Holidays

Understanding Tisha B’Av

Understanding Tisha B’Av

Tisha B’Av, literally the ninth day of the month of Av, begins this year the evening of Saturday, July 21st. Its observance is frequently overlooked because it falls in the middle of the summer. If, like many people, you know very little about this holiday, here is a good background from MyJewishLearning.

On Tisha B’Av, it is traditional to read Megillat Eicha(Book of Lamentations). Here is a brief explanation of its contents. Eicha is chanted to a unique trope (melody). You can hear it here.

We also suggest watching this video from Aleph Beta that explains how to keep this holiday relevant.

As a day of mourning, it’s customary to fast on Tisha B’Av. In addition, one should refrain from eating meat (except on Shabbat) for the nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av. Check out all of the meatless recipes from the Joy of Kosher to make meal planning easier.

Celebrating Shavuot 2018

Celebrating Shavuot 2018

This year, Shavuot begins the Saturday evening May 19.  ReformJudaism.org provides a great basic summary of the holiday.

It is a tradition in some communities for people to stay up all night studying.  Here is an explanation of the custom from My Jewish Learning.

If staying up all night is not your thing, how about reading the Book of Ruth on Shavuot? Here is a video from Aleph Beta explaining why we read this text on this holiday.

Shavuot is unique among the Jewish holidays in that instead of eating chicken or brisket, it is traditional to have dairy foods for Shavuot.  There are actually many different reasons given for this custom. Here are a few from Chabad.

Two of the most popular dairy foods are blintzes and cheese cake.  Here is a recipe for blintzes from Tori Avery and one for ‘Oreo Experience Cheesecake’ from Joy of Kosher.

Chag Shavuot Sameach – however you celebrate!

 

 

CEO Message on Koach Hadibbur

CEO Message on Koach Hadibbur

Dear Friends,

We are just days away from Passover, so I hope you find this letter as a welcome break from the chores of preparing for this holiday.

Now in our 6th Jewish value unit, our students are currently studying, Koach Hadibbur, the power of words. There could not be a better time for them to explore the Jewish roots in this value.

Koach Hadibbur: The Power of Words from ShalomLearning on Vimeo.

As we saw in this past weekend’s “March for Our Lives,” words matter. Words can hurt but words can also heal. With words, we can gather people, we can take a stand, and we can make change. The next generation is learning how to use their words to fight for what they believe in. It’s not just about making your point, but making your goals clear in a way others will listen.  And listening to those on the other side. A lot easier said (or heard) then done.

We keep Koach Hadibbur in mind as we plan our professional development. As you will see in this month’s newsletter, we have scheduled our Summer Training Conferences where we will help our educators prepare for the fall and provide opportunities for our educators to share experiences.  It’s through these conversations we all improve and build community.

We are excited to be able to sponsor ShalomLearning educators’ attendance at this summer’s NewCAJE9 conference. It’s a wonderful experience to grow, learn, and build together.

I hope you have a wonderful Pesach.  Chag kasher v’sameach.

Gratefully yours,

Joshua

Making Passover More Meaningful

Making Passover More Meaningful

Many of you may still be clearing away snow, but Passover is just around the corner. Here are some ideas to make your holiday more meaningful.

Do the kids get fidgety during the seder? Try putting these fun props on the table. And for fidgety grownups, consider using this humorous haggadah: “For This We Left Egypt?”

Is your family is more traditional? Author Jonathan Safran Foer has compiled a haggadah with traditional text accompanied by essays written by other modern Jewish writers.

Do you buy a roasted shank bone for your seder plate? Ready to try roasting one of your own? Here’s how you can do it yourself. Also, you shouldn’t have to go a week without brownies, so here is a kosher for Passover (and gluten free) brownie recipe.

And just when you think you have learned everything you need to know, here are 9 things you didn’t know about Passover from MyJewishLearning.

CEO Letter: Hakarat Hatov

CEO Letter: Hakarat Hatov

Dear Friends,

Hakarat Hatov literally translates to “recognizing the good,” but as we do with all of the values at ShalomLearning, we ask our students to take the meaning one step further and dig a little deeper. This is when our students begin to realize the profound importance and even holiness in a Jew’s obligation of “seeking joy and being grateful.”

Personally and professionally, I have so much for which I am grateful. Last week, while in Florida producing a video with our partners at the CJE of the Palm Beaches, I arose early to do a sunrise run on the beach (something I never get to do at home). I searched for “best sunrises,” in the area, and found mine here.  At 6:30 am the breathtaking beauty of God’s work had me on my knees in tears. I was in awe. My attempted run soon turned into a much more important morning prayer of deep gratitude to our Creator with a supplication for healing and guidance amidst the horror of the events for our children and families in Broward County. “There is nothing more whole than a broken heart,” the Kotzker Rebbi used to say.

There are no words I can say in response to the horrors we witnessed and heartache we felt after the tragedy in Parkland, FL the other week. For now, I can only say I am so grateful to all of the teens who are speaking out and leading what perhaps could be a revolution for a safer world.

I also want to use this opportunity to express my gratitude toward each of our 37 supporters for the William and Audrey Farber Family Foundation’s 2017 $500,000 matching Challenge. I have listed each of you below in recognition of your support that enables ShalomLearning to bring new advancements in education technology, innovative curriculum design, and professional development to the Jewish learning community. ShalomLearning is empowering Jewish children, families, and teachers all over North America to ignite a new passion for Jewish education. I am so very grateful for you and all of our past supporters. Thank you for helping us do the holy work that we do.

And may you have a Chag Purim Sameach!

Gratefully Yours,

Josh

ShalomLearning 2017 Supporters

ShalomLearning is grateful to everyone who contributed to our organization in 2017 and helped us meet the $500,000 match challenge set by the William and Audrey Farber Family Foundation. Here is a list of contributors (in alphabetical order):

Anonymous
Anonymous
Carol Auerbach
Adam Bernstein
Jodi Blecker
Terrie and Bradley Bloom
Michael Bohnen
Barry Borenstein
Jennifer Byrne
Larry Chafetz
Fred Claar
Vicki E. Fishman
Bram Frankel
The Lorraine and Jack N. Friedman Commission for Jewish Education
Linda and Michael Frieze
Neil Glickfield
Jefferey Grinspoon and Jon Foley
Peter Genes
The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation
Steve Harris
Debi and Evan Himelfarb
Zev Lanton
Mark Levitt
Anne and Yehuda Neurenberger
The New Kalman Sunshine Fund
William Passer
PELIE
Erica Reder
Stacy and Andrew Rosen
Sarah and Devin Schain
Susan and Lewis Schoenberg
David Silver
Ricky Schechtel
The Scherr Family Foundation
Stacy Schusterman
Jane Slotin
Sarah Steinberg
Diane Troderman
Joshua Troderman
Stefanie Pessis Weil

 

ShalomLearning is Proud to Have Been Selected for the 2018 Slingshot Guide