ECC Weekly Newsletter 
February 2, 2018 - 17 Shevat 5778
Parashat Yitro
ECC Highlights
Robin's Message
Dvar Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Social Time!
ES, MS, and US Newsletters

Please check the Lost and Found table and coat rack outside the Elementary School office if you are looking for a missing item.
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From Robin Meyerowitz 
Dear Parents,

This was a fun and exciting week. It was Tu B'Shevat and we had great celebrations. The shlichot (Israeli student ambassadors) came and did fun activities and stories with us. 
On Tuesday, February 6, we will have a Parent Coffee for parents of the 2-year-old class. This event is a great opportunity to speak with me about any questions you may have about your child's class, or development of 2- to 3-year-olds in general. Light refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you there! 
We are excited that this coming Wednesday, February 7, is our second Wacky Wednesday. The theme is Everyday Heroes. Each classroom will transform into a different station. The 3s classroom is already a fire station. The 2s classroom will become a hospital, and the 4s classroom will be both an ambulance and a police station.

We will have a day full of fun and engaging activities, all to do with emergency services and the people who provide them. Please help us by sending in LABELED items, such as firefighter / police / doctor / EMT / nurse costumes or scrubs, stethoscopes, police flashlights, walkie-talkies, bandages, etc. for your child to use during the day. We ask that you label the items with your family name so that we can ensure that they are returned to you.

Please do not hesitate to contact Esther or Robin if you have any questions.

We look forward to a super fun and educational day!  
Shabbat Shalom,


Dvar Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman      

Moshe's father-in-law Yitro blessed G-d when he heard about all that G-d had done for the Jewish people:
וַיֹּאמֶר יִתְרוֹ בָּרוּךְ ה' אֲשֶׁר הִצִּיל אֶתְכֶם מִיַּד מִצְרַיִם וּמִיַּד פַּרְעֹה אֲשֶׁר הִצִּיל אֶת־הָעָם מִתַּחַת יַד־מִצְרָיִם׃
"Blessed be G-d, Who rescued you from hand of Egypt and from the hand of Pharaoh, Who liberated the people from Egypt's power. Now I know that G-d is the greatest of all deities: the very thing they plotted came on them!" (Ex. 18:10-11)
What exactly did Yitro mean with the words ' בָּרוּךְ ה ?
The HaKetav V'Hakaballa suggests two meanings:
רגילים לתרגמו לשון שבח והלול (געלאָבט),
The usual explanation is one of praise and glory.
Certainly, after Yitro heard firsthand about the miraculous defeat of Pharaoh and the saving of the Jewish people, that intervention by G-d deserved praise and glorification.
He then offers another possibility:
וי"מ שהוא תואר אליו יתברך, להיותו כולל כל הברכות ומשפיע שפעת טובה לזולתו
Others explain that this word is a description of His attributes, namely that G-d contains and comprises all blessings and He showers others with these blessings.
According to the first explanation, the word baruch is used as a praise of G-d. The second explanation, however, is saying that G-d is the controller of all events that happen in the world, and He determines to whom and when these blessings arrive. It's interesting to note that Yitro concluded from the Jewish people's escape from Egypt that ALL good that happens is a direct result of G-d's influence. Whether the benefit is escape and freedom from a harmful foe, or simply eating an apple, each event deserves the recognition that G-d is the provider of this enjoyable experience.

These two ideas of the HaKetav V'Hakaballa work in tandem. Once we realize that G-d is the provider of the benefits that we enjoy in this world, on a personal and national level, this will motivate us to bless G-d with the proper berachot for all good things, great and small.
Thoughts of the Rav    
by Rabbi David Saltzman      
Yitro questions why people are standing in line all day in front of Moshe. According to Ramban, Moshe answered that he had 3 responsibilities: To daven for the people - לִדְרשׁ אֱלֹהִים , to judge them - וְשָׁפַטְתִּי , and to teach them Torah - וְהוֹדַעְתִּי אֶת חֻקֵּי .
Expanding on responsibility number one, the Rav explains that when a person davens for someone who is ill, Hashem judges the sick person and decides whether they are worthy of being cured. Sometimes, if the person does not deserve to be healed, perhaps a family member who is pained by the situation could warrant a restoration of health for the sick person.
The Rav asserts, based on an alternative reading of a gemara in Berachot, that a talmid chacham who is unrelated to the sick person has the same power as a relative to heal the sick through tefilla. When the talmid chacham expends extra effort and energy and joins in the pain of the sick person, Hashem will send a cure to the ill person on behalf of the talmid chacham. Since the talmid chacham does not deserve to be in pain, the sick person is healed.
Therefore, tzadikim, talmedei chachamim, and neviim have a special responsibility and obligation to daven on behalf of others. This was the first responsibility, among many, that Moshe fulfilled for the people.

2-Year-Old Class Newsletter
Dear Parents,

This week has been all about planting, growing, watering, and caring for things that need us. For Tu B'Shevat, we brought many fruits that grow on trees into the classroom. Morah Tzipi even made fruit smoothies with the children using bean sprouts that we grew ourselves.

