We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of our favorite moments from this year with all of you! Which one is your favorite?
10. Makom @ Home
A 3rd grader in Makom @ Home who usually insists that she hates singing and turns her camera off during Tefilah (prayers), got very excited when we brought in some holiday tunes. At both Chanukah and Pesach, she excitedly recognized the tunes and asked to have a turn singing them herself! Another Makom @ Home kiddo announced early in the year that she was afraid to sing in front of people, then decided several weeks later to take a turn singing our call and response to Oseh Shalom.
South Philly’s festive Purim Carnival spotlighted the unique joy that occurs when different generations come together to share Jewish learning and create lasting memories. Everyone at Makom Community pitched in to make this event possible, from our youngest learners baking hamentashen to our Nitzanim cohort creating and facilitating carnival booths such as Crown Decorating and Pin the Hat on Haman. Even the soundtrack of the night was a community effort- learners compiled an “Adar Playlist” of their favorite silly songs that we danced to during the festivities.
8. BMitzvah Celebreations
Leo, Zoey, Zahdi’s BMitzvah celebrations! Mazel Tov to Zoey, Zahdi, and Leo on becoming a BMitzvah at Makom Community this year. We are so glad to be part of your families’ journey. We look forward to continuing to learn from you!
7. A Makom Production
What if 12 characters imagined by Nitzanim were stuck on Noach’s ark during the flood? Educators posed this question to learners and we immediately got to work creating fascinating characters and story lines to synthesize into a film script. After detailed pre-production work, learners were absolute star-performers as we filmed the entire movie in one week! Kiddos were so proud to premier the final product at our last showcase of the year.
6. Yarn Plagues
MANY. PLAGUES. Shorashim (1st-2nd graders) were fascinated by the plagues and how it affected the mitzrim (Egyptians) and Egypt’s ecosystem. Educators noticed their concerns for the environment and empathy towards those affected and planned Shulchanot Avodah (activity centers) devoted to the exploration of this. Learners had the option to create a yarn bug of one of the ten plagues. One learner was very dedicated and created an abstract yarn bug encapsulating all of the plagues. Kids also had the option to “report live” from Egypt, interviewing those affected by the plagues, and lastly, they had the opportunity to create a mind map displaying the ripple effect of just one plague. It was a very fun and collaborative week!
5. Tu Bishvat Rock Friends
Around Tu Bishvat (Jewish New Year for trees), Gainim (Kindergarders) took a close look at what Jewish tradition sees as people’s place in the world. We have a responsibility to take care of the rest of creation. To experience first hand what that responsibility might feel like, the Garinim (kindergartners) each made a pet rock. Their rock friend accompanied them to text study, projects, tefilah, and free time, participating fully in the afternoon with them. And at the end of the day, we needed to make sure that all of our rock friends made it back to their special room in our rock “hotel” to sleep for the night. Caring for their rock friends helped our learners appreciate the value in all of creation around them and understand a taste of the responsibility we have towards it.
4. South Philly Showcase
We have been so impressed by the level of learning and engagement with text that all our learners have demonstrated throughout the year. One way we have seen this is in South Philly’s Nitzanim (1st-3rd grade) showcases, where our oldest learners had the opportunity to explore text in ways that were completely unique to them. From a puppet show about the importance of loving your neighbor to a virtual haggadah that included a joke retelling of the Passover story and a seder plate specifically for cats, and most recently original videos that imagine the untold experiences of the humans and animals on Noach’s ark, these projects have served as excellent learning tools for our younger students and a prime example of the importance of empowering different perspectives and creativity in Jewish learning.
3. Tzitzit Fashion Week
The Garinim (kindergartners) loved exploring Parasha Tzitzit, the third paragraph of the Shema which commands us to tie fringes on the corners of our garments as a reminder of God’s mitzvot (commandments). Our learners dove into the hands-on experience of dying and tying their own tzitzit, as well as the more theoretical experience of what tzitzit represents. If you could wear something as a reminder to be the best and truest version of yourself you can be, what would you wear? We took down the costume bin to dress up as fully ourselves as possible and put on a raucous fashion show to the cheers of our friends in the BMitzvah cohort.
2. Shorashim Hospitality
It is not uncommon for kiddos to join us mid-year and our learners do a fantastic job welcoming new kids into our space. We had a few new Shorashim (1sr-2nd grade) students during the second half of the year and it was so impressive to witness Shorashim take ownership of our space and community and teach the newcomers the way we do things at Makom. Kiddos demonstrated how to wash our hands, how to use the Pinat Shalom (Peace Corner) in our classroom, and how important it is to follow our classroom brit (two-way promise) to make sure we are making safe choices with our body and that we are listening to each other.
1. Center City Showcase
How can we practice loving our neighbors to cultivate a welcoming environment at Makom Community? What better way to do so then create a colorful, cat-filled mural and to design a new page in our Makom Shabbat Siddurim and ensure its accessibility to all people? Center City Nitzanim Kiddos put in so much love and care into planning and executing these projects. Educators were able to see Nitzanim come together as a community for the first time of the year.