Week of April 18

If you need help getting onto Zoom during school, text or call Rob Manson at (269) 270-2825.

Quick Links to This Week’s Content

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What students NEED for school this week


Bring these things to Hebrew Through Movement class:

  • Challah (Children will only need a small amount of challah each week.  Buy or make a loaf, freeze it and give them just the amount they can eat each week.
  • “Wine” glass. Can be a cup, plastic glass, water bottle. Optionally filled with liquid of your choice (we can also “pretend”).
  • Two candles (PreK-3 can use the Shabbat candles from activity box)
  • Two candlesticks
  • Kiddush cup (optional)

Grades 4-7

Students need their Hebrew in Harmony booklet.

  • Mannaberg – Shema
  • Spivak – Avot v’Imahot
  • Schicker – Birchot HaHaftarah

The transliterated name of the prayer is at the bottom of the page. Let Nora know if your student doesn’t have this booklet.


Read this before Reading Your Child’s Progress Report

Your PreK-7 child’s progress report for the first semester should arrive in your snail mailbox in the next day or so. I hope it provides useful information for you.

This has been a difficult year for all of us and some parents chose to limit their child’s participation in school as a way to lessen their family’s stress. Others chose to focus their child in other activities that the child needed this year. We have all had to focus on self care and parents should not feel guilty about the choices they made. We all did the best we could. If you chose for your student not to participate in all that the school offered this year, your child probably didn’t meet benchmark expectations in all parts of our program. That’s OK.

As you review your child’s progress report, keep this in mind and cut yourself (and your child) some slack. Some children thrived with online learning. Others not so much. Every single child in our school grew in amazing ways and the teachers and I are proud of all of them. We are also proud of you for making the difficult decisions about what was best for your child when the world around you became full of danger and risk for your family. We are impressed by all that you did to help your child succeed this year as everything about the way we did school changed.

In addition to the progress report, 4-7th grade parents also got an email with a link to a document that lists all of the prayer benchmarks in our curriculum and their child’s progress toward those benchmarks. We’ve been developing this assessment tool for several years and some students have partial data for previous school years. Data for September through February 1 of this school year is complete. Students who met expectations for Hebrew in Harmony were independent in the benchmarks for prayers taught during the fall semester.

PreK-5th grade students who met expectations for Hebrew Through Movement demonstrated an understanding of 75% of the vocabulary words taught during the fall semester. Parents can find the vocabulary in our Hebrew Through Movement curriculum on the sidebar of our website and also linked here.

We are proud of the objective data we have been able to provide you. We’ve been working hard to develop better ways to measure and report our students’ progress. We are not proud of how long it took us to compile this data and get it to you. It is always a time consuming process for us to do progress reports but this year it was really hard with all of us being in different parts of the state and having to develop new technology to document and share our data. Now that we have developed the technology we hope it won’t take so long to do the next reports since it’s almost the end of the second semester!

As always, thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us. It is a special honor to teach them and watch them learn and grow.


Preparation for Student-Led Service

Each PreK-7 student will be assigned a role in the service that will be held on Zoom on 5/14 at 7pm. High School students are encouraged to volunteer for a role as well.

  • PreK-7 students have begun learning the hand motions to Hinei Mah Tov and Oseh Shalom. Naomi has made videos which are in SeeSaw for the children and also here for parents.
  • Grades 4-7 are using their 1:1 time to make sure they are prepared.
  • There are English readings that will be assigned as well.

Here is the service order with assignments (more to be added so watch future blog posts).

PreK-3 Class
Arya (response)
Opening song / Naomi MorseHinei Ma Tov (Elana Arian)
Stan L.Candle Lighting – Cary’s class 
Sam ArnoldL’cha Dodi/sung (Taubman)Verses 1, 2, 5 and 9*rise in body or spirit for verse 9
“Please be seated”
V1.- Stan L.v2-Aubrey M.v3,4-Zoe L.Shalom Aleichem/sung (Goldfarb) – Cary’s class
PreK-3 ClassBarchu – NaomiAm I Awake (Noah Aronson)“We rise in body or spirit for the Barchu”
Nora D. (ending)Ma’ariv Aravim – if one of Rabbi Spivak’s students can read it
English Reading – MT Children pg 21
Ellie W.Shema / Rabbi Spivak student
Ellie W.V’ahavta/chanted – Rabbi Spivak student“Please be seated”
English Reading – MT Children pg 33
Mi Chamocha/sung (tune choice by student) – Rabbi Spivak class“We join together for Mi Chamocha” 
English Reading – MT Children pg 34
Gabriel F.Adonai s’fatai tiftach/chanted“Please rise in body or spirit”
Gabriel F.Avot V’Imahot/chanted
Evan S.G’vurot/chanted
Evan S. ??Kedusha/chanted
English Reading – MT Children pg 45“Please be seated”
Anna S.Shalom Rav/Kol B’Seder
Silent Prayer“We continue with silent prayer” – RSS
PreK-3 ClassOseh Shalom / Elana Jagoda – Naomi*When prompted
Nora – awards
Elijah T.Mi Sheberach/Friedman (sing)RSS will ask for names first
Lucas (first 2 paragraphs)Julie P. English + last part)Aleinu/chanted“We rise in body or spirit for Aleinu”
English Reading/RSS
Mourner’s Kaddish/RSSRabbi Spivak will read COM namesRabbi Schicker will read TBI namesThen will ask for more names
AnnouncementsRabbi SpivakRabbi Schicker“Please be seated”
PreK-3 ClassClosing song / Naomi MorseShalom Shalom (Sheldon Low)
Nora D.Kiddush – Rabbi Spivak’s class
Aubrey M.Motzi – Cary’s Class

