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9th Grade Blog                                                                January 2, 2019

This week we reviewed more organizations involved in tikkun olam, or repairing the world, and explored more grey areas.  We also discussed why it is important to give to others in need, and also discussed the best ways to help people. The students agreed that it is not always a good idea to just give money to those in need.

-Josh Gertler for Becca

9th Grade                                                                December 19, 2018

This week we discussed Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. After learning about the definition and its importance to Judaism, we talked about which organizations count as repairing the world, and which non-profits might not be.

-Josh Gertler for Becca

9th Grade Blog                                                    December 12, 2018


This week Nir, the Israeli Young Emissary, shared Israeli music with the students, and displayed the variety of genres within "Israeli" music. In class, we discussed Jewish ethics in the context of a zombie apocalypse. There were ethical scenarios including how decisions should be made, how to resolve conflicts, and how to punish someone for breaking the rules. The students all agreed that they probably would not have survived a real zombie apocalypse, but hopefully our discussion might have provided a little bit of help should, G-d forbid, one occur!

Josh Gertler for Becca

9th Grade Blog                                                       November 7, 2018

In ninth grade, we continued to work on our game that mimics Apple to Apples. I told the students that we’re not going to spend too many more classes on this project, and that I would like for us to have a box to put the cards in as well as a directions sheet to make it more authentic. We have a card and a logo design for a game (see photos) and spent most of the class coming up with more ideas and are really involved in the process of game creating. We are very excited to see the final product!
Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 6.02.35 PM.png       Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 6.02.43 PM.png     Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 6.03.16 PM.png


9th Grade Blog                                                               October 24, 2018

Today in ninth grade, we continued to work on our Apples to Apples spinoff game. I explained to the students that I had good intentions for making this game sort of a big thing. They seemed to be in a little bit of a creative slump, but in the end, I got some great ideas from them for green cards and red cards. One student even mimicked the red cards, like it is shown in the actual game, with little descriptions at the bottom. I also explained to the students that we could create rules and an age minimum if they wanted to make it more genuine. After Halloween, I have plans to use our workshopping time more usefully by implementing more of an organization tool to help us with the game!


9th Grade Blog                                                                October 17, 2018

Tonight in ninth grade we had a very relaxing night. Since there was only one student in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade class, we invited her to join our class for the night. We ended up playing the Jewish edition of Apples to Apples, which helped to spark a really cool idea. As a class, we want to create our own version of Apples to Apples: Jewish Edition. This is because we felt that the already-created game was not sufficient and could have had better thought-out and more creative cards. We began a document where we put in our ideas for green cards and red cards and the student that we invited to our class designed Kol Haverim Apples to Apples cards. Hopefully we can turn this into something really cool. I have high hopes that this game can be laminated and played by other high school students in the synagogue!



9th Grade Blog                                                        October 10, 2018

Tonight in 9th grade, we spent some time discussing gender stereotypes and how they can relate all the way back to the time of Adam and Eve. It made for a very cool conversation! We started by independently working on a "draw your career" activity where we had to draw a worker doing a specific job and give the worker a name (pictured below). This was meant to spark some discussion on gender concepts and misconceptions.


I had intended to spend more time discussing what gender really means and why it is such a hot topic today, but instead the conversation led in a different direction. I posed the question, "If G-d created a complete human (Adam), why was he later separated into Adam and Eve?" Drew brought up the concept of being alone and we extended out thinking by talking about self-sufficiency and humans' need to actualize their own individual potentials, which would not be possible if there was one, perfect being. We discussed why G-d would not create identical beings and many students said that would create a world of monotony and sameness that can lead to problems, and we considered that having different people can maximize giving, reviewing, and meeting needs. 


9th Grade Blog                                                         October 3, 2018

Tonight we focused on disabilities and abilities. I first posed students with the task of filling out an informational sheet with their non-dominant hand without explaining why I was asking them to do so. I also participated in this activity and it was quite challenging. I then asked them to tie their shoes with oven mitts on their hands and get to a certain destination with blindfolds. We had discussions based on the activities and how they may relate to disabilities and/or abilities.


I connected our discussion to Judaism and posed to the students questions about Judaism's approach and acceptance of disabilities. I told students how the Israelites arrived from Egypt with blemishes and how G-d healed them all before He presented the Torah at Mount Sinai. Did G-d feel that those receiving the Torah had to be deserving and free from disabilities? Is Judaism accepting of all its congregants or not? I was very impressed and happy with the discussion we had.  


9th Grade Blog                                                          September 26, 2018

Welcome back!

I am so excited to be working with your boys again this year! It's a relief that I already know the class so well and know what close friends they all are. Tonight, all of the Upper School participated in a Sukkot activity where we drew who we would invite to our sukkah and explained why. After that, we spent some time catching up. I then handed each student a picture of a stick figure, and without clear direction (intentionally), asked them to draw or write all of the ways a body/person can be "wrong." I definitely got quite the variety of answers. Many 9th graders drew/wrote physical disabilities, drugs, cancer, crime, gender stereotypes, and more. We noticed that sometimes these sorts of things could not be physically seen like some cancers, Asperger's, social anxiety, and other similar things. We had a lengthy discussion (with some small distractions) about why these things on the stick figures are considered “wrong” and what Judaism may say about it all. We wondered what society may think about these things and why are they are uncomfortable or difficult issues to discuss.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wed, January 16 2019 10 Sh'vat 5779