Friday, September 6, 2019

You asked for it, we're answering - important information about the opening day of school

Shalom Horim/Dear Parents: (Long, so please read when you're not in a hurry [HAHAHA!]

This past June we gathered together a group of parents and members for a visioning session for our school*. One of the topics to come out of the meeting was that parents wanted greater home educational opportunities with their children. This fits in very nicely with our new values-based curriculum this year. Let me point out to you some of the new things we're doing, what to look for, and what you can do.

1. As you know, we've made our start time earlier: 3:45. During this time the students will gather in the Social Hall, have physical activities, snack, go to Sanctuary for T'filah/prayer, and go over the letter of the week and the Value of the Month.

2. Letter of the Week: Each week we will highlight a different letter of the Alef-Bet. This letter, and several words starting with that letter, will be displayed on our bulletin board  and in each classroom, and I will send an update with the letter. (see enclosed picture). It would be really great if you could reinforce this at home, such as asking if they can think of English words starting with that sound, then asking if they (or you) know any Hebrew words starting with that sound.

3. Value of the Month: Every month we are highlighting a Jewish value, posting a poster on our bulletin board, reinforcing it in the classroom. Again, reinforcing it at home would help.

4. Snack: will be done collectively in the Social Hall

Our first Jewish Value is Hiddur Mitzvah - Beautifying or Enhancing the Mitzvah/Commandment. You can read more about it here:

What we need from you:

1. Our first day of school, please send in with your child a Judaic object from your home (such as a Kiddush cup, Candlesticks, Menorah, Seder Plate, challah cover). bring a card with it with your family name, and if it has a history, what that history is. We will then display it in our school that day, where we will have a VIRTUAL Museum and a real museum (with your objects)

2. We will send projects for you to do, at home, with your child, such as decorating a Kiddush Cup, making a Challah Cover; decorating Candlesticks or a Havdallah Spice Box (these are grade determined). You will have 3 weeks to make them, returning them here on October 3rd, to be displayed at Temple. Again, please have a small index card or Post-it with your child's name to go with the object. 

3. Parent Greeters:
Isn't it nice to come into a space and have people greet you? I try to do it at school but often things need my attention so I cannot always be at the door.  Please let me know if you would like to greet the children when they come in, and direct them into the Social Hall

4. Snack:
The past few years we've had parents bring snack to their child's class, resulting in having to bring in snack 4-5 times/year. This year we're doing a collective snack which means you'll need to bring in snack only twice a year. We have 30ish students in the school, (and 7 teachers) so if two parents each week bring snack each really only needs to provide snack for 20 people. If it is your snack week, we ask that you stay to set it up (in the Social Hall), and clean up afterwards (which means, keep it simple!). 

5. Class parents:
I have 3 committed parents so far for grades 6, 3, and 4-5. I'm looking for a class parent for Grades 1 and 2. What does a class parent do? Coordinates the class dinners, finds families from without the class to help with setting up and cleaning up after the dinners; helps with any other things the class wants such as purchasing a gift for the teacher, getting together outside Temple [if you want to do that as a class]; other ideas are up to you.

Other things we'd love to see:

*host the families in your child's class for a pot-luck havurah (1-2 hour shabbat or havdallah meal / candle lighting / social gathering)
*greet people and let them in during Hebrew school
*drive students in my child's class on a local field trip 
*substitute teach
*tutor students one-on-one in Hebrew once a month for 30 minutes
*make latkes (at the synagogue) for Hannukah
*bake treats for Purim
*lead a workshop or activity 

If you are interested in doing any of these, let me know.  

I guess that's it! I hope to see many of you tomorrow evening for our Welcome Back to School BBQ (Thank you, Brotherhood for your grilling skills), and if you're coming, please bring a side, salad, or dessert, if you're able.

Shabbat Shalom,
Morah Judy

*If you're interested in attending future visioning sessions - our hope is to create a Mission Statement and come up with a new name for our school - please let me know.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

School's in another month. Here's some important info.

Shalom Chaveirim/Dear Friends:

I hope you're all enjoying your summer and that our children are thriving in the fresh air and sunshine, getting lots of outdoor time.

I'd like to give you a little information about some Religious School dates and such.

First Day of School:  Thursday, Sept. 12 - Registration now open, see weekly email. Please note, due to some curricular changes, we are moving up the start time of school to 3:45. More information later.

Open House: Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6:00pm - a BBQ with Havdallah and 'getting to know you' time. We'll supply the fixings for 'Smores.