A PDF of the prayers will be available soon.


This Week’s Family Schmooze (All Grades)



Asynchronous Learning – Judaism

PreK-7 La-bri’ut Lesson (Judaism)

We begin our last module, Hesed, this week. We ask “What is Hesed, really?” Students explore the difference between the general concept of “kindness” and the Hebrew word hesed. They listen to stories from the Torah and self-construct a definition of hesed.

PreK-3 Activity Box Instructions

In the box: Memory Game cards; Yes/No stickers; drawstring storage bag; game label; safety pin.

The task: Create a Hesed Memory Game by cutting out the cards and matching each image with a green
“Yes, that is Hesed” card or a red “No, that is not Hesed card.” Then play a matching game with the extra images
and the red/green cards. Post a photo of matched cards (and, if desired, a
photo of the memory game being played) to SeeSaw.

PreK-3 Video Instructions

4-7 Judaism Challenge Instructions

The challenge: Discover and collect stories of hesed through conversations with family members. Create a hesed tree to display key elements of family stories.

4-7 Video instructions

4-7 Written Instructions



Asynchronous Learning – Hebrew

4-7 Hebrew in Harmony Challenges

These challenges guide the student through the booklet activities that are NOT covered in class. Students can access all links in SeeSaw.

4-7 Kahoot! Games

There are no Kahoot! Games yet for this week. Check back later.


Hebrew Through Movement (HTM)

This week’s new words are noted with the word New! next to their English translation.

We offer HTM lessons on Sunday, mornings, at 5:00pm on Monday and Wednesday and during Hebrew 1:1s. We find that retention is best with 3 HTM lessons per week and highly recommend that students attend three sessions (Sunday, one weekday and 1:1). We also play games with these vocabulary words during weekday drop-ins.

Beginning 4/11 and through most of the rest of the year we will be learning about Shabbat during Hebrew Through Movement.  Below is a list of our vocabulary for the Shabbat Level 1 unit.  Items needed each week will be listed in the Must Have for School This Week list at the top of this post.  You probably have most of these items around your house but may need to purchase or bake the challah.  Children will only need a small amount of challah each week.  Buy or make a loaf, freeze it and give them just the amount they can eat each week.  Substitute grape juice for the wine.  When we get to bread, it will be just regular bread, not challah. We introduce about 3 words each week in the order listed. We may move faster if most of the children know the words we introduce.

חַלָּה/חַלּוֹתChallah/Challotbraided Sabbath bread
קִדּוּשׁKiddushprayer/blessing over wine
יַיִן (כּוֹס יַיִן)Ya’een (Kos Ya’een)wine/ wine glass
נֵר/נֵרוֹתNer/Nerotcandle, candles New!
candlestick, candlesticks New!
כּוֹס קִדּוּשׁKos Kiddushholy cup
נֶר הַבְדָּלָהNer HavdalahHavdalah candle

All of the HTM vocabulary words can be found in the sidebar.

Here is a video that will help parents with pronunciation. The video or table above should not be shared with students. Our students are learning to HEAR and understand Hebrew. They are not learning to translate. Our goal is to keep English out of our HTM lessons.https://www.youtube.com/embed/LC1G6J10_og?feature=oembed


Sunday’s Schedule

  • 9:30-10:00 Socializing with Friends (optional)
  • 10:00-10:15 Assembly
  • 10:15-12:15 High School
  • 10:15-10:55 PreK-7 – Hebrew
  • 10:55-11:15 Break
  • 11:15-12:55 PreK-7 – Judaism
  • 11:55-12:10 Mr. Mannaberg’s Hebrew Through Movement (4th & 5th Grade)
  • *

Monday’s Schedule

  • 4:30 PreK-3 Story Time with Sam
  • 4:30 Rabbi Spivak’s class prayer review with Kahoot! (Avot v’Imahot)
  • 5:00 PreK-3 Hebrew Through Movement & practice for student led service

Students can also drop in for help with the asynchronous learning or just to hang out with friends and teachers at any time between 4:30-6:30.


