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Celebrating our Bar Mitzvah Year
May 23th, 2014


In This Issue 

  1. Awesome New Plans!
  2. Help Needed
  3. MJDS Outdoor Education At Its Best
  4. ADD or NDD? 
  5. Two Acts of Tzedaka
  6. Calendar Reminders
  7. Why be nature smart? 


Awesome New Plans!

Magen David Students preparing the front garden beds for planting


MJDS students are eagerly anticipating and beginning to prepare our school gardens for the growing season.  Each year is an experiment and an adventure.  This year we are planning our garden to be more in tune with the rhythms of the school year.  Rather than planting vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes that are not ready for harvest until the summer, and then do not last into the fall, we are planning two broad kinds of vegetables with a different thought in mind.  We would love to harvest something before this summer, so we will plant green, leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and lettuce, all of which the children love growing, identifying and finally eating.  In order to also have something ready to harvest in the Fall, we are also planting a variety of winter squashes, some which are edible and some which will make fantastic Sukkah decorations for Sukkot.  

Help Needed

When school staff is not present over the course of the summer, we are also looking for a few dedicated families that would like to help care for the garden.  Please email your child's class with the subject "Summer Garden" to discuss further.  Thank you!

MJDS Outdoor Education at Its Best

Liv and Maytal playing Bat and Moth tag at Kortright


These past two weeks have been an exciting ones of outdoor adventure for Kita Magen David.  We have been prepping the garden beds by adding soil and compost, as well as beginning to plant the seeds which we will observe closely and help nurture over the coming weeks. It has been exciting to notice the bulbs that we helped plant for Yom Ha'atzmaut growing near the playground. 


We also journeyed to the Kortright Centre for a day of outdoor learning and fun!  We hit the trail on a beautifully overcast day, learning about how animals have adapted to thrive in the particular habits on their land.  We also played fun games such as "Bat and Moth tag" and "Owl and Mouse Hide-and-Seek".  In the afternoon, we became artists on the land, creating beautiful, impermanent art with the abundance of tools available within the natural landscape.  All in all, an amazing and special Spring week!


Sam, Bella, Adam and Jonah learning how deep the hole needs to be when planting potatoes


Last week the Casa children had an opportunity to go to Toronto Botanical Gardens. The day started with an exciting bumpy bus ride and the children all chanting "401, 401" on the highway, pointing out landmarks that they recognized and playing I spy. When we arrived we were greeted by the friendly staff and our guides for the morning before entering the specially designed Learning Garden. 4 activities were explored as the children learned about the importance of red wiggler worms for creating soil, planting vegetables, finding signs of spring, and appreciating the variety of colours that can be found in nature. The concept of respecting nature and all of the creatures in it was at the forefront of each lesson, and was highlighted by an activity in hunting for nature's treasures such as giant pine cones and new green plants. The plot of potatoes that we planted will have our school name on it, so be sure to visit the garden to see how they are growing!


Look out for more pictures of the Casa field trip to Toronto Botanical Garden in an upcoming Picasa album.


Shalhevet is growing beans and radishes indoors while digging up old roots outside. The students have observed that...

  • A newborn plant will use the food, the cotyledon, for its first growth, but will not thrive without the food made by the leaves. (Here is some grammar in action:
  • We just used a noun in apposition in that sentence!)
  • Leaves have a substance called chlorophyll that can be extracted with alcohol and a mortar and pestle. Seeds that do not receive light do not turn green. This green substance comes into existence when leaves are exposed to light.
  • The roots of a dicotyledon are shaped a bit like a carrot.
  • Dicotyledons sprout two leaves when they first shoot.
  • Dicotyledons have two food bags - yes two cotyledons. Di is Greek for two!
  • Monocotyledons have roots like strands of hair.



Last Child in the Woods Book by Richard Louv


MJDS invites you to borrow Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. This is a wonderfully eye-opening book  in our parent library that speaks to the importance of spending time with nature:  

In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv speaks of "Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)"  and establishes a direct link between the lack of contact with nature in the lives of today's wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rises in obesity, attention disorders (ADD) and depression.  

A new and growing body of research indicates that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond-and many are right in our own backyard.



Two Acts of Tzedaka

Tzedaka with the Shinshinim Project
Stav, Ruben and Oded with their donations for the Israeli troops

Oded and Stav want to specially thank Ruben Berliner and his family for being such a supportive and incredible part of the MJDS community. Ruben, a student in Kita Magen David, decided with his family to start the initiative and ask for his 8th birthday party donations for our fund, to get better winter equipment for Israeli soldiers in the Nachal brigade. This is the combat unit that one of Stav's best friends serves in today, and that Oded will serve in for the next 3 years.


Ruben's generous act of Tzedaka has been unbelievably helpful for us and our Israeli troops, and we appreciate it greatly!



Oded and Stav



Tzedaka with a Lemonade Stand


Jaime and Alexandra in 2013's Lemonade Stand Fundraiser
Once again MJDS students Jamie and Alexandra Eckler will be holding their Annual Lemonade Stand with the proceeds to benefit the homeless.  Kol Ha Kavod to the Eckler sisters !


Calendar Reminders
J&A Lemonade Stand
Jaime and Alexandra Lemon Stand Details

Sunday May 25 - Walk With Israel


Sunday May 25 - Jaime and Alexandra's Lemonade Stand 

Click on Flyer for details


Friday May 30   - Annual Shabbat Dinner


Why be Nature Smart?

"The future will belong to the nature-smart-those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need."





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