January 16th lesson plan Moving Traditions:

We will take attendance and welcome our new student to the group.  We will begin the session by welcoming everyone back. Asking if anyone did anything they would like to share with the group.  Then one of us will lead a few minute guided meditation. 

Next each group will discuss the Essence of Shevat sheets and go over the Facts, Features and foods of the month.  Before talking about the foods you should ask the group what they know about Tu Beshevat.  Some of the students might remember it and some may not. Ask if anyone has attended a Tu Beshevat sedar briefly share what you know. 

Next we will gather back as a group and go over the Rain and Ritual Prayers.  At this point I want to discuss what we know about water conservation overall and here in New Mexico. What can we do to help save water and to make it so the water supply lasts longer.

For the next activity we will explain that the Tu Beshevat sedar involves the kabbalistic concept of the Four Worlds in which we live.  Each of the four worlds corresponds to different element of nature:
Physical World-Earth
Emotional World-Water
Intellectual World-Air
Spiritual World Fire

We will divide the group into 4 smaller groups.  Each group will invent a body movement or gesture and a related sounds that express the element on the card.  Each group will share with the bigger group.  Once shared the groups will create a "movement chain" by stringing together their movements, one after the other, connecting them as much as possible as they go as in an assembly line.

Once the groups present ask: What element did this movement chain suggest to you?
What do you think we can learn from the element we just saw?

Fire can teach us moderation.
Water can teach us the important of flexibility of going withe the flow.
Earth can teach us that everything, including ourselves, must be nurtured to grow.
Air can teach us that we cannot always see what is important.

December 12th 2012 Lesson Plan for Moving Traditions

Hanukkah is just around the corner, giving us the opportunity to recall what it is we are celebrating for 8 days. For that, we need to go back to 167 BCE when the Greek Empire ruled the land of Israel. Back then, when Antiochus IV took control of the region, he began to oppress the Jews severely by prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, desecrating the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and killing Jews who opposed him. Under Antiochus’ strict rule, many Jews, now referred to as Hellenized Jews, adopted much of Hellenic culture, including the language, customs, and dress of the Greeks. Nevertheless, Antiochus's persecution of the Jews proved to be a major miscalculation, as it provoked a large-scale revolt led by a spontaneous Jewish rebel army called the Maccabees. Their revolution succeeded, and the Temple was liberated and rededicated with a small jug of oil that had remained ritually “uncontaminated”, miraculously sustained the Menorah’s flames for eight days, by which time more oil could be procured.

The Maccabees response to the foreign regime made me think about all the different empires that have ruled upon the earth over the centuries. It wasn’t just the ancient Greeks, but also Babylon, Rome, Mongolia, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain and more; in each epoch there was another nation which became dominant and took the historic role as the world’s leader. At this point, I believe that most people would agree with me when I say that the United States of America currently occupies this role as “world leader.” Though the amount of territory it controls is less than the empires of old, the U.S has a tremendous influence on world politics, economy, technology, and popular culture, and that makes it the closest thing to being the “empire” of our time.

Although you might believe that, in Israel, camels are the primary source of transportation (sorry to shatter your illusions!), Israel is actually a modern country, and as part of the Western world is also greatly influenced by the United States. It was not a revolution, but a process that began to gain momentum from the late 1980’s and increased during the 90’s. The first Israeli branch of McDonald’s, often seen as the classic measure for the impact of the culture of the U.S., opened in Israel in 1993, but after
few years it became one of the largest and most successful food chains in the country. This trend continues with the entry of additional American chains into the Israeli market such as GAP, which just came to Israel few months ago, and Payless ShoeSource, expected to “make aliyah” during 2011.

American influence has even managed to infiltrate modern Hebrew, with commonly spoken words like “bye” and “okay,” and with Israeli brand names that carry English names such as HOT, YES, FOX, and more. Speaking from a personal perspective, I must admit that I didn’t learn most of my English from English class in school (the idea of having twelve English tenses, is still very incomprehensible to me). Rather, I learned through listening to English popular music and watching American TV shows and Hollywood movies, which are all very popular in Israel.

As much as the described above is part of a worldwide process, in Israel it has some unique features - America represents the “good life” and what is considered to be trendy and modern. Some say the “Americanization” of Israel is turning its society into too much of a capitalistic one, with a hedonistic consumer lifestyle that emphasizes the individual; a lifestyle that contradicts one of the primary characteristics of Israeli culture in the past, regarding modesty, asceticism and collectivist values, as would be expected from a country that was originally founded on the idea of a socialist democracy. Now, when the majority of the Jewish population in Israel defines itself as secular-nonreligious, when Israelis are following the trends of foreign culture, and with Hebrew – which Israel’s founders impressively revived – losing its centrality, one raises an interesting question – whether we are witnessing a modern phenomenon of “Hellenic Judaism”?

