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7th Grade Blog                                                        March 14, 2018


Tonight we studied from the CHAI Curriculum, "SH'MA. WHAT DO I BELIEVE?"

The students were asked to come up with bullet points for the question, "What does the Sh'ma mean to you in your everyday life?" After writing down their thoughts, each student made a short presentation to the rest of the group.

Answers included: "It means for me to listen and notice God in my daily life." "The prayer means that you care and you are kind to other people." "The prayer keeps a relationship going, it's like having a conversation with God." "The prayer is for hoping that we can reconnect with God." "It means to calm down for a moment, take a few seconds and just listen to things around you."

Your kids continue to do a fine job on their oral presentations; everyone has been improving as the year winds down to just a few more sessions.


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                        February 21, 2018


Tonight we worked from the CHAI curriculum and studied "My Jewish Identity: What Must I Do." The students were given a set of three questions to answer by writing down bullet points and preparing to make a presentation in front of the class:

Question 1. Think about everything that you have learned in your Jewish education so far and identify the most important behaviors for a Jewish adult.

Answers included studying the Torah, helping other people and teaching younger students good things.

Question 2. What are things that you do every day that reflect your Jewish values?

Answers included looking out for friends, doing what my parents tell me to do, and being a caring and kind person.

Question 3. Think about a time in your life when you experienced the "Hineini" feeling, or really being there for someone else.

Answers included helping my friends when they get sick, being there for a friend who lost a relative, helping friends with homework, and being there for a friend who had cancer.

Your children continue to express themselves from the heart, talking about their true feelings on various subjects. It continues to be a wonderful class and I am looking forward to the final two months of the year.


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                         January 31, 2018


As a follow up to last weekend's Holocaust Remembrance Day, the class read two stories about Holocaust survivors. The first was 90-year-old Edith Fox who survived four years in Auschwitz as a teen. After the war she settled in Buffalo, New York. The second survivor is now 92-year-old Ed Mosberg who was a prisoner of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland and later settled in New York.

We also discussed whether a Holocaust could every happen again. Most of the students didn't think it could occur again, although a few of them thought it might happen sometime in the future. 

Best regards,

Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                   December 13, 2017

Today we worked from the CHAI Curriculum and the topic was, "Birth and Death: Teach Us to Number Our Days." We had each student make a presentation in front of the class to answer the following questions:

  • What does it mean to "number our days"?
  • From Psalms: "So we may attain a heart of wisdom" - what do you think this means?

Also, we talked about the purpose of Reform Judaism and how it effects our lives today. Each of the students read a paragraph that gives an overview of Reform Judaism's thoughts on this subject and then presented their own thoughts. Once again, we had some fascinating opinions from your sons and daughters. It was a very interesting session!


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                        November 29, 2017


Wednesday evening we had our Jewish Family Education program, in which a number of parents joined their 7th graders in the Cohen Social Hall for the evening, called "Judaism and the Family: The Relationship." The objective of the program was to think about how Judaism is intertwined with our everyday family lives. There were three parts to the program.

First, we divided the parents and students into four groups, with each group seated at a round table. Each table then discussed two questions. Rabbi Tuling, Jeff, Tamar, and I helped initiate the conversation at each table. Here were the two questions:

  1. How does Judaism play a role in your everyday family life? Specifically, what are the things that take place in your daily lives due to living in a Jewish home?
  2. What are some of your favorite Jewish memories from your childhood?

Next, we handed out drawing paper and an unfinished wooden frame. The parents and students designed and put together a drawing that reflected their family's relationship with Judaism. 

The final part of the program was a short presentation by each of the families to share and speak about their completed picture in front of the class. 

The evening was a huge success. We had great discussions at the tables and wonderful drawings were produced by the students and families. Based on the pictures that were put together and the students' presentations, I would have to say that the students have a strong and wonderful connection to our religion!

Jeff, Tamar, Rabbi, Karen, Mandy and I would like to thank all of the parents and students who participated in the program. 


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                    November 15, 2017


Tonight we studied another chapter from the CHAI curriculum entitled, "God and the Jewish People: A Relationship Like No Other." The students were asked to prepare answers to two questions and then make a presentation in front of the class.

