In the weeks leading up to the Jewish holiday of Purim, Silverstein Hebrew Academy (SHA) teachers and administrators planned unique educational workshops and activities to teach students about the holiday’s history and religious customs.
Preschoolers through middle schoolers engaged in grade-appropriate research, mitzvah projects or charitable acts and interactive simcha activities or celebrations to learn about the four important mitzvot or deeds of Purim.
The deeds included reading the Megillah (Book of Esther), giving gifts to at least two less-fortunate people, sending gifts of two kinds of food to at least one person and a festive feast. Throughout the week, the entire school dressed in costumes. Students also made their very own traditional holiday pastry, called hamantaschen.
“It’s important for students to have an opportunity to participate and lead an interactive lesson in a way that they can feel passion, excitement and ownership over what it is they are learning,” said Chanie Geisinsky, associate head of school at Silverstein Hebrew Academy.
Faculty arranged a special event to bring together multiple generations to celebrate the festival, while providing an opportunity for students to practice the four mitzvot.
Morah Miri and Morah Tali’s pre-K class used the tzedakah or charity money they collected throughout the school year and shopped for special Purim treats, including cookies
and groggers, which they brought to residents at Atria Senior Living. During their visit, students sang and danced to celebrate the holiday.
Elementary students engaged in interactive lessons, including navigating through an obstacle course relay race to reveal information about each mitzvah. Students learned about the history of Purim through an assembly which featured a bilingual Purim theater show in English and Hebrew.
SHA staff also created weeklong activities for middle school students, which focused on the importance of being happy with what one has in life. Students began the week by participating in a workshop that stressed the importance of thinking positively, being happy and making others happy. The workshop concluded with the students making emoji smiley stress balls.
—Submitted by SHA