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!
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
I hope you all had a good three day weekend and are staying warm in this weather! I personally enjoy the brisk air, and amazingly my kids never seem to need a coat in any of it :)
Ok, so I'm emailing for a few reasons! One is, I am so pleased to let you all know that due to a generous donor we are now able to offer free attendance for the Festival for Jewish Learning! Of course, it's wonderful if you're still able to pay, but go ahead and use the "student" (free) rate, and sign up to come. We'd love to see you Thursday night at 5pm for my favorite podcaster, Mark Oppenheimer. He's also the author of the book on Squirrel Hill and wrote the NYT Religion column for 6 years. And/or come to Phillips Hall on Friday for a session to remember the Shoah followed by Kabbalat Shabbat led by Rabbi Micah. Another option is to come out to TNS on Saturday night starting at 5pm for a Petra dinner (with libations) followed by Havdalah and songs. Kids welcome too!
Now, on to Purim. First of all, make sure Wednesday, March 16 is on your calendar for Erev Purim at TNS. Secondly, we are hosting "auditions" this Sunday for a kids Purim shpiel! Here's the scoop:
Performance will be on 3/16 at 6ish pm
Also this Sunday the kids will have a special guest, Rabbi Lon Moskowitz, lead in Torah Talk. Please be in touch with any questions and I look forward to seeing all of you in this coming week.
All my best
I hope you've all re-dug out your jackets and sweaters as the cool breezes have sunk in here on the Central Coast after our Feb heat wave. Speaking of the clothes we choose, that was actually the substance of last week's torah portion, and so much behind what Rabbi Micah focused on with our kids this week. He did a beautiful job of explaining the meaning and feelings behind wrapping tefillin and wearing a kippah - how these rituals direct our behavior to be more holy....who could use nasty language with a yarmulke on our heads or with the shema on our arms and heads? Micah also led the kids in feeling what it's like to put a tallit over one's shoulders, wrap the tzitzit around one's fingers, and connect to who/what we care about. Here are a few images from this last week's Torah Talk:
Following time with the rabbi, our students engaged in class time, which largely focused on using our brachot to exercise gratitude. Our Shalhavot class was engaged in listing the 100 things they love and Today we began the unit on Hakarat Hatov הַכָּרָת הַטוֹב (recognizing the good). One way to continue the conversation is to make up your own b’rachah בְּרָכוֹת for something in your family.
Our Nitzotzot class also focused on brachot - Blessings for the Home. The kids made beautiful wall hangings and discussed what it is to bring such love to your household.
Our Gan class was cute as ever, also learning about "Shalom HaBayit," or peace in the home. And, our Kiddush snack this week was all about "Ahava" or love (picture from Israel Museum). Thanks to all who contributed and continue to! Plus nice leadership skills from Asher this week who doled out the cupcakes :)
Finally, a few pictures of Eliana, Dinah, and Ronen presenting on Mitzvah bags and how to use them to make the world a better place. This took place just before our kids service - where we had Alex Barrett, Sophie and Leo Feldman, Simon and Isaac Bandari, and even more kids help out! It's beautiful to see them engaging more and more....
What's coming up
Please note there is NO HEBREW SCHOOL THIS SUNDAY, Feb 20. We will resume the following Sunday, Feb 27.
Before then, PLEASE be sure to check out this amazing program the community is offering Feb 24-26 to educate on antisemitism and celebrate Jewish life on the Central Coast. The website is: https://www.jewishfestivaloflearningslo.com/ and I've attached the detailed schedule to make it easier to see how to sign up. Also, take a second and watch our promo video (narrated by yours truly, Rabbi Micah).
Also, be sure to have marked on your calendars Wednesday, March 16 for Erev Purim. We'll rock the house at TNS with fun for the kids, grogger noise, pizza, libations, and megillah readings. Just come.
In the meantime, be in touch with anything you need. I'm always a call, text, or visit away.
What a beautiful Shabbat and Sunday school we enjoyed last weekend! Our Family Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Micah was vibrant and full of beautiful energy. The entire evening overlapped with a Hillel Pride Shabbat at TNS, and the Klein Room was full of Cal Poly students and celebration. As that happened, Micah led our littlest ones in a Tot Shabbat that included the upcoming Purim tune "La Cova Sheli, Shalosh Pinot...." practice it here!
The tots then went to have their own kid-dish with the cutest "shabbat candles" I've ever seen - thought of by our newest member and her family, Ariella Leva! Tanner then sang the entire HaMotzi on his own for us :)
Meanwhile, our older kids helped Rabbi Micah lead in many of the blessings - from Barcu to Aleinu to Adon Olam.
On Sunday, our children were super engaged in the Torah Talk. Please do talk to them about it too. We reviewed the 10 commandments, the architectural renderings of the Tabernacle, and made tin foil golden calves that we then acted out and casted away! (thanks to Alex Barrett as Moses). Below is the slideshow to discuss any of these topics in more detail at home, as well as the Adon Olam song I played for the month of Adar (to the tune of "Happy").