Question 1: Based on your Judaic studies over the years, what have you learned about the relationship between God and the Jewish people back in the early days of Judaism?
Answers included, "God was more of a mentor back then; we looked to him for safety, and he was a teacher." "People could hear God, He was a demanding God." "God was closer with the people back in the ancient times." "I think that the relationship was that the Jews did what God commanded them to do." "God was kind of a leader, do what he says and you shall be rewarded." "The relationship was good, although sometimes some of the people didn't listen to God." "They didn't always listen to him but they respected him." 

Question 2: What about your own personal relationship with God, especially now at the time of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Do you feel closer to God now more than you did a few years ago?
Answers included, "God knows I exist as I know that he exists, but I don't feel like I have a lot of interaction with him." "I feel closer to God now because I am new to Hebrew school and I have learned a great deal in the past month by being part of Mr. Weinberg's Judaica class." "The more I learned about Judaism, the more I felt closer to God." "As I am learning Torah, I am learning more about God and feel closer to him." "Now that I am close to having my Bat Mitzvah and becoming a Jewish adult, I feel closer with God." "No!." "I understand more about Judaism, and feel closer to God." "Three years ago I was very close to God. However, someone close to me got sick. Every day I prayed for her to get better. Then suddenly she died. A little bit of my trust in God died with her."

Overall, in my six years of teaching at CKH, this was one of the most interesting sessions I have ever conducted. Your students communicated from their hearts,  and opened up about their feelings on the relationship between God and themselves. You should feel very proud of them!


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                   October 25, 2017


7th graders presented a check to Carol's Closet volunteers Bea Farlekas and Becky Lee, representing the students' tzedakah contribution in support the work of Carol's Closet, a local interfaith group that supports foundational needs. Carol's Closet, for which Kol Haverim is a partner, is hosted at St. James' Episcopal Church.


Tonight's lesson was from the CHAI educational program and was titled, "Honoring, Not Necessarily Obeying Parents." The students were asked to answer these questions and make a presentation to the class:

1- What does it mean to honor parents?  2-When is it difficult to honor parents?, and 3- Does honoring your parents mean you have to obey everything your parents ask of you?

The overall responses centered on respecting your parents, listen to your parents, but not necessarily "obey" your parents all the time. All agreed that children should help out in the house and follow parents' directions. 

The students said it is tough to honor your parents if they yell at you and they make you do something you don't want to do. One student said it is difficult to honor your parents when they are divorced and they misunderstand what you are trying to say. 

The students felt they don't have to 'obey' everything but they all agreed that respecting your parents and working out your differences to come up with a compromise is very important. They said that compromise would always lead to a solution to a disagreement or a problem.

Best regards,

Joel Weinberg



We had a strong Hebrew class tonight with the students working hard and strengthening their reading abilities with the prayers. We are working together as a class, and Tamar, my co-teacher, is spending time with a few specific students to help ensure their basic reading skills and progress. Our goal is to have the students work together in groups of 2 or 3 as they continue studying the prayers.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                             October 18, 2017 


We worked together as one group on refining and chanting these prayers:

  • Shema & Ve'ahavta
  • Tallit blessing
  • Ma tovu
  • Avot & Gevurot
  • Nissim B'chol Yom
  • Yotzer or

We will continue our work on these, and will add other material after everyone has mastered these.

Mr. Z.


Tonight we worked from the Chai Curriculum and our theme was "The Journey We Take." The students were given two questions to write about and then make a presentation to the class.

The first question was, "What have you learned through your Jewish Journey, and what has surprised you?" Answers included, "I was surprised by what I learned about the Jews from being slaves to their ability to improve their own lives over the centuries," "I was surprised how much we have to learn to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah," "It's amazing the challenges the Jews have had to go through," and "At first I didn't know how much Jews are in the minority in this country."

