This Week in 2nd Grade

December 16, 2018


Shalom! We had such a productive, special Sunday morning together! I've broken each of our activities - our visit with Rabbi Cohen, making our Shema pillowcases, and making cards for Family Promise - into their own sections so you can read all the details about them. We also had time for Hebrew and learned our first vowels, patah and kamatz, both of which say "ah" like an opera singer. Ask your child what word we learned to read when added a vowel to shin, bet, and tav. We were all very excited to learn to read our first Hebrew word!

Yesterday was our last Sunday together in 2018. I look forward to seeing all my 2nd grade friends when we return on SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 2019! Lots of learning still to come!

Safe travels to those of you vacationing! Happy New Year!

Jennifer Bruns

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Without a doubt, the highlight of our day was the much anticipated visit with Rabbi Cohen! The kids had generated questions to ask Rabbi last week and were so excited to discover the answers to their wonders! The rabbi taught our class two new Hebrew words - tayvah and middot. Ask your child if s/he remembers what they mean. (ark and values) Rabbi also challenged each of the kids to try his favorite Jewish food, a kreplach, over winter break. :) I've included a list of the questions we asked and Rabbi's answers to help spark a conversation with your child about this very special time with Rabbi Cohen. Your children asked such thoughtful, wise questions during our conversation. It was very impressive and touching!

*What is your favorite hobby? Exercising! Rabbi likes to swim, run, and spin.

*What is your favorite Jewish holiday? Passover, both because Rabbi loves the story and because Rabbi's Hebrew name is Pesach (for his grandfather, Pesach). (Ask your child if s/he remembers why Rabbi Cohen's grandfather was named Pesach.)

*Do you teach Hebrew? Rabbi teaches Hebrew in ways other than a formal class. For instance, he teaches Hebrew words when he helps bar and bat mitzvah students with their D'var Torah and he taught us two words during our visit!

*What is your favorite food? Kreplach! (See Rabbi's winter break challenge above.)

*Do you do all the services at temple? Rabbi does a lot of them, but he's lucky to have a great team that includes Rabbi Heaps and Cantor Friedman.

*What is the hardest part of being a rabbi? Rabbi shared how hard it is to switch gears from being with someone who is really sad in the morning to helping someone celebrate something wonderful in the afternoon.

*What is your favorite part of being a rabbi? This! Being with and learning from our class! :)

*What is your favorite story in the Torah? Rabbi loves the story of Baby Moses because it tells the story of three wonderful, courageous women (Yocheved, Miriam, and Pharaoh's daughter) who saved Moses so we could become free.

*Where do you like to vacation? Hilton Head, South Carolina! Rabbi and his family have been going there for over 20 years.

*What is your favorite thing to teach? Torah and middot (one of our new Hebrew words)! Middot are values such as kindness, generosity and patience.

*How do you become a rabbi? Study a lot! Rabbi did 4 years of college followed by 5 years of rabbinical school and being a student rabbi. Now he's been a rabbi for 29 years, including 19 years at Temple Jeremiah.

*How many kids do you have? 4 - Hope (20), Jacob (25), Eli (26), and Anna (22)!

*Why are there so many Torahs in the ark? There are 2 reasons. First, one Torah is always kept in the right place for Shabbat as we go through the year and the other Torahs are ready for special occasions and holidays. Second, sometimes people donate Torahs to our temple.

*Why did you become a rabbi? Rabbi always loved being at temple when he was a kid. As he grew older, Rabbi realized he loved teaching and also helping people. Becoming a rabbi was the perfect combination of those two passions.

*What is your favorite color? Rabbi is actually a little bit color blind, but of the colors he can see, yellow is his favorite.

*What is your favorite Jewish song? I Am a Latke!

*What are your favorite books to read? Historical fiction!

*Why did you choose to be a rabbi at Temple Jeremiah? Rabbi chose TJ for 3 reasons. First, TJ is a great community! Secondly, Rabbi grew up in Chicago and his family was still here. He was ready to move home! Finally, the timing was perfect for Rabbi and his family to move since his children were so young.

TODAH RABAH, RABBI COHEN, for spending so much time with us!


At last we have finished decorating our Shema pillowcases. The kids loved decorating their pillowcases and are eager to use them at home. As a reminder, it is traditional to recite the Shema twice a day, once we awaken and again right before bed. The Shema reminds us of our covenant with God, our belief in only one God and our commitment to live as best we can in his image. BEFORE your child uses his/her pillowcase, please be sure to either iron the reverse side for 4 minutes or run it through your dryer for 30 minutes on high heat.
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We may not be in our classroom over Winter Break, but our room will be home from 12/30-1/5 to a family in the Family Promise program. Family Promise is a national organization that helps homeless families get back on their feet and achieve sustainable independence. Temple Jeremiah is one of several interfaith houses of worship that hosts these families on a rotating basis. The kids did a tremendous mitvah by making welcome cards (and "Happy New Year" cards) for the family that will be in our room. If you're looking for a wonderful volunteer activity to do with your kids over Winter Break, please consider spending some time at temple with Family Promise. For more information, follow this link:
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There is no formal Mitzvah Madness Challenge over winter break, but we always encourage our 2nd graders to think about what good deeds they can do to make the world brighter. I can't wait to hear what mitzvot everyone does over break. (Last week's Mitzvah Madness Challenge is still a great mitzvah for the holiday season! Kids can still hang a ticket if they complete it over the break.)


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We have donated $172 dollars in 2018! Amazing! Please remember to have your student do some extra chores around the house during the week to earn their own money to donate. I promise you it takes the concept of tzedakah and mitzvot to a new level when the kids are able to truly own their generosity.