In the News

May 2018

We have an exciting announcement to share!

Leann Shamash will be our new Education Director for Sulam, effective next Monday, June 4.  Leann has built a wonderful career as a leader within Jewish education in the Boston area, most recently as Education Director of Temple Beth Elohim in Acton, where she served for 16 years.  Leann believes in engaging, play-based Jewish education, and she has many wonderful ideas about how to use art, music, food, and more to further inspire our kids to love being Jewish and speak Hebrew.

Click here to read her bio.


March 2018

Pesach At Sulam

Traditional symbols on a seder plate for the Jewish festival of Passover.

Passover tradition says “Ve’Higadeta  Le’Binha” – “and you told your child” the story of passover.  If you are like most parents, getting your kids to stay still during this process is not easy.  So here are some questions to draw them into the conversation:

Hag Sameach!

What do you think is the most horrible plague God gave Egypt besides “Behorot” plague?

Some ideas:


Pharoah might have had some water aside from the Yeor. But did his people also have enough water? How long could they survive this way?


Were they dangerous? Probably mostly annoying. Maybe they interfered with very important rituals in the palace?  Maybe some Egyptians chefs had some ideas what to do with them? But, more concerning – maybe some of the frog’s predator’s population increased?

You can go on with considering the plagues and their effects, and probably come up with some very interesting conclusions.

2. If you were God, Do you think you would punish all Egyptians or just Pharoah?

Would you hold all Egyptians responsible for the suffering of the people of Israel?

Was it just Pharoah?

Maybe also some of his people?

Can you suggest ways in which god could have known who to punish and who shouldn’t be punished? Could there be some kind of a test?

3. If you were God What plagues would you give?

I would give Pharoah a plague in which, every time an Israeli man get beaten, all chickens in his yard would start squawking so loudly that a fire alarm would sound quiet in comparison.

Or maybe a plague in which all gold in Egypt turns to dust?

Maybe something related to his favorite pyramid?

Let your kids’ imagination run wild…

4.How would you describe an Israeli boy\girl feel when they had to leave Egypt? Were they happy? Afraid? Sad?

For an Israeli girl or boy, Egypt was the place where they were born. The Nile was probably part of their natural environment. How was it for them to leave their house and go out to the unknown desert?

Was there any consolation in knowing that all their families and friends were leaving too?

Or, maybe they had also some Egyptian friends whom they might not ever see?

Did you ever had to leave your home for a long time? For a month? Or more? What did you feel?

Were you exited to have new adventure in new places? Or anxious of leaving your natural environment? Or both?

Did you miss your room? Your toys? Your books?

What would you take with you to the journey?

5. If you were God and you gave Israeli people the 10 commandments, Would you give exactly the same commandments?  What would you include? what would you omit?

Some might say that they feel “Watch the earth and dare you destroy it” is an important commandment. What do you think?

Maybe protecting the animals?

Maybe make peace with all your heart? Maybe some of the commandments meant that “between the lines”? Which of them could you say that implied that?

What do you think of – “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything” – What did god mean by that? Is it forbidden to have any statues or decorations at home?


חג הפסח הוא חג מסורתי. יש שנוסעים או טסים מרחקים גדולים רק כדי להיות עם קרובי משפחה שלהם.

מסורת פסח אומרת “והיגדת לבינך” – ואמרת לילדך. וסיפרת לילד שלך את סיפורם של בני ישראל שיצאו ממצרים.

האם נוכל להציע מספר שאלות למסע?

 מה לדעתכם המכה הנוראה ביותר שאלוהים נתן למצרים מלבד מכת “בכורות

כדי להקל, הבה נבחן את המכות שניתנו. אנחנו יכולים לשקול את המכות – פעם ביחס פרעו, ופעם ביחס לעמו:


ייתכן שלפרעה היו קצת מים מלבד המים ביאור. אבל האם גם לאנשיו יש מספיק מים? כמה זמן יוכלו לשרוד כך?


האם הם מסוכנים? כנראה בעיקר מעצבנים. אולי הם הפריעו לטקסים חשובים מאוד בארמון? אולי לכמה שפים במצרים היו רעיונות מה לעשות איתם? אבל אולי חשוב יותר – כמה גדלה אוכלוסיית הטורפים של הצפרדע?

אתם יכולםי להמשיך לשקול את המכות ואת ההשפעות שלהם, וכנראה להגיע לכמה מסקנות מעניינות מאוד.


אם היית אלוהים, האם אתה חושב היית להעניש את כל המצרים או רק את פרעה

האם אתם מטילים את האחריות לסבל של בני ישראל על כל המצרים?

