Torah talk and passover messages
Lovely to see the rain come down today - and maybe lots of you are like me, enjoying a quieter night with all our cancelled extracurricular activities.
Speaking of quieter, yesterday definitely was as many of you happen to be out of town (and as a reminder, I really appreciate you texting or emailing me if you know you will be absent). But, we still had rich discussions during Torah Talk and class time, and continued to practice our Ma Nishtanah and regular songs/blessings during kids service.
TODAH RABAH to Jon-Erik Storm for leading Torah talk. Jon did a great job of making Parsha Shmini accessible to our large age span - he had the kids act out the fire where Aaron's sons perished, and linked our decisions to the laws of kashrut that are detailed in this torah portion. There was a lively discussion of foods to eat or not, and lots of student volunteers who engaged in the talk.
Class time focused on Passover, which is just around the corner. The kids have had fun playing "lost and found," akin to hunting for chametz before Pesach, and the afikomen at our Seders. But this game is also tied into teaching a Jewish value - Hashavat aveidah הֲשָׁבַת אֲבֵדָה is the value of returning a lost object when found. That is, we don't play finder's keepers, and consider the physical and emotional needs of whoever lost an object.
Thank you to Emma for leading our Nitzotzot class in this game and teaching yesterday.
In the older class, Shalhavot, continued the lessons on Koach Hadibbur כֹּחַ הַדִיבּוּר (the power of speech). In these lessons, we learn that asking questions and speaking up can be challenging but can have great impact on ourselves and others.
Our Gan class focused on the letter "Lamed" and teacher Amber talked about the Passover story with the kids, explaining how we were slaves in Egypt and trying to think about how hard it must have been.
Thank you to all the kids who continue to be so enthusiastic to lead kids service with me. Though the M&Ms are still most popular, they are all getting stronger and stronger at the prayers, including L'cha Dodi, Sim Shalom, Aleinu, Shma, and Adon Olam. Here is a link if you want to practice Ma Nishtanah at home, but we have been doing it on Sundays as well.
Next week details and beyond!
Friday, April 1 - Family Shabbat and Game Night
You should have all received the Evite for this Friday night! We will start off with a 6pm Tot Shabbat and Kid-dish, and continue into the Family Service with our older kids helping to lead on the bimah. Then stay for pizza, libations, snacks and games. It will be a really fun way to share Shabbat.
Sunday, April 3 - Mock Seder for all school families at 11:30am
We'll start Sunday school off at our normal time - you can let your kids know we get to watch a short film to start off next week! Then we invite all parents to come by 11:30 (or earlier to help set up) and share in a Mock Seder led by Rabbi Micah. This will be a fun way to help prepare ourselves and our kids for sharing in the Seder while learning about it too. If you haven't already, please sign up to bring a seder item - this will be a meal! I know we still need charoset makers, as well as matzah brei, kugel, or lasagna makers! Also great if anyone is willing to make a veggie matzoh ball soup!
April 3 - Women's Rosh Chodesh
Later that afternoon and after the mock seder, we will soak at Sycamore Springs and celebrate the new month at 4:30pm.
April 15/16 and April 22/23 - Pesach Services
TNS will have both Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat/Pesach services. Yizkor led by Rabbi Micah will be on April 23.
Please note -
NO TNS school on April 10 and 17
Save the Dates -
Sunday, May 15 - Community School Session at CBD
Saturday, May 21 - 9:30am Shabbat Service (with Baby Naming)
Saturday, May 21-Sunday, May 22- Lag BaOmer Family Camp Out at JCC Property
Lastly, I realized last week I skipped over a mention of our Purim Spiel, which was fun and full of good energy. Yasher Koach to Kristin and our cast, and a big thank you for your efforts. Now, on to Pesach!!!
All my best
On to Pesach
First of all - THANK YOU to so many of you who came out for Erev Purim and made it so special! I hope you all got a chance to glance at our Purim 2022 album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/pYZGRk5KeLaEZTEDA. Of course the drink cart is a new TNS tradition, and we were so happy to celebrate Alex Barrett's bday that night! We even got to enjoy more cake this past Sunday, which is maybe why the kids had some extra shpilkes during kids service :)
This past Sunday, however, we moved on from Purim and got right into Passover. Rabbi Micah was in fantastic form (quite literally) teaching the kids about the meaning behind Ma Nishtanah, the 4 Questions, but also explaining how to understand the ancient notion of sacrifice in a modern way. He should do an adult ed session to explain that last part more to all of us, but take a look at the pics below to see the rabbi and kids already practicing their royal positions for dipping.