Tu B'Shevat is such a beautiful way to think about spring and to celebrate the New Year of the Trees. Children learn so much from getting their hands dirty with soil and planting things. It is so valuable for them to be involved in the process of germinating lima beans, observing beautiful kidney beans opening up more each day, and caring for things that are alive and growing.

We would like to request that parents whose children are still in diapers please bring in one package of diaper wipes. Thank you!
We would like to remind you that on Tuesday, February 6, we are holding a Parent Coffee in the Brener Library on the third floor of 2 Clark Road from 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. This event, specifically for parents of the 2-year-old class, is a great opportunity to speak with Robin about any questions you may have about your child's class, or development of 2- to 3-year-olds in general. Light refreshments will be served.

We hope you enjoy this week's photos!
Last Thursday we started germinating seeds in glass mason jars.

Last Friday, we made bird feeders using pine cones, Crisco, and birdseed for Shabbat Shira.
Also on Friday, Ms. DiOrio brought us sculptures to paint. The children ended up sharing colors and brushes and had a grand old time.

Some of us really liked holding the sprouting lima beans before we planted them.
And some weren't so sure about it.
Mastering our Yoga moves with Morah Nechama on Monday afternoon.
This is our growing station where we water and talk to our seeds. Things are really growing well!
Here is Morah Linda during Tuesday morning's Music class. She was playing a guessing game with the children. What does and does not grow on a tree?
Also on Tuesday, we planted something that's almost guaranteed to grow - grass seed!

Just look at this gorgeous Tu B'Shevat seder table that Morah Tzipi set up on Wednesday morning, featuring all kinds of fruit that grows on trees. Everyone got to taste oranges, bananas, dates, mangoes, pomegranates, grapes, apples, and papaya. We even made smoothies with frozen fruit, orange juice, and our home-grown bean sprouts.
Anticipating the blender starting soon. Will it be loud??
Once we started the blender, we realized it really wasn't so loud or scary at all! We got so excited when Morah Tzipi turned it on that we jumped up and down with joy. And the smoothies were so delicious!
Two of our favorite books this week.
Shabbat Shalom ,
Morah Tzipi and Morah Laura
3-Year-Old Class Newsletter 
Dear Parents,

Even though it's winter here, we had fun learning about and celebrating the beginning of spring in Israel. We reviewed how trees are so important to us and our environment. We read many stories about trees, such as Happy Birthday Tree! by Madelyn Rosenberg, A Tree Full of Mitzvos by Dina Herman Rosenfeld, and The Littlest Tree by Sylvia Rouss. The children also loved listening to the large book From Tree to Paper by Wendy Davis, which shows how a tree is made into the paper we use each day.

The children enjoyed two planting projects this week. On Monday, they scooped soil into a large tray, sprinkled in wheat seeds, and then added more soil on top. We put the tray in our school growing station in the hallway and watered it. The children love checking to see if anything has started to sprout when we pass it in the hallway. For the second project, the children painted a wooden fence planter. When the paint dried, they scooped in soil and added grass seeds. The children then used spray bottles to water their seeds. We can't wait to hear about when the grass begins to grow.

On Wednesday we started our morning by getting ready for our Tu B'Shevat seder. The children cut apples, grapes, dates, figs, mango, papaya, and wheat bread. We then set the table and began our seder. We showed the children the four cups of grape juice, and explained how the lightest one symbolized winter, the slightly darker one symbolized spring, the next darkest symbolized summer, and the full-strength grape juice symbolized fall. After they made the bracha , they enjoyed drinking them. Some of the children said they liked the fall grape juice the best!
We then asked the children which fruits at the seder had a skin or peel that couldn't be eaten, but the inside could be eaten (papaya). We asked which fruits could be fully eaten (the grapes and figs) and for which fruits could you eat the outside but not all the inside (dates, apples, pomegranates). We made the brachot for the fruits, and the children enjoyed tasting them. Their favorites were the apples and grapes. During snack time the children made edible almond trees. They used pretzel rods for the trunk, pretzel sticks for the branches, and craisins for the blossoms. The trees were beautiful and delicious!
On Thursday, the shlichot (Israeli student ambassadors) came into our class and did a Tu B'Shevat activity with our class. They would call on a child, cover that child's eyes, and give them a piece of fruit to taste. The children needed to guess what the fruit was. They then read a famous Tu B'Shevat story, and made puppets of the fruit characters in the story.
For Parshat Yitro , we talked about how the Jewish people wandered for a long time, and entered the desert of Sinai. Hashem asked different groups of people if they would accept the Torah, and they said "no." Hashem then told Moshe how to prepare the Jewish people to receive the Ten Commandments ( luchot ). The shofar was blasted, there was thunder and lightning, and Hashem said that these were the laws that they were commanded to do. The Jewish people had such faith ( emunah) that they responded that they wanted the holy Torah no matter what was written in it. They all cried out "Na'aseh v'nishma!" (First we shall hear and then we shall do!) We went over the Ten Commandments, and discussed why rules are so important to live by. The children also learned and acted out the Har Sinai song, which shows that Hashem chose Har Sinai because of its modesty.