I argue here that this isn’t the case. First, I believe that the so-called “Americanization process” is essential to Israel continuing to function as a modern, liberal country that is open to continued integration with the West. Second, because I believe that the tension created between the local traditional culture and the global (or American, if you will) culture is a healthy tension, as it proves that Israel and Israelis are still in the process of shaping the very fundamentals of their society. Finally, Israel is simply not the U.S. - and I don’t believe it’s going to be any time soon, something that has become even clearer to me after living here for the past 3 months and experiencing the many cultural differences. It is this kind of combination of old and new, east and west, religious and secular, that makes Israel’s culture what it is. America, with all its power and influence, is only a small part of the overall picture.

I’m excited that it’s Hanukkah! But how do I balance my own celebration when
Christmas spirit affects so many other people? 
By Ray Velez
During what has been come to be known as the “holiday season,” it is pretty obvious
that Christmas takes center stage, and is the most media hyped holiday in North
America. Some consider Hanukkah to be the Jewish equivalent to Christmas, but it’s
not. It is important that we continue to feel strong connections to Judaism during
December. Though we are by no means the religious majority, we should never
cease to be excited for this time of year. In addition to focusing on Judaism, we also
can take this opportunity to share our Jewish heritage with our non-Jewish friends
and take advantage of the chance to learn about other religions and traditions. For
example, hosting your own celebration amidst the many Christmas parties can be
fulfilling and may prove to be valuable to friends, family, and neighbors.
As Jews, we choose to embrace the meaning and traditions in our own lives and
celebrations. In my household, we include a wonderfully prepared dinner, family time
(essential to any holiday), and we make sure to read the story of Hanukkah and
share some of our traditions with others whom we invite into our home. My family
ritually lights the candles and we share what we are thankful for in the closing year.
After reflecting on all that the Jewish people have gone through, we realize how
fortunate we all are in our own lives.
This year, as the first and last night of Hanukkah fall on Shabbat (the most important
holiday in Judaism), we have the chance to have a double celebration. If you have
never celebrated Shabbat in your home, now may be the perfect time to start a new
tradition, or at least try something new. Bake a challah, light the Hanukkah and
Shabbat candles (traditionally, Hanukkah candles are lit first, followed by the
Shabbat candles), make kiddush and celebrate 3000 years of tradition.
Because of the media’s attempt to be politically correct, most Christians know that
Hanukkah falls around Christmas. This knowledge gives Jews a golden opportunity
to educate others about Judaism. You may find that many of your non-Jewish friends
ask you questions about Hanukkah and other Jewish traditions. Explaining the story
of the holiday to non-Jewish friends and family is always important. Delving into the
origin of the holiday and different traditions currently observed, including latkes,
dreidel and the order of lighting candles can be a lot of fun.
Related Questions: 
I can’t host a gathering at my house, what can I do? 
to someone at your synagogue, whether it is a youth group board member, your
rabbi, your cantor or your educator. You may be surprised at how open your
synagogue is to a youth Hanukkah celebration. Suggesting a family program or even
asking to help plan one yourself is a great way to share the traditions with others.
Is it possible to share religious traditions with people from other religions?

Definitely! My family is religiously diverse and last year we had the chance to
celebrate both holidays at the same time. Though Christmas and Hanukkah do not overlap this year, and Ramadan is long over, participating in a multi-religious celebration of life and spirituality can be fun, educational and a great way to increase tolerance in our diverse society. Celebrations with friends can create a great opportunity to learn and to teach each other about the religion and beliefs of each individual. Judaism is rooted in the pursuit of knowledge, so, when questions arise, who better to answer them but Jews excited to continue tradition! One night spent celebrating different holidays among close friends can be an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Taking Action: 
Keep the Connection 
Use this opportunity to learn about the meaning of Hanukkah for Judaism and your family. Talk to your parents and grandparents about what Hanukkah meant to them when they were young. The anticipation created by a family tradition may be the motivator behind the continuation of Judaisml’dor vador , from generation to generation. Find opportunities for social justice This time of year offers tons of opportunities to make the world a better place. 
Here are a few ideas:
* Soup kitchens never have enough volunteers, especially around holiday time. Whether they say so or not, there is always a way to help.
* Participate in clothing drives at your local synagogue! If there is none set in place, don’t be afraid to begin your own! Talk to your clergy and temple board, and ask them for assistance in creating or operating a charity drive.
* Check in your area for Jewish residents at hospitals and nursing homes! No one should be neglected and excluded from the holiday cheer!