Meanwhile, we'll continue to recite the four questions, plus we are planning a Mock Seder for school on April 3! I definitely need your help - sign up on the Seder tab for a dish/seder item to bring, and we are encouraging parents to attend. This means we will alter our regular school schedule to accommodate the seder, where I plan to start class time early (at 930.10), and host the seder from 11am-12pm/1130-1230pm.
Also from this past Sunday, I want to commend Emma for substituting for our Shalhavot class, and Tristan for his book report on "Boy in the Striped Pajamas." Of course our staff, including Amber, Joel, Jake, and Binah, enhanced your kids' Sundays as well, but it's something to see our TNS teens and older students taking on such leadership. I texted many of you to let you know we discussed the Shoah this past Sunday. I want to commend our students as well, from ages 4-14, for holding such a serious subject so respectfully and engaging in the matter. They posed many questions (including into kids service), remained quiet and attentive, and showed how they feel the weight of understanding the importance of remembering.
More Calendar Dates to Note
Please keep these dates on your calendar, since we have a lot going on before and after our spring breaks!
Friday, April 1, 6pm - Family Shabbat Service at TNS with Rabbi Micah - come for the rabbi's tot service for the first 15 minutes, and stay with your older kids to help lead the regular service! Kids snacks and oneg provided!
Sunday, April 3, 11 or 11:30am - Mock Seder at TNS
Sunday April 3, 4:30pm - Rosh Chodesh at Sycamore Springs in Avila
Saturday, April 16, 9:30am - Saturday Pesach Shabbat Service
Saturday, May 21 - 9:30am Shabbat Service (with Baby Naming)
Saturday, May 21-Sunday, May 22- SAVE THE DATE - Lag BaOmer Family Camp Out at JCC Property
Please also note the calendar changes we have issued -
no religious school for April 10 and 17; and the next (and last) community session is scheduled for May 15.
Thank you all for all the support, participation, and encouragement you provide.
All my best
Purim-mania definitely hit the kids this past Sunday; they are certainly learning more about this holiday and connecting in some special ways. I applaud Kristin for taking on organizing and directing our Purim Spiel (thank you, Kristin, for your detailed emails). Parents - please be sure to get to TNS either early (by 5:30pm, a must if your child is in the spiel) or by show time (6pm) so we can provide a great audience! The job of the kids not in the spiel is to BOO Haman. I loved seeing the spiel crew practice on Sunday:
Other fun Purim activities on Sunday were the Shalhavot and Gan kids putting together and learning the custom of Mischlach Manot. We also as a larger group took out Chumashim and talked about the end of the book of Exodus, and the start of Leviticus with an overview of biblical forefathers and foremothers (I led that piece so I don't have any pictures :)).
School Calendar Updates
As I mentioned last week, we made changes to the calendar in terms of the Community School Sessions. Now we will only have one more of those, focused on learning about Israel and Yom HaAtzmaut, on May 15. I will be in touch on its locale (currently scheduled for Congregation Beth David).
Also, in terms of April, we originally had April 17 and April 24 off. However with how spring break and holidays are lining up, I have changed the schedule so we have April 10 and April 17 off. We will resume school on April 24, which is the Sunday before Yom HaShoah, which will be a part of our focus that Sunday. We will educate on and review Passover customs starting next Sunday though April 3. (I would like to host a mock seder, and will be in touch about those details and needs.)
A couple more Purim details
See many of you tomorrow night by 6pm. Thank you to all who are able to make the night so full - we have close to 60 coming! Should all our Purims be so full of life and celebration!!! Thanks to all who are able to bring food, drinks, ice, and more. Please know we'll have snacks and beverages out from the beginning of the night, but dinner will be a bit later - pizza will come around 6:30, plus we'll have Persian rice, salad, and cookies. Not to mention a birthday cake for one of our TNS friends (it's Alex's birthday tomorrow!).
I'm excited to dress up, eat hamantaschen, boo Haman and enjoy with all of you!
Chag Purim Sameach
I am sure (or at least hope) you all just saw the Evite for Erev Purim in your inboxes. If not, here it is! This will be such a joyful night at TNS with our kids' Purim Spiel, boo-ing Haman, eating hamantaschen (proceeds go toward Ukrainian refugees), food, costumes, and libations.
