We started class this week by having a discussion with the students about some of the stressors they encounter in their daily lives. Some students indicated that they felt stressed out about practicing or planning for their bar/bat mitzvahs. It was helpful for the students to see that they were not alone in feeling overwhelmed. The students also brainstormed some ways they can calm themselves down when they are feeling stressed, such as listening to music or talking to friends. We reminded the students that we--as well as their Hebrew teachers and other synagogue staff--are here to help them talk out some of their anxieties about this joyous but often stressful milestone.
We then returned to our study of the roots of anti-Semitism by reading and teaching each other about early Jewish-Christian relations. We reviewed the accusation of deicide--the belief that the Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus--and examined the growth of anti-Jewish attitudes and actions as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire. If you would like some resources about this to discuss with your child, My Jewish Learning contains some excellent articles. We also began creating an illustrated timeline of the history of anti-Semitism. We plan to add to this timeline throughout the year to create a visual representation of the chain of events that led to the Holocaust.
We want to commend the students on the improvement in their behavior this week. As a whole, the class was respectful of each other, their teachers, and classroom materials. Each student's effort contributed toward creating a supportive and safe learning environment for everyone. We are so excited to continue the positive momentum next week as we move into the Middle Ages.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. Have a great week!
Naomi and Lisa