Moving Traditions
Lesson Plan

First we will take attendance and welcome everyone.
Next we will have the kids sit at the tables.
We will go around and ask each person in the group: What person they consider to be their role model and why.
Next you will pass out the cups of skittles to your group.  For the amount of skittles they need to answer these questions.
Red: most memorable or embarrassing moments
Orange: Goals
Purple: Achievements
Yellow: Hobbies
Green: favorite food, car type, clothing brand, singer

You will have your group read A Woman of Hanukkah: Judith then ask the following questions.
1.      Acknowledge that most people know more about Judah the Maccabee than about Judith and Hannah.  Why do you think that is so?
a.       Judah, the hero of the Hanukkah story, who led the Maccabean revolt against the Selucids in 168-165 BCE.  The story, including the account of Hannah and her sons,  is recorded in the Book of the Maccabees, part of the Apocrypha (non-canonized books appended to the Bible)
b.      The story of Judith, recorded in the apocryphal Book of Judith, has been less well known.  Perhaps because teachers and students of Torah were historically men and boys, women’s stories received comparatively little attention in the past.
c.       As Jewish women become more active in religious life and in Torah study, they have begun to rediscover and popularize women’s stories.
2.      What are some of the words to describe Judith and her actions in this story?
a.       Brave, smart, wise, creative, strategic, faithful, cunning, independent, heroic, beautiful
3.      What was your reaction to the story?
4.      How do Judith’s tactics compare with your own methods of getting what you want?
5.      Did Judith and her people have alternatives?  What else might she have done?
6.      What alternatives do we have today?
Conclude with this:  Judith used the sources of power and influence that the story imagines are available to her, such as beauty and trickery.  Often, men are depicted as heroes for killing in battle, and women’s power is represented as sexual.  Today, we can choose to achieve our goals without manipulation or exploitation of our sexuality.

Give each member of the group a different sheet with Women of Valor.  Acknowledge ha many of you probably have not heard of these women. 
Give each member a few minutes to read their sheet.  Each person will get the Internet Profile sheet.  Also markers, pens, scissors and glue.
They will each create a profile for the women on there sheet to use on an internet social network sheet. 
You want each person to be creative and use the information that is on the sheets we gave them and they should imagine that they are these people and create the sheet in the way they would want to be perceived.
Have each person present what they have done.

Congregation Albert:                     DAY/DATE: 14 November 2012 / 1 Kislev 5773
The essential question
Outline of the points of the class

How did Israel Come to be in modern times (20th century?
I. Zionism - 1896
II.  The Aliyot to Israel from Europe
III. Balfour Declaration
IV.  Arab immigration to Israel because of jobs created by Zionists
V.    Churchill admires work of Zionist in the land
VI.  Arabs organize riots (1929) against Zionist settlements
III. White Paper

Lecture/discussion/ Questioning

Student participation
                immediate feed back - being asked questions - allowing students to ask questions
Fill out sheet about “What I learned today.”

Congregation Albert:                     DAY/DATE: 7 November 2012 / 22 Cheshvan 5773
The essential question
Outline of the points of the class

What were the events which led to the beginning of the Zionist movement?
 Jewish history in Europe?
                Western Europe
                Eastern Europe
What was Jewish status in Europe?
                A people without a nation - a people outside the law
After the French Revolution, what changed for Jews?
                The possibility of belonging to the nation in which Jews lived.
What was the seed of anti-semitism in Europe?
                The Medieval Church
                The Protestant movement
The change of perspective of anti-semitism in 19th century Europe
                Shifted to a political point of view as well as a religious point of view
Theodor Hertzl
                Wanted Jews to become part of modern Europe (late 19th century)
Dreyfus Affair - in France
                Hertzl covers as a reporter
                Changes his attitude as to how Jews can be a free people who have self determination
Zionism - a political solution
                To obtain a homeland for the Jewish people through political means - not violence


Student participation
                immediate feed back - being asked questions - allowing students to ask questions
Fill out sheet about “What I learned today.”

Moving Traditions: October 24, 2013
Begin by going over the blessings (morning blessings).  Everyone will be together for this part.

