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“If you want to plant for a year, plant wheat; if you want to plant for ten years, plant trees; if you want to plant for 100 years, educate human beings.” Chinese Proverb
As a Jewish school it is incumbent upon us to provide our students with meaningful Jewish experiences in order for them to establish understanding of, and deep connection to, Jewish customs, traditions and the land of Israel. It is with this purpose in mind that our 3rd Graders embarked on an integrated study of the holiday of Tu B’Shvat through music, dance, and English and Hebrew narratives. On Thursday night as we gathered in our beautifully decorated Sanctuary, 3rd Grade parents and guests watched in awe as our students told the story of the holiday with enthusiasm and pride. It was evident to all that Tu B’Shvat became alive for the children and transformed from an external factor to an internal motivator. Kol Hakavod to our 3rd Grade students and teachers!
Another highlight of our unique programs is the experiential Tu B’Shvat learning at Camp Alonim. We take our K-6 Graders to an environment that has the same eco-system as Israel and engage our entire school community in various hands-on activities outdoors at the magnificent Brandeis-Bardin Campus. This is truly the embodiment of “teaching by doing”. In this way, the big ideas of Tu B’Shvat of caring for our environment, preserving nature and continuing God’s work of creation are learned not only through textbooks but through planting saplings, hiking and learning about plants, engaging in Teva (nature) scavenger hunts, and immersing in the beauty all around to be able to appreciate nature’s gifts to us.
This will be our second annual Tu B’Shvat trip to Camp Alonim and although we heard positive feedback from teachers, students and parents on how valuable this day was, it wasn’t until we had to cancel the trip last year due to weather, that we realized the impact this experiential learning had on our students. This year, we look forward to creating more memories and connecting deeply with our commitment to taking care of this earth Midor L’Dor-from generation to generation.
Often former students of Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School come to visit and reminisce about their favorite Jewish holiday performance and upon their recollection they immediately break into a song, a dance, or a speaking part they still remember. I love those moments because, in essence, this is exactly what we want to instill in our children-an enduring love and affection towards Judaism.
Director of Hebrew/Judaic Studies