Chesed Unit and The Haftarah Challenge

How Far We Have Come
It is amazing to me how far we have come this year, and how much your students have achieved, even with all of the innate challenges of being remote. As it is now April 12th, we have just 4 more weeks of Hebrew and Religious School at TBI for this year. We have just completed our K’hillah/Community unit and this Sunday, we will begin our final unit of the year, Chesed. Check out this introductory video to learn a bit more about this unit: Continue reading

Haftarah Trope and K’hillah Unit

My apologies, it has been a few weeks since I have last had the opportunity to update our class blog. So much has happened, here is a recap:

Wednesdays – Haftarah Trope
After our students successfully completed the Torah Trope Challenge, we began our second and final Hebrew unit for this year, Haftarah Trope. Haftarah Trope shares all the same attributes as Torah Trope, except one. Both share the same symbols, the same clause families, the same color-coding, the same rules about each symbol, the same functions (as a m’chaber/connector or as a mafsik/separator), and where the symbol is placed still determines the syllabic stress of the word. The one difference is the melody; Haftarah has its own unique melody. In our first weeks of learning this new unit, the students have already learned: Continue reading

G’vurah and Torah Trope Challenge

Sundays – LaBriut
This last Sunday we began our third unit in the LaBriut curriculum, called G’vurah. G’vurah can be defined as strength and might, or using one’s power for good. Parents can get a sense of what this next unit in this introduction video here:

Throughout this unit, students will be creating a comic book based on the story of a Jewish hero and themselves. Learners will learn to see their own strengths and how they can use those strengths to help others. Continue reading

New Hebrew Pods and Practice Over Break

New Hebrew Pods Beginning 1/6/21
Last week, Lori Sagarin wrote to all the 6th grade families explaining that we will be shifting the Hebrew pods on Wednesdays when we return from break. Morah Erin and I believe that our new hour long format on Wednesdays will allow for greater student success. We hope the additional time each week can be used for further practice, review and time to answer student questions. We have carefully crafted the new pods based on a variety of factors – cohesiveness, range of abilities, peer dynamics, and known schedule conflicts. We announced the make up of the new pods last Sunday in class, and will once again post the lists here. New Zoom links will be emailed to each family next week from Mari, and will also be posted on the TBI Zoom School page. Continue reading

T’vir, R’vii and Beginning Ometz Lev

Let’s catch up on what we have been learning the last two weeks:

Wednesdays – Trope
Last Wednesday we learned our 4th clause,  תביר T’vir. T’vir is highlighted in blue, and features just a few new symbols: דרגא Darga and תביר T’vir. You can hear the sound of each and learn the hand signs here: T’vir is the sound of the “Amein” recited by a person about to read Torah, following someone else chanting the Torah blessings. The T’vir clause is often served by the trope קדמא Kadma, which we learned in our last clause קטן Katon. Additionally, תביר T’vir can be served by a special מרכא Mercha, which sounds like דרגא Darga, but without the middle two notes. The Flipgrid challenge for תביר T’vir is: Continue reading

Katon Clause Continued and Completing Sukkat Shalom

Katon Clause Continued…
Today, we learned the rest of the Katon Clause. The Katon Clause is a longer clause, that includes a couple of unique things, including 2 sets of identical twins. Identical twins of course are symbols that look identical, however, like any real set of siblings, they might look the same but they have completely different personalities and functions.

Twin #1 – Pashta and Kadma
Last week we learned Pashta. It has some rules that make it unique:

1. The symbol for Pashta is always on the very last letter of the word
2. Pashta is always followed by Katon or Munach Katon
3. Pashta is a separator; Pashta PAUSES
4. Pashta can also exist as a ‘double pashta’ such as the word B’veitecha in the 6th line of the V’ahavta. Continue reading