This Saturday: August 17 at 9:30 Shabbat service with short Torah reading and baby naming (actually, two children will be named).

Class parents: I'm looking for one (or two) parents to help with this. The role of the class parent is helping to coordinate the dinner for class services; if you would like to do something for the teacher, planning that; helping when you can.

The way things are shaping up, looks like we have a 1-2 grade; 3 grade; 4-5 grade; 6 grade. If we get a few more students, we will have a Kindergarten. Talk to your friends with 5 year-olds. Tell them to join!

We are planning a once-a-month Story Hour on Sundays and Tot Shabbat on Fridays for our littlest ones. Spread the word.

Several years ago, Temple Sinai voted to do away with Religious School tuition*, [other than the book/material fee] feeling it was incumbent upon the congregation to contribute to the education of all our members.  The hope was that we would make up the loss in tuition through donations and fundraising. This has not happened. If you are able to, please contribute a little extra when you register your child(ren). 

Thank you so much and please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Morah Judy

*At that time, tuition was about $550/per child. We are not asking you to give that amount per child, just whatever you can that will help with the lost revenue from this stream.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Temple Sinai 2019 Summer Family Picnic

Temple Sinai 2019 

Summer Family Picnic

 Sponsored by Sisterhood and Brotherhood

Who’s Invited: All Temple Members & Prospective Members, Their Families and Friends

When: Sunday, 7/21/19, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Rain or Shine: Dinner served 5:30 pm; S’mores served 6:30 pm

Where: Burlington’s Oakledge Park, bottom of Flynn Ave., “Lower Pavilion” ( by the Beach )

What’s Needed for the Picnic:

• We’re providing the covered shelter, along with starter snacks, soft drinks, ice, paper goods, some games and bubbles for the kids, charcoal, and S’mores for dessert.

• You’re asked to bring an entrée for your family, & a side dish to share with the group. • Bring a cold entrée. Or, cook your food on the limited size charcoal grill at the shelter.

• You can bring beer or wine for your group. No glass bottles are allowed in the park.

• We recommend you bring folding chairs, blankets, any of your own favorite lawn games, or anything else you’d like in order to take advantage of Oakledge Park’s amenities.

• Bug spray is a must! No candles or open flames of any kind are allowed in the park.

• Musical instruments for a sing-along would be great!

Amenities at Oakledge Park: Blanchard Beach, bathrooms, 2 tennis courts, walking trails, bike path, swings, kids climbing structure, big grassy fields, and a very cool Tree House.

Parking: Inside the park @ $2.00/hour. On Sundays, you only have to pay until 6:00 pm!
Cash, credit cards, Senior Green Mountain Passes, & Seasonal Park Passes are all accepted.

Questions? Need More Details: Email Irene at:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

This weekend: Open House, BBQ, Rock Shabbat, & The Forgotten Holiday

To paraphrase Mr. T: I pity the "family" that isn't around this weekend. We have soooo much going on.

Like any weekend, we begin with Shabbat. But not just any Shabbat. We have 3 special events:

Open House for School; BBQ dinner, Rock Shabbat with Dahg.

It all begins at 5:00 with fun and games for the kiddos. I won't go into all the details, see the weekly announcements for that, but suffice it to say, it's going to be a real humdinger of an evening! (When was the last time you heard anyone use the term 'humdinger'?)

BTW, if able, please bring a salad, side dish or dessert to share. Temple is supplying the BBQ on our new grill!

If interested, at 6:00, Rabbi E. & Morah Judy will have a SHORT presentation on innovations and directions our Hebrew school is taking.

The Forgotten Holiday: Shavuot
In the Torah it tells of 3 very important pilgrimage holidays: Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. Maybe because Shavuot comes at such a busy time of the year, many people don't even know what it is! No less important than the other 2, it's a harvest festival but more importantly, it's the time when the Torah was first given on Mt. Sinai. It's a tradition to study ALL night

When I was a little girl my mother told me that if I was able to stay up until midnight studying, the sky would open and I would see God's face. I'll never forget that at midnight we went outside and it was partly cloudy, and at midnight, lo and behold (when was the last time you heard anyone use the term ' lo and behold '?) the clouds parted, leaving a dark circle of sky with millions of stars. Maybe that is the face of God. 

This tradition of study is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot. This year we are joining with OZ at their synagogue (after all, they came here for Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Memorial), where both Rabbis Small and Edleson will lead a study on The Book of Ruth, a beautiful Megillah, of Ruth, often called the first Jew by Choice.  (see details in the weekly announcement). This begins Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. and goes till...???

