I do hope your kids mentioned yesterday's content at TNS school, as it was much to process after spending our first 45 minutes on the Holocaust. First of all - the kids did amazingly well. They were respectful, attentive, and inquisitive around such a serious matter. All took in the movie we screened (The Number on Great Grandpa's Arm) and engaged with Phylissa's presentation on her experiences with the March of the Living. Phylissa was inspiring and heartfelt as she spoke of her time with survivors who she marched alongside, and even dug out the coat to wear that all her fellow marchers did - not just to honor the memory of the Holocaust, but to show unity and pride in carrying on the Jewish people.
As you'll see in the pictures below - we also engaged our students in lighting candles and reading poetry. We had 6 yellow candles to represent the 6M Jews who perished, and each child had a chance to light their own candle to remember, honor, and hold the moment. Amber and Levi M. read outloud the "Butterfly" poem that many students did art projects on during class time; I read a Hannah Sennesh poem and explained her backstory.
I also want to thank the Bnei Mitzvah boys who attended this past Saturday's Shabbat service - Arie Bandari and Atticus Feldman. Seeing the two of them with their kippot and tallises on, both opening and closing the ark together, and being called up for an aliyah, was exemplary in how we carry on our traditions - and how our children learn to do so. Rabbi Micah certainly played a role in integrating them into the service. I'll continue to remind all about our Saturday services and look forward to ones to come.
In the meantime, there is much to put on your calendar for a community Yom HaShoah program, Friday Family services, our next Community School Session, and a TNS Family Campout! Here's the rundown:
What a glorious Sunday! I certainly hope your kids digest with you our weekly Sunday school, and at least shared one golden nugget they learned about Pesach. If they didn't yet, then prod them! We did A LOT this past Sunday; it should have oiled their wheels on some level for our upcoming big holiday.
Before I get into the recap, please note that next time we meet for school isn't until Sunday, April 24. However, TNS has Pesach services, so do come, help make a minyan, and expose your pre-bnei mitzvah kids to the Shabbat and Saturday morning services -
April 15/16 and April 22/23 - Pesach Services
April 16 led by Saeed Niku. April 23 with Yizkor led by Rabbi Micah.
Also, save the date for the following:
Sunday, May 15 - Community School Session (on Israel) 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 (evite forthcoming)
Now, the recap from yesterday! We started off the morning with Rabbi Micah practicing (for at least a 3rd time) Ma Nishtanah with our kids, as well as a reminder of this beautiful holiday of freedom from slavery. Then we showed a claymation film, The Animated Haggadah, which captivated all our kids. You can stream it online free, so here's the link in case you missed it or want to view it at home again:
Then a shout out to Jake (who subbed for Michal), Joel, Amber, and Zoe who held down the fort with almost 30 children on their own. We were a slim staff this week but made it work! I know the kids learned even more about Pesach during class sessions....but, then mock seder time! Eliana and Dinah helped me with matzoh ball soup and other preparations, as did Dafna, Drew, and Maxi. Thank you to all else who brought the seder items, including parsley, matzoh, horseradish, charoset, roasted beet, haggadot, and more. Rabbi Micah led the kids in sweeping out the chametz during kiddush snack, and then led all of us during our mock seder. Next year in Jerusalem! (And next year, we're talking about a parent adult ed talk for Micah to teach us in guiding us better in preparing ourselves and our families more intentionally for Passover)
Our mock seder was full of lots of Jewish/Passover goodies including matzoh ball soup, matzoh brei, gefilte fish (some kids really liked it!), macaroons, and hard-boiled eggs. Aside from the food, Rabbi Micah guided us through traditional songs and blessings, and explained some of the why of what we do. We dipped our fingers to recite the 10 plagues and broke the middle matzoh to find the 5 afikomens! Shout out to Asher Storm who found the first one! Here's evidence of some of our other afikomen locaters :)
So, a hearty chag pesach sameach to you and all your loved ones. The Bandaris will be in Chicago starting at the end of the week through the seders, and then back in town for our second Pesach shabbat. In the meantime, please read and hold Rabbi Micah's Passover message coming out this week (you can read it in advance here). Lastly, please note our next school session will take place the Sunday before Yom HaShoah, so when we resume, we will be re-addressing a very serious subject. On that note, if you would like to help efforts in Ukraine, our TNS family, the Kovens, are involved in and looking for support with this one relocating families to Romania: Iași – The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS - https://fjc-fsu.org/centers/iasi/
I wish you all a truly good yuntav and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
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.