או שזו אשמת פרעה בלבד?

אולי גם כמה מאנשיו?

האם תוכלו להציע דרכים שבהן אלוהים יכול היה לדעת את מי להעניש ואת מי לא צריך להעניש? יכול להיות איזה מבחן?

אם הייתם אלוהים אילו מכות הייתם נותנים

אולי מכה לפרעה, שבכל פעם שמישהו מבני ישראל חוטף מכות, כל התרנגולות בחצר שלו מתחילות לצווח עם רעש כזה שאזעקת אש תישמע שקטה בהשוואה לו.

או אולי מגיפה שבה כל הזהב במצרים הופך לאבק?

אולי משהו קשור הפירמידה האהובה עליו?

תנו לדמיון שלכם לנווט את הדרך

איך היית מתאר לעצמך שילד / ילדה ישראלים הרגישו כשהם נאלצו לעזוב את מצרים? היו מאושרים? חוֹשֵׁשׁים? עָצוּבים

לילדה או לילד הישראלי, מצרים היתה המקום שבו נולדו. הנילוס היה כנראה חלק מהסביבה הטבעית שלהם. איך היה עבורם לצאת מהבית וללכת אל הלא נודע במדבר?

האם היתה נחמה בידיעה שגם כל בני משפחותיהם וחבריהם עוזבים?

או אולי היו להם גם כמה ידידים מצריים שלא יראו יותר?

האם אי פעם היית צריך לעזוב את ביתך למשך זמן רב? למשך חודש? או יותר? מה הרגשת?

האם רצית לצאת להרפתקה חדשה במקומות חדשים? או חששת לעזוב את הסביבה הטבעית שלך? או שניהם?

האם התגעגעת לחדר שלך? הצעצועים שלך? הספרים שלך?

מה הייתם לוקחים אתכם למסע?

אם הייתם אלוהים ונתתם לעם ישראל את עשר הדברות, האם הייתם נותנים בדיוק את אותן דברות? מה הייתם משלבים שם? מה הייתם משמיט?

יש שיאמרו כי הם היו מוסיפים “שמרו על כדור הארץ ואל תעזו להרוס אותו”. מה אתם חושבים?

אולי להגן על בעלי החיים?

אולי לעשות שלום מכל הלב? אולי זו היתה הכוונה בחלק מן הדברות “בין השורות”? באילו מהדברות תוכלו לומר  שזה נמצא “בין השורות”?

מה אתם חושבים על “לא תעשה לעצמך פסל או מסיכה” – למה אלוהים מתכוון בכך? האם אסור להחזיק פסלים או קישוטים בבית?

January 2018

Tu B’Shvat at Sulam


Tu B’Shvat is the day we celebrate the plants and trees!

As you walk around Brookline, think about all the things that trees and plants give us:

Food: Trees give us fruit. Plants are food on our plate. Some plants are the food for our food ☺

Materials:  We use wood as a material to build or make things.

Scenery and Shade: Playing outside or hiking is a lot more fun when you have the shade of trees and colorful flowers around you.

Ecosystem: Fourth, trees and plants are the home of many animals and insects.

Imagine our town without trees.  How different it would feel!

So, Let’s celebrate the trees!  What fun things can you do for Tu B’Shvat?

  • Plant a tree in Israel…click HERE
  • Speak to your children about Tu B’Shvat.  Here are some suggested topics:
    1. Why are trees and plants important to people?
    2. What do you think it’s like to be a tree? Is it hard for a tree to stand all its life?
    3. What kind of troubles does a tree need to go through?
    4. Do trees have enemies? Friends?
    5. Are trees cold in the winter? Or hot in the summer?
    6. Are they being tickled by the ants that walk on them?
    7. What can we learn from trees and plants?
  • Make a Tu B’Shvat Feast:

Instead of eating regular snacks or fruits, You can do a Tu B’Shvat Feast.

You need to prepare:

  1. Fresh Orange juice

You will need 3X(people number) of oranges. Squeeze them and pour into glasses. Pour for each participant half a glass of orange juice and save the rest of it to the next dish.

  • Fruit Salad

You will need: Many kinds of fruits like: oranges, apples, pineapple, pears… cut them together, pour some orange juice and you have a tasty fruits salad.

  • Dry fruits Skewers

You will need Skewers and 4-5 kinds of your favorite dried fruits, like mango, bananas, cranberries, raisins etc, let your child skewer the dried fruit into the skewer.

  • Decorate your table with flowers, or your child’s flowers and leaves drawings.

