Grades 8-10

with Dona Standel


February 12, 2012
This week, 8-11th graders discovered their inner-poets! With slam poetry a hot style of expression, students wrote their own slam poems about Pride, Struggle, and History of their own experiences and of the Jewish people. We watched the recent video I Am Jewish and the popular Hebrew Mamita, finding many things in common with these performers. We look forward to students' performances and Gabby's program next week!

February 5, 2012
First, a shout out to our great 8-10th graders for leading a fantastic service Friday night! It was a great time, and a great way to set the tone for the younger classes. This Sunday, Leah led an amazing program teaching us all American Sign Language and how it creates and strengthens Kehillah Kedosha (Holy Community.) Kol Hakavod to Leah! We have some great leaders on our hands...

January 22, 2012
Kol ha kavod (all the honor) to Gabe for leading the class in our first student-led program! Gabe taught us how to make an Origami dinosaur (quite a challenge!) as we all spoke to one another, asked for help, and assisted our friends to accomplish the task. He definitely showed us how Origami can create and strengthen Kehillah Kedosha (holy community!) Great job, Gabe. We also prepared songs and prayers with Ricki – we’ll be on the bimah for our first student-led service which will take place at the First Friday Shabbat Service and Potluck Dinner on February 2.

December 4, 2011

We began the class last Sunday discussing Tzedekah. This often revisited topic created a passionate and complex discussion on WHO is responsible to give (high schoolers, parents who may have recently lost their jobs, everyone?) and HOW MUCH? Touching on personal lives and Occupy Wall Street enriched the conversation. This is a great conversation to continue at home as well!

November 20, 2011

Our theme for this Family Education Day was Kehillah Kedoshah. Check out our pictures, they're worth 1000 words!


November 13, 2011

On Sunday, the class discussed quotes on holiness from last week and their themes. We watched the Parsha (Torah portion) of Vayeira on G-d Cast and then discussed its themes and how they connect to holiness, if at all. The students brought up hot topics such as servitude, fate, fear, and hope as they shared their personal opinions on the Parsha. We finished the class with productive work on each student's program project.


November 6, 2011

Last Sunday's class, the 8-10th graders discussed their creative program ideas with brainstorming, working in pairs and groups. As they work together to create their programs, the students are creating a Kehilla Kedosha (Holy Community) and will eventually create a program that inspires a Kehilla Kedosha even further. After long discussion on their programs, we discussed the idea of "Holiness" and where it comes into play in our lives. We look forward to seeing their program ideas develop!

October 30, 2011
Following up with last week's discussion, we opened the class with check-ins and continued our discussion about Gilad Shalit. In the years that he was held captive, was Gilad Shalit a part of a community? The students had many interesting thoughts. We then spent time reflecting on several quotes on community and discussing what they mean and how they relate to us. Finally, students were assigned to brainstorm an idea for their program! They will work together next week and I will support them throughout the process.

October 23, 2011
This week we reflected on their holiday celebrations. We discussed the changes and reasons for the changes in how we used to, do presently, and expect to celebrate our Judaism and holidays throughout our lives. We finished the class with a challenging discussion on the return of Gilad Shalit to Israel and our thoughts on what it means for Israel. Students were also enthusiastic to learn that they will be leading one 45 minute lesson and activity, on a topic and a Sunday of their choice. The objective is to learn more about each student as an individual, give them ownership of their time at BIJ, and use their skills and interests to create a Kehillah Kedoshah (Holy Community)!

October 16, 2011
We discussed a Sukkah-related debate between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer. It's interesting to know that things we disagree on today, were also discussed by noteworthy rabbis 100s of years ago! Judaism is a faith full of discussion and debate that we enjoy exploring. We also learned about Jewish communities around the world and how their observance of Sukkot may (or may not) differ from ours. California enjoys a very similar climate to Israel. However, Jews in Morocco, Nebraska, Alaska, Cape Town and experience different climates and
October 9, 2011
The morning began with a slideshow presentation about a boy who is helping his father build their sukkah. He describes the holiday and explained why we construct a temporary dwelling each year. We had a fantastic day learning about Sukkot and the traditional ushpizin (guests) who are invited. We discussed characteristics of each character and why they deserve to be invited to the sukkah each year. It was a great opportunity to refresh our memories about our forefathers. Together everyone made paper doll chains of the ushpizin that they want to invite into their sukkah.
September 25, 2011
Tomer Emmar joined us once again while  Dona continues to visit her family in Israel for the holidays. Today we focused on repentance, guilt and saying we're sorry. We related our every-day lives to the reflection that Jews do in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Hopefully all the students will remember the things that they have done wrong over the past year and ask for forgiveness. Meanwhile, we recognized that although it may be difficult to forgive someone else, it is the right thing to do. We also thought about who we forgive, even if they don't ask us to forgive them. 
September 18, 2011
Tomer Emmar joined our class today while our teacher Dona travels in Israel to see her family for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We learned about concepts related to Rosh Hashanah, including the Ten Days of Repentence which in Hebrew are known as Ben Kessah (referring to Rosh Hashanah) Le'Assor (referring to Yom Kippur); the Day of Judgment. We made our learning personal by thinking about and sharing examples of what I wish for myself this year, what I wish for my family this year, and what I wish for my community and the People of Israel in the coming year. After a short break, we learned about the steps of teshuvah, asking for forgiveness. We know that God will always forgive us, but only after we ask for forgiveness from the person that we hurt.
First day of Classes - September 11, 2011

Shalom friends! I am so excited to be a part of the BIJ family again this year, and look forward to learning more about all the students! This week, our class discussed Kehillah Kedoshah  (Holy Community) and what that means to the students. We understand that we are each a part of several Kehillot Kedoshot (plural of Kehillah Kedoshah), one being our class of 8th-10th graders! We spent some time getting to know each other (even after 13 years for some!), and discussing the students' expectations and hopes of this year. Following a fun and nostalgic snack break outside, we ended the day with music.