Sukkat Shalom Week 2 and Sof-Pasuk

Sukkat Shalom Week #2
Today we continued to expand our definition of Sukkat Shalom סכת שלום (a shelter of peace) to include feelings and people, not just places or spaces. We heard the story of Rabbi Hillel in Snow from Talmud, Yoma 35b, as told by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer. The students and I imagined how Hillel must have felt when the Rabbi’s cared for him physically, when they could have reprimanded his disobedience. We then explored how our faces, eyes and expressions can show emotion, and feelings, and show someone that you care. To further the student’s understanding of these concepts, they should complete the 2nd Sukkat Shalom Challenge on Flipgrid: Continue reading

Mitzvah Points, Starting Trope, and Sukkat Shalom Week 1

This has been a great week of learning for our 6th grade students. Here is what we covered in Hebrew on Wednesday, October 14 and Sunday, October 18:

Hebrew – Trope
On Wednesday we began learning the Sof-Pasuk clause of Torah Trope. Whenever we begin learning a new symbol or clause of trope, we start by chanting the name of the symbol along with a hand sign. Then we write the name of the symbol in Hebrew and transliteration. Then we learn what other symbols belong with that group, or clause. This week we introduced the Sof-Pasuk clause, which includes the symbols: Continue reading

Zoom Classes April 22 – May 27

Dear 6th Grade Families,
Tomorrow we continue our 6th grade Hebrew class on Zoom. I have scheduled class through the end of May, a few weeks beyond the normal ending date. I want to make sure that our students are prepared to begin their B’nai Mitzvah tutoring, a few extra classes will help us to finish Haftarah trope and the Blessings for Haftarah. Zoom information is below, and will remain the same for the rest of our sessions.
To help prepare you for our lessons, please have your student review in Haftarah trope the Sof-Pasuk, Etnachta and Katon clauses. As well as begin familiarizing yourself with the Blessing After Haftarah. All of the resources you need are on our Trope page: Parents, please consider practicing the Blessings before and after Haftarah with your students, or have an older brother or sister practice with them. The more your students practice, the easier and more fluent they will become. In the coming weeks, our goal is to learn the rest of the Haftarah clauses, and to become fluent in reciting the blessings in Hebrew.

Continue reading

Torah Trope Challenge 5780

Today, I announced to the students the Torah Trope Challenge. The Torah Trope Challenge is an assessment of the Torah Trope clauses we have learned, as well as the Blessings for the Reading of Torah. As you continue reading, please review the details of this assessment as well as the resources to help your student practice over break. The Torah Trope Challenge will take place on Sunday, January 12, 2020. Continue reading

Prayer Project 5780

Year after year, when I ask the students about their favorite lesson or activity in class, the prayer project is always at the top of their lists. Ben Franklin is quoted as saying: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” The prayer project flips our classroom and makes each of the students the teacher. Your students will research, learn, prepare and teach their peers one prayer from Seder Kriat HaTorah, or the Service for the Reading of Torah through our concluding prayers. The prayer assignments and designated teaching days are as follows: Continue reading

Haftarah Trope Challenge is May 5

Spring has officially arrived, and with the month of April we have exactly 6 Sundays and 6 Wednesdays left of school. This year has flown by! We have been working diligently on Haftarah Trope for the past months, and it is time to announce our final project – the Haftarah Trope Challenge.

The Haftarah Trope Challenge (HTC), like the Torah Trope Challenge, will demonstrate each student’s knowledge of trope and the blessings, so I can say with confidence that these kids are ready to begin preparing for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s. The HTC will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2019. It consists of each student chanting three parts: Continue reading

Torah Trope Challenge

Today, we learned the 5th clause, T’vir. T’vir may sound familiar as it is the sound a torah reader chants when they sing “Amen” right before reading. That “Amen” is the sound T’vir. T’vir is a relatively short clause, it really only contains two symbols: Darga and T’vir. It can be preceded by Kadma or occasionally a Mercha (that sounds similar to and can replace Darga). To hear this clause chanted go to: and click on T’vir Clause, or hear them on the Trope Page.

