Students in Ellyn Kleinberg's kindergarten class at Temple Sinai want to know if there are salamanders in Israel. Kids in Aviv Rosenzweig's class in Modi'in's Idanim School really want to see pictures of snow. Thanks to the Education Bridge of Partnership 2000, our people-to-people connection with Modi'in, both will get answers.
The Education Bridge, chaired by Leslie Crane and Sherry Goldstein, consists of the pairing of 25 Jewish educators in Rochester with the same number in Modi'in. The program leaves the details of each pairing - sharing of student projects, educational techniques, email communications - up to the educators.
Ellyn and Aviv, a first grade teacher in Modi'in, began by emailing each other and swapping information about their jobs and personal lives.
Then, Ellyn reports that her class "sent a poster with our photographs, and cards with drawings and messages from the students." They also sent a class letter sharing favorite foods, colors and more, with a list of questions the students wanted answered (including the salamander query).
Aviv's class sent Ellyn's a Chanukah package containing letters from student to student, homemade dreidels and sweets. They asked how our students celebrated Chanukah.
ForTu b'Shevat, Ellyn's class planned to send packages of seeds and pictures of trees that grow in Rochester.
Clearly students and educators on both sides of the ocean are learning from each other. And, by the way, there are salamanders in Israel - they’ve been sighted at the local zoo.
Students get involved in the Education Bridge!
Purim in Rochester and Modi'in
Grades 7 & 8 in Temple Beth El's Religious School here in Rochester and in its partner school, Yachad, in Modi'in have each described their customs for celebrating Purim and then shared them with each other through e-mails to the Directors of Education. The Federation thanks Barry Gruber from Temple Beth El for the submission. Here are highlights of the conversations which focused on the "differences and/or similarities in the traditions":
From Grade 6, Beth El:On Purim children dress up the most, but often teens will wear a costume, and very often adults with little kids will dress up, too. Our Chazzan and Rabbi wear silly costumes too! Favorite costumes for girls - princesses, hippies, hula dancers, and for boys boys - super heroes or sports players. Many kids still dress up like the characters from the Purim story. Some people like to buy their costumes because it is quick and easy, but lots of us still like making our own, because its easier, less expensive, and more fun! Mostly, we just wear our costumes for the megillah reading and the carnival. There are two Jewish day schools in town, and there some of those kids dress up all day at school. In our synagogue, every year we have a huge carnival with food, games, prizes, raffles, and stuff. It's a ton of fun. Right after the carnival, we listen to the reading of the megillah. Then, we get to eat hamantaschen before we go home. There really is no public celebration of Purim - it's mostly at synagogue, although the JCC (Jewish Community Center) has a big event open to the public.
Most of us don't do it, but some of us do send mishloach manot to friends and family. They're usually given in decorative packages. We all really love Purim for a lot of reasons:
An excuse to have "religious" fun
It's like having a second Halloween (Do you know about this holiday?)
We love to make noisemakers (groggers)
We get to run around like crazy and have fun
We get to see our parents act like kids
From grade 6, Yachad:
It is common to dress up for school and have a theme for every day the whole week before Purim. A day's theme for example can be: a blue day, a babies day or a boys/girls day which means boys dress like girls and girls dress like boys. Another day the kids love is pajamas day, when everyone comes to school in pajamas. The grown ups usually dress up just for Megillah reading. Most common costumes are Comic book figures, cowboys, super heroes, policemen, firemen, nurses, witches and animals, and most kids don't make their own costumes. The day before the Purim three-day vacation begins there is always a big happening in school with lots of games and prizes. The city holds a parade called "Ad Lo Yada" and every school and different groups in the city send representatives to walk in the parade while the rest of the people in the city stand around cheering and watching. It is a very big event. All the kids love Purim for different reasons: Some like the costumes, some the candies, some the fun and happy atmosphere and some the fact that school is out for three days....
From Grade 7, Beth El:
"Usually only little kids (ages 2 -10) get dressed up, and they get dressed up for activities related to Purim which occur in the synagogue - the reading of Megillat Esther and the Purim carnival. Kids dress up as Esther and Haman in spirit of the holiday, and others wear costumes such as princesses and superheroes. Some people wear the same costumes they wear for Halloween (Modi'in, do you know what this is?). Most costumes are bought, NOT homemade, because we're all too busy to make costumes! Purim really is not celebrated publicly here. The only "celebrations" are in synagogues and at the JCC (Jewish Community Center). In synagogues, it is mostly about the Megillah reading, although some, like ours, has a huge carnival with food, games, prizes, etc.
Some of us do send Mishloach Manot, although in our synagogue it is not a huge tradition - we often send Hamantaschen and chocolate with a card to family friends. We agree we all love Purim, and for three reasons!
It's a fun holiday
From Grade 7, Yachad:
7th graders are less enthusiastic about Purim. Most kids still dress up, but it's not really dressing up.They think that adults dress up to make kids feel good and have more fun. Younger kids dress up as Spiderman, Princesses and other figures.
"At our age we prefer to just spray our hair, put on some make up and a few accessories and that becomes a costume. Usually we look like punk rock'n rollers." During Megillah reading, we make a lot of noise when Haman is mentioned. In our community they bring a magician to the synagogue. Some give Mishloach Manot to friends, to each other in class or go around by car to give to family and friends. Most kids like Purim because they receive Mishloach Manot and everyone's happy. There is a holiday from school and they eat a lot of candies.