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7th Grade Blog                                                 March 31-April  3, 2019


Tonight we read about Irena Sendler who defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a health worker, she smuggled the children out between 1942 and 1943 to safe hiding places and found non-Jewish families to adopt them.

Ms. Sendler was born in Poland and was greatly influenced by her father who was one of the first Polish Socialists. She was a Senior Administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, who operated the canteens in every district of the city.

Your children read about her heroic efforts to save the Jewish children and more importantly her humble attitude towards what she did when she was recognized after the war.  Sendler was once quoted as saying, "You see a man drowning, you must try to save him even if you cannot swim."  She also said, "The world can be better if there's love, tolerance and humility."  On calling herself a hero she said, "Heroes do extraordinary things. What I did was not an extraordinary thing. It was normal."

She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.

Joel Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                          March 27, 2019


Tonight we studied from the Chai curriculum about Ethical Behavior and how the students define truth, compassion and courage. The students made presentations defining these words in their minds as well as how they can make improvements to their own ethical behavior.

Everyone agreed that improvements can always be made on a personal level. We also talked about how Judaism teaches us that we are created in the image of God and that we must strive to be "God-like" in our behavior.

Mr W

7th Grade Blog                                                       March 13, 2019


Tonight we studied from the CHAI curriculum on the subject of "Do You Believe in Miracles?" The students all made short presentations on how they define what a miracle is, answered the question "Do miracles come from God or do humans play a role in miracles?" and also responded to the question "Is it a miracle that the Jewish people have survived for centuries?" All students believed in miracles and felt that God had a role to play in making them happen. They also believed that it is a miracle that Jews have survived so long after so many episodes of humiliation, despair, and destruction.

Next week we will be off (Erev Purim) and we will be returning for sessions on the the 27th and April 3rd.

Mr. Weinberg

7th Grade Blog                                                 February 13, 2019


Tonight we did a follow up to last week's Holocaust presentation by discussing and reading about the SS  St. Louis and its ship of Jewish refugees who several countries did not want to let enter their ports of entry. We read a story about the travels of the ship from two survivors of the journey. We also viewed a speech by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as he apologized to the Jewish refugees and all Jewish people for not allowing the ship to make port in Canada and take in the 900 refugees who were on the ship - a very powerful speech that really captured the attention of the students.

Joel W.



We had a wonderful class this evening. We worked strongly on Y'otzer Or and before and after Torah blessings. It's important to note that the semester will be over before you know it! The students have been reminded of the need for outside practice on their prayers and for assessments that will be begin two weeks.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                              February 6, 2019


This week we had a wonderful speaker join us. Ruth Weiner spoke with the students and other members of the synagogue about her experiences in Vienna, and as a member of the Kindertransport. Basing her story off of pre-submitted questions by the students, Ruth engaged them in a conversation about the past, and how it is now their responsibility to carry on the story. "Did it just feel like a heavy weight dropped on your shoulders?" Ruth asked at one point. "Well, it did." Despite the heavy opening, the round set-up and the direct engagement led to an uplifting, and personal, connection between Ruth and the students. Both the pre-submitted and follow-up student questions showed wisdom beyond their years. It was a wonderful event to witness, and the future of these stories could not be in better hands!

Have a wonderful rest of the week/weekend,


7th Grade Blog                                                          January 23, 2019


Students worked on prayers that they needed to work on: Nissim B’chol Yom, Ma Tovu, Tallit blessings and Yotzer Or.

Next week (1/30) is a special program, a Voices of Hope Holocaust speaker. Please join us! Students should still be practicing outside of class.

Mr Z

Tu B'Shevat Extravaganza!!!                                  January 16, 2019

7th-12th grade students experienced the Tu B'Shevat Extravaganza tonight! The focus was the 7 food species that are traditionally eaten on Tu B'Shevat. The students rotated to each of the 7 stations (see below!) and got to try all of the foods that are traditionally eaten. 

Pomegranates (Majesty, glory) - The students learned how to dress and lift the Torah with Rabbi and Mr. Z. This was an amazing skill for them to learn! After they lifted and dressed the Torah, they were allowed to eat pomegranate seeds and drink Pom Wonderful, pomegranate juice.

Olives (Health) - The students ate olives (black and green) and brainstormed ways on stick figures that they can take care of themselves (physically, emotionally, mentally) with Becca and Mr. W. 

Wheat (Kindness) - The students ate rolls and brainstormed different ways that they can show kindness to others with Becca and Rabbi. Check out their ideas on the kindness tree outside of the Sanctuary - and add your own!

Figs (Respecting elders) - The students ate figs (and Fig Newtons!) and brainstormed letters to their present selves from their future selves with Mr. Z and Mr. W. Their discussions about what they wanted their future and present selves to be were thought provoking.

Grapes (Beauty, resilience) - The students ate grapes and did challenges with Addison and Mr. W to build their team strength. These challenges made them work together and push each other to succeed.

Dates (Being responsible for own being) - The students ate dates and answered "What Would You Do?" type of questions with Rabbi and Mr. Z. They also brainstormed their own "What Would You Do?" questions!

Barley (Controlled strength) - The students did yoga with Addison and learned how to quiet their minds and bodies and harness their inner strength. They even did tree pose! 


7th Grade Blog                                                     January 9, 2019


This week we decorated our Tu B'Shevat poster in preparation for Tu B'Shevat,

the birthday of the trees, on January 21, 2019. 




We worked on before and after Torah blessings, Haftarah blessings and Yotzer Or today. More practice needed!

