Makom Community News & Blog

Makom Community News & Blog

A Year of Learning & BuildingA Year of Learning & Building

“And let them make me a sanctuary, so I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8)”.     Almost a year ago, Beverly, Gaby, and I reflected on what text we would bring to our learners for our third unit, which would also be the unit that wrapped up our school year. We ultimately decided on the big idea of “Being in…

Poetic TextplorationPoetic Textploration

I chose to structure my Shavuot tikkun (text study session) through the lens of poetry because I love how poetry challenges the way we perceive things. Take Dickinson for example. Emily Dickinson wrote that “Hope is the thing with feathers”. I know that I for one didn’t think of hope as a bird, as an emotion that can take flight,…

Many Minds, Many InsightsMany Minds, Many Insights

As the year comes to an end, I have been looking back on what the Anafim learners have taught me this year. The Anafim, of course, all have their unique interests and personalities. From them, I have learned about fashion, popular culture, chemistry, and other fascinating topics. Nothing I have done with the Anafim this year illustrates just how much…

Music, Community, and the MishkanMusic, Community, and the Mishkan

The Garnim kiddos (Pre-K and Kindergarten), explored text surrounding the building of the mishkan in a musical context. The kids understood the story of building the mishkan as one where many parts came together to build one whole structure. The text of Exodus has helped us understand how every member of Bnei Yisrael contributed to the building of the mishkan…

Jewish Placemaking in the Ya’arJewish Placemaking in the Ya’ar

16 months ago I was sitting with Beverly Socher-Lerner, Executive Director & Founder of Makom Community, and they explained that there has been interest for the Makom Community model to be implemented in other communities. As a board member, I was excited, knowing the high-quality education and community-building principles Makom embraces. I saw the possibility of us impacting the field…

The Building Blocks of CommunityThe Building Blocks of Community

In my Winter Break Camp blog, I wrote that there are “three ingredients vital to creating a sense of joy and belonging: connection, immersion, and agency”. In this piece I unpacked one way I used expansive choices to encourage agency and self-efficacy in Winter Break campers.  Now, how does one foster agency in a program when we cannot offer such…

Makom & Federation of Greater Jewish Atlanta Teacher KallahEducators Creating Culture

Enthusiastic! Novel. Growing. Inclusive and welcoming. Fun! Intergenerational. Spiritual. Warm. Communal. Diverse. Adaptive. Joyful! These are some of the words our Jewish Placemaking Accelerator participants used to describe their Hebrew schools and synagogues in our April seminar on Creating Culture. After brainstorming some of the ways to describe the current culture of these institutions, we looked at their respective mission…

What’s the Big Idea?What’s the Big Idea?

It is no secret that at Makom Community, we like to do things big, loudly, and with a lot of excitement. One cause for such fanfare? The starting of a new unit- a theme that we will spend the next several weeks exploring through the texts we study and, for Nitzanim (2nd-4th graders), our project-based-learning (PBL) projects.  Nitzanim at both…

Seeing Ourselves in Our StoriesSeeing Ourselves in Our Stories

This past month at Makom Community, we have been dedicating a lot of time to learning about and reading Megillat Esther. Megillat Esther is the text that tells us the story of Purim; a story that many of you may be familiar with. In it, King Achashverosh, the king of Persia, sends his wife away for disobeying him and invites…

Adar: When Kids Inspire JoyAdar: When Kids Inspire Joy

During the Hebrew month of Adar, the month where Purim falls, we’re commanded to increase our joy. As a Jew and an educator, I’ve always struggled with this commandment. Maybe it is that I’ve outgrown my love of dressing up in costume, so Purim doesn’t have the same glitz and glam that it once did. Still, as a Jewish educator,…

Bringing Jewish Placemaking to a Learning Space Near YouBringing Jewish Placemaking to a Learning Space Near You

Over the last few years, teaching has demanded lots of creativity and flexibility from educators. Participants in our recent Jewish Placemaking Accelerators have bounced around to different classrooms inside their respective synagogues, outside their respective synagogues, and online. We started our December seminar together by brainstorming some challenges and opportunities presented by four different learning spaces: indoors, outdoors, shared, and…

Pharoah’s Fate: An Anafim DebatePharoah’s Fate: An Anafim Debate

“I am more confused than I was before we started talking about this.” These words from an Anafim (4th-7th graders) learner brought a huge smile to my face. We were engaged in a debate about whether Pharaoh could be judged guilty of not letting Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) go free from their bondage in Egypt. The three learners…

