The children at Giving Tree experienced the Jewish High Holidays in amazing ways. The classrooms and creative play spaces featured provocations, invitations, and art experiences with an emphasis on each holiday.
For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we had an eventful week full of amazing activities centered around the themes and symbols of the holiday. Apples, bees, honey and challah are just a few of those symbols. Our week consisted of a visit from a live ram to learn about where shofars (horns that produce sound) come from, the Apple Market, and honey cake baking to share with our families. During the week before Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Schusterman visits our program to blow the shofar every morning. Children explored apple and honey themed provocations and created apple, honey, and bee themed crafts to symbolize a sweet new year. The Oak class enjoyed a visit from a beekeeper as well! We rounded out our explorations with a collaborative art project involving honeycomb shaped artwork was created during Rosh Hashanah week. It is proudly displayed in our hallway.
Provocation tables in each classrooms and the light studio set the tone for the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. We explore concepts of sound (for the shofar) and the weight of the mitzvot (good deeds) we do each year.
For Sukkot, the festival of booths- the children learned about sukkahs and the fall harvest. The children engaged in various construction projects to create their own unique sukkahs. Many children constructed sukkahs at their homes and enjoyed eating snack in our school's sukkah located in the Outdoor Classroom. The Oak class even created their own large sukkah in the Atelier that everyone could fit in. We had special visitors including Rabbi Grossbaum, Rabbi Birnhack, and Rabbi Rutstein in the Oak classroom. They explained the meaning of the lulav (willow, palm and myrtle branches) and etrog (a citron fruit) and did shared the traditional blessings with the children. The Oak class was able to take what they learned from the morning blessings and show the younger classes the lulav and etrog.
Mrs. Alethia Minlaff, Director: you can reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org