Enduring Understandings:

You 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?

Let Rabbi David know that you are ready to be a Shaliach Tzibur for JPaL t'fillah - or better yet, talk to Rabbi Litwak and Cantor Norman about leading a t'fillah on Shabbat in the sanctuary!

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.


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.


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. 

© 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