As a group we will lead everyone through a 10-minute yoga session.  I will have some music and they will go through the motions as one of us reads the steps.

We will then break into groups to discuss how everyone feels in regard to doing this.  What thoughts they had from doing it and how their bodies feel.

In the groups go over the Essence of Tevet handout.

Discuss what is on the sheet with the group.

Ask each member to name a physical activity they enjoy.
At the conclusion note the similarities and/or range of responses.
Acknowledge the opening responses are examples of ways we use and appreciate our bodies. 

Ask one person in your group to read: Philo, a Jewish philosopher, said it this way: “The body is the soul’s house.  Shouldn’t we therefore take care of our house so that it will not fall into ruin?”
Ask the group what does this mean to you?
Explain that this gathering will focus on appreciating and feeling good about your body.  Studies show that many of us are critical of our bodies wishing we were taller, slimmer, less hairy, etc.  And our bodies really do amazing and wonderful things for us all the time. 

Next ask the group to join hands and to take three steps into the center of the circle as in the mayim dance.  Ask each of them to make eye contact with someone across and now that person opposite will be their partner.
Instruct each partner to stand back to back.  If you have an odd number they can be the first leader. The leader will say things that the pairs have to do together.  For example, “right hand to right hand, head to head, left foot to right foot, right hand to left leg.  The leader then says back to back and you must switch partners.  The activity will repeat again.

Have the partners sit down together.  Give each group the Feel Fabulous Strategies and the Hevrutah Cards.  Explain that hevrutah is the traditional Jewish method of learning.  It reflects the belief that each of us has something to teach and learn from one another, and that when we open up and connect with a friend, we engage in deep Jewish learning.

Have the groups look at the Feel Fabulous Strategies and the Hevrutah Cards and allow 5 minutes for discussion.  Ask the pairs to share highlights of their response with the group.

Point out that, as we noted on the Essence sheet, Judaism views the boy as holy and encourages us to treat it as such.  Like a temple, we can value and appreciate our bodies.

Ask if they can name a Jewish custom that promotes the notion of sanctity of the body- treating it with respect and value.  Note that there are many Jewish customs that both reflect and promote the notion of sanctity of the body, such as ritual hand washing and saying a prayer before and after eating.  In fact, there are Jewish blessings intended to be recited daily with express gratitude for our bodies.

Explain that the shacharit (morning) services for weekdays and Shabbat includes a series of blessings which are based on the Talmudic teaching that a person should offer prayers and gratitude for everything that he/she experiences upon rising in the morning.

Distribute the Mindfull Appreciation.  Point out that these blessings can be read on at least two levels at once-literally and figuratively.    Read the first blessing.  Ask what are some different ways to interpreter this prayer?
Have everyone in the whole group sit in a circle.  Point out that this discussion has encouraged us to recognize our bodies as temples and to strive to resist the tendency to disrespect ourselves through self-critical thoughts r unhealthy choices.
Place a small trash can in the center. Each person will have a pen and paper.  They are to think about and write down one way that they tend to disrespect their bodies, in thought or action.  Maybe we skip breakfast too often or choose to stay home on a bad hair day.  Have each person acknowledge whatever tier tendency is and write it down, crumple it up and toss it in the trash.  Be sure to acknowledge that this activity is symbolic gesture of a truly difficult task.

Ask the group to think about how they can support each other attempts to talk and think positively about themselves.

Congregation Albert - Israel Inside/Out     DATE: 23 October / 8 Cheshvan 5773
Essential Question
Major points of the class lesson

                What does the 19th and early 20th century history of the Middle East have to do with Israel?

*For Muslims, the Holy Land is Arabia. (Mecca and Medina)
*Abdu Melech, and early king of Muslim territories, set his capital in Damascus.
                *He was outed in a rebellion and established Jerusalem as a Holy City since Mecca and Medina were controlled by the rebells.
                *Once the rebellion was over, Jerusalem was politically and religiously forgotten by the Muslim world of the time.
*Within Muslim Literature, there is a 50/50 split as to whether Jerusalem is an important place within Islam.
*Any land conquered by Islam, is to remain within Islam.
*JERUSALEM IS CENTRAL TO JUDAISM - not just a place to visit or to make pilgrimage, but CENTRAL to the life of Judaism. 
*Jerusalem is mentioned in Genesis as the city of Salem
*Jerusalem is mentioned in The Book of Joshua as Jerusalem
*Of the 613 Commandments - 342 are connected directly to the Land of Israel
*1896 - Theodore Hertzel writes The Jewish State - modern Zionism is formed

Note taking
Watching of video
Questions and answers

ISRAEL/ INSIDE-OUT DATE: 17 October / 1 Cheshvan '73

Consider the Importance of Israel to the religions of the world.