Here’s some Tu B’Shvat background music for your feast:


Send us pictures and videos of your Tu B’Shvat celebration and we’ll post them next to ours!

ט”ו בשבט הוא היום שבו אנו חוגגים עם הטבע ומוקירים את העצים הצמחים!

בדרככם בעיר, בברוקליין, נסו לחשוב על כל הדברים שהעצים והצמחים נותנים לנו:

מזון: עצים נותנים לנו פירות. הצמחים עצמם מהווים מזון בצלחת שלנו. חלק מהצמחים הם המזון של המזון שלנו

חומרים: אנו משתמשים בעץ כחומר לבנות או לעשות דברים. בכותנה בשביל להתכסות.

הנוף והצל: הרבה יותר כיף לשחק בחוץ או לטייל כאשר יש לנו צל וירוק של פריחת עצים וצמחים.

מערכת אקולוגית: עצים וצמחים הם ביתם של בעלי חיים וחרקים רבים.

תארו לעצמכם את העיר שלנו בלי עצים. כמה אחרת זה ירגיש!

אז, בואו נחגוג עם הטבע! איזה בילוי מומלץ לט”ו בשבט?

 לשתול עץ בישראל … לחץ כאן

דברו עם ילדיכם על ט”ו בשבט. הנה כמה נושאים:

מדוע עצים וצמחים חשובים לאנשים?

איך זה להיות עץ? האם קשה לעץ לעמוד כל חייו?

עם אילו צרות מתמודד העץ?

האם לעצים יש אויבים? חברים?

האם לעצים קר בחורף? או חם בקיץ? האם ניתן לדעת – אם קר או חם לעץ?

האם הם מדוגדגים על ידי הנמלים שצועדות עליהם?

מה אנחנו יכולים ללמוד מעצים וצמחים?

ערכו חגיגת ט”ו בשבט

במקום לאכול חטיפים או פירות רגילים, ניתן לעשות ארוחה חגיגית של ט”ו בשבט.

כל מה שאתם צריכים להכין:

מיץ תפוזים טרי

מצרכים: 3 תפוזים X (מספר האנשים). סוחטים אותם ויוצקים לכוסות. לכל משתתף חצי כוס מיץ תפוזים ואת השאר שומרים למנה הבאה.

סלט פירות

מצרכים: סוגים רבים של פירות כמו: תפוזים, תפוחים, אננס, אגסים … חותכים את כל הפרות ביחד עם הילדים, שופכים קצת מיץ תפוזים ויש לכם סלט פירות טעים.

שיפודי פירות יבשים

מצרכים: שיפודים,  4-5 סוגים של פירות יבשים האהובים עליכם, כמו מנגו, בננות, חמוציות, צימוקים וכו ‘. תנו לילדים לשפד את הפירות היבשים לתוך שיפוד.

קשטו את השולחן בפרחים או בציורי פרחים ועלים.

לאווירה חגיגית ונעימה אפשר גם להאזין למיטב שירי ט”ו בשבט:

  1. v=lvw-No4-cUE

שלחו לנו תמונות וסרטי וידאו של חגיגת ט”ו בשבט שלכם ונפרסם אותם לצד שלנו!

November 2017

Making Havdalah Revlevant

This week the teachers covered havdalah. Havdalah celebrates the end of Shabbat but it’s also about acknowledging that we are heading into a stressful week. Something everyone can relate to, even kids.

Two things stood out in our lessons:

First, havdalah is about pausing to acknowledge that we will be stressed. Kids understand stress and can see stress in their parents’ faces. By stopping and becoming aware of this transition from relaxed to stressed, you and your family can prepare for the week and put the stress in perspective.

Second, the havdalah candle represents man’s creation of fire once being removed from the garden of eden. I’m sure that leaving the garden of eden was stressful too, and fire represents man’s first creation on his own. The havdalah candle reminds us that man’s stress is what caused him to create. So stress can be good and this week will be our chance to create something new.

One last thing, the havdalah ceremony also wants to help us relax. This is where the perfumes come in. The hope is that these smells will relax us just a bit before the week starts. The Sulam kids all pitched in to make these perfumes to help their parents relax (see the pictures below).

So, what can you do this weekend to acknowledge the stressful week ahead but also see it as a chance to create something good? Whatever you decide, make it a family decision.

Summer 2017

In September 2017, Sulam will have two beautiful classrooms at Young Israel of Brookline (YI). Here is the poster that YI designed to announce our arrival. It will be hanging in their lobby. Thank you, YI, for the warm welcome!


