Shul School 2020: Week 4 Wrap-Up
November 8, 2020
Shalom Shul School parents,

Can y'all believe it? With week 4 of Shul School complete, we are now officially halfway through the 2020 Shul School semester! The time sure has zoomed by! (Ha! Ha!)

This morning I participated in an extremely helpful and thought-provoking meeting of the Parents Committee. We began to identify our priorities for Shul School in 2021, and discussed how we can make sure that those priorities are being met.

In recognition of the fact that each age group will have different needs and concerns, we decided the most practical approach for gathering parental feedback would be to facilitate conversations amongst the parents of each class. You will soon be hearing from parent representatives of each of your kids' classes to start those conversations, and later they'll report back to me with the consensuses that arose.

I look forward to hearing the results of these conversations, which will shape our planning of Shul School going forward. Thank you in advance for participating in this process, and for your continued support of our religious school program!

Meryl Zimmerman
Education Director

Each week, we will use this space to introduce you to a different Shul School teacher. This week's featured teacher is Debbie Wells, who teaches Gan Nitzan:

"I moved back to New Orleans last year, after living in the northeast for 36 years. I grew up in Lakeview and Metairie, and attended Grace King when it was all girls. I graduated from Tulane and raised my children in Montclair, New Jersey where we were active members of Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue. Last summer, I was so happy to be welcomed for Shabbat at Shir Chadash. I met Jennie Lavine one Friday night and was lucky enough to work with her last year. At my first Saturday service, I slipped out to join Meryl Zimmerman’s service for children and I became her number one fan. I met Cherise Sands, my new volunteer mentor, and learned how to make the best Hamantaschen for Purim. I met Dana Wallen who has kept in touch with me through this shut-down and encouraged me to attend virtual services. I met the Sisterhood, the Men’s Club, and all the volunteers who have held us together, providing beautiful and meaningful virtual services. I am grateful for our Shir Chadash community and especially thankful for Rabbi Silver who has been such a gift, a steady voice and an inspiration for me through these difficult times. 
The Gan Nitzan class and I began our second year on Zoom in October and the children are patiently helping me learn the ropes. Enormous thanks to their very supportive parents."
Gan Nitzan

Chanukah is one month away and we’re getting ready! We made dreidels from “clay” and read a book about a dinosaur who visits for the holidays. We shared the bins/bags we decorated to hold shoes and clothes we collect at home for our tzedakah project. We also started a practice of gemilut hasadim, acts of loving kindness. So far, Lina and Reeva helped their moms cook, Meital fed and cared for her cats, Jacob listened to his mom, Eleanor played with her dad and Ezra helped his mom take out the garbage and recycling. Our time ended with Ezra singing us a beautiful love song and Eleanor singing a great song she learned in French class.

Today we learned about the mitzvah of guarding your tongue. We read a book called "A Sack Full Of Feathers" about not spreading rumors. Then we made chains that connected one nice thing that you should say to people, with one not nice thing that you should not say.

Today, we talked about routines and the importance of hiddur mitzvah (making a mitzvah more beautiful). We also went over the blessings we say on Shabbat over the candles, wine, and challah.

Ask your child: Why is it important to make a mitzvah more beautiful? How can you beautify a mitzvah this week?

We played a game of I-spy to get us into our lesson about the 12 scouts and the Israelites. We spoke about having different interpretations of situations and looked at fun optical illusions. We also discussed whether we thought wandering the desert for 40 years was a fair punishment for the Israelites.

We learned part of the Hatzi Kaddish. The words are a bit tricky, so be sure to review them this week using our powerpoint.