What is the religious role of Israel?

Main Points Made:

1.     The Turkish Ottoman Empire 1516-1917CE (not one of the current Arab countries is 100 years old)
2.    Ottomans held on to Israel longer than anyone else.
3.    Starting in the 1700's the Ottomans cut down all the remaining trees in Israel
4.    Only city built in Israel during the Ottoman Empire was Ramle.
5.    There was always Jewish immigration into Israel.
6.    The Ottomans did not care about Jewish immigration as long as they paid their taxes
7.    The Ottomans were the last Muslim Empire to rule Israel - ending in 1917 when the British conquered Israel during WWI
8.    Christianity believes that Jesus was born, lived, died, and was resurrected in the Land of Israel.
9.    Jesus was killed in Jerusalem which makes Jerusalem one of Christianity's most Holy sites.
10. Christianity believes that Jerusalem is a museum city. 
11. Bethlehem is the birth place of Jesus
12. Nazareth is Jesus's home town
13.  Mt. Tabor is the place where Jesus ascended to heaven as a spirit
14. A Root Myth is a belief that people hold that may or may not be true but is believed to be true to the point that people base their lives on the event.
15. Islam dynasties ruled Israel for 1300 years
16. Mohamed is the last of three major prophets - according to Islam.  The first prophet was Moses, the second was Jesus, and Mohamed got the final and best set of rules.
17. Mohamed established a Muslim community in what is today called Saudi Arabia.
18. In the year 620CE Mohamed ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount.
19. The Dome of the Rock is the same place as where the Temple once stood.
20. The Dome of the Rock is the Third Holy site in Islam.
21. The Holy Land for Islam is Saudi Arabia.

 Lesson 5
Handout I "The Test of Time"

Israel Inside/Out   17 Tishrei 5753 / 3 October 2012

How important is the State of Israel to being Jewish in the United States?


Being Jewish before 1948 and the State of Israel:
            Jews were considered a nationality without a nation.
            Jewish loyalty to a country was always suspect.
                        We were considered a closed group
                        We were considered afraid of the outside world
                        We were considered to be non-fighters - easy targets
Being Jewish after 1948 and the State of Israel:
            Israel was considered the under-dog by Americans and were proud of Israel's accomplishments
            Jews in America became more comfortable with being Jewish because Israel was viewed as being a positive nation in the Middle East.
            Jews were able to be open about their being Jewish -  Jews could live in any neighborhood they wished, they could go to schools they wished, the exclusive country clubs, the restricted hotels could no longer support a "gentleman's agreement" about excluding Jews.
            Our religion wasn't the only way in which we were identified - people began to accept Jews as people - with strengths and weaknesses.
            The idea of celebrating Sukkot, building a Sukkah in our yard, even taking time off from school for Jewish holidays, wasn't something we could seriously consider before the State of Israel.
            According to a recent Harris poll, 75% of Americans think favorably of Israel.
            When the world says Israel, they still mean Jews.


Lecture and Discussion


Student discussion and end of class reflection

Moving Traditions

Welcome everyone and take attendance.
Number everyone off so they can be split into smaller groups …sit on the floor or tables.

In your groups go around and introduce yourselves and respond to the question:
            Among the members of your family, who understands you best?  Explain briefly, allowing everyone to have time to respond.

In the group read Rachel and Leah in the Torah.  (I will give this to your at the beginning of class)

Highlight the fact that, according to tradition, the biblical matriarch Rachel died in the month of Heshvan.  Therefore, we observe Rachel’s yahrzeit in Heshvan. 

Ask the group to tell what they know about Rachel.  Highlight the idea that Rachel’s story is intimately connected to that of her sister and co-wife.  Point out the names chosen for their children and sentiments behind them. 

Ask what they think the relationship between these sister-wives was like? What tells you?

Midrash Explained:

Explain that what we know about biblical figures comes from both Torah and midrash. Midrashim are stories composed throughout Jewish history that interpret biblical texts.  This interpretation is done through creatively explaining words, verses or whole stories that are incomplete or unclear in our texts.  The best known stories are the tale about Abraham destroying his father’s idols and the story of Miriam’s well.

