Tishrei Resource Book
PREPARING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
“Big Word” Approach Teaching Prayer for the High Holy Days
Lori Shaller and Rain Zohav
The session offered a technique for helping students to connect personally to the Yamim Noraim liturgy, using “Big Words” – words of our liturgy written large and responded to by each participant – so our students can connect deeply to our liturgy to feel truly connected to God. This technique allows you to explore with your students the underlying reasons why we pray.
High Holiday Cards
Ari Moffic presented a hands-on session outlining a parent education workshop to acquaint or re-acquaint adults who will be attending High Holiday services with the major Hebrew vocabulary that will add meaning and depth to their worship experience.
Take Time to Relax–Chanting, Drumming and Mindfulness Meditation
Using the chants and melodies of Rabbi Shefa Gold, Holy Taya Sher, Joey Weisenberg, Rabbi Shir Yaakov Feit, and others, participants practiced chanting, drumming, and mindfulness meditation in the midst of their hectic NewCAJE schedules. They learned, relaxed, practiced, breathed…and refreshed…and brought some melodies and practices back home with them!
Teaching Tashlich Through New Games and an Environmental Lens
Participants experienced a selection of historical, arts, theater, and environmentally-based approaches to understanding, teaching, and doing Taschlich that students will love.
Rosh HaShanah is More than Apples and Honey: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Rosh HaShanah Services
The Machzor is long and we can get lost in it; however, no matter whether you are Orthodox or Reform or anything in between, the structure and content of the service is surprisingly pretty much the same. The order may be changed, things are certainly shortened, but the service is the service. In this session, participants looked at the most important prayer — Aleinu — and at the major additions to the service — whether they are phrases, poems or whole sections. They examined some difficult prayers as well. With this knowledge and great handouts, you will be able to adapt this to any age group you teach.
Escape the Room games are not only online, but also springing up everywhere. The question is whether they can be applied to Jewish education, and the answer is YES! Get your kids and adults involved in an interactive learning adventure as they seek to “escape” within 40 minutes! Session participants began with an actual escape based on the Binding of Isaac – the Torah reading for the second day of Rosh Hashanah – then moved on to brainstorming and some game design.
The Torah Readings for Rosh Hashanah
Everett Fox and Cherie Koller-Fox
On Rosh HaShanah, we hear two seminal readings from the Book of Genesis. The first is the story of Hagar’s expulsion from Abraham’s house with her son Ishmael. The second is the story of the sacrifice of Isaac also known as the Akeda. In this session, we will closely read these stories, examining them through the eyes of a scholar and translator. This close reading will help us to understand what is on the page — in Hebrew this is called pshat or the simple reading of the text. We will look at literary features that point us toward the deeper meanings of the text. The job of the scholar is to facilitate our understanding of what the text says, while the job of the rabbi is to help us explore what the text means, and equally important, what it means to us today.
Shanah Tovah, Shanah M’tukah: New Songs for the New Year
Come sing and dance with new uses for traditional folk songs and original interactive songs and dances in Hebrew and English for each of the holidays in the Jewish year. These activities are all child-tested for kids ages 0–12, with age-applicable adaptations.
A Rosh Hashanah Family Event: Theory and Practice of Family Education
Teaching children and adult education are both important pieces of life-long learning, but there is something magical about a family event. It has the possibility of bringing what you have taught into the home life of the family and giving the parents agency. In this workshop, which uses a simple round robin model, we will make a prop for the home appropriate for the new year. There are many possibilities of props to make, but I’ve chosen to share a calendar with you. A calendar stays up year-round and provides a map to guide families through the Jewish year cycle. We will also make a sweet and round treat for the holiday called Taiglach. This both adds to the family repertoire of holiday foods and elicits stories from the participants. Finally, we will talk about the study aspect and how to make it meaningful for each member of the family.
Climbing Toward Yom Kippur: A Box Hike Family Education Program
Margaret Frisch Klein
What happened when Moses came back down the mountain? What did he see when people were dancing around the Golden Calf? How did he bargain with God? How did we learn to say “I’m sorry?” How did God learn to accept the apology? A hands-on, interactive, intergenerational activity to prepare us for Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is More than Fasting and Confessing Sins: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Yom Kippur Services
The Yom Kippur service is extremely long and seems like it is rambling; however, it has a clear structure and, whatever your denomination, believe it or not, it contains most of the same material. Some services are abridged and some lengthened, but the structure remains constant. The authors of the machzor saw Yom Kippur as a journey through time — both through Jewish history and your own private history. Where are they taking us and why? Participants looked at this by way of some of the major pieces of the service that are added especially for Yom Kippur. With this knowledge, and great handouts, you will be able to adapt this to any age group you teach.
Teshuvah: What’s the Point?
The Mishnah tells us, “For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another.” Yet, repairing a relationship with another person is often the most difficult kind of teshuvah, even more so if that person is no longer with us. In this workshop, participants studied how the understanding of teshuvah has changed through history and how communal and individual teshuvah are related. They then practiced the process of beginning teshuvah with another person, and finished with a discussion of ways to introduce this process to students.
Selichot Prayers for Yom Kippur
In this workshop, participants examined the traditions of asking for forgiveness on Yom Kippur. They looked at the prayer texts that deal with acknowledging our shortcomings and talked about how to approach this subject with children and teens.
