Monthly Archives: November 29, 2017

The Greeks and the Maccabees……. in the Sunflowers

The story of Chanukah and the holiday itself is such an exciting time for the  Yehudim. Even though the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed by King Antiochus and the Greek army, Hashem comes forward and shows us that he is still able to be there when we need him.

King Antiochus told the Yehudim that they cannot daven to their Hashem. Yehudah the Macabbee and his army won over the Greek army but not before the Greeks destroyed the holy Beit Hamikdash. When the Maccabees walked into the Beit Hamikdash everything was such a mess! The Yehudim wanted to light the Menorah that was always lit in the Beit Hamikdash but they needed oil. They searched for oil and found a small pitcher of very little oil. “Not much oil”,  the Yehudim thought but it was better than nothing. “Probably would last only a day”, they thought again. But a great Nes ( miracle ) happened! The flames on the Menorah lasted for eight days! The Yehudim could not believe it. That is the reason that we celebrate Chanukah for eight nights!

We talked about a Chanukiah and how the all eight candles are all on the same level. But the Shamash, the “Helper candle”, after you use it to light the other candles, has to be placed a little higher than the other candles. We always put the Chanukiah in front of a window to show everyone the miracle of Chanukah. On the first night of Chanukah we recite three brachot but the rest of the nights we only recite two. We have been practicing singing all the brachot as well!

We explored oil in the kitah since we have been talking about oil for […]

By |November 29, 2017|

Chanukah oh Chanukah! in the Butterflies

Thanksgiving is over and here comes Chanukah! The children were excited when we brought out dreidels and a menorah with real candles to play with. We counted how many candles we need – 8! One for each night. Each child had a chance to put a candle in, going from right to left.


We also practiced spinning dreidels. We saw that there is a Hebrew letter on each side of the dreidel – nun, gimmel, hey, and shin. We spun them on the tray, the table, and the floor!

We wondered what it would look like if we spun them in paint, and decided to test it out. Some children tried spinning them and others stamped or spread the paint with the dreidels.

It was also fun to stick dreidels into our playdough! We made some interesting sculptures.

Another way we painted was with Chanukah candles. We used the wicks as thin paintbrushes to make lines, dots, and circles. We’ll use these candle shapes to make a big menorah in our classroom.


There are so many fun Chanukah songs, and Morah Jill came to sing some of them with us. We spun around like dreidels, melted like candles, and passed around a big dreidel while she played her guitar.

More Chanukah fun to come!

By |November 29, 2017|

Can’t wait for the Feast in the Sunflower class!

We went into the Exploration room and looked with our slide projector at a picture of a real ship. The yeladim all yelled “The Mayflower!” They then became very busy using all the materials that were at their disposable. Cardboard and styrofoam pieces, as well as plastic containers, were all on the shelves for them to build and explore. They loved it! They built on the floor as well as near the wall. They were fascinated as they brought different pieces of loose parts over to the boat (from the slide) projected on the wall and matched up the shape and size before figuring out a place to put it on their structure. We are looking for other pictures on slides to project on our wall to see how the children create with the interesting backdrops. If you know anyone with some old slides of different backgrounds, for example, landscapes and skylines, we would love to use them in our classroom.

Take a look!


We added feathers to our Native American headdress. They really look so adorable on the yeladim. After we glued on the feathers the yeladim wanted to decorate the tablecloths for the feast on Wednesday. So we thought of the idea to paint the tablecloths using feathers! They really looked like paint brushes and were soft like paint brushes too! We painted with three colors, brown, orange, and red. Can’t wait for you to see the tablecloths in the pictures!

The yeladim loved making our Stone Soup! We read the book again and the yeladim really put on their chef hats to peel and chop all the vegetables for this delicious dish. The yeladim filled […]

By |November 22, 2017|

Thanksgiving is here in the Butterfly Class!

Our class has done so many things to prepare for Thanksgiving and it’s finally here!

We know we eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and we learned turkey songs and that they say “gobble gobble.” We like to pretend to be turkeys and flap our arms like wings when we do the turkey dance.

We made special projects that we hope you enjoy at your Thanksgiving table. The children first painted the trivet and then picked their favorite tiles to glue on. We took a picture with our furry turkey friend to put inside. The children also used corn as a paintbrush by rolling it in yellow paint and then onto paper, and then sprinkling glitter on it. These paintings were made into placemats. Of course, our delicious cornbread is also included in your Thanksgiving package.