Explain that traditionally, the authors of midrash claimed that they were not adding or changing anything about Torah but that they were simply revealing what was already “written between the lines”.

Distribute the 5 Torah and Midrash Cards to different people in your group.

Ask them to read the cards  and decide as a group if they are biblical or midrashic.

Next Questions:
-       What are the main differences between the biblical and midrashic descriptions of the sisters’ attitudes toward one another?
o   The Torah finds Leah and Rachel mean-spirited and jealous of one another
o   The midrash depicts the sisters as dedicated to one another and supportive of each other.
o   The contemporary midrash presents a more complex picture that depicts both the joys and struggles of this relationship.
-       Is it possible to be jealous and supportive at the same time?
-       Have you experience that tension personally?

Create your own Midrash:
This is an opportunity to write your own midrashim.  Encourage each person to imagine that they are either Rachel or Leah and that this is the opportunity to tell the story of the sisters’ relationship from their own perspective.

You can write a letter from one sister to the other, a diary entry, a testimony in court or any other form you want.  Include a color, a smell and the phrase “if only……

Ask for volunteers to share what they have written.

Israel Inside/Out   25 Elul 5752/12 September 2012


Why are the following dates important to the Modern State of Israel?
1312BCE: Moses leads the Exodus
1272BCE: We Conquers the Land
 877BCE: King David conquers/buys the Jerusalem
 825BCE: King Solomon builds the Temple
 422BCE: First Temple is destroyed
 352BCE: Second Temple is built
 70CE: Second Temple is destroyed
 73CE: Masada falls
 691CE: Dome on the Rock is Built
 1099CE: Crusaders take Jerusalem
 1571CE:Ottomans conquer Israel


Ways of looking at History:
X------------------------------> Herodotus (Greek)
X--------| ---------|     ---------> Jewish
       -----         ----


Video from lesson 4


Student discussion and end of class reflection


Who was first to be in the land?
Why Jerusalem as the capitol?
Conquering the land:


What is the history of Israel?


Western Values:
            Students answered the matching questions from last week's lessons regarding Western Wisdom.  In the course of the discussion, students were instructed that the fact these were Jewish concepts, they have been adopted by the entire western world - Christians and Muslims alike.
The statement came up that the Jewish People are chosen and that such a thought is a bit uncomfortable and seems to indicate that Jews are better than other peoples in the world.  The discussion revolved around the following key ideas:
1.    We chose
2.    We took on extra responsibility by following the Torah
3.    The "chosenness" factor which made us special originally came from other people, not from ourselves. 


The founding of Israel - from the start
            The history of the Jewish people as represented in Genesis, should not be considered an actual history (Heroditan), but as a Root Myth (meaning a central story of the a people which is central to the people's understanding of who they are and what they believe).  The "examples" or "facts" of the stories found within Torah are to teach moral lessons to the Jewish people - lessons that are still taught today and are adopted by Western Civilization.
            Many ancient societies created their own Root Myths, but the values were not as true as the values presented in Torah, thus those Root Myths have been proven false. (i.e. great heroes of Greek and Roman times, the gods, etc.)

Lesson 4 - History of the Land > video


Students were asked to consider the ideas presented about "chosenness" and to formulate some sort of self definition regarding Jewish chosneness without considering other peoples of the earth to be less valuable.

Moving Traditions
Week 3/4

Table Coverings
Copies of sheets

1.     Each leader of the three groups will have “The Essence of Tishrey
-       Note the abundance of holidays and traditions that appear in the month
-       Review and have a discussion over the facts and the people who are highlighted this month
-       We will focus on the High Holy Days
2.     Ask if any of the participants know what teshuvah means (literally means “turning”)
-       Involves turning away from behaviors we are not proud of and embracing those we think are good
3.     Point out the three essential components of teshuvah
-       Admit:  the mistakes we made in the past year in relation to ourselves, in relation to other people, and in relation to God
-       Find ways to address these mistakes within ourselves, with others and with God
-       Resolve never to repeat these mistakes
o   “I did _______________.  Please forgive me. How can I make this right?”
o   To avoid lashon hara we must first learn to recognize it in all forms of it. 

