Parshat Hashavua for Parshat Bereishit 5781

Kitah’s Parshah Lesson for Bereishit 5781

What was Noach’s original job, before he became an “ark builder”? By studying a Rashi near the end of the Parshah, we can learn about Noach, what his name means, and how Rashi uses Midrash to explain the pesukim.

You can find the source sheets here if you’d like to print them out for the Shabbat table. To learn more about Kitah for Home, click here.

Special Sukkot Lesson Graphic

Kitah Sukkot Lesson: Understanding the Four Minim

Welcome to this free Kitah lesson prepared by Rabbi Reuven Spolter!

To access the lesson, click here;

If you are a teacher, we invite you to share this lesson using Google Classroom or any other online e-learning platform. You can find the link to the editable form here.

About this lesson:
In this lesson, Rabbi Spolter analyzes the source in the Torah for the taking of the Four Species. We all know that the Four Species are the Lulav, Hadasim, Aravot and Etrog. Yet, many people do not realize that the names of the those plants don’t appear in the Torah the way we describe them! The Torah uses different words entirely. How did the Sages decide which branches to take on Sukkot?

In this lesson, we’ll study the verse in the Torah as well as the Midrash Halachah that derives the meanings of the words very carefully. We also use the words to understand not only which plants we take, but how we hold them as well.

Suggestions for Class Discussion:
Here are some suggested classroom activities for a classroom lesson, after the students have watched the lesson and answered the questions.
1. What do you think that we can learn from the words ביום הראשון – “on the first day” – about the taking of the Four Species?
2. Can a parent give his or her Four Species to use on Sukkot? Why or why not? How is this connected to the words of the Torah?

3. Why does the Torah connect the taking of the Four Species to happiness on Sukkot?

4. What is the connection between the Four Species and being “Before God” in the Beit Hamikdash?

How to Share the Lesson with Your Students
To use this lesson, you can access the editable version of the form with this link.
It will prompt you to make a copy of the form which you can save and share with your students. Feel free to add or change any of the questions, as you see fit.


Feedback
We’d love your feedback on this lessons. Please take a moment to send us an email and let us know how the lesson went with your students at feedback@kitah.org. You can view the lesson below!

Kitah Rosh Hashanah Lesson For Teachers: Simanim and Tashlich

Welcome to this free Kitah lesson prepared by Rabbi Johnny Solomon! We invite you to share this lesson using Google Classroom or any other online e-learning platform.

About this lesson:
In this lesson, Rabbi Solomon studies the sources in the Shulchan Aruch about why we eat special foods on Rosh Hashanah, as well as why we “cast” our sins into the sea during Tashlich. You can assign the lesson as homework, or as an in-class assignment (if the students have their own devices)

Suggestions for Class Discussion:
Here are some suggested classroom activities for a classroom lesson, after the students have watched the lesson and answered the questions.
1. Does your family have an unusual simanim that make special use of words either in Hebrew or English, or have some type of experience?
2. Divide into groups, and try and “create” three new Simanim that will have special meaning for us for this year: What foods would you use? What blessings would you offer.
3. What is the most unusual place you’ve done Tashlich? Did you feel like you “threw” your sins into the water?

How to Share the Lesson with Your Students
To use this lesson, you can access the editable version of the form with this link.
Click on “Use Template” in the top right corner, and save it in your Google Drive to share with your students. You can also feel free to add or change any of the questions, as you see fit.


Feedback
We’d love your feedback on this lessons. Please take a moment to send us an email and let us know how the lesson went with your students at feedback@kitah.org. You can view the lesson below!

Gemara Berachot Course Description

Course Description: The Basic Building Blocks of Gemara – Berachot Chapter 4

Course Name: The Basic Building Blocks of Gemara
Course Teacher: Rabbi Reuven Spolter
Course Details: Gemara Berachot Chapter 4 – Tefillat HaShachar
Pages: 26a – 28
For Grades: 6-8
General Course Description: The fourth chapter of Berachot is generally one of the first texts studied by beginning students as the enter the world of Gemara study. Through the study of the text of the Gemara, we will learn how Gemara study “works” – what questions does the Gemara ask, and how does it answer those questions. We will learn basic elements of the Amidah, as well as a very famous story that appears in this chapter.

The student will learn the following skills during this course: 

  • Text reading and comprehension
  • Key Gemara concepts
  • Differentiation between Tanaitic and Amoraic statements  (i.e. when is the Gemara quoting a text, and when is it asking a question or giving an answer)
  • Fundametal Gemara terms and basic vocabulary

The student will learn the following Judaic knowledge

  • Basic halachot about the Amidah for Shacharit, Minchah and Arvit including the times when they are recited, what happens when one makes a mistake, additions for holidays and other times, and more!
  • The basic structure of the Amidah
  • How one must act during Amidah

The student will understand:

  • Different understandings for the rationale behind the Amidah
  • How halachah stretches time for Amidah and other concepts
  • The complicated nature of Jewish leadership

Number of lessons: 20
Detailed Lesson Plans: A detailed lesson plan list is coming soon
Sample Lesson:

We are excited to present a sample of the first lesson in Gemara Berachot. You can progress through the lesson to get a sense of how we present and organize Kitah materials. To access the sample lesson click here.

Kitah Classroom Graphic

Registration for the 5781 Kitah Classroom is Now Open!

We are very excited to announce that expert Torah and technology educator Rabbi Jonathan Simons has agreed to serve as the first Kitah Classroom teacher. Rabbi Simons is an experienced Torah teacher and is also a trained consultant in educational technology. Most importantly, he recognizes the importance of connecting with his students and giving them the best possible learning experience. You can read Rabbi Simons’ bio on our Staff Page.

With Rabbi Simons’ position secured, we are very excited to officially open registration for the 5781 Kitah Classroom.

Dates and Schedule:
The first Kitah Classroