Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving and how about some Hebrew practice over break?

Learning with our magnetic D'vash Boards in Kitah Aleph 
Happy Thanksgiving and I know by this time of year students, parents and teachers are ready for a break so they can refresh before the big December vacation break.  I hope that over this Thanksgiving break my Lakeside Hebrew students can take a few minutes to review what has been happening in class for the past few months.  All of our students have been practicing prayers, learning their letters and vowels and doing their  best in the 2 hours we have on Tuesday afternoons.

If you review with your students for even a few minutes every other day it will make a world of difference.  Coming to Friday night services or sitting with your students during our Sunday morning service is also helpful. It expands the time they practice Hebrew and sometimes doubles the time spent in class.  This can only help your students Hebrew progress!

I love teaching Kitah Aleph and watching my students go from not knowing one Hebrew letter to being able to read from the prayerbook  and know some Modern Hebrew words as well.  This year we have also added sign language for Hebrew words.  If you have a Kitah aleph student please be sure to ask them how to sign:  House, Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma and table. Here is a video from Kitah Aleph!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving break and when you have a minute to think or meditate let me know why you are grateful.  I know that I am thankful  and grateful for my family, my Lakeside family and being able to share my passion for all things Jewish with both families!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Chag Samaech!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hate, civil rights and meeting the co-founder of Southern Law Poverty Center

This weekend at Lakeside we have a scholar in residence program focusing on combating hate.  Joe Levin from the Southern Law Poverty Center (SLPC) will be speaking Saturday night and Sunday morning.  On Friday night Rabbi Serotta will talk about his personal connection to the civil rights movement growing up in Miami Florida.  I can't wait to hear his story.  

Growing up in Crystal Lake, Illinois in the 1960's and 1970's  I  did experience some anti-semitism but I did not grow up in a very diverse community; being Jewish was as exotic as it got back at my schools.  I do remember going to visit my Aunt Corrie Diamond in Sardis, Mississippi in 1971 with my mom, grandmother and sister.  Aunt Corrie had been married to my great Uncle Sol and she was not Jewish and when they got married in 1942 I am sure it caused a commotion  on both sides of the family.   

Uncle Sol had owned the local dry goods store and he and Aunt Corrie had worked in Sardis for their whole lives.  When we went to downtown Sardis I saw for the first time two types of drinking fountains:  white and colored.  There were also white and colored bathrooms.  I was mystified and did not understand why this was so different than bathrooms in Crystal Lake and Chicago.   I asked my Mom why there were two different fountains and bathrooms and she tried to explain to me and my sister the situation in Mississippi.  It did not make sense to me then and it still does not make sense to me.  

As we go into our Scholar in Residence weekend if you have stories or your parents or grandparents have stories of the civil rights movement now is a great time to share these important memories and stories with the next generation!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What do YOUR books tell you about Yourself?

Jewish Book Month is in NOVEMBER!
I love books and if you look at my shelves you can immediately tell that:  I love Israel, Jewish education,  historical fiction, young adult books and of course Tanakh, (Bible).  If I looked at your shelf what would I find?  I have spoken about visiting friends homes growing up and seeing the stalwarts of a Jewish home on the book shelves:  The Source by James Michener (or anything by him), Exodus by Leon Uris, Goodby Columbus by Philip Roth or Night by Eli Weisel.  Holocaust literature was not as popular 50 years ago as it is today.

November is Jewish Book Month and at Lakeside we will have on November 12th and 19th tables in the lobby with our "extra" books for you to take home.  Be sure to stop by and pick up a book for your family.  We have some great books and I hope you add to your libraries!

There were very few young adult books never mind authors when I was a tween many moon ago.  I read almost all the books at the local library in Crystal Lake that were for my age group and began reading the books at my house.   I read a few books that I was probably too young to appreciate and now I love reading young adults books and love even more discussing the most popular ones with my students.  Sharing the fondness for a good book is like having a friend in common and gives you something to discuss.  

With the onset of e-readers it is harder to see what people are reading at their homes, on a plane or at the beach.  That saddens me as I am always ready to start a conversation about book that I have read or plan on reading.  Occasionally when asked what am I reading right now I have plenty to say in that conversation.  I do love my e-reader as it is easy to take with me and I can load on as many books as I want and I don't have to worry about how much space it will take up in my luggage.  My nightmare is running out of something to read.

I have had a book group at Lakeside for the past 6 years and I am proud to say that we have read 70 books.  We meet about once a month at members homes and read all types of books with Jewish themes.  Sometimes the books are great and the discussion is great and occasionally the books are mediocre and the discussion is surprisingly great.  I always enjoy talking about books and getting insights from our group.  (If you are interested in joining our book group let me know) We are also very proud to have a librarian at Lakeside for over 30 years, Margaret Burka.  She keeps our library up to date with all the latest books, come and take a look.

My Goodreads page:  feel free to join me!
Since I have been organizing our book group I have also been on Goodreads.  This is a site that helps you not just keep track of the books that you are reading, have read and plan to read it it also lets you group your books into different shelves.  I started using this app when I realized that I had assigned a book for book group which I had read many years ago but had  totally forgotten I had read before.  Now I know if I read it and when I read it.