Creating a Peaceful Community in Pre-K

This past month the Pre-K class has learned how to become a peaceful kehillah (community).  In our Feelings Journals we have shared what makes us happy and where our peaceful places are.  On Open School Night, our parents left us pictures of their peaceful places.

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By covering our eyes while saying Shema Yisrael, we learned that we can “talk” to Hashem (G-d). We also discussed how special we are since we all have a “spark of Hashem” in us. Betzalem Elokim is being created in Hashem’s image. In order to give each other respect (kavod), we created class rules:

“use kind words”  Ziva

“share”  Eli

“don’t take anything (from friends)”  Micah J

“don’t push anybody out of the way”  Levi

“don’t pop people’s bubbles”  Xander

“show kavod (respect) by not throwing wood chips or sand”  Quinn

Our Kavod & Chesed Tree – Tree of Kindness and Respect – is filled with beautiful mitzvot (good deeds).


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Ellie initiated the need for tzedakah (charity) boxes when she brought in coins before our Shabbat celebration.  We painted and embellished 4 cardboard boxes for this purpose.  We then spoke of how we could help people in need.


Promoting Peace & Understanding

ZosiaDrawingJCDSRI’s partnership with the Islamic School of RI (ISRI) resulted in a wonderful performance on April 17th put together by fifth graders from both schools. Approximately 150 people attended the event, including Congressman David Cicilline, who tweeted photos of the “inspiring performances” by the students. The Providence Journal wrote about the event in Monday’s paper, including a photo gallery, as well.

For the past several months. students from both schools met twice each week at the Center for Dynamic Learning (CDL), getting to know each other and developing their dramatic skills. Students explored issues of identity, society, and friendship through CDL’s hands-on STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Manufacturing and Math) theater program.

The project was funded through a generous grant from the Bliss, Gross, Horowitz Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. Both schools look forward to continuing the partnership in the future.

Partnership & Peace with ISRI

MLKtapeOn Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, students and families from JCDSRI and the Islamic School of RI (ISRI) gathered together to create a tape art mural to promote peace. In addition, the students collected puzzle and activity books for children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. For video coverage of this wonderful event, visit ABC6 or WPRI

In February 2015, when ISRI was vandalized with hateful, anti-Islamic messages, students from JCDSRI made cards to show solidarity and support for their Muslim peers. Head of School Adam Tilove hand delivered the messages to ISRI’s Head of School Abdelnasser Hussein, and a friendship was born.

This year, with financial support from the Rhode Island Foundation, the two schools are building a partnership in the form of a 12-week theater program for their 5th graders, facilitated by the Center for Dynamic Learning. In addition, several whole school activities are planned, including the recent community building day on Martin Luther King Day organized by the two schools’ Parent Associations.

Mr. Tilove understands that, in the wake of terrorism in Israel and Paris, many people are nervous IMG_3260about such a partnership. He states that, among other things, “I believe in my partner Abdelnasser Hussein and the lovely people I have met from ISRI. I believe in people’s innate goodness and kindness, and I will not let evil acts poison my faith in humanity. Further, I believe that living in peace and mutual respect with one’s neighbors is not an option, but a mandate from Heaven: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a command from God, not a qualified suggestion.”

ISRI’s Mr. Hussein is confident that cooperation and understanding will combat misconceptions and hatred. He says, “I believe religion and freedom of speech are the preliminary common grounds which will lead us to unity as citizens of the United States. We can present ourselves as role models for tolerance.”