The Rag Coat Tradition Lives On

The Rag Coat

The Rag Coat Lives On.....

Students in the second grade class continue the wonderful tradition of celebrating literacy with family members over a cup of hot chocolate. Since 2001, students at JCDSRI have been taking a very special book bag home to share and enjoy with their families. Inside the book bag is not just a book and some materials; it is an intimate family experience. Families first jump into the weathered bag to read the “Things to Do” list, then put on the magical thinking scarf or hat, and snuggle together while reading the beautiful story by Lauren Mills, The Rag Coat.

In this story, we are reminded that “people only need people.” I won’t give too much away, but you can ask one of our second graders at JCDSRI, any student in grades 3-5, or one of our alumni. One of the most special aspects of this project is when a student brings back one of their special fabrics to share with the class. In the story, Minna’s community comes together to sew a winter coat for her because she does not own a coat. The coat is made from material that other families brought from home, and each piece is special and tells its own unique story. When our JCDSRI students come together to share their “special something,” it is amazing to see the way it also brings our own community together.

5th Graders Bring Hanukkah Joy to Miriam Hospital

imageOn Wednesday, the 3rd day of Hanukkah, the fifth grade class piled into what they affectionately call ‘The Teva Bus’ to take a short ride to the Miriam Hospital. There, they sang songs for the staff and visitors, and people stopped and listened to them as they were going about their hospital business. After their performance, which was applauded and appreciated, they then visited one of the hospital units housing patients who are living with cancer. Having previously made cards to hand out to patients, the students went in pairs to visit the different rooms; in some, they sang and in others, they just talked and wished the patients and family members well. One woman commented, “I’m about to go home soon and your visit will speed up my recovery even more!”

Another said, “You are doing God’s work.” As part of the preparation for this visit, imageRabbi Gouze spent time talking with the students about the importance of Bikkur Holim, (visiting the sick). The students showed a deep understanding of the need for connection, for feeling links to the community and for patients to be treated like normal human beings despite their being sick and separated from their daily routines and normal lives. The trip was meaningful and the students were able to see how their visit and time spent with the patients was very much appreciated by both staff and patients. It brought meaning to the value of Bikkur Holim and the reason why Judaism views it as such an important part of living in an ethical manner.

Below is a link to a video of the students singing in the lobby.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRHm3lXlaD0″]


A Tent, a Well and a Sheep in PreK!

When our kehillah (community) plays and works together, we deepen our friendships and hone our social and emotional skills. Last month, we became experts at hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) thanks to our ohel (tent) inspired by the Torah’s story of Avraham and Sarah and their desert abode  . . . complete with a well . . .


. . . and a sheep!


In addition, business in our Dramatic Play “office” is booming (there is a daily cacophony of sounds in the office, including the ringing of phones, the “tap, tap” of the typewriter, and the scribbling of pens on many scraps of paper!). We have also peeled and carefully cut apples for applesauce (yes, with a very sharp knife!), drawn our “peaceful places” (helping us with our meditative practice), and played with our 3rd grade buddies!


Billboard Inspires Questions, Conversation

As a part of our new campaign, a bright pink billboard on I-95N is getting drivers’ attention. “Too Jewish? Challenge Your Assumptions,” it reads, along with a website, toojewish.info. The campaign, which grew out of a comment we often hear from parents who have not considered sending their kids to our school, asks people to rethink their attitudes about Judaism in general and Jewish day school in particular.

East Side Monthly magazine interviewed Head of School Adam Tilove and ran an article entitled, “What Does it Mean to Be ‘Too Jewish’?

Mr. Tilove was also interviewed by ABC6 News about the intentions behind the billboard and the community reaction to it.

The Jewish Voice featured us on their front page at the beginning of November.

To capitalize on the high interest in the billboard and continue the conversation, the school is hosting a Community Conversation on November 19th at the Brown RISD Hillel at 7:00pm.