4.     We will ask for two volunteers to do a skit.  While they are reading over the skit we will hand each person out a sheet of paper and a pen.
-       The participants should write down as many instances as they can of lashon hara
-       As a group at the table they will share their examples from the skit
5.     Give out Wise Word and copies of the script to the other people who did not have it.
-       Review the sheets and have a discussion
o   Were there any examples of behaviors that you were surprised to learn are lashon hara?
o   Which do you think are the most challenging to avoid?
o   How can it hurt both the speaker and the listener?
§  Both speaker and listener can justifiably be viewed as untrustworthy, judgmental, and lacking in integrity.
-       Discuss this question
o   Do you think talking about others is always destructive?
§  Some say that there is a difference between talking about someone and talking against them.
§  Talking about the detail of people’s lives is not necessarily mean.  The intent of a comment can determine whether the comment is hurtful, neutral, or helpful.
§  The tone of a comment may reveal the underlying intent.  For example: a statement such as “she looks emaciated” can be cruel or it can reflect concern.
-       This question hits home:
o   Can you highlight any ways in which talking about others can be beneficial?
§  Sharing an interest in people’s lives can serve to establish connections and intimacy.
§  Such talk also affords us the opportunity to lean from others people’s experiences.
§  If based on mutual concern on behalf of a third party, sharing information can help us to support our friends when they go through hard times
-       Judaism cautions us to remain aware of the potential harm we can cause through the careless use of words. 
o   Ask one person to read Wisdom about Words.
o   Ask if its easy to see how lashon hara is hurtful to the person being talked about, but how might it hurt the speaker and listener?
6.     What makes it hard to avoid or confront negative speech about others?
-       Such topics are often fun and interesting to most people.
-       Failing to participate can make you fell like a party pooper or goody two-shoes and can exclude you from conversations.
o   Ask how they would feel if they knew someone was spreading lashon harah about them.
§  Brainstorm ways to resist and respond to lashon hara.
·      Change the topic, tell the person doing lashon hara that you are uncomfterable talking about other people; the person speaking is being unethical or turning the negative comment into a positive one.
7.     Personal Reflective Writing:
-       Traditionally we are worthy of being written into the “book of life” if we do teshuvah.
o   Reflect on negative behaviors they wish to abandon and positive ones they wish to enhance.
-       Hand out paper and stationary
o   They will each write their own letter of life. 
o   Write 3 behaviors they will strive to avoid and 3 ways they hope to improve themselves. 
§  These are for there own eyes-only.
§  We will send the letters to the girls in a year

-       Notes:
-       Everyone should completely avoid all forms of lashon hara for the ten-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
-       It is incredibly to avoid it all together.  Take one day at a time and do your best.
-       Allow them to add new designs to the cloths

Israel Inside/Out             DATE: 29 Aug. '12/ 11 Elul 5772

Attendance is taken while students read comments made by the instructor from the previous week's learning.


What are the achievements of Israel of which we should be proud?


What are some of the SIGHTS of Israel about which we think and don't think?
Western Wall
Dead Sea
The Knesset
Tel Aviv Beaches
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Elat (Red Sea)
                What has Israel given to the West?
                What has Israel Given to the world?

Video - Class 2 Israel 360 and Part of Class 3 Israel and the West

Discussion regarding all the cool things that can be done in Israel
                The things that Israel has - it's  own national beer, great wine, scuba diving, skiing, democracy -so many people get to participate.  Active political structure - where CRITICIZING the government is important.  A Supreme Court that rules justly - sometime against the government's actions.
People of Israel come from all parts of the world - they're just Jews.


Students will fill out their portfolio Sheets and the instructor will respond to the comments of the students. 


We need to know about Israel because...
                So many people don't know the facts
                There is a great deal to know about Israel of which we can be proud
                Israel is made up of Jews from ALL OVER THE WORLD - and those Jews are very much like us.
                News corporations point out when Israel makes a mistake - but there are not as good about reporting things Israel does right.


Israel Lesson August 23, 2012 with Mr. Finn

Name and date in Hebrew and in English.
THE BRIT OF THE CLASS: Mr. Finn will be prepared to teach, answer questions and learn.  I will come to class with materials, ready to learn, willing to ask questions that apply to the class, and I will show respect to this class by using appropriate language and by being on time.

Why is Israel so important in the world - what makes it so unique?

Facts about Israel:
Size: sightly larger than New Jersey
Population: 7,353,985
                76% Jewish
                16% Muslim
                1.7% Arab Christian
                1.6% Druz
                0.4% Other
Life Expectancy: 80 years of life
Literacy rate: 97%
Official Language: Hebrew and Arabic
Official Currency: The New Shekel

 Video - Class 1 / Intro./ Time Line/ OCID Lecture - Three Commonwealths of Israel Discussion  Student Discovery - Israel and Israelis means all Jews.
 Students fill out first page of Portfolio

Mr Finn - Israel

Moving Traditions
Week 2

Supplies: paper, pens, posters, sheet/table cloth and markers

-       To create a welcoming environment and build group cohesion
-       To establish ground rules or guidelines to ensure emotional safety and smooth group process
-       To provide opportunity for creative expression and to foster group rapport

We as a group will welcome everyone.  We will take attendance and ask if they have any questions about what we did last week.

