת and holidays. What do you think is the significance of the braided, egg bread? Maybe its just more delicious - or maybe it's something else.

Draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of each holiday and the holiday narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on שַׁבָּת. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

Lighting שַׁבָּת candles reminds us of the light that God created on the first day of Creation. When we see that light after uncovering our eyes, it's like seeing the very first light that filled the world when God said, "Let there be light." Lighting these lights reminds us that just as God made light in a dark world, we can also bring light where there is darkness.

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of שַׁבָּת. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holidays?

Express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of the holiday

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from שַׁבָּת. Here is one of them: 

קְדֻשָּׁה

 

קְדֻשָּׁה means "holiness." The very first day in the that is called קוֹדֶש (holy) in the תּוֹרָה is שַׁבָּת. The rabbis explain that "holiness" means "separate" or "set apart." שַׁבָּת is a day that is "set apart" from all the other days of the week in how we behave and what we focus on. 

Ahad Ha’am was a Hebrew writer and Zionist. He famously said: “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” (And by the way, Ahad Ha'am wasn't a religious Jew. He was a secular Zionist! You can learn more about that here.)

 

Anyway - back to שַׁבָּת and קְדֻשָּׁה. There are lots of ways we make שַׁבָּת holy. We don't work on שַׁבָּת, we make קִדּוּשׁ over wine or grape juice (did you notice that the words קִדּוּשׁ and קְדֻשָּׁה have the same root of ק.ד.ש (holy)?), and we focus on the Creation of the world instead of the world of creation (that's a famous teaching by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.)

How do you, or could you, bring קְדֻשָּׁה into your שַׁבָּת? What things would you need to change or add to your שַׁבָּת celebration to make it more holy?

 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

Explain the meaning and significance of the holiday symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on the חֲנֻכִּיָּה.

חֲנֻכִּיָּה

There's a cool debate in the Talmud between Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shamai about how to light the  חֲנֻכִּיָּה. Here's their disagreement right out from Shabbat 21b:

The Sages taught: The basic mitzvah of Hanukkah is each day to have a light kindled by a person, the head of the household, for themselves and their household.

 

Beit Shammai says: On the first day one kindles eight lights and, from there on, gradually decreases the number of lights until, on the last day of Hanukkah, they kindle one light.

And Beit Hillel says: On the first day one kindles one light, and from there on, gradually increases the number of lights until, on the last day, they kindle eight lights.

Can you describe what they disagree about? What does Shammai teach? What about Hillel? 

Later on that page of the Talmud we learn why Hillel said we should add a candle each night:

The reason for Beit Hillel’s opinion is that the number of lights is based on the principle:

One elevates to a higher level in matters of sanctity and one does not downgrade. Therefore, if the objective is to have the number of lights correspond to the number of days, there is no alternative to increasing their number with the passing of each day.

What do you make of this reasoning? Do you agree that we should never decrease light and holiness? 

Describe the big ideas of each holiday and will be able to draw connections to their lives

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for חֲנֻכָּה. Using all you've learned about this holiday - what would you say are the BIG ideas of חֲנֻכָּה?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

What's the Big Idea.png

Recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

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Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

Use appropriate holiday vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for חֲנֻכָּה. You know the names of this חַג in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the holiday greetings. When you speak about this חַג with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to the חֲנֻכָּה:

Holiday Names

חֲנֻכָּה - Chanukah

חַג אוּרִים - The Festival of Lights

Holiday Greetings

חַג שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Holiday
חַג אוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ  Happy Festival of Lights

Holiday Symbols

חֲנֻכִּיָּה - Chanukiyah 
סְבִיבוֹן - Dreidel
לְבִיבוֹת - Latkes
סֻפְגָּנִיּוֹת - Jelly Donuts

Express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the holiday symbols and of selected liturgical pieces

Let's take a closer look at some of the בְּרָכוֹת and תְּפִלּוֹת we say on חֲנֻכָּה. 

For lighting the חֲנֻכָּה candles:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה

Just like on שַׁבָּת, on חֲנֻכָּה we thank God for commanding us to light the holiday lights. What's different about the lights we light on חֲנֻכָּה compared to the lights we light on שַׁבָּת?

