In the weeks leading up to Zimriyah, the halls of the Jewish Community Day School fill with singing. Zimriyah is a musical celebration of Hebrew language and Israel that is much beloved by JCDSRI students. Part of the school’s Hebrew curriculum, the music includes traditional and modern songs, religious songs, and also modern Israeli songs. The theme for this year’s festival was a tribute to Israel and a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday. As part of the preparation for the festival, 70 facts about Israel were incorporated into our school’s curriculum.
Discussing the power of Zimriyah, JCDSRI Head of School, Andrea Katzman, explains: “Singing is considered a “best practice” in education. It is one of the most effective ways for children to develop sound awareness (critical for learning how to read successfully). After all, songs are filled with rhymes, alliteration and patterns – they invite children to play with the sounds of language, rhythm, and celebrate melodic creations. Singing also allows our students to communicate their feelings and thoughts in expressive and creative ways.”
Weaving song into the school’s Judaic curriculum is a meaningful way to develop students’ Jewish identity within a joyful, festive program. Katzman continues: “Our community’s songs give us access to shared memories and help us to imagine new worlds. They contain blessings and sparks of light.” A line in one of the songs from Zimriyah sums it up best and reflects the immense power of song: “let us sing together with one heart.”