Next we will have the kids create a beautiful space to learn in.  This fabric that they are going to decorate is going to be brought to each meeting.  Encourage them to work together to create a uniquely their own.  We want them to be able to draw on this later in the semester if there is some time or if they feel that they would like to add something to it.  

Talk with your group about what makes them who they are.  What symbols do they think that they stand for.  They might need some help so you can try things like my name is Randi and rain helps me find my calming place.  Encourage them to put both their hebrew and english names.

Encourage Jewish symbols, things that represent who they are.  Might be there Jewish names, birthdates, hearts, flowers, seder plates. 

Next we will allow them to look at the different tables and see what everyone else has done.  We will bring the cloths to every meeting.

Everyone will sit together on the floor.  We will begin by presenting these questions.
1.  What is Rosh Hodesh?
2.  Why is Rosh Hodesh a special holiday?
3.  What can we learn from observing the cycles of the moon?
4.  Why was the New Moon so important to ancient Jews?
5.  What are some of the ways Rosh Hodesh was observed in the past?
6. How is Rosh Hodesh observed today?

They will find the answers by matching up with people who have the other side of the puzzle piece from them. One side has the question and one side has the answer.  Then they must find the other student pairs who have the same question and answers as they do. 

Moving Traditions

Week 1

Supplies: paper, pens, posters, sheet/table cloth and markers


-       To create a welcoming environment and build group cohesion
-       To establish ground rules or guidelines to ensure emotional safety and smooth group process
-       To provide opportunity for creative expression and to foster group rapport

We as a group will welcome everyone.  Let them know we are excited about the program and I will give a brief description of the program.

1. Introductions 
2. Establish Rules (Encourage fun rules too.  Like making new friends and so on.  These rules will be brought to every meeting.)

Keep in mind:
  “A reluctant or intimidated person cannot learn.”
Ask what ground rules might come out of this principle? “Participate fully; take risks; there are no stupid questions.”
 The Talmud teaches: Put no one to shame and you will not be put to shame yourself.”
4Ask what ground rules might come out of this principle? “No putdowns; don’t judge opinions different from your own.”

3.create a beautiful space to learn in.  This fabric that they are going to decorate is going to be brought to each meeting.  Encourage them to work together to create a uniquely their own. Encourage Jewish symbols, things that represent who they are. 

Megan McLean - Moving Traditions

Jason Krosinsky - Moving Traditions

Maia Brown -  Moving Traditions

Randi Bressler - Moving Traditions Leader

5773 School Year Above
5772 School Year Below

Welcome to the 5772 School Year!!!

A Note from Jan Secunda, Holocaust Studies Teacher:

I grew up and went to college in New York.   I moved to New Mexico in 1973 and went to graduate school at UNM.  I have degrees in psychology, special education, and counseling.  I spent 27 years teaching special education at Madison Middle School and since 2004 have been the Principal of Pathways Academy, a small private school that primarily serves special needs students.
In 1996 I was awarded a fellowship through the Jewish Labor Committee and the United Federation of Teachers to study in Poland and Israel.  It was an intense 6 weeks learning how to teach Holocaust studies to middle and high school students.  Since then I have been to Washington D.C. 8 times to take classes and attend conferences sponsored and/or hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  I have also taken classes on line and have taken a class sponsored by the ADL.
I teach Holocaust Studies because I believe that if we don’t face hatred head on we will never overcome the evils in the world.  Our students need to know what happened to the people who came before them and understand that they can make a difference in this community and this world.

A Note from Zach Schwartz, Modern Hebrew Teacher:
I will be starting my Sophomore year at the University of New Mexico this upcoming school year.  I am still undeclared, but I'm almost positive my major will be communications.  This year at Congregation Albert I will be teaching Third grade on Sundays, Fourth grade Hebrew on Wednesdays, as well as Modern Hebrew on Wednesday. I'm very excited to start teaching for the second year consecutive year at CA.  I look forward to getting to know all of your kids and helping them learn and progress throughout the year. 

-Zach Schwartz