By Ramona L. Brand
Director of Youth Learning
Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but at Beth-El Religious School we were already celebrating the arrival of spring with Tu B’shvat celebrations.
Our Virtual Seder provided an opportunity to talk about the changing seasons, and try tasty fruits, seeds and nuts that come from Israel. We had fun comparing the different foods each student had at home to represent the four types of fruits we eat for the holiday. We are reminded at Tu B’shevat that our world is irreplaceable and a gift from G-d. It is our responsibility to be good caretakers for our Earth.
Guest speaker, Robin Frisch-Gleason, both a teacher and climate scientist presented a sobering, but empowering program to our students with an important message of what we need to do to mitigate the effects of global warming.
In addition to Religious School, our families participate in youth services. Tot Shabbat and Havdalah Hangouts provide opportunities for families to connect to shul in meaningful and age appropriate ways. Family participation deepens the connection to our Jewish traditions.
Our 4th and 5th grade students expand their Jewish Horizons through Global Judaism
Over the course of the semester, the class will be exploring Jewish communities around the world. With so many students learning virtually in the U. S. and internationally, Jewish educators have an opportunity to create spaces that connect our students in meaningful ways.
Through virtual meetings, ‘pen pal’ letters, shared projects, speakers, community tours and more, our the 4th and 5th graders will get to know the stories, traditions, and identities of other Jews around the world. At the end of the semester, students will present a final class projects to the Religious School.
Throughout the next few months, we’ll get to know students in Kenya, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Germany and other Jewish communities. Our connections to these communities are a testament to the passion for global Jewry found here in Richmond, VA – we are connected to teen representatives from several communities through BBYO, and the Kenyan Jewish community is able to participate in our exchange thanks to the relationships built between our communities a few months ago through a COVID crisis-relief project.
These students will have access to their community’s very first computers thanks to the momentum being built around co-learning by Richmonders here at Beth El!
We’re looking forward to working with our students to expand their “Jewish horizons” to include the diversity of Jewish identities we have in our own community in Richmond, and in communities around the world.
The previous section was submitted by Miriam Aniel, our Grade 4-5 teacher
Religious School Calendar
March Religious School Calendar
Sundays: March 7, 14, 21
Wednesdays: March 3, 10, 17, 24
Confirmation meets: March 14 and 21
Temple Beth-El Zoom Tot Shabbat Service Saturday, March 6, 9:30 a.m.
This service is for families with children from infants to age 5. It is open to the entire community. Families with children from small babies – 5 can enjoy a Shabbat service geared filled with music, stories, movement and more. This will be a musical, meaningful service designed for wiggles.
A reminder, the new time is 9:30 a.m.
For zoom access email Ramona at email@example.com.
Beth-El Teens Zoom Hangout, Sunday, March 21, 1- 2:30 p.m.
There is no cost
All About Israel: Come hangout with Beth-El Teens on Zoom for a program all about Israel. Using presentations made at February’s program, we will gain a better understanding of Israel, through entertaining games and activities!
All are welcome! To register go to: https://www.bethelrichmond.org/event/beth-el-teens-sunday-hangout.html or contact Brandon Metheny (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information
For more information about our school and/or programs, contact Ramona Brand, Director of Youth Learning at email@example.com.