Tales for the Days of Awe: Using Personal Narrative
Be ready to open your heart. What better way to prepare ourselves for contemplation, for teshuvah, than to enter into the story with Susan, engaging imagination, intellect, and emotions? This entertaining high school/middle school/ adult program includes stories (teachings) of tzedakah, mitzvot, justice, self-awareness, forgiveness, tikkun olam, and teshuvah: a meaningful Selichot. Learn how to combine your own personal narratives with traditional Jewish tales to illuminate the teachings.
Reading the Book of Jonah
In this workshop, participants did a close reading of the Book of Jonah with an eye to understanding its place in the journey of Yom Kippur. They specifically looked for themes and ideas that will appeal to the understanding of children and teens. They discussed how to teach this in the school setting and how to use it in worship. The text of the Book of Jonah was provided, as well as questions for teachers to use.
Yoga Adventures and Wellness Tools: Let’s Visit Jonah, the Big Fish, and the Worm. We’ll Find Apples, Lemonade, and Cake, Too!
Get ready to move, to reflect, to share, and to do some goal setting with a Health and Wellness Coach. Participants explored several “well-being themes” found in the Autumn Tishrei holidays’ celebrations and stories. There was a sampling of two types of yoga sessions. The “Jonah, the Big Fish, and the Worm” Yoga Adventure combines the familiar Yom Kippur story with an opportunity for creative yoga movement and reflective personal midrash. The “Moment of Zen” Imagination Game is designed to facilitate mindfulness training, to calm anxieties, and to refocus our attitude. Participants also covered additional lifestyle habits such as healthy snacks and joyful laughter that can be integrated into our personal lives, synagogues, and classrooms. No prior yoga experience or yoga mat was necessary, just an open attitude and a willingness to participate.
ALL THE HOLIDAYS
The Fall Holidays: Lesson Plans, Art Projects, and Activities
This curriculum offers teachers the opportunity to learn simple art techniques and explore a variety of activities and resources that can be integrated immediately into their Fall Holiday lesson plans. Using this material, teachers will ready to engage their students in fun and meaningful ways! Projects and resources are appropriate for educators working with students in grades 1-6.
Barbara shared an assortment of lessons that teach the fundamentals, as well as much deeper and personal understandings, for the Tishrei holidays. She provided summary samples of the lessons, as well as an in-depth look as several of them. Although the lessons were designed for intermediate and middle grades, they are easily adaptable for primary or high school, and easy-to-duplicate lesson plans were provided.
Using Environmental Art to Deepen Jewish Themes
Lori Shaller and Rain Zohav
Participants in the sesssion learned a participatory technique to construct meaning on Jewish themes, including “The Creation of the World,” “Sukkot,” “The Birthday of the Trees,” “Bal Tashchit,” and “Exodus.” They worked collaboratively and prayerfully making a visual representation using nature’s bounty, such as leaves, feathers, stones, shells, flowers, and seeds in an outdoor setting.
Storying New Beginnings
Cherie Karo Schwartz
The holidays of Tishrei are filled with story and spirit. We will cultivate the use of storytelling, improvisation, and story study with personal and modern connection. The session explored folklore, sacred, personal, and original tales to help guide and enhance teaching of the Fall holidays with classes from middle school through adults, as well as for intergenerational and organizational groups.
New Songs for a New Year: There’s a Song for That
Participants learned some of Karen Daniel’s original songs that teach the major themes and customs for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. Songsheets were made available, with chords for those who brought a guitar. Particpants collaborated in small groups to create a lesson plan for each holiday to incorporate the song and each group shared its lesson plan with the larger group.
Singing Your Wei Through Tishrei
This session helped participants connect to the holidays in Tishrei through music in a fun and memorable way! They focused on translating prayers and songs into the language of students and creating memories that are meaningful and relevant. They explored age-appropriate music repertoire, stories, techniques, and language that encourage both an open mind and an open heart for prayer and songs. They sang everything from the “oldies but goodies” to some of the latest hits that will excite students and hopefully keep them singin’ and remembering these songs for a lifetime.
Tishrei and the Yamim Noraim: Through a Spiritual Lens
These Tishrei materials are a compilation of art, poetry, and readings for Tishrei. They allow us to open the gates to our deepest Neshamot, souls, as we prepare ourselves for the Yamim Noraim. The art, poetry, and readings are by various artists, rabbis, and poets whom I admire. Please enjoy — use these resources yourselves, share them with congregants, encourage both children and adults to slow down enough to return to the breath and soul in preparation for the beauty and the possibility contained within the season of the Yamim Noraim.
Deep (Musical) (Teen) Worship
Music is an integral part of worship, often viewed as an “accessory” or “engagement tool.” But it’s much deeper as a value to worship. Naomi Less, a founding ritual leader at Lab/Shul and an artist/musician-in-residence in countless synagogues across America, can help you develop an understanding of the role of musical experiences in worship. She will also help you develop the tools needed to approach worship where music is not looked at as an accessory but as part of the fabric of crafting intentional worship experiences.
Young Family High Holiday Services: Music, Methods, and More!
After leading High Holiday family services for young children and their families, Eliana Lights shares what she’s learned with you. The session offered information about services featuring songs old and new, discussed opportunities and challenges, and shared best practices. It offered both new music and inspiration!
Fall Holidays and Social Action
This session allowed participants to gain familiarity with themes for the fall holidays, some life milestones, and some social action opportunities that accompany them. They discussed ways children can become young philanthropists. Participants learned how to create grids with related social action opportunities for any occasion. They discussed texts related to this topic, and a new curriculum designed to give families the knowledge and skills to share values with children and instill the desire in them to be philanthropists and social action activists.