In Shalhavot class, the students reviewed and discussed the Purim story. In Nitzotzot, they talked about "Shalom Ha'Bayit" and in the Gan class, the children upcycled plastic water bottles learning about "Bal Taschit" (not wasting) and reviewed the letter "tet."
Lastly, thank you to all who sponsor onegs, bring school snacks, refill our supplies, and take care of our grounds. It truly takes a village!!!
Stay tuned for more coming up, now that we are in Adar. There will be lots of exciting build up to erev Purim, so save the date to be at TNS on the night of March 16th!
All my best
PS - on a community note, PLEASE check out and register for this amazing program we've put together (including yours truly) - https://www.jewishfestivaloflearningslo.com/
You can read in the New Times Op-Ed from Rabbi Micah more on the conference, as well as watch this promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjzajKTdHZY&feature=emb_imp_woyt
I hope you have had the chance to speak with your children about our last TNS school session. It was an impactful and profound morning, honoring Holocaust Remembrance, and I really want to send a message of appreciation to your children for taking it all in so respectfully and seriously. We started out the morning watching the film "The Tattooed Torah."
Following the movie, we had Noah Tendrih present his take on "Diary of Anne Frank." Please take a moment and read Noah's words. I encourage all of our students who are ready to read this book to still please do so and present their thoughts another Sunday.
Then our school heard from TNS president, Susan Stern-Pearl, on the background of her father, who liberated Buchenwald, followed by a history on our past congregant, Irving Klein, z"l, who survived the Holocaust and whose estate helped build our community room. Lastly, the kids went through an evacuation drill with John Belsher, who reminded them that TNS is a place of warmth and safety, and that we do these drills to help ensure that.
During class time, the Shalhavot students reviewed a number of our blessings and their meaning, including the hamotzi and the blessing over fruit of the vine. Our Nitzotzot class watched a film about Anne Frank and wrote letters to her. See below to understand how they took such a lesson in. The Gan class was focused on Israel this week - and made their own passports!
We ended the day with kids service - and I love that more and more of our students are joining me on the bimah to lead in the prayers! Alex, Sophie and Leo did a great job with Sim Shalom and here is Levi Medina leading in Adon Olam -
The pieces of Sunday morning came together with Rabbi Micah leading in a moment of silence and explaining to our school the more serious nature of what we were teaching. Rabbi Micah will be leading this Friday our next Family Shabbat Service! Come by 6pm for the 15 minute tot shabbat, followed by a kid-dish for the littles. Then our regular service will start with the older kids being called up to the bimah to lead in various prayers with Rabbi Micah. The Kovens are generously sponsoring an oneg so there will be some treats to follow the service.
Also coming up this weekend is our next Rosh Chodesh gathering, on Sunday, Feb 6 from 4:30-6pm at Sycamore Springs. Please RSVP to me if you can attend.
Also, on the community-side of all things Jewish on the Central Coast, I want to let you all know about the 2nd Jewish Learning Festival! It's an incredible program of speakers and learning sessions we've put together, both in educating against antisemitism and as a response to the swastika that was graffitied on the AEPi house last year, and as a way to celebrate Judaism. Check out the website and come to the keynotes or more! https://www.jewishfestivaloflearningslo.com/
Lastly, TNS has a new website!!! Take a look at templenershalom.org and you will see the new look, plus a synagogue calendar that includes service times, birthdays, and more on the "Koleinu" page. That page you need member access - the password is "tns1818"
I look forward to seeing many of you later this week. You'll certainly hear from me again with a reminder for the Family Shabbat Service.
All my best
Letters to Anne Frank from Nitzozot Class
Dear Anne Frank
I would be so scared if I was a Jew in the Holocaust and you were very brave, and if I was in a mini room and could not go outside, I would be so mad.
Dear Anne Frank
You lived in a hard times, you faced hard things, and became famous
Dear Anne Frank
Thank you for helping out during the war. You did a really good job in helping our world
Dear Anne Frank
I'm sorry I don’t think I would be able to survive that long. You also inspired me to get a diary. I am sorry .
I'm thankful for my life. And I hope you are the same.
Dear Anne Frank
You are cool by finding out how to find something to do when you were stuck. I feel bad for how you felt.
First and foremost, a huge TODAH RABAH to Phylissa and all of you for leading the charge, helping out, and hosting last Sunday's Tu B'shvat Community Session! What a beautiful way and a beautiful property on which to hold such a special holiday. Below you'll see the pictures of endearing messages the kids wrote on their TNS leaves, and I love that the recycling art was such a hit. Hopefully too we'll enjoy some of the planted parsley at our Passover Community Session seder. (I also included some photos from the previous week's Tu B'shvat activity that Michal's class enjoyed)
Also, relevant for tonight - if you can still make it and didn't last night, know that "Fiddler on the Roof" is playing at the PAC! Kids can get the student price, which is 50% off (just call the box office) and adults can use the JCCSLO discount code for 10% off. Us Bandaris will be there tonight, so just letting you all know!
