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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (Just Knead it!)

Last week our city of Los Angeles – along with many other locations – held the epic   “Great Big Challah Bake.” Many women from all over our city gathered together in a huge room to mix the ingredients of “challah” together (flour, water, salt, sugar, oil, yeast). Together as a group, we each kneaded our dough, and then separate a piece off while making the special blessing. This is considered a “mitzvah” or good deed that Jewish women do each week in preparation for the Shabbos. The purpose of the event was to kick off a weekend called The Shabbos Project. This was the first part of a weekend of togetherness where Jewish families from all walks of life celebrated Shabbat together from Friday at sundown till Saturday at sundown. Although  I don’t make challah every week for Shabbos, I make it often enough.  But something about the experience at that “Great Big Challah Bake” inspired me. The experience – the kneading – was … Continue reading

Are We Jump Start Responders?

This morning I saw an article online published about a month ago that  piqued my interest. The photo of the smiling elderly lady on my Facebook feed plus the headline and the stamp of 20 or more likes and hundreds of comments were enough to get me to read the article. I love reading pieces about anything that even remotely has to do with seniors and elderly. Born in Basement and Never Left.  The photo’s caption was “Lived her entire life since the day she was born on West 135th street…” As I often do, I skimmed through some of the comments. “What? She lived there her entire life? She never left the house? The basement? Huh?” “That’s so sad. Oh no.” A few more of the comments were about how sad or how terrible it was that this hermit of a woman would stay in her home for her entire life. And suddenly I lost my taste for reading this article. I wasn’t … Continue reading

School Diary #3: Nine Uses for Post-It Notes in the Classroom

Remember index cards? Well, they are so passé. Today, it’s all about post-its. I’ve always used post-it notes, ever since several decades ago that they were invented by 3M (if you can call binding and selling a pad of colorful note paper with adhesive on one end an “invention”). They’re great for plastering all over the kitchen cabinets (someone I know does that) with notes to self, and all kinds of uses. And as my friend, fellow teacher, and blogging grandma over at Cycling Grandma says, we all are wishing we had invented that one. It became a multi-million dollar business. But that’s a whole other story! Now that I’m teaching high school girls, Post-its have become one of my most useful tools  with my 9th and 10th graders. I find these “stickies” as I like to call them great for classroom management (which I need some help with – who doesn’t?) and other challenges. Sometimes the simplest things make the … Continue reading

School Diary #2: Ten Prayers for My Students in the New Year

It is the time of year for prayers for a good year. I pray for my family, friends and loved ones, and my high school students. This month I returned to the classroom after over 5 years since I’ve taught in a formal classroom. This opportunity came up early in the summer and I decided to dive in again to my old love of teaching English, literature and writing to 9th and 10th grade girls. Each one of my students is a unique soul. Here are some hopes and goals that I have for my students. They will work hard in my class and hopefully achieve success. For the 10 months of the school year, I have 10 prayers for my students to find, experience, feel, develop, learn, value, improve, grow, achieve and work…and so much more. I PRAY THAT: … each student finds and experiences her unique gifts. Whether that be writing poetry, essays, decorating bulletin boards or participating in … Continue reading

SCHOOL DIARY #1: First Day of School Jitters (and how to deal)

My grandson who is seven shared with me the other day that he is “scared” of second grade. Now mind you he’s a very bright student and a confident child…(Spoken like a true grandmother!). But still, he expressed what many of us feel each year as the summer winds down and the new year –with the first day of school and other firsts — creeps up on us. Fear. Worry. Concern. How will things go?All beginnings are hard, our sages tell us. As a teacher of high school, I have my own share of jitters in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Will my students do well? Will they behave? Will I have a good lesson planned? And so on. I shared how I’m also nervous, but not to be a student. I’m jittery about the first day of school (in a few weeks) when I will be an teacher after a 6 year hiatus from that job. … Continue reading

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