Thanking God for miracles:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה

According to this בְּרָכָה, miracles happened way back in the time of the Maccabees, but also happen today in our world. What miracles have you witnessed? What makes something miraculous? 

 

On the first night of חֲנֻכָּה each year:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה:

Doing something new or for the first time is always exciting. In this בְּרָכָה we thank God for "keeping us alive and helping us reach this moment"? What does God have to do with us reaching a new moment or doing something for the first time?

Draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of each holiday and the holiday narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on חֲנֻכָּה. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

 

When we bring together the four parts of the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג on סֻכּוֹת it's like we're bringing together all the Jews from all over the world to Jerusalem to celebrate. The textures, smells and tastes of the לוּלָב וְאֶתְרוֹג connect us to nature and remind us of all the fruits and vegetables that we harvest each year. Sitting in the סֻכָּה listening to the wind blow and feeling rain drops on my head reminds me how fragile life is. Having to build a סֻכָּה teaches me how important it is to always be building safe spaces for me and my family especially when we are journeying outside of the comfort and safety of our own home.

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of חֲנֻכָּה. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holidays?

Express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of the holiday

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from חֲנֻכָּה. Here is one of them: 

פִּרְסוּמֵי נִסָּה

 

פִּרְסוּמֵי נִסָּה means "publicizing the miracle." The rabbis explain that we light them in order to publicize the miracle of the holiday (פִּרְסוּמֵי נִסָּה in Aramaic, the language of the Talmud). Not unlike the idea behind TV networks’ “prime time,” the rabbis were careful to determine the proper time for lighting the חֲנֻכִּיָּה as the one during which the largest amount of traffic would be able to view the Chanukah miracle being remembered in every house. During the 30 minutes or so that followed sunset, people made their way back home from the market or workplace, and this would be the optimum time to have passersby walk through what must have seemed like an endless number of kindled lights. The lights were to be lit outside in the courtyard, or if one lived on another floor, in a window so that people could see it.

Today, it has become common for people to place their חֲנֻכָּה lights in the window for the neighbors to see; and one can even find some houses in Israel that have a special niche facing the front, in order to allow people to place their lit חֲנֻכִּיּוֹת (the plural of חֲנֻכִּיָּה) in a glass-enclosed display cases of their very own.

 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Living Jewishly brings the Torah to life

  • Being a Jew makes me unique and special in the world

  • I can see the world through "Jewish eyes" and make good choices guided by Jewish teachings and values

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • How do I show gratitude?

  • How does being Jewish make me different than other people?

  • How does being Jewish change the way I behave and act in the world?

Don tefillin with the corresponding blessings and demonstrate understanding of when it is worn

תְּפִלִּין are small boxes containing the words of the שְׁמַע that are traditionally wrapped around one’s head and arm during weekday morning prayers. You can learn how to put on תְּפִלִּין by watching the video below or checking out this visual guide.

Serve as a Shaliach Tzibur showing poise and leadership

Wow! You know enough תְּפִלּוֹת to be able to lead others in prayer. When you do this you will be a שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר, a messenger for the congregation. Being a שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר is more than just knowing the תְּפִלּוֹת. You also have to be confident standing in front of a group of people and be able to guide people as you lead the תְּפִלּוֹת. What are some of the skills that you think are most important to be a successful שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר? Which of those skills do you still need to work on?

Demonstrate understanding of tefillin and the role they play in prayer and Jewish life

Traditional Jews and some liberal Jews wear תְּפִלִּין for the morning service on weekdays. They are not worn on שַׁבָּת or חַגִּים. That's because the תְּפִלִּין are supposed to be a reminder to always think about and try and be like God. Since we already do that a bunch on שַׁבָּת or חַגִּים we don't need the extra reminder of the תְּפִלִּין.

 

Over the ages, the תְּפִלִּין were given various symbolic interpretations. For instance, the head תְּפִלִּין, the hand תְּפִלִּין, and the wearing of the hand תְּפִלִּין opposite the heart were all taken to suggest that head, heart, and hand must all be brought into play when living as a Jew. That there are four sections on the head tefillin and only one in the hand tefillin has been understood to convey the idea that opinions may differ but Jews should all work to do God's work in our world.