The second question was, "Has it been challenging, this Journey to prepare for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and are you excited that you have almost reached your goal of being a Jewish adult?" Answers included, "YES, quite a challenge," "It has been a challenge to get it to the point I am now," "Hebrew isn't too difficult because I love learning other languages other than English," "I am excited; I also plan to continue my Jewish education after the Bar Mitzvah," "Sometimes I feel challenged, and sometimes I don't," "It's exciting to think of all the hard work I've done and how it will pay off for me in the end."

So far, the students have done a good job of thinking before writing down their thoughts. And almost everyone in the class feels comfortable standing up and presenting their views.


Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                     September 27, 2017


We had a short class this evening, due to the students' participation in activities to learn about GRSLY and GRSLY Jr, CKH's youth groups.  During class time, we chanted some prayers together to assess competence and needs.  We will start to make more progress when we return to school the week of October 16 after our break. 



Tonight each of your children wrote down their thoughts on three questions and then presented their answers to the questions to the entire class. 

  • What Does the Day of Atonement mean to you?
  • What kind of personal improvements do you plan to make to your life in the Jewish New Year?
  • What improvements do we as a society need to make in the new year?

The responses to question one centered around "Apologizing to God for all the mistakes that were made in the previous year." Other students said, "We get to reflect on ourselves as a person," "A time to redeem ourselves and say thanks to God for what we have," and "We fast to feel the pain of those we've hurt."

Question two responses centered around being nicer to family and friends. "I plan to be calmer when my sister does something that annoys me." "Spread smiles to other people." "I want to be totally honest, even when it hurts." "I plan to respect my peers and teachers." "I want to play a role in improving society."

Question three responses included, "As a society we need to accept others who are different from us." "Be kinder and more giving to people in need." "Stop bullying, education equality, build up places hurt by the hurricane."

Once again your children showed their ability to spend time thinking carefully about their responses and presenting their thoughts extremely well to the class.
Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                            September 13, 2017


This evening's class went by so fast. We did some ice breakers in class today, did some Hebrew prayer practice for assessments, and reviewed much of the safety, security and rules for the upcoming year. We will continue to work hard when we meet again in two weeks. 

Best wishes to all and your families for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! L'Shanah Tova and may you also have an easy fast on Yom Kippur.

Mr Z



Tonight the students had an opportunity to introduce themselves to me in an exercise called WHO AM I?. I asked them to write down their name, age, bar/bat mitzvah date and answer two questions: 1. What do you enjoy doing when you have some free time? 2. What is it about Judaism that makes you proud to be a Jew? After giving them several minutes to write down their thoughts, each student made about a two-minute presentation in front of the class.

Your students spoke very beautifully about what Judaism means to them. Answers included: "The reason I am proud to be a Jew is because the Jews have gone though so much and have continued to survive and thrive."  "I like that Jews stand up for their religion and are very proud of being Jewish."  "We lost many Jews during World War II and the Jews are still here." "I am very comfortable being a Jew."  "I like that I am unique being a Jew and I get to explain the Jewish holidays to my friends." "Judaism teaches me to be a good person."  "It's kind of different because almost everyone in our school is Catholic and I like being a little different." "I am proud of Judaism because our religion teaches us to help people."  "I love informing people about the Jewish culture." " I am proud of the values taught by Judaism."

As you can see, most of the responses included the fact that your students liked the idea of being unique and they enjoy talking about Judaism to their friends. It was a wonderful class and I believe that the students have great potential to be solid public speakers!

Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                               September 6, 2017

7th Grade Hebrew

We had a great start to the new year, with several parents in attendance to learn about 7th grade. We also had a full class today, with 19 of the 20 students present. For our first session, I covered a great deal relative to safety, security, and the word R-E-S-P-E-C-T in many facets, including staff, building and each other.

We are so fortunate to have an assistant teacher, Tamar Mor, for Hebrew this Fall, to help our groups with learning and prayer reading fluency, especially with such a large group of students. We will continue next class with a wrap-up of the do's and don'ts, a few ice breakers for community building, and then we will begin Hebrew reassessments and progress from there.

I am always accessible for any questions or concerns you might have. Please email me at, or call me at 860.693.9521 /h or 860.539.7042 /c.

Mr Z

Thu, September 20 2018 11 Tishrei 5779