December 2-6, 2019

We started introducing the story of King Antiochus who ruled in Judea so many years ago.  Everyone co-existed somewhat peacefully, including the Hebrews who prayed in their own temple.  There came a time when King Antiochus became greedy and wanted to establish his rules over everyone, removing a golden menorah (7 branch candelabra, which is always kept alight, with oil, in the temple ), a golden kiddush cup and other symbolic items used in the temple.  The Hebrew people tried, in vain, to protect their temple but were forced out by the Syrian King Antiochus, who ordered statues of Greek gods to be placed everywhere, including in the temple.  A group of Hebrews, led by Mattathias and his son, Judah (meaning 'hammer') fled into the hills and lived in the caves.  This group became known as the Macabees.  They prayed to  G-d, kept strong in mind, body and spirit and eventually conquered the much larger Syrian army!  The Syrians retreated and the Hebrews marched back to their sacred temple and started cleaning up.  Even the children helped pull weeds from the paved courtyard.  They removed the Greek statues and other unkosher items, and rededicated the temple - rededicated is translated as 'Channukah.' Each year around this time, we remember and celebrate the bravery and strength of the Macabees.   The 9 - branch channukiah that we use during this holiday, signifies the tiny drop of oil that was found when the Hebrews returned to the desecrated temple.  It takes 8 days to make new oil used to light the menorah, and miraculously, that tiny drop of oil lasted 8 full days!  Hence the second miracle of Channukah.  The dreidel that is a popular toy played during the 8 days of Channukah, includes the letters nun, gimel, hey, shin - each Hebrew letter representing the start of each word: nes gadol hayah sham - a great miracle happened there.  
Feel free to ask your child any of this story and see what you get! 
We read stories, played the dreidel game with beans (the children mostly recognize the letters and know the rules of the game), inserted Channukah candles to the Montessori Spindle Box counting activity, enjoyed the Channukah puzzles, made mini dreidel mosaics and painted water-resist candles at the easel.  We are practicing our Channukah songs and look forward to sharing with you at the Channukah play on Wednesday, December 18 at 7pm!  The Montessori kids are going on stage first and if you choose to leave straight after, we completely understand.  If you stay until the end (around 8pm) you can join everyone in the gym for donuts and other Channukah treats - nothing like a sugar rush just prior to trying to get your children to bed!
Of course we love the snow and as our playground seems to hold the snow long after it may have melted from your home, please be sure to send in all snow gear including snow pants and boots- all in an effort to keep everyone warm and dry and happy.  If you have a spare pair of either, feel free to leave in your child's cubby - that way you won't forget!  
We are beginning our theme of Chanukah that will remain for the next few weeks. The children all contributed to decorating our Chanukiah out on the hallway bulletin board. We painted the children’s handprints to be the yellow flame of the lit candles. We also painted dreidels at the easel and smaller, cardboard cutouts of dreidels that are also hanging out in the hallway. The cardboard cutout dreidels were painted with Qtips and the child’s choice of paint. At group time, we have been playing a very popular Chanukah matching game that everyone has gotten quite good at. Finding the colorful dreidels seem to be the favorite! We have been practicing songs for our Chanukah production (sorry, we cannot release the lyrics yet!) We read “How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah”, “Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights”, “Happy Hanukkah, Curious George”.

Much to our excitement, we experienced our first snowfall at school and the children enjoyed going out to play in it. Please don’t forget to pack snow pants, boots, hats and gloves as we will try and go out as long as the weather is not freezing.

On Wednesday, we had a classroom celebration for Zeva turning 2 (over Thanksgiving break). Everyone enjoyed the clementines and dried apricots that she brought in.

This week’s parashat followed Jacob on his journey to find a wife. We focused on Jacob’s dream in the dessert. It was of a ladder that reached to the sky and where angels walked up and down. We made a craft depicting our version of Jacob’s ladder and continued with the theme outdoors by making snow angels. 
Wednesday, December 18, Chanukah production, 7pm
Thursday, December 19, Chanukah production snow date
Monday, December 23-Wednesday, January 1, Winter break, no school
Thursday, January 2, back at school 
Please see this week’s photo’s here
Morah Lana, Morah Sheryl, Morah Nicole, Morah Marisol and Morah Haley


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