Demonstrate understanding of kashrut as both a matter of product and process and identify primary kashrut symbols on packaged foods

Keeping the laws of כַּשְׁרוּת is one of the most important things a Jewish person can do. The Hebrew word כָּשֵׁר means ‘fit or proper’. It means that a food or drink is permitted and acceptable to be eaten or drunk according to Jewish law.

Laws about foods are so important that one of the first commandments ever given to human beings concerned food: Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.

Some rabbis say that by keeping kosher from an early age, children learn discipline, being able to tell what is allowed and what is not. Other rabbis believe that keeping kosher is good for the soul, just as eating a healthy diet is good for the body.

There are two parts to understanding what's כָּשֵׁר and what isn't: Product and process.

Product

The תּוֹרָה says that we are only allowed to meat from certain animals. As for red meat, the animals must have cloven hooves and chew their cud. These are animals like goats, sheep, cattle and deer.

The תּוֹרָה also tells us not to mix meat and milk.

Process

We are only allowed to eat these animals if they have been killed correctly in a process called shehita.

Many people who keep kosher have separate dishes, cutlery and other cooking utensils, separate sinks, and tablecloths for preparing meat and milk meals 

Read and recite first paragraph of birkat hamazon

There is so much to be thankful for. After we eat a meal, we say בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, the blessing after meals. Before we jump into the Hebrew let's learn a little more about it:

Now that you know a little bit more about בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, let's read and sing the first paragraph of בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן. 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים, הוּא נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל־בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל־בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.

Identify main elements of a bar/bat mitzvah celebration and demonstrate understanding of the signifance of bar/bat mitzvah celebration

Coming of age for a Jew, which happens automatically at age 13 for a boy and 12 for a girl, is called בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה, that is, obligated to perform the Jewish מִצְווֹת (commandments). A ceremony marking the first performance of מִצְווֹת such as being called up to the תּוֹרָה to say the blessings (known as “having an עֲלִיָּה“) began in the Middle Ages. 

Today, kids celebrating their בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה begin preparations about a year before the big day. At the בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה, the child will generally have an עֲלִיָּה and usually chant the הַפְטָרָה(prophetic reading) as well. Many children also chant all or some of the weekly פָּרָשָׁה and/or lead all or part of the prayer services.

Becoming a בַּר/בַּת מִצְוָה is all about becoming an adult member of the Jewish people. This means you are responsible for your own actions and beginning to figure out what you believe about God and Judaism. 

 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

Explain the meaning and significance of the holiday symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on two ritual items - the מְגִלָּה and the רַעֲשַׁן.

רַעֲשַׁן

It is a widespread custom for the listeners at the מְגִלָּה reading to make noise, usually with special noisemakers called graggers, or in Hebrew רַעֲשָׁנִים, whenever Haman’s name is mentioned. Some congregations also encourage the use of wind and percussion instruments as noisemakers.

The custom of blotting out the name of Haman appears to be the outgrowth of a custom once prevalent in France and Provence, where the children wrote the name of Haman on smooth stones, then struck them together whenever Haman was mentioned in the reading so as to rub it off, as suggested by the verse “the name of the wicked shall rot” (Proverbs 10:7).

Can you think of something so terrible that you just don't want to hear about it? How do you "erase the memory" of those uncomfortable and terrible things in your life?

מְגִלָּה

The primary synagogue observance connected with פּוּרִים is the reading of the Book of Esther, called the מְגִלָּה (“scroll”). It is traditionally read twice: in the evening, after the Amidah prayer of the Maariv service and before the Aleinu, and in the morning after the Torah reading.

The מְגִלָּה is read from a parchment scroll that is written the same way a Torah is written — by hand, with a goose quill. If there is no such scroll available, the congregation may read the Book of Esther from a printed text, without the accompanying benedictions.

The Book of Esther is chanted according to special cantillation used only in the reading of the Book of Esther. [This cantillation parodies the tropes used for reading at other times of the year.] 

Before the reading, the custom is to unroll the scroll and fold it so that it looks like a letter of dispatch, thus further recalling the story of the great deliverance.