In the meantime, allow me to recap last Sunday and fill you in on the following Sundays, as there have been a few changes.
First of all, this past Sunday was FULL of Purim joy. Starting with Rabbi Micah leading in the classic Purim song about the shape of Haman's ears/hat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrNcxIuggHY
Of course he included a more profound lesson to his talk, including how listening with those ears is so special. Please do play the song with your kids, and ask them what they heard on Sunday. I know they were listening :)
Plus, here's another video that carries on the Purim joy we started at the beginning of Adar - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtcpbwmRbac
Then, a huge TODAH RABAH to Jaime - Oscar, Albert, and Levi's mom, who led all the kids in one of the sweetest Hebrew school activities, hamantaschen baking! They all got turns in making (and eating) their three-sided cookies, and were led by one of our shul's best bakers (though I know you have some competitors!). Thank you again, Jaime....
Our teachers also led the kids in numerous lessons, including the Purim mitzvot and learning all the Purim characters. On that note, look below for all the Purim Spiel details a la Kaila and Gaby's mom, Kristin!
Purim Spiel -
Our Hebrew school will perform a short shpiel before the Megillah reading on Erev Purim. Please download the play link and practice. Here are the assigned roles, but all of the Gan kids (or any older kid not assigned) are to be part of the Jewish and Persian chorus. We definitely need you to be at TNS on erev Purim!
Eliana - Esther
Jordan - Mordechai
Dinah - Vashti and King's servant
Albert - Ahashverus
Alex - Haman
Sophie - Court servant 1
Dinah - Court servant 2
Leo - Guard
Upcoming Sundays - Community Session Changes
Lastly, please note that due to scheduling conflicts, we will not do a Purim or Passover Community School. Of course, we'll still continue our TNS sessions, but not gather the three schools again until May, where we will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut and learn about Israel together. More details to come on that - but just note to be at TNS through March and April, and help out as needed with snacks, talks, and more....
Lastly, be sure to buy some hamantaschen at Joliene Bakery in SLO!
Starting this Wednesday through March 20, Joliene Bakery will be making hamantaschen to order as part of a global movement, Hamantaschen for Ukraine, which I was happy to arrange.
They will be selling apricot and raspberry hamantaschen for $4, partial proceeds go toward Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Bakery hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 8am-1pm. They're located in the Creamery on Higuera. We'll also be placing a big order for erev Purim and have their hamantaschen for our synagogue.
Talk soon and take care
PS - I won't' forget! Next Sunday Tristan will be presenting on his book report. Thank you for your participation and preparation!
Special Torah talk
What a marvelous Torah Talk session our fellow congregant and parent, Rabbi Lon Moskowitz, led for our kids this past Sunday! We all learned about what makes up the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im/Prophets, and Ketuvim/Writings), the number of books in it (39, and 5 for Torah), the number of sentences in the Torah (5845), and even its Gematria (Hachama, or blessing of the sun), plus so much more! Quiz your kids and see what they remember!
Then Rabbi Lon rolled out one of TNS's Torahs to orient us to where we read from this past Shabbat in the book of Exodus. The kids, teachers, and myself were all enthralled with the beauty and physicality of the Torah.
Our classroom time focused on Purim and Hebrew reading review. The Nitzotzot class focused on making masks to express their feelings, and many of the kids are working hard with Binah and our TAs on their Hebrew reading/letters. This coming week, we will have another Hebrew teacher visit us, Malca Stein, who will start to work with some of our kids on their reading who have not yet been with Binah.
It's almost Purim time.....here is what we need!
First off, a huge thank you to Kristin Horowitz who is organizing and directing the Purim Spiel - please find the script attached so you get an idea of how it will go. Last Sunday we identified our 3 narrators for the play (who will be the voices for the attached script) - but we will still need to fill our main character roles!
Parent Sign-Up 2021-22
I hope to see many of you at Shabbat services this Friday (led by Rabbi Micah), and we'll start rehearsing the Purim Spiel this Sunday at Hebrew school!
All my best
Religious School Director, Lauren Bandari
Mom, educator, Jewish community advocate, Lauren Bandari, has the privilege of running the TNS religious school. She is passionate about teaching and connecting our kids, solidifying a strong sense of Jewish identity, and finding joy in our beautiful traditions.