From The Educator’s Desk

Debbie Chessen closeup
Debbie Chessin
Director of Education

January, 2017

At January begins, so does the book of Exodus. The first parsha (Torah portion) is Shemot. This parsha examines the bitter slavery that the Jews endured in the land of Egypt, and then the next three parshiyot – Torah portions – continue until the Jews leave Egypt and begin their journey through the desert.

The first parsha presents a few striking lessons that I believe are important for our children today.

First is the importance of doing good deeds. In this story, Moses was named by Batya, the Pharoah’s daughter (Exodus 2:10). Batya took Moses from the water and raised him as her son. Batya’s acts are wonderful examples of g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness). These gestures demonstrate to our children that [seemingly] small acts of kindness can go a long way.

The second lesson is connected to the importance of names. As parents, when we choose the names for our children, we may be looking for one that is popular or trendy. However, when we choose a Hebrew name, we forge a connection that allows our children to become an integral part of our Jewish heritage and traditions. Hebrew names will stay with our children and connect them to Jewish life everywhere.

Finally, this parsha can teach us about the importance of having a belief in one’s strength or abilities. This lesson is illuminated as we read about Moses’s attitude as he set about fulfilling the mission that God gave to him. Despite the fact that he was shy and had a speech impediment, Moses went on to become one of our greatest Jewish leaders. His actions prove that people may be capable of far more than they would dare imagine, if they set their minds to it.

While there are certainly more lessons that can be learned from this parsha, I believe that these three lessons can help to enrich the lives of our children and the world in which they live.

January Schedule

Friday, 5th – 7:00pm – Shared Shabbat with Rabbi Lader.  Family friendly service, also celebrating monthly birthdays and anniversaries. In keeping with our Torah portion (Shemot/Names) Rabbi Lader will lead a special Hebrew naming ceremony for our children.

Saturday, 6th -10:00am – Winter Shabbat Service in the Park: Rabbi Lader leads a creative Shabbat service in the West Creek Reservation in the Metroparks (Parma)

Sunday, 7th – 9:45am – First day back to Religious School with Parent Open House

11:00am – Congregational Meeting

Monday, 8th – 6:30pm – Hebrew School

Saturday 13th – 9:30am-12:30pm – Shabbaton – Grades PK/K – “Let’s Visit Israel”

Sunday, 14th – 9:45am – Religious School

9:45am – Lifelong Learning Adult Ed. – Pathways Through the Talmud begins

10-11am Yad B’Yad

Monday, 15th – 6:30pm- Hebrew

Sunday, 21st – 9:45am – Religious School

Saturday, 27th – 9:30am-12:30pm – Shabbaton – Grades 3/4 – “Immigration to Israel-Ethiopian Jews”

Saturday, 27th – 3-4pm Oy Yoy Yoga – Gymboree, Westlake

Sunday, 28th – 9:45am Religious School

Monday, 29th – 6:30pm Hebrew School

Wednesday, 31st – 11:00am – Tu B’Shvat Seder at Temple

December Highlights

In December Grades 1&2 learned how the Chalutzim (pioneers) in Israel were instrumental in developing the land and building the communities in Palestine.  Our students celebrated Chanukah by presenting projects and lessons that demonstrated the themes of the holiday. Our community also participated in “Shabbat lights and latkes” dinner and service, which concluded by making a special holiday gift bag for members of our caring community. Enjoy the pictures!

Debbie Chessin, Director Of Education*

*This position is partially funded through the Fund for the Jewish Future of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.