Parsha Questions :
1. What is the name of the parsha? (Yitro)
2. When Hashem asked different groups of people if they would accept the Torah, what did they say? (No)
3. What did the Jewish people say when Hashem asked if they would accept the Torah? ( Na'aseh v'nishma )
4. How many commandments are there? (Ten)
5. Which mountain did Hashem give the luchot on? (Har Sinai)
6. Why do you think rules are important?
Shabbat Shalom,

Morot Leisa, Shayna, and Sara
        For Tu B'Shevat, the children used craisins and pretzel rods to create their own edible trees
Each one turned out unique.
And they were delicious to eat!

We worked hard making our own gardens in honor of Tu B'Shevat.
We painted the outsides of the planters before we filled them with soil.

We were excited to take them home!

We planted barley to put in our school growing station
We put the barley in the growing station, then watered it and checked to see if it had sprouted.
The children helped to prepare all of the fruits for the Tu B'Shevat seder.

We had a fun Tu B'Shevat seder, where we drank 4 cups of grape juice, tried lots of different fruits, and talked about how we can take care of the world.
We had a great time singing and dancing with Morah Linda at music this week.
We read a book about how we make paper and talked about what trees give to us.
During Art class this week, we stared by cutting our own paper sculptures.
Then we painted them all over.
During exploration time, we used all the blocks we could find to make something amazing.
Our firefighters were busy at work putting fires out and saving babies.
Our firefighters jumped into action driving to save people around town.
We had fun playing in the lunchroom with our friends.
The kids had a blast at Zumba today with Morah Tzipi.
We made snow angels outside together!  
4-Year-Old Class Newsletter

Dear Parents,

This has been an exciting week! We learned about and celebrated Tu B'Shevat, the birthday of the trees! To prepare for Tu B'Shevat, we planted different types of seeds in different ways. We planted some in soil and put them under a special growing lamp. To contrast that, we planted some seeds in soil and put them in the window to see which would grow better. We also planted cucumber seeds in space gel, a clear substance which will allow us to see both the roots and the sprouts of the plants. We made trees out of sticks and playdough.

On Tu B'Shevat, we went for a nature walk around the school. We sang " Tu B'Shevat Higgiah," and "Happy Birthday" in both English and Hebrew. We picked up some pieces of nature on the walk to look at later in the classroom. We made predictions about what we thought we might see, and after we came inside, we checked off what we were able to find and crossed out what we were not. The children also took some time to give birthday wishes to the trees. When we got back to the classroom, we had a Tu B'Shevat seder. We drank four cups of juice at our seder. Each cup of juice was from a different fruit that is grown in Israel in each of the four seasons. We also tried each of the שיבעת המינים (seven species): wheat, barley, dates, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and olives.

On Thursday, the shlichot (Israeli school ambassadors) came to our class and told us an Israeli Tu B'Shevat story. A few students also did a taste test to see if they could guess which fruit they were given. At the end of the program, each child got a printout of the story, and everyone got to make a set of puppets so they can share them with you.

This week's parsha is Yitro. We learned about how Hashem gave Bnei Yisrael the special present of the Torah. We also learned that, on Har Sinai, Hashem gave us the עשרת הדיברות (Ten Commandments/rules). In our classes, the children came up with rules that we need to follow in order to make good choices. We are working very hard at making good choices and thinking about how we need to behave in a group.

Here are some questions (and answers) for you to share:
1. Which mountain did Hashem choose to give the Torah on? (Mount Sinai - הר סיני )
2. Why did Hashem choose Har Sinai? (Because it was humble and didn't brag about how tall, pretty, or great it was.)
3. What did Bnei Yisrael say when they were asked if they wanted the Torah? ( נעשה ונשמע - "We will do and we will listen.")
4. Which very important mitzvot are read in this week's parsha ? (The Ten Commandments - עשרת הדיברות )
5. What do we do in shul when those mitzvot are read? (We stand up.)
Thank you to our Shabbat Abba , Sam, for the yummy Shabbat challah and Shabbat treat!

Shabbat Shalom !

Morot Mimi, Irit, Nechi, Marggie, and Julie

Playing Bingo with the letters we have learned in English...
...and in Hebrew!

This week, we did a lot with plants and planting.
We made small agricultural experiments.

Making our own trees out of natural objects

Making birthday cards for the trees for Tu B'Shevat


Making a book for the trees with all our wishes for them.

Making fruit juice for seder Tu B'Shevat
We made four different kinds of juice with our new juicer, each one representing a fruit harvested in each season in Israel. 
Making natural prints from fruits
The shlichot had a Tu B'Shevat taste test "Guess what fruit Ayelet is eating?"
 We heard a famous Israeli story for Tu B'Shevat.
Social Time!
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