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                           January 2, 2019


Students worked on the before and after blessings for Torah and Haftarah and Yotzer Or.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                           December 12, 2018


We did a huge review today of all the blessings the group should know including: Shabbat candles, blessings over the bread and wine, holiday blessings and the shehecheyanu.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                        December 5, 2018


Students worked on Ma Tovu, Shema, V'ahavta, Hanukkah blessings and Yotzer Or.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                         November 7, 2018


Students worked on Modeh/Modah Ani, Shema V'ahavta, Ma Tovu, Nissim B'chol Yom and Yotzer Or.

Mr Z

7th Grade Blog                                                              November 28, 2018

Judaism and the Family: The Relationship

7th Grade Jewish Family Education Program

Jeff and I would like to thank all of you for participating in our Family Education program on Wednesday evening. It was wonderful to spend time with you. We hope that the ability for you and your kids to talk at the table about how faith plays a role in your everyday family life and being able to draw what that relationship looks like was something that will further strengthen the relationship you have with your children.

Your children did a wonderful job standing up in front of everyone and explaining their drawing, and hopefully their work of art will hang in a special place in your home!

Thank you once again for participating and have a safe and wonderful Hanukkah!


Joel Weinberg - Judaica teacher
Jeff Zagoren - Hebrew teacher


7th Grade Blog                                                             October 17-24, 2018


We completed a two-part session on the issue of whether Jews should outwardly express their Judaism by wearing Star of David necklaces outside vs. inside their clothing. This topic was brought about by two articles we read illustrating singer Billy Joel's wearing the yellow Star of David patch on his suit jacket during a concert last year in Madison Square Garden. Joel said he donned the Holocaust-style patch in protest of the president's statement that both sides were to blame for the Charlottesville violence.

We had a discussion on Wednesday about the students' opinion of Joel's decision. Everyone understood why he did it and seemed to agree with him. They felt that it is fine to do it once but didn't think that it should be done again; once was enough.

We then discussed the wearing of the Star of David necklace and the students felt that they are more comfortable wearing the necklace on the inside, not the outside of their clothing. Everyone was proud of their Judaism but didn't believe that it was necessary to "market" their Judaism by wearing the necklace in a place where everyone could see it. It was a fascinating discussion and, as I said before, your kids were very proud of being a Jew.


Joel Weinberg



We are working on completing our evaluations, to learn the specific areas each individual needs to focus on, so we can work in pairs more effectively.  I am happy to say that the majority of the seventh graders are doing well and just need a little refining in some areas.  By next class, I should have a plan for each student on what they should be working on.  We wll contnue to move forward during the month of November.

Previously, I had given a homework assignment to listen to Patti LaBelle's song New Attitude.  All the class, except for one student, did the assignment, which was impressive.  They also understood why I gave the assignment.  It is important that you speak with your son or daughter as to what they learned from it.  Although the song lyrics deal with relationships, sometimes personal, my point was, it is time for a refocus in our class.  We have a short time to work, and our teaching and learning time is precious.  The students need to change their former ways and work harder this year.  Expectations are different and a bit stricter, with fewer warnings.  The students were definitely on the same page with me and got the meaning.

I also expect to be able to allow some work in pairs for learning some prayers.

Please don't forget that we do not have class next Wednesday night, October 31.

See you in two weeks. 

7th Grade Blog                                                   October 10, 2018


Tonight we discussed the meaning behind the quotation, "I believe in the sun even when it is not shining." The students wrote down their thoughts on the quotation and each student made a short presentation in front of the class in addition to being questioned by me.

Answers included, "There may be bumps in the road but everything will end up shining someday." "Believe in something even when it's not there, always have hope." "Believe in God, even if it doesn't appear that He is apparent in our lives." " Have faith no matter what." "Balancing life might be hard sometimes, but if you move some pieces it can make room for everything to fit and work out." "Even when you are sad you have to remember what makes you happy." "Have faith in things, even when you can't see them."

Joel Weinberg
7th grade Judaica teacher



I am in the process of reevaluating the students' prayer abilities to determine what they remember and where to focus from here. Our prayers covered today were Shema/V'ahavta, Avot/G'vurot, Modeh/Modah Ani, Mah Tovu and Nissim B'chol Yom. Since class meets only once per week, I strongly suggest that your student practice reading the relevant prayer(s) 2-3 times during the week.  


7th Grade Blog                                                        October 3, 2018


We had a shortened class this evening due to the NFTY presentation.  We finished and made sure we know the class rules and last minute notes.

We did a dress rehearsal for our service scheduled for this Friday night.  Many students wanted to read English parts, and we will lead the Shema, V'ahavta, Avot/Imahot  and G'vurot possibly together as a class.  

We completed class by Mr. Z. giving a homework assignment on listening to Patti LaBelle and the song "New Attitude."  I have told the students that more respect is expected in class and that they need to arrive with it for next week's class.  It will be a long year otherwise, as I will not continue conducting our sessions as they have been.  There is a time for fun and a time for learning.  Please have a conversation with your son or daughter about this.  

Thank you for your assistance.


7th Grade Blog                                                       September 26, 2018


Tonight I had the opportunity to meet with your children for the first time this school year. I introduced myself to the students by giving them a background of my experience as a teacher here at Kol Haverim and the expectations for the class.

We also had a discussion I called "Who am I?" in which each student made a short presentation about their own backgrounds and what Judaism means to them. The students were terrific and had a lot of interesting things to say. I look forward to a wonderful year with your students!

Joel Weinberg



It was great to see your children again after a long summer break.  We had a general chat to catch up together.  We went over what the rules and procedures are for class this year, and how a little more effort is expected.  There is a lot for me to teach, and prayers or hymns your son/daughter need to know.

It is important to note that our 1st Friday Community Shabbat Service is on October 5, which we will do together with the sixth grade.  It is the one Shabbat service scheduled for our grade for the year.  We hope to see everyone there!

I look forward to a challenging and exciting year with the group.

Jeff Zagoren

Mon, July 22 2019 19 Tammuz 5779