A few weeks ago, I announced to the students that our Torah Trope Challenge Continue reading

Torah Trope Challenge

I am proud to announce that our student’s have learned 5 of the 6 Torah Trope clauses and they are now ready to demonstrate their understanding in the Torah Trope Challenge.  The Torah Trope Challenge will take place on Sunday, January 14, 2018. It consists of three parts:

1. Each student will chant the V’ahavta in Trope.

2. Each student will chant the Blessing Before for the Reading of Torah in Hebrew.

3. Each student will chant the Blessing After the Reading of Torah in Hebrew. Continue reading

Haftarah Trope Challenge

Welcome back from Spring Break.  During Hebrew today, we completed learning the 5th clause, R’vi-i.  We only have one more clause left and a few oddball tropes, and we will have finished our unit in Haftarah.  I also announced today the dates and content of the Haftarah Trope Challenge.  The HTC will assess the student’s knowledge and make sure that each is prepared for their one-on-one lessons to begin with Shari.  Here are the details: Continue reading

Torah Trope Challenge

Torah Trope Challenge will take place on Sunday, January 8, 2017

The students are responsible for chanting three things:

Each link includes the written prayer and the soundcloud link is a recording for aural learners.  We have gone over each aspect of this assignment in class and have practiced together.  I have encouraged all the students to spend a few minutes each day practicing each part of the assessment.  For further resources, including a color-coded V’ahavta and recordings of each clause, visit the TROPE Page.

T’filah Project

Yesterday the students and I discussed our next assignment, the T’filah (Prayer) Project.  This is a year-long project where each student in class has the opportunity to be a teacher for the day.  They will research, practice, and present a prayer to the class in a creative and fun way.  We discussed the assignment in detail and what each student’s responsibility will be.  The entire assignment can be found here: Continue reading

Trope Assignment

During the last few classes we have learned so much in trope. We discussed how trope functions in three ways:

  1. Melody – each trope symbol has a given sound.
  2. Pronunciation (syllabic stress) – where the trope is located indicates the syllabic stress.
  3. Punctuation – each trope symbol tells you to connect (m’chaber) or separate (mafsik) from the symbol that follows.

Continue reading

Coming to a close

We have had quite a year, and it is amazing to me that we are almost at the end of it. Our final T’filah (prayer) Project group presented the Mourner’s Kaddish today.  I am exceedingly proud of the effort, work and presentations of this class.  Your projects really inspired me!  Kol HaKavod.

Another major accomplishment, is our Tzedakah collection.  Thus far, this class has raised $290.90 to benefit the Wright-Way Animal Rescue in Morton Grove.  I am sure by the end of the year, we will be able to give them a check for $300.  Feel proud of your efforts – we are going to help a lot of animals. Continue reading

Haftarah Trope Challenge

This past week I announced to the class the details of the upcoming Haftarah Trope Challenge.  Unlike the Torah Challenge, the Haftarah Trope Challenge is 3 parts and therefore requires effort and practice at home.  The HTC will take place on:

Sunday, May 1 and Sunday, May 8 (if needed), during Hebrew School (11:10-12:10 pm)

The students are required to: Continue reading

Torah Trope Challenge

Over the last two weeks we have learned and completed the 5th clause of trope, R’vi-i.  As we begin working on the 6th clause, Segol, and learning a few of the rarer tropes, it is now time for the 5776 Torah Trope Challenge.  The Torah Trope Challenge is one of the ways I assess our students’ knowledge, comprehension and readiness to complete this segment of our learning and move on to Haftarah.  The challenge is simple, each student must chant the prayer V’ahavta in Trope. Torah Trope Challenge will take place on Sunday, January 31, 2016. Continue reading

Homework First Torah Portion

We have spent the last few weeks mastering the first two clauses of trope, אתנחתא Etnachtah and סוף פסוק Sof-Pasuk.  Today we added סוף סוף פסוק ‘Sof’ Sof-Pasuk.  סוף סוף פסוק ‘Sof’ Sof-Pasuk is a special melody used for סוף פסוק Sof-Pasuk clause to aurally indicate the end of an aliya (reading of Torah).  To further our practice and mastery, we looked at a brief reading of Torah in class today, from Numbers 34:24-28.  Continue reading