Creating a gender-neutral Shabbat children’s blessing

The 2nd/3rd graders are learning this spring about the Priestly Blessing from the Book of Numbers in the Torah. Their learning will begin with a guided meditation where learners will close their eyes and imagine receiving this blessing from their parents at the end of Shoresh every week. This blessing’s link to our ancestors and to God is powerful in and of itself, and it is even more powerful when framed as part of our Shabbat rituals to bless our children. 

Hebrew is a gendered language, and the Shabbat children’s blessing is a very gendered blessing. We have work to do to show our gender inclusion in our actions, not just our words. This spring and summer KAM Isaiah Israel will create a gender-neutral Shabbat children’s blessing to implement by the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

You're Doing It RIGHT. And Here's How I Know.

Many articles I see have clickbait-y headlines along the lines of "You're Doing It Wrong." There are some articles pushing back on that, but overall it seems harsh that someone thinks I will click on something because they're berating me about how I do everything from recycling to paying bills to parenting. You're doing it RIGHT. Here's how I know.

Shoresh team meet: Won’t You Be My (Jewish) Neighbor?

Shoresh is “only” three hours per week (two and a half hours on Fridays and half an hour during Hebrew@Home). But Shoresh guides students as they develop their Jewish roots—their Jewish identities. We’re charged with an important task, one that we do not take lightly. We understand how sacred it is to spend time with your child each week, helping to grow those Jewish roots. Developing our teachers’ skills to teach Judaism is only part of the puzzle. The other part is their ability to build community and make Judaism relevant to children’s everyday lives—that is what we worked on at this most recent team meet.

What's Jewish about recycling?

This year our 6th/7th grade class at Shoresh is learning about Jewish perspectives on the environment. They have learned about what Judaism says about water and conserving water, decorated their own reusable water cups, and making Jewish holidays more sustainable. The students noticed that some classrooms don't have clearly visible recycling bins (as well as some common spaces at KAM Isaiah Israel) so they wanted to ensure every space has a recycling bin. They studied a verse from the Torah, Genesis 1:28, about God creating and keeping the earth, and created a rap about the Jewish importance of recycling.

Red Sea, Blue Feet: Experiencing crossing the Sea of Reeds

A lot of Shoresh families know that I love to go big. So this past week at Shoresh, few were surprised when our 2nd/3rd grade group recreated walking through the Sea of Reeds ('Red Sea') by stepping through blue paint.
Ben, the 2nd/3rd grade teacher, led the group in a visualization exercise to get them ready to "walk through" the Sea of Reeds. They pictured themselves in the desert after escaping from Pharaoh, talked about the courage and faith the Jews needed to cross the Sea of Reeds, and imagined what it would feel like to step towards freedom.