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Monthly Archives: October 2021

  1. Golems and Goblins and Angels: Jewish Folklore for the Candy-and-Costume Crowd

    Golems and Goblins and Angels: Jewish Folklore for the Candy-and-Costume Crowd

    Candy and costumes are fun for children this time of year, and you too can tap into this energy as an opportunity to learn about Judaism's rich history of mysticism and folklore. Think golems, dybbuks, angels, and the like.

    Here are a few of our favorite storybooks for ages 5-8 that feature (non-scary) spirits and creatures:

    The Goblins of Knottingham 

    By Zoë Klein

    Long ago, in the town of Knottingham, there were three little goblins.

    Knotty was naughty, Knotsalot was no good, and Notnow was no good, no how, not then and not how!

    More than anything else, these mischievous goblins liked to tangle children's hair! Find out how the children fought

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  2. New Graphic Novel Explores a Greek-Judean Friendship Set Against the Backdrop of Hanukkah

    New Graphic Novel Explores a Greek-Judean Friendship Set Against the Backdrop of Hanukkah

    Just before the very first Hanukkah, Greeks and Jews were living in an uneasy peace in ancient Judea.

    Jonathan, a Jewish boy, sees a Greek boy being attacked by bullies and stands up to defend him. They become best friends.

    But when war comes to their land, Jonathan joins the Maccabees while his friend Jason joins the Greek army. They seem destined to fight one another. How will their friendship survive?

    Shield of the Maccabees is a new story by award-winning author Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Dov Smiley.

    The graphic novel format focuses on the history of Hanukkah, and the context of the times. 

    "A fun and clever twist on the story of the Maccabees."- Steve Sheinkin, author and illustrator of The Adventures of

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  3. Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Inspired by a groundbreaking exhibition at ANU - Museum of the Jewish People (formerly Beit Hatfutsot) in Tel Aviv and published by Behrman House, The Hero in Me is a series of short biographies to help students learn about themselves an their global Jewish community through five traits:

      • courage
      • kindness
      • creativity
      • curiosity
      • fairness

    Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to convey meaning to children,” said David Behrman, publisher. “These biographies offer bite-size insights into what makes a hero, and how our young readers can build those qualities into their own

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  4. Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, and even as we remain creative and resilient and dedicated, these uncertain times can make us - and our students - feel mentally and physically worn out. 

    Learning to practice self-care as a habit can help improve coping skills and mental health. 

    Here are a few techniques to try as we settle into another atypical school year.

    Practice being present

    Mindfulness is a catch word these days, and with good reason. It’s a way of being in the world, the ability to pay attention to the present moment, the here and now. There’s a growing body of research pointing to the effectiveness of mindful practices on our ability— both adults and children—to pay better attention, make thoughtful decisions and calm ourselves down. Our ability to be in the moment requires opportunities to pause and slow down together and individually.

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  5. Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Community thrives on diversity. The Jewish community includes diversity of all kinds - geography, opinion, gender, religious practice, ability, family makeup, race, and more. All of these differences make the community stronger, more exciting, and more creative.  

    In fact, the population of Jews of color has been increasing in United States. In a report by the Jews of Color Field-Building Initiative, researchers estimate that Jews of color represent at least 12-15% of American Jews. More younger people identify as nonwhite than older people do. Learn more here.

    We recognize how important it is for Jewish children and families to see this diversity reflected in images as well as content, especially as they are creating and building their personal Jewish identities. Even young

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  6. Active Ways to Support Hebrew Learning

    The beginning of a new school year is a great time to review learners' Hebrew skills, and to plan how you will support their learning all year long. 

    Learning Hebrew is a skill that takes practice to keep sharp, just like any other skill. The more often students are exposed to Hebrew and practice using it, the stronger their language skills will be. A little bit of regular practice goes a long way to boosting confidence and proficiency. 

    Research shows that effective Hebrew learning comes from regular exposure to authentic language in various ways, including listening and speaking. Further, the best language connections come from using Hebrew in creative ways.

    Here are some simple engaging ways to practice in small bites.

    Movement-based Conversational Hebrew

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