Count on Me: Trust in ShorashimCount on Me: Trust in Shorashim

As we deepen our understanding of praise in this unit, the Shorashim (1st-2nd grade) have come to know that trust is a foundational principle of giving and receiving praise. To explore this idea, we practiced trust with those in our own classroom through a blindfolded group exercise. Through this experience, we realized just how complex and fragile trust is, even…

Talking to GodTalking to God

A few weeks ago, the Garinim (preK and K kiddos) in Center City unpacked what tefilah (prayer) is for. Why do we do it? What kinds of conversations are we hoping to have through it? Here’s the list we came up with: Praise (wow!) Gratitude (thank you) Request (help, please!) Creating connection, conversation, and community The main tefilah that sets…

Our Talent is PraiseOur Talent is Praise

What an amazing way to jump back into Makom Community learning to start 2023! The Garinim (PreK and K learners) and Shorashim (1st and 2nd graders) in Center City spent two afternoons this week preparing for and performing in a talent show. We couldn’t be more proud of how it went! We prepared to showcase our talents. Kiddos spent the…

A Recipe for Joy and BelongingA Recipe for Joy and Belonging

I believe there are three ingredients vital to creating a sense of joy and belonging: connection, immersion, and agency.  I define these three concepts as follows. Connection: the feeling that you belong, that you are part of a larger whole, are loved, and that you have the tools to deepen your relationships with others. Immersion: the feeling of losing yourself…

Unit One: ReflectionsUnit One: Reflections

How might having a relationship with our ancestors helps us understand where we’ve come from to know where we’re going? This was the question that Makom Community explored for our first unit of the 22-23 school year. Our unit, Avot V’imahot (ancestors) gave us the opportunity to reflect on both ancestors and family that we know today, as well as…

Learning from Our LearnersLearning from Our Learners

Every educator has a different reason for being passionate about working with children. However, the core of that drive is almost always the kids themselves. In my case, I am drawn to this work because I’ve always found that there are many days where I am not the one teaching. In many instances, the kids teach me and open my…

Anafim: Becoming TextplorersAnafim: Becoming Textplorers

What can we learn from the relationship between Moshe and God? This is the question that our Anafim (5th-7th grade) students have been mulling over since the beginning of the year. In the texts we have been discussing, Moshe asks God for Their help in leading the Jewish people. He also asks God to show him Their splendor, so that…

Makom Making: A Communal PracticeMakom Making: A Communal Practice

If you have read my previous blog post, you know that Makom Community fills  a special place in my heart. My childhood lacked a community like that which Makom provides. I see the way our kiddos interact with their grownups, their educators, the world at large, and I can’t help but stand in awe. It is such an honor to…

Garinim: Budding CommunityGarinim: Budding Community

Welcome back to Jewish Enrichment! We’re so thrilled to be back learning and playing every afternoon with your wise and wonderful kiddos. These first two weeks of the year were chock full of ice breaker games, welcoming back old friends, forming new connections, and settling back into the routines of Jewish Enrichment. Here are some highlights from our youngest learners,…

Makom – A Great Place to BeMakom – A Great Place to Be

Mah tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishk’notekha Yisrael!  How great are your tents, Yaakov, the places where you live, Yisrael! We began our year exploring what makes Makom Community a great place to be! During our first week of Jewish Enrichment, we welcomed over 80 students from Pre K through 7th grade to Makom Community in both our Center City and South…

Jewish Placemaking Conference Reflection

What a joy to be back in the virtual room for our 3rd annual Jewish Placemaking Conference! We had 60 directors and educators from across the country register to join us for three packed afternoons of learning and reflecting together.  After brief introductions to Makom Community and the conference facilitation staff, Beverly, Gaby, Terri, and Sara, we jumped right into…

New Employee at Makom Community

From the first time I read about Makom Community in an email from my sister, I knew it was a special place. Never before have I seen so many pedagogical practices that I resonate with used in one place. As an educator, I have grown attached to this idea of global citizenship, and I’ve come to view it as the…

Top 10 Highlights from 2021-22Top 10 Highlights from 2021-22

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…

Empathizing with Yocheved and MosheEmpathizing with Yocheved and Moshe

Makom @ Home kiddos have been writing their own commentary on the Exodus story as we read about how Bnei Yisrael (the Jewish people, originally the children of Yaakov AKA Yisrael) were enslaved in Mitzrayim (Egypt). In the early weeks of the story, one of our learners requested artsploration in addition to textsploration, so we introduced many of our texts…