June 2017

Sulam is growing and needs your help!

In 2012, Sulam Brookline began with three students in the living room of one of our original families. In September 2017, students from five Brookline public schools will attend Sulam. Programs like Sulam can provide the intensive Hebrew and Jewish education experiences families need. We welcome your financial support to help us become this model for other communities to follow, and we have created a new Paypal link to make contributing as easy as clicking a button.

May 2017

Nesiayah tovah! This month at Sulam, students “travelled” through Israel to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Yom Yerushalyim, and Lag B’Omer. Students created airplane tickets and passports and “visited” the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. The children counted shekels to buy falafel at the Shuk, explored the various religions practiced in Israel, and had so much fun building bonfires out of electric candles, plastic cups, tissue paper, and popsicle sticks.

April 2017

Sulam’s 2017 Siddur & Humash Party was a success! We presented our students with their first siddur or Humash, and celebrated this milestone in their Jewish lives among parents, extended family, and friends. The children did a lovely job with the tfillot and Torah reading— and with such joy! Kol hakavod to our students and teachers on a wonderful event. May we have more many more reasons to come together as a community to celebrate.

March 2017

Our new logo

Sulam’s volunteer board members, Alon and Michael, and associate director, Hadassah, took on the task to revamp Sulam’s logo that better represents our mission. Once we got as far as we could with a concept, we handed it over to Hadassah’s close friend, Jayna Zweiman, who generously donated her time and skills to create the amazing design you see here. Here’s more on Jayna, and why she chose to help out Sulam:

Jayna Zweiman is an architecture professional and design strategist focusing on making spaces and experiences more inclusive, dynamic, and empowering. She is co-creator and founder of Pussyhat Project, which has created both a strong visual statement at the January 2017 Women’s March and continual opportunities for connection, representation, and agency for non-marchers and marchers of the women’s movement alike.

Zweiman is thrilled to be a small part of Sulam because she believes that being able to understand and express oneself in more than one language can open up the world to better communication and understanding.

She is grateful for her mother dropping her off late for a field trip back in kindergarten, because it meant she had to meet a new classroom of kids. There she met Hadassah Margolis, with whom she has shared over 30 years of dear friendship.

Sulam members in the news

Mazal tov to our founding director, Lila, on being a finalist in the Brookline Commission for Women’s Woman of the Year Award! This award honors inspiring women who work or live in Brookline and are making a positive difference in our town. The mission of the Brookline Commission for Women is to support women in all aspects of their lives and to promote the cultural, racial, and economic diversity of Brookline.

February 2017

One special activity this month was taking part in “To Islam, with Love” Card-a-Thon, a project created by Wee the People, a group running local events for kids that explore social justice. This card-writing project is for children to reach out and support local Muslims, and the goal is to make stacks and stacks of cards to send to the ISBCC (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center).

Our kids wrote cards of welcome in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. As Jews, our beliefs instruct us to support others who are not Jewish who live in our communities. This activity is even more meaningful as we have families at our school with Muslim relatives.

When our Assistant Director, Hadassah, met a volunteer from Wee the People to hand over all our cards, the volunteer was so moved by what your children created. Hadassah described how many of the Jewish holidays revolve around this theme of being outsiders and overcoming intolerance. It is powerful to give our students real-life ways to embody tikkun olam. The volunteer is going to talk to the head of Wee the People about Sulam, and she would love to work with our students again on future projects.

January 2017

Mazal Tov to our founding executive director, Lila!

On Saturday, January 28, Lila received Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ 2017 Chai in the Hub award for her many incredible contributions in our Jewish community, including the founding of Sulam. As Jewish Boston wrote:

“They are teachers, Jewish professionals, attorneys, scientists and activists. This year’s Chai in the Hub honorees reflect the pluralism, diversity and creativity that distinguish Boston’s Jewish community. Now in its fourth year, the annual event honors 18 young adults, ages 22 to 45, who have been identified as innovators and change agents throughout the Boston area.

Among them is Rabbi Lila Kagedan, an innovative educator and glass-ceiling destroyer who founded Sulam Brookline. This after-school program, which aims to bring an immersive Jewish day school level education to its students, gets its name from the Hebrew word for ladder, ‘sulam.’ This moniker references the ladder in Jacob’s dream and can also be aptly translated as ‘connector.'”

To read more, click here.

December 2016

Pictures from Hanukkah

October 2016

Some pictures from Sukkot

September 2016

An article from eJewish Philanthropy talking about Sulam and the Nitzan Network

Siddur Celebration 2016

Pictures from 2013-2015