Describe the big ideas of each holiday and will be able to draw connections to their lives

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for פּוּרִים. Using all you've learned about this holiday - what would you say are the BIG ideas of פּוּרִים?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

What's the Big Idea.png

Recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

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Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

Use appropriate holiday vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for this חַג. You know the names of this חַג in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the holiday greetings. When you speak about this חַג with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to פּוּרִים:

Holiday Names

פּוּרִים - Purim

Holiday Greetings

חַג שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Holiday
חַג פּוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Festival of Purim

Holiday Symbols

רַעֲשַׁן - Grogger
מְגִלָּה - Scroll of Esther
מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת - Purim Gifts 

אָזְנֵי הָמָן - Hamantaschen
מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים - Gifts for the Needy

Express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the holiday symbols and of selected liturgical pieces

Let's take a closer look at one of the תְּפִלּוֹת we say on פּוּרִים

עַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַפֻּרְקָן וְעַל הַגְּבוּרות וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעות וְעַל הַמִּלְחָמות שֶׁעָשיתָ לַאֲבותֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְּמַן הַזֶּה:

עַל הַנִּסִּים is aprayer that relates briefly to the story of חֲנֻכָּה and פּוּרִים. Since עַל הַנִּסִּים serves as an expression of thanksgiving, it is inserted into the 18th benediction of the עֲמִידָה, which is the blessing called מוֹדִים or "thanksgiving."

The introductory sentence reads as follows: Al Hanisim —“We thank You for the miracles, the redemption, and the triumphant victories, and liberation which You have brought for our ancestors in days of old at this season.” Following that is a description of the basic events of פּוּרִים (“Bimay Mordehcai–in the days of Mordecai”].

Some people think miracles are a thing of the past - only found in the תּוֹרָה. This prayer seems to suggest that miracles can actually happen everyday and everywhere. What is a miracle that you've witnessed in your life? What made it miraculous?

Draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of each holiday and the holiday narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on פּוּרִים. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

 

On פּוּרִים we send מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת (gift baskets) to our friends and family. The ninth chapter of the Book of Esther states (verse 19): “Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the 14th day of the month of Adar a day of gladness and feasting, a holiday, and of sending portions to one another (מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת).” There are two reasons why we might send מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת on פּוּרִים. The first is that Haman accused the Jews of being “a scattered, and divided nation.” So, the Jewish people send gifts to each other in order to show that they are not divided, but rather are united. The second reason is to guarantee that rich and poor alike are provided for at the Purim meal. 

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of פּוּרִים. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holidays?

Express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of the holiday

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from פּוּרִים. Here is one of them: 

מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים

 

מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים means "feeding the hungry." There are two ways that we live this value on פּוּרִים:

1. The first way that we feed the hungry is by sending מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת (gift baskets) to our friends and family. We talked about that above.

 

2. The second way is by fulfilling the מִצְוָה of מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים (sending gifts to the poor). After the Jews were saved from the decree of Haman, they agreed “to observe [the days of פּוּרִים] with…donations to the needy” (Esther 9:22). Giving to the poor is a מִצְוָה all year round. However, the מִצְוָה to do so on פּוּרִים is separate even from the general מִצְוָה of צְדָקָה (charity). To fulfill the מִצְוָה of מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים we give charity to two individual poor people. We should give each poor person enough money to provide for a meal. One may also give someone the equivalent in food.

You may not have enough money to provide two people with a פּוּרִים meal. How can you fulfill the מִצְוָה of מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים?

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Jews build community through holiday observance and ritual celebrations.

  • Jewish life is best lived in community.

  • The Jewish holidays teach us to appreciate the many cycles of renewal and rebirth.

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • What are some of the important lessons from these Jewish holidays?

  • How does the idea that Jews everywhere celebrate these same holidays connect me to the Jewish community?

Explain the meaning and significance of the holiday symbols and ritual items

Let's dig even deeper. By now you know all of these holiday symbols and how to use them. You also know the blessings that go along with them. But why are they important? What is their significance to us today? 

We're going to focus on two ritual items - the הַגָּדָה and מַצָּה.