Wednesday’s Schedule

  • 4:30 PreK-3 Story Time with Mrs. Rachel
  • 5:00 PreK-3 Hebrew Through Movement & practice for student led service
  • 5:00 Rabbi Schicker’s class prayer review with Kahoot! (Birchot HaTorah)
  • 5:30 Grades 4-7 Library with Mrs. Rachel
  • 6:00 Mr. Mannaberg’s class prayer review with Kahoot! (Mah Nishtanah)

Students can also drop in for help with the asynchronous learning or just to hang out with friends and teachers at any time between 4:30-6:30.


Library this Wednesday

Few Jews realize that the 50 day period between Pesach and Shavuot is fraught with trepidation, considered a time of semi-mourning. Will the crops come through? Will God accept our grain offering on Shavuot? We count the omer, waiting, hoping, remembering a rebellion that ended in disaster.  

The one exception is Lag B’omer (33rd day of the Omer), a respite in which we picnic, light bonfires, plant trees, and marry. Those are the kinds of books the younger children will read, exploring the fun aspects of this mini-holiday.
The older children, however, will learn about something darker and more nuanced. They will learn why we count the omer and then about Bar Kochba, whom some believed to be the messiah, and the final Hebrew rebellion against Rome.


Important Dates

4/25/2021 – Guest rabbi who is a candidate for CoM’s rabbinic position will be assisting our teachers. Please make her feel welcome.

5/14/2021 – Student Led Service @ TBI on Zoom with awarding of Shana Winter award to last year’s winner, Abby Strongin.

5/23/2021 – Last Day of School Celebration


Message from Camp Tavor

Dear Kalamazoo Families,

We are delighted to announce Legacy Heritage Fund has established an incentive program at Camp Tavor for new campers for two summers, starting in summers 2021 and 2022.
New eligible campers enrolled in a 3-week program or longer will save $1500 off tuition this year and a guaranteed $1500 for summer 2022.
The program’s goal is to enrich children’s Jewish learning and identity by giving them the opportunity to attend camps with strong Jewish content and programming. Families from West Michigan are eligible. All first-time campers in a 19-day program are also eligible for the One Happy Camper Grant which could be up to another $1,000 off this summer’s tuition.
That means this summer you could save up to $2500 on tuition.
Qualifying campers must be first-time campers entering 4th -10th grade.
I would love an opportunity to talk to you more about Camp Tavor and our program. Feel free to contact me directly at Randy@camptavor.org.

Randy Lubratich (She/Her/Hers)
Community Engagement Coordinator | Habonim Dror Camp Tavor
269-215-1399 | Randy@CampTavor.org
Want to talk, feel free to schedule a date and time: https://calendly.com/camptavor/connecting-about-camp-tavor
Stay Connected on Camp Tavor, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube


Accepting Applications for our 2021-2 Teaching Team

OKCJS has open positions on our teaching team next school year that we would like to fill with high school and/or college students. Contact Nora Chaus at (269) 373-4138 or director@okcjs.net to apply.


Seeking High School Students to Assist with Service 5/14/2021

High School students are encouraged to volunteer to assist with the student-led Zoom service at 7pm on 5/14. There are both English and Hebrew parts available and we also need technical help managing Zoom and the many little people who will be taking part in the service. Contact Nora Chaus at (269) 373-4138 or director@okcjs.net to volunteer.


Elijah Thompson’s Bar Mitzvah Project

Elijah’s bar mitzvah project request

For my Bar Mitzvah project I have chosen to bike from Kalamazoo to South Haven to raise money for an organization called Food Not Bombs. In order to support this organization I am asking for donations of any amount to help stop hunger across the world. What makes Food Not Bombs different from other organizations is that they distribute food worldwide during war protests and provide only vegan and vegetarian meals. They also distribute food after natural disasters, strikes, and do everything non violently with peace. My biking event takes place on Saturday May 29th 2021  with my family and I’ll make sure to show some of the ride on my project portion of the service. If you choose to help, any donation is welcomed (ex. Someone who donates 10 dollars would be 1/35 of our goal, or paying for one mile of the trail). Thanks for reading this and have a great day. (:

Also if you have any questions about the project or the bar mitzvah my email is elijah.thompson12321@gmail.com and the Food Not Bombs website is http://foodnotbombs.net/new_site/

Thank you! Elijah Thompson