In Ms. Barak and Ms. Ousley's sixth grade Jewish Studies and Hebrew classes, the students began the school year exploring ideas of teshuvah. Students were introduced to the Rambam and examined his "Seven Steps of Teshuvah" in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. They put these important steps into practice through skits in class and to family members at home. The sixth graders performed the ritual of tashlich at the lake where they symbolically cast away their mistakes using challah. It should be noted that many of our pre-teens chose to also "eat their mistakes!"
In Hebrew, we studied Hatzadik ve Ha'avanim, "The Righteous Man and the Stones." This is a story about taking responsibility for one's actions and asking for forgiveness. The students read the story in class and practiced using the new vocabulary. In preparation for Yom Kippur, students used their knowledge of teshuvah to take a gallery walk through "The Slicha Gallery." Images of the word סליחה (slicha, I'm sorry) were posted throughout the class, and students were asked to consider which image resonated most with them and why. Each of us approaches the act of apologizing differently. The students debated whether apologizing via text is considered a legitimate apology. This week we began our study of Sukkot and have focused on the mitzvah of "hachnasat orchim," and the idea of "ushpizin" (Aramaic for "guests").