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December 2019

Jewish Life and Learning at Akiva

Tali Revah Sibony – Director of Judaic Studies

I can’t believe we are already celebrating Chanukah! It seems that only yesterday we started the school year. We entered into the month of Elul with an amazing team of parents going into the classrooms every morning to blow the shofar and mark the coming of the New Year. In all classes, teachers worked hard at preparing our students for the high holidays. Our grade two students celebrated Simchat Torah with their grandparents.

This year, one of the themes we focused on was expanding our Kabbalat Shabbat repertoire. Once a month, we gather as a school in the synagogue. Excited to welcome the upcoming Shabbat, our students enjoy sitting together with their Siddurim and participating in a full service.

Up until now, our kindergarten students were taking part in a class setting Kabbalat Shabbat as they were still in progress of familiarizing themselves with the Brachot and rituals. When they started their year at Akiva, they came together from different schools and different backgrounds of education, excited and motivated to start their Akiva journey. One of the things that our teachers were working towards was instilling in them a connection to and pride in being Jewish. Our kindergarten team of teachers collaborated to strengthen the children’s knowledge of Shabbat and Jewish identity.

The kindergarten Shabbat Box Project

Along these lines, last month, the kindergarten students prepared and brought home their Shabbat boxes that they have prepared with love and creativity in class. The students’ Shabbat boxes were inspired after reading “The Shabbat Box” by Leslie Simpson. Every Shabbat box included a Kiddush cup, 2 Challah rolls, a Challah cover, two candles, a copy of “The Shabbat Box” book, and some of the brachot for Shabbat that the students have learned. By making the study of Judaism relevant to the children’s everyday lives, the program enabled them to develop a true appreciation of their heritage.

I am so proud to say that, now as we move into the second half of the year, our youngest students are also prepared to take an active part in our school wide Kabbalat Shabbat. Our kindergarten classes will join, for the first time, our next Kabbalat Shabbat on January 27th, leading Shalom Alechem with love and pride in their Jewish identity in their hearts.

Wishing you all a Chag Chanukah Sameach,
Tali.