We kicked off our Family Workshop series last week.

Saba (Grandpa) Sam blew his shofar with gusto for First Grade then explained how he learned how to blow the shofar and how they are made. We watched a video which shows a Shofar Factory in Israel. Did you know that a Shofar needs to be heated emphasize the natural curves of the ram’s horn?


We read the story of Jonah and the Big Fish, which is traditionally read in Synagogue on Yom Kippur. It is a story about how hard it is to accept the consequences of our actions by apologizing but even more importantly, to find ways to “make our sorry stick“.  One First Grader shared “The next time I play Legos with my brother, I will remember to let him use the action figures.” We call this T’shuvah in Judaism. Teshuvah is what we do to “fix our mistakes.” Yom Kippur is about second chances, asking for forgiveness and meaning it. Everyone makes mistakes – just like Jonah and the people of Nineveh. God gave them another chance to make good choices. Being a first grader can sometimes be hard, but these social and emotional developments are part of the whole wonderful package that are our six and seven year old children.

We have an annual tradition in First Grade to challenge the idea that there are 613 seeds in a pomegranate, which is also the same number of Mitzvot (commandments) a Jew should strive to accomplish. This year the final count was 626 which is the closest number we have ever counted in three years!

May we all begin the New Year with a clean slate and joy in our hearts.

גמר חתימה טובה

(May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good)