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The Past Few Masa Months

02/06/2023 10:16:48 PM


Celia Baczkowski

The past few months of Masa have been a whirlwind of discussion, learning, creating, and singing.  At the start of the year, our students were given the opportunity to come up with class names, and so I am proud to present to you our Shalom Sufganiyot (grades K&1), the Rugalach (grades 2&3), and the Avocados: The Persistent Tree of Life (grades 4-6). 

Our students have explored several Jewish values and Holidays through books, songs, crafts, videos, and our own lives.  These values include:

*Hachnasat Orchim/ Welcoming Guests 


*Hakarat HaTov/ Gratitude

*Tzedakah/Charity, Giving to Others 


*Ometz Lev/Courage 


*Tu B’Shvat

*Tzedek/Justice (Avocados only)

*B’tzelem Elohim/In the Image of G-d (Avocados only)

On Friday afternoons, our Avocados come to BHA to help set up for our weekly potluck dinner. This includes setting up tables and chairs, putting out tablecloths, and pouring grape juice.  Additionally, these kiddos help to prepare a meal for the potluck.  Sometimes this means peeling potatoes, sometimes chopping fruits or vegetables, and sometimes braiding challah.  Once we have finished the prep, we do a deep dive into some traditional blessings and prayers.  So far we have covered Shabbat blessings, L’cha Dodi, Ma Tovu, and Hinei Ma Tov.  We are currently working on the Barchu and what this “Call to Prayer” means.

Perhaps the highlight of each week is our Shira/Tefilla time with Luke Wygodny.  Luke joins us for the last 30 minutes of our Sunday sessions, and he brings out the best in us with soulful songs and prayers.  Masa parents are invited to join us for this last part of class, to share and enjoy the melodies with your children, and perhaps even sing them at home.

And finally, on Tu B’Shvat, the “New Year of the Trees,” it is customary to have a type of Seder and to partake in eating the 7 species which originate in Israel according to the Torah: figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes, wheat, barley. In addition to eating something from all of these foods, we are also encouraged to eat from 3 categories of tree foods:

1-Those with an inedible outer covering and edible inside: melons, nuts, pomegranates, coconuts, citrus, bananas, etc.

2-Those with an edible outside but inedible pit inside: dates, olives, plums, peaches, apples, avocados, nectarines, pears, etc.

3-Those that are entirely edible: berries, figs, grapes, etc.

On February 5th, our students experienced a beautiful Tu B’shvat Seder with all the above!

Mon, September 25 2023 10 Tishrei 5784