Our feast in school was a big hit. We ate so many yummy foods made by our class and the Sunflower class, including cornbread, sweet potatoes, soup, and pumpkin muffins. It’s so much fun to eat food that we prepare ourselves, and all the children were excited to taste their creations. Even the tablecloths were decorated by the children, and we wore the feathered headdresses, beaded necklaces, and tie-dyed t-shirts we made. We also had a Thanksgiving music class with Morah Jill and sang lots of songs with her. All in all, it was a great celebration!

Have a happy Thanksgiving! We’ll see you next week!


By |November 22, 2017|

The Holy Struggle of Marriage

A Relationship Under Pressure[1]

Along with all the awe-inspiring and history-altering moments of Avraham and Sarah’s life, there is another, parallel story – the story of their relationship.  It’s a more subtle story, certainly, and easy to miss.  But it’s a story, I believe, that we were meant to notice.
 A little bit of context that is all too easy to forget: Avraham and Sarah lived a hard life.  Torn away from their families, Hashem promised blessing and abundance – but there was plenty of hunger, hardship and stress along the way.  And all too often, these hardships placed a tremendous strain upon their marriage.
 In Parshat Lech Lecha, when Avraham and Sarah traveled to Egypt during a famine, Avraham makes a strange comment to Sarah:
 “הִנֵּה-נָא יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת-מַרְאֶה אָתְּ”
Now, I just realized what a beautiful woman you are.
On a simple level, this is beautiful – our zeide Avraham is telling our Bubbe Sarah how beautiful she is (a good reminder for all of us!)!  But what does Avraham mean when he says “I just now realized that you are beautiful”?
Rashi explains, astoundingly, that Avraham and Sarah were so modest that Avraham never realized Sarah was so physically beautiful!  But it seems there is a formality, a distance between Avraham and Sarah.
Now, because Sarah was so beautiful, Avraham was afraid the immoral Egyptians would kill him and take Sarah as their own.  And so he asks Sarah to present herself to the Egyptians as Avraham’s sister instead.  Predictably, Sarah was taken by Pharaoh to be a part of his harem.  Now it’s true that, in the end, God saved Sarah and returned her to Avraham.  But the stress must have been terrible!
Years later, when […]

By |November 22, 2017|

Welcome to our new friends in the Butterfly Class

We recently welcomed two new children into our class – JJ and Chaya Feiga. We are so happy to have them join us!

We’re working hard finishing up our Thanksgiving projects and are excited to send them home. We are also doing our last preparations for our feast in school, including making feathered headdresses just like the Native Americans we learned about. We took out lots of long colorful feathers and had a lot of fun waving them in the air, tickling ourselves, comparing the colors, and feeling the soft sides. Then we chose our favorite colors to glue onto our headdresses.


Zachary’s mother joined us for library time.

Outside we’ve been practicing our gross motor skills by playing catch. Ball games are also a good opportunity for sharing with friends and taking turns.

And of course, we made challah for Shabbat! The children love this weekly activity. They love the sensory experience of manipulating the dough and we hope they enjoy eating their yummy challah at home.


Shabbat Shalom!

By |November 20, 2017|

We added the stones and baked some pumpkin treats in the Sunflowers.

The trivets were dry and were ready for the stones to be glued on. The yeladim did such a great job gluing the stones on the square board. They really look great and we hope you will use them during Thanksgiving.

Our chef hats were on and we made a special treat for the yeladim to put in their basket. What is it? It is delicious pumpkin muffins! We discussed why we made pumpkin muffins for Thanksgiving. The yeladim knew that the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims plant food. Some foods were squash, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin. Enjoy eating the muffins at your feast. The leftover batter we made into loaves so we can enjoy the pumpkin loaves at our feast!

We read the funny story of Stone Soup by Martha Brown. Soldiers were coming to a village very hungry and tired. The villagers saw them coming and decided to hide all their food. When the soldiers knocked on their doors, all the villagers said that they had no food and no room in their homes to sleep. The yeladim commented that what the villagers did was not so nice. So the soldiers decided to gather all the villagers to make stone soup. All the villagers got so excited to make the soup that they went back to their homes to gather all the food that they had hidden from the soldiers! They put all the vegetables in a pot, put it on a fire and boiled it until it was ready.  They all ate the soup together and after that, the soldiers had houses to sleep in for the night.

