Our school enjoyed another visit with Rabbi Y;’ this time he brought items having to do with the Torah.  Since Shavuot will be celebrated this weekend, it is an opportune time to be learning about how a Torah is made, what are the materials it is made from, who prints the words in the Torah.  The animal skins, from which parchment is made, was displayed and the children were allowed to touch it as well.  They told me that the skin felt soft.  Rabbi Y explained that special quill pens are used by a scribe to write in the Torah, as well as special ink. Then the children were given a card containing the Hebrew alphabet and their own quills and ink, and they were encouraged to trace over the letters.  They also received a paper with their Hebrew names written on it, and asked to write the letters with their quills.  It’s not easy to write with a feather pen!

The building has been filled with the smell of baking this week.  There is baking for Shavuot and baking for graduation.  Something new for Gan Tziporim is making cookies.  We had a nice sugar cookie recipe and the children got to work pouring in the flour and sugar, cracking and examining the eggs, and adding baking powder, a bit of salt, butter and vanilla.  After getting back the refrigerated dough, the children enjoyed rolling out their pieces and using the aleph bet cookies cutters.  It was good practice for them to identify the Hebrew letters and we’ll have delicious cookies for graduation!

Besides celebrating the receiving of the Torah from Hashem, Shavuot also celebrates the receiving of the “First Fruits”.  It is also known as Yom Habikkurim, Day of First Fruits, and Morah Yafit taught the children about the custom in Israel of gathering the first fruit and bringing baskets of it to family and friends.  The children brought the the pretty little baskets they had decorated, outside to our outdoor classroom, where larger baskets of fruit had been placed.  They filled their baskets with apples, nectarines, and grapes to bring home to their families.  An added treat to be shared with family, is an Israeli style cheesecake they made in class.  They soaked tea biscuits in milk, covered them with a mixture of vanilla pudding, cream cheese, and heavy cream that had been whipped up, repeated with another layer, and then poured over it all a mixture of melted chocolate and heavy whipped cream. Refrigeration was all that was needed to let the cake set and then be ready to enjoy.

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The children incorporated Shavuot into their play with the little people dolls, animals and blocks.  They took the colorful bead jewelry and created baskets of fruit to celebrate Shavuot’s Bikkurim.

The children continued to practice writing the letter “Rr” and identifying it’s initial phonetic sound.  Some words on the page included: rabbit, rose, rope, rainbow, and rock.  Look for a special folder next week with their work.