Now for this Sunday, and even today. Many of you may know, today is recognized as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. There are a number of online and virtual options to recognize and discuss this, including many films to view on the SLO Jewish Film Festival site. In fact, our school will view one of the shorts this Sunday, "The Tattooed Torah." This is an animated piece geared toward elementary-school aged children to introduce the subject of the Shoah. Amazingly, the Canadian school system actually implemented this film into its curriculum for young elementary aged kids. We are honored to play it for the SLO Jewish Film Festival and at TNS Hebrew school. That said, if you are at all uncomfortable with your child watching the film and discussing this topic, please be in touch with me directly.
Further, our Shalhavot class has been asked to read "Diary of Anne Frank." Part of our Torah Talk time, which will be with Rabbi Micah, will include a handful of the kids presenting on what they learned from the book. We have extra copies and I hope this inspires more of the kids to read it, whenever they are ready.
Also, this Sunday, please note that our past TNS president and property guru, John Belsher, will be leading the kids and TNS staff in an evacuation drill at 10am. In certain ways this is regular procedure, but certainly the Colleyville incident makes it ever more so pertinent.
Lastly, I really, really encourage all of you adults to read this book on the tragedy of what happened in Pittsburgh a few years ago. Not only because it is beautifully written and honors the souls of the 11 who passed, but also because it is so about the community who rallied around the synagogue and showed the power of what it means to have such support. Plus, the JCC, Hillel, and AEPi are bringing the author to SLO, to Cal Poly, next month! (Feb 24) The author will be part of our 2nd Festival for Jewish Learning, which will include a whole lineup of talks on antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and a celebration of Judaism. The festival is also a collaborative response to the swastika that was sprayed on the AEPi house last year - and educating the community on the history of antisemitism and gravity of such an incident.
And, I'm almost done! First, please note I will be leading services this Shabbat at 6:15pm (here is the zoom link if you want to join virtually). But, also, mark your calendar for our next Family Shabbat Service with Rabbi Micah! That will be for next Friday, February 4 at 6pm. Again, the first 15 minutes will be for our youngest ones, and then our older kids will be called up to the bimah to help with the regular Shabbat service.
Also, I have the tub reserved - our next Rosh Chodesh gathering is Sunday, Feb 6 from 430-6 at Sycamore Springs. Please RSVP to me and let me know if you can join, learn, and talk.
Thanks so much for all and I trust to see you all soon.
What a great report I got from last Sunday. A huge yasher koach and thank you to Maxi for leading the charge. I heard she did an amazing job leading Torah Talk about the parting of the Red Sea and then tying the lesson in to the kids yoga she led. What a treat!
Of course thank you to all our regular teachers and TAs who kept things going too. The Gan class made Miriam’s tambourines and continued to talk about courage. Responsibility is the value in older classes. Here are some of the pics I received:
So for this next week we will host the Tu B’shvat Community Session at TNS from 930-1130. Phylissa (Ethan and Jonah’s mom) will be in charge and definitely relying on your support. Be ready to help move tables and chairs and help with set up/clean up! It will be a robust Tu B’shvat program with multiple stations, learning sessions and rabbis. Most of it is planned for outdoors so we can stay as cautious as possible. Of course if your child isn’t feeling well, please do not send them in Sunday.
Parents, please do plan to stay for Rabbi Micah’s adult education session entitled “Identifying the seeds and shells of our souls” It will be during the kids’ “class” time and be out in the patio.
Please note too that 15 minutes into school starting this Sunday we will close the gate. There will also be more communication about any further measures tns is taking to help with our synagogue’s security.
On a lighter note, please send me any pics from this Sunday too! The Bandaris are sorry not to be there and will look forward to returning to our TNS family. In fact, I lead Shabbat services on Jan 28 and will be there to lead International Holocaust Remembrance Day recognition with a special animated film from the SLO Jewish Film Festival (www.slojff.com) on Jan 30 with the school. For the older kids, please do read “Diary of Anne Frank” by Jan 30 and try to prepare a few words to say about it.
Take care everyone and be in touch. Do please text or email me if you cannot attend school next week.
Happy rainy Thursday and winter break, everyone!
Here's a recap of last Sunday's session, plus highlights for what's coming through the rest of December, into January, at TNS.
December 19 recap
Our last Sunday before winter break coincided with the last parsha of Genesis (Vayechi). It's where the brothers (Jacob's sons) do come back together, grandchildren are blessed, and we move on to the stories of Exodus.
Rabbi Micah kicked off the day with a Torah Talk focused on the power of names, which are highlighted in this parsha. We made up poem songs for many of our students' names and practiced blessings.
Following rabbi time, our kids split into their classrooms. Gan and Nitzotzot zeroed in on lessons on Shabbat, and our Shalhavot class cracked open our Chumashim and read through the torah portion to understand and discuss in more detail. We learned about the definition of "Israel," took in more detail of Jacob's sons, and discussed the blessing he gave to his grandsons, Ephraim and Menasseh, that we carry on today each Shabbat to our sons and daughters.
A thank you to the Hartless-Romero family for providing snacks - and leading in blessings! Please remember, I really need you to sign up for such help starting in January through the end of May:
Parent Sign-Up 2021-22
What's Coming Up
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.