הַגָּדָה

 

The הַגָּדָה, which means “telling” in Hebrew, is a written guide to the סֵדֶר, which commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt. The הַגָּדָה includes various prayers, blessings, rituals, fables, songs and information for how the סֵדֶר should be performed. Although modern הַגָּדוֹת (the plural of הַגָּדָה) can vary widely, the tradition of reading a book to guide the seder dates back to the Middle Ages, and some of the elements that make up contemporary הַגָּדוֹת were used 2,000 years ago.

Today, you can even make your own הַגָּדָה. Check out this cool website that allows you to customize your very own הַגָּדָה.

מַצָּה

Unleavened bread was one of the foods the Jews in Egypt were commanded to eat along with the paschal lamb (Exodus 12:8). To remember that first סֵדֶר meal, and how quickly the Israelites had to leave Egypt — giving them no time to allow their bread to rise — we eat מַצָּה at the סֵדֶר (and instead of bread throughout the holiday).

At the beginning of the סֵדֶר, we break one of the sheets of מַצָּה and call it the bread (לֶחֶם) of affliction (עֹנִי). It is the meager food of slaves, the quickly produced food of those who make a hurried, under-cover-of-dark getaway. Yet later, it represents freedom, the bread we ate when we were freed from Egyptian slavery.

Describe the big ideas of each holiday and will be able to draw connections to their lives

There's a famous story about a great rabbi who lived about 2000 years ago named Hillel. He is challenged to teach the entire תּוֹרָה while standing on one foot. Since it's hard to balance on one foot for a long time Hillel had to sum up the most important lessons of the תּוֹרָה really quickly. In other words, he had to figure out what the BIG Ideas of the תּוֹרָה were. 

 

We're giving you the same challenge - but not for the whole תּוֹרָה, just for פֶּסַח. Using all you've learned about these holy days - what would you say are the BIG ideas of פֶּסַח?

Once you've got some BIG ideas think about what they have to do with your life. 

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Recognize patterns amongst the holidays of the Jewish calendar and express the holidays' relationships to one another

Jewish חַגִּים are important and meaningful on their own but they are even more special when we see each Jewish חַג as part of a larger whole. Use the interactive Jewish calendar below to figure out what some of the connections are between different Jewish חַגִּים.

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Click above to visit our interactive Jewish Holiday calendar

Use appropriate holiday vocabulary in proper context and demonstrate comprehension of their meanings

You've learned a whole bunch of Hebrew words for this חַג. You know the names of this חַג in Hebrew, the names of the symbols and the holiday greetings. When you speak about this חַג with your family and friends, can you use all of these Hebrew words? Here are some of the Hebrew words you know related to פֶּסַח:

Holiday Names

פֶּסַח - Passover

חַג הָאָבִיב - The Spring Festival

Holiday Greetings

חַג שָׂמֵחַ - Happy Holidays

Holiday Symbols

כּוֹס יַיִן - Cup of Wine

מַצָּה - Matzah
מָרוֹר - Bitter Herb

כַּרְפַּס - Green Vegetable

חֲרֹסֶת - Charoset

קְעָרָה - Seder Plate
סֵדֶר - Seder

הַגָּדָה -Haggadah

Express the meaning of each b'racha associated with the holiday symbols and of selected liturgical pieces

Let's take a closer look at one of the תְּפִלּוֹת we say on פֶּסַח. 

The Four Questions

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין

These are called the four questions but look more closely...how many questions are there really? Some people say there's 1 question with four answers. Others say there are four questions and still others say there is one big question with four smaller questions underneath? How many questions do you see? Why do you think asking questions is such a big part of פֶּסַח and being Jewish in general?

Draw connections between the mitzvot and minhagim of each holiday and the holiday narrative and big ideas

Think about all of the מִצְווֹת and מִנְהָגִים that we do on פֶּסַח. How do these rituals tell the story of these holidays? Here's an example:

 

In many ways, the סֵדֶר isn't about telling the story of פֶּסַח - it's about re-living it! It would be one thing to just read about the Israelites escape from Egypt like a good novel, but we re-enact the whole story: We eat the מַצָּה that they ate, we recline when we drink each cup of wine, and we sing songs of freedom and thanksgiving just like the Israelites did when the crossed the sea. 

Think of some of the other symbols and rituals of פֶּסַח. Can you make connections between these symbols and rituals and the big ideas of the holiday?

