Behrman Staff

  1. A New Year and A Fresh Start: How One Congregation is Welcoming Back Families

    A New Year and A Fresh Start: How One Congregation is Welcoming Back Families

    Temple Sinai in Pittsburgh has a lot to celebrate this fall: it's 75th anniversary and a return to the synagogue after the pandemic. And of course, Rosh Hashanah, the new year and a season of renewal.

    The synagogue is creating Caring Bags for each member of the congregation, to be sent out before High Holidays. Among the many items included in the bags will be a hand-picked book for each adult and child. This will mark the kickoff of a year-long program that involves members reading the same book and accompaying programming around the book's theme.  

    The 8-10-year-olds at the synagogue will be receiving Once Upon an Apple Cake: A Rosh Hashanah Story, by Elana Rubinstein and published by Apples & Honey Press. This chapter book about

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  2. A Jewish Story to Help Explain Vaccines to Children

    A Jewish Story to Help Explain Vaccines to Children

    A boy goes to doctor and refuses to get his shot, convinced his toy shield can protect him from germs.

    When his father points out that his baby sister is too young for her vaccines, the boy agrees to get his shot so he won't pass diseases to her. He cries, briefly.

    The boy's name is Judah, and is feels proud to learn that his namesake, Judah Maccabee, was also a brave and strong warrior on behalf of his family and other Jews.

    Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor, by Ann D. Koffsky, is a story that offers a pathway to explaining how vaccines protect us and also the vulnerable people around us. Having a child-friendly way to broach tough subjects goes a long

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  3. "The Hero in Me": New Multi-Access Jewish Values Course Explores Character Traits

    "The Hero in Me": New Multi-Access Jewish Values Course Explores Character Traits

    A collaboration between Behrman House and The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, The Hero in Me introduces children to an array or Jewish heroes - from biblical figures to contemporary ones - in an exploration of what makes a hero, and how each of us can be a hero in our own lives. 

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  4. How to Help Students Grapple with a Complicated Israel

    How to Help Students Grapple with a Complicated Israel

    The question for us as Jewish educators is how to help young people grapple with nuance when it comes to talking and teaching about Israel, and how to provide supportive spaces for such conversations.

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  5. First-Class Hebrew Curriculum Options for Grades 5-6

    As we all know, there is no single magic bullet to ensure our students connect to the language of their tradition.

    It would be easy if the only choice of Hebrew approach were one-size-fits-all. But there’s no single way. The goals for learning Hebrew in vary from one community to the next.  

    Our job as educators is to provide learners with real opportunities to use Hebrew in a way that aligns with the community's goals. Over the last century we have seen educational programs of all flavors and have a deep level of expertise in identifying solutions that match goals and resources. We know that Hebrew learning can be deep and fun and meaningful because we see it often, and in many different packages.

    As you're thinking about your Hebrew program for the upcoming year, we're highlighting some of our tried and true programs for grades 5-6. T

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  6. Is the Time Right to Consider a Vision Change for Your Learning Program?

    The 2020-21 school year was marked by resourcefulness, experimentation, and creativity, among other things. It was different by necessity.

    As we emerge from the pandemic and look ahead to next year, when things will be different yet again, consider whether to step back and take stock of the big picture. Not the tachlis of what's working and what's not. But the overall vision of your learning program - what's the point of Jewish education and are you and the stakeholders in your community in alignment?

    "The answer to this question lies at the very heart of the approach we take in our educational spaces," writes Batsheva Frankel in The Jewish Educator's Companion. "We are always striving to be our best, wanting our programs to grow and improve. The process of considering change

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  7. How to Choose the Best Hebrew Primer for Learners of All Ages

    Decoding Hebrew opens the gates to a world of skills and deeper connection to Jewish prayer, culture, and tradition. 

    Now's the time to start thinking about your Hebrew program for the upcoming year. So how to decide which primer is best for your learners?

    Here's an overview of our most popular primers: 

    Alef Bet Quest 

    Best for: Grades 3-4
    Students learn Hebrew through a guided virtual tour of Israel. Teaches new letters and vowels from real Hebrew words, with an emphasis on those found in the prayer book. Alef Bet

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  8. Screen-Free Rainy Summer Day Activities

    Summer break is nearly here. 

    Whether children are at home or off at camp, there will be plenty of opportunities for quiet activity. Build in some chances to deepen Jewish connection with these screen-free activity ideas.

    Coloring Books

    For some solitary down time, any of the titles from our Shalom Coloring series will do. Young artists can choose to color Jewish designs,

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  9. How Do You Approach T'filah? Here's a Way to Connect Students to Prayer

    How Do You Approach T'filah? Here's a Way to Connect Students to Prayer

    Here’s a challenge for Jewish educators: An 8th grade student tells his teacher how he doesn’t feel a connection to prayer, even as he "put forth positive energy" to the practice. The student says he’s searching for a way to break through "the blockade between the heart and God.”

    This true heartfelt story highlights what many educators know: that while it's important to study the words and mechanics of the prayer, in many ways it's even more important to guide students toward finding the intention that gives meaning to the prayers.

    As educator Batsheva Frankel writes in The Jewish Educator's Companion, "It's difficult to help students relate to the

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  10. Simple Tips for Easy School Orders

    Simple Tips for Easy School Orders
    It’s probably been a while since you made your yearly school order. Here are some basics to get you started.
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