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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'”
Pictures from Hanukkah
Some pictures from Sukkot
An article from eJewish Philanthropy talking about Sulam and the Nitzan Network
Siddur Celebration 2016