Express how the holiday values are lived through the ritual practices of the holiday

There are some specific Jewish values that we learn from פֶּסַח. Here are two of them: 

חֵרוּת

 

חֵרוּת means "Freedom." פֶּסַח may be the holiday when we remember our freedom from slavery but it is also an opportunity to think about all those who are still, today, not free.

According to www.freetheslaves.net, there are millions of people around the world who are considered slaves. It isn’t legal anywhere but happens almost everywhere—including Europe and the U.S. Slaves are forced to work, without pay, under the threat of violence. 

How can our story of slavery inspire you to do something about slavery in the world today? Check out these suggestions of what we can do to abolish slavery. Which speaks to you? 

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מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים

 

מַאֲכִיל רְעֵבִים means "feeding the hungry." We learned about this when we were celebrating פּוּרִים and it's just as important on פֶּסַח. 

We begin our סֵדֶר by saying “All who are hungry, come and eat!” This is a reminder that even while there is a feast in front of us, our neighbors are hungry.  Our journey to freedom must include our neighbors.  We can never truly be free until each and every one of us is food secure.

 

One simple way to help feed the hungry is to change the way we clean for פֶּסַח. Many people clean their homes before פֶּסַח getting rid of all of their חָמֵץ. Unfortunately, much of this food gets thrown out.

 

What could we do with all that חָמֵץ instead of wasting it? What other ways can we be inspired by פֶּסַח to feed the hungry?

 
 

Enduring Understandings: Students will understand that...

  • Israel is the Jewish homeland and has been for 4,000 years

  • Israel is a vibrant democracy in a troubled region

  • Israel is an ancient land and a high-tech giant

Essential Questions:

What do you think?

  • How is Israel both a Jewish state and a democratic state?

  • How can Israel be both a homeland for the Jews and a welcoming country to all peoples?

  • How is Israel's diversity a source of strength?

Identify Israel on a map of the Middle East and locate key geographical areas and cities on a map of Israel

Israel is a beautiful country in the Middle East. It is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea on the west, Jordan on the east, Egypt on the south and Lebanon and Syria on the north.

Click here to visit an interactive map of Israel. What cities and towns are you familiar with? Can you find Jerusalem? Tel-Aviv?

map_of_israel.jpg

Engage in a dialogue about some of the unique challenges Israel faces as a multi-cultural and Jewish state

Israel is both a multi-cultural, democratic state and also a Jewish state. This can be a tricky balance. As a democratic state, Israel believes that everyone has an equal vote and voice. As a Jewish state, Israel wants to honor Jewish law and protect the Jewish people.

The phrase “the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” entered into Israeli law in 1992. The phrase “the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” as it appears in the Basic Laws reflects the uniqueness of the State of Israel and of Israeli society. We are not like all the nations, and we are not like all the peoples. We are a democracy, and our values are like the values of any democratic state. But we are also a Jewish state, and as such our values are the values of a Jewish state.

What might be some of the challenges that Israel faces as she tries to live up to these two principles?

Compare and contrast the Israeli government and the American government

Israeli Government

 

Israel is the only fully democratic country in the Middle East. Just like the American government, the Israeli government has three branches: Legislative, executive and judicial.

 

The Knesset is the house of representatives of the State of Israel. Elections are held for seats in the Knesset every four years. If a party wins 3.5 percent of the votes, the party gets one or more seats in parliament. No one party has control so they have to work together. The leader of the largest party becomes prime minister. There is no limit to how many times someone can be Prime Minister.

 

He or she appoints a cabinet of ministers which runs the country. The 120 members of the Knesset elect a president who is the head of state. The President in Israel is largely a symbolic job. Most of the work of the state is done by the Prime Minister and the Knesset.

American Government

 

The U.S. Federal Government is made up of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. To ensure the government is effective and citizens’ rights are protected, each branch has its own powers and responsibilities, including working with the other branches.

There are two elected Senators per state, totaling 100 Senators. A Senate term is six years and there is no limit to the number of terms an individual can serve.

 

There are 435 elected Representatives, which are divided among the 50 states in proportion to their total population. A Representative serves a two-year term, and there is no limit to the number of terms an individual can serve.

The president leads the country. He or she is the head of state, leader of the federal government, and Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. The president serves a four-year term and can be elected no more than two times.