Sunday morning, June 9, Shavuot celebrations continue with services here at 10 a.m., with a service and the reading of the Ten Commandments. Hallel (songs of praise) is recited and there is a Yizkor service at noon to remember our beloved family members who have passed away.

Hope you can join us for some, or all, of these wonderful events.

Morah Judy

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

End of the year news

I say this every year. I cannot believe how quickly this school year flew by!

We still have a few upcoming events to keep in mind, but before I go into what they are, I want to ask you and your family to take a few moments next time you're around the dinner table, or the Shabbat dinner table, to reflect on what it means to be a part of a sacred community. In what ways has Temple Sinai added to the spiritual life of your family? How have you added to the spiritual life at Temple? We hope that your membership here, and your child's time in school, is a give and take between Temple and home. 

This Friday, May 3, is Teacher Appreciation Shabbat.  We are so fortunate to have wonderful, responsive teachers who strive to give each of our children a positive Jewish experience. I hope you'll come Friday and show your appreciation.

The following week, on Thursday May 9, our last class of the year will be across the way at Veterans Memorial Park, where we will have a kids' celebration of Israel with all the other congregational schools in the Burlington area. This is from 4-6, with an Israeli buffet dinner being served. There is a suggested $5pp contribution so please send your child with $5. You, too, are welcome to join us.

Also looking ahead to next year, Rabbi E & I are looking for some parents to help us with visioning. If this is something that interests you, let me know. What does that mean? We'd love feedback on what you see for the future of our school, what types of programs you'd like to see, what your child enjoys about Hebrew school, what they may not. Please let me know and we'll be sure to include you in this meet-up.

As always, if you have any questions, feedback, concerns, comments, I'm here for you.

Shalom u'vracha,
Morah Judy

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Upcoming Events

Shalom Horim/Dear Parents:

Just a quick note to remind you of some short term and long term upcoming events here at school and Temple.

This Friday, 3/15, at 5:30 there is a Tot Shabbat (also a regular service at 6:30). If you have little ones you'd like to bring, now is a great time to have them attend a fun, engaging service.

Saturday, 3/16, at 10:00 our entire school is having a service, with Torah reading.

Next Thursday, 3/21 - our school's Purim celebration. Encourage your child to come in costume for a fun day of games, singing, and a Purim spiel by our Kitah 6-7 Grade.

Sat. 3/23 is our adult Purim spiel, Shushan Rhapsody:The Megillah According to Queen, followed by noshing, dancing, and a fun time to be had by all.

April 5 - Folk service led by our K-1 students

April 5-7 JCVT Summit in Killington.  

May 3 - Teacher Appreciation Shabbat

May 9 - Our last day of school, is also Yom HaAtzmaut/Israel Independence Day. To celebrate, we are joining with the other area synagogues to have a Vermont Kids Israel Day at Veterans Memorial Park from 4-6:00, a day of singing, Israeli dancing, field games, crafts, face painting, rock painting, and an Israeli buffet. Everyone is welcome. Let me know if any parents would like to help out at this event.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Note the time of school services and dinner

Shalom Horim/Dear Parents:

Beginning in January will be our Friday night class services, one each month. Due to the now later hour of the service, 6:30, it makes greater sense to have the dinner prior to the service. Please note all dinners will begin at 5:30 followed by the service at 6:30.

Our first service is January 11, being co-led by our Kitah 6/7. Our Feb. service is on the 1st, led by our Kitah 4/5, and it is a Folk Service, as are all the following services (the Jan. service is not a Folk Service).
March 8th is our Kitah 2/3 service, and April 5th is our Kitah Gan/1 service.

Our December Saturday morning service was a great success. It was wonderful to see so many of you in attendance. Remember, we have another school service on March 16 at 9:30. For this service, in addition to student participation, we would also like parent participation. Take a look through the Saturday morning service and let me know if there are any prayers you and your child would like to co-lead. Additionally, let me know if any of you would like to chant Torah or Haftarah. Think about it and if I don't hear back from any of you, I'll be doing some asking after the New Year. It's a great way to model for your child that the service is not just for children. BTW, you can choose to read any of the prayers in Hebrew or English and we also encourage participation of non-Jewish parental units.

Before signing off, a special thanks to all of you who contributed to the Toy Drive. We sent two large boxes of toys, games, books, art materials, stuffed animals, etc. out to California. Also, a special todah rabbah to Kitah 4/5 for their successful bake sale, raising over $80 in one night to send to HIAS. Kol Hakavod!!

Reminder, no class next week for winter break. See you tomorrow!

Morah Judy