The yeladim loved this book so much that […]

By |November 16, 2017|

Tie-dying and other explorations in the Butterfly Class

We’ve been continuing to learn about the Native Americans, Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving. We learned that one of the things the Native Americans were known for was that they used dye to make clothing. To explain what dyeing is, we took a cup of water and a paper towel. We noticed that the water was clear, and the paper towel was white. Then we dripped in some red food coloring, and everyone said that the water turned red! We dipped the paper towel in and watched the red color rise up. We dyed the paper towel! All the children thought it was so interesting.

Then we went into the Exploration Room and made our very own tie-dye shirts. We had two colors to choose from – pink and brown. Many children chose both. They held the clip on the edge of the shirt and carefully dipped it into the dye. Then we squeezed it out and let it dry. We will wear them at our Thanksgiving feast!

Another exciting thing we did this week was play in the Exploration Room! The children enjoyed relaxing with the big bears, building with the interesting blocks, and sorting the big colorful buttons. We will continue to explore new things in this room as the year goes on. There are lots of treasures in there!

Of course, we’ve still been exploring the outdoors too. It’s getting colder but we spend a few minutes outside if we can, observing the leaves changing color, the wind blowing, and interesting things like this little insect we found.

We brought our turkey friends outside too.

And lastly, we had a very happy music session this […]

By |November 16, 2017|

Everything is coming together! in the Sunflowers

We are loving gathering and looking at real leaves in the park. We gather them in piles and jump on them, throw them in the air and watch them fly and rain down, pretending they are all sorts of flying things.  One thing the yeladim did observe is that real leaves crumble very easily and that they are very dry.

We brought some of those leaves into our room and as we work on our Thanksgiving mementos we work together to decide how we will decorate the items that will adorn our Thanksgiving tables at home. While we were working on our centerpieces some children suggested adding leaves to them. Then they remembered how they crunched and crumbled because they were so dry. We decided to see what we had in our Possibilities Place (our supply closet ;)).  Wouldn’t you know we found some artificial leaves in beautiful fall colors!! The yeladim embellished their baskets with those beautiful leaves. And the artificial leaves were not dry at all. Our Thanksgiving centerpieces are finished! They look beautiful!

Our Native American shirts look amazing! The color from the cooked beets really gave the shirts a deep, rich color as did the brown tea leaves.  The yeladim really learned that you can change a color of something using food! Once the shirts were dry the yeladim stamped leaves and bears on them. They can’t wait for the feast to wear them! Maybe we can even wear them before the feast!

The Native Americans and Pilgrims had only the natural resources around them with which to build their homes and get food. We have discovered many items from nature that can be used to enhance our lives. […]

By |November 16, 2017|

Beets and Tea leaves…. in the Sunflowers

We still can’t get enough of Thanksgiving! This holiday was still the major theme this week. The yeladim ask to play with the felt board during free play. They take the Pilgrims and pretend that they are dancing. The Mayflower goes from side to side and the waves were high and low!

The yeladim started their beautiful centerpieces for Thanksgiving. Each of them picked a basket that they liked. Then we papier-mâchéd the entire basket. They dipped strips of newspaper in a glue, flour, and water paste. They then covered the whole basket. They did such an amazing job!

Then came painting the basket. They had a choice of three fall colors. They really look beautiful. Wait until you see what we put in it!

Off to the Exploration Room and the yeladim made the Mayflower! They took different cardboard pieces and built a massive boat! But they were not finished yet!  One of the yeladim went back to the classroom and brought the Pilgrims from the felt board and put it on the Mayflower! They are so smart! Enjoy the pictures! They really are amazing!

We remembered that Native Americans used and appreciated all that the land and animals could give them.We observed that the Native Americans had very colorful clothing and that in order to dye their clothing those beautiful colors,  Native Americans would boil certain foods. The foods were boiled in water and the water then turned the colors of those foods. We decided to see what would happen if we tried the same method of designing our own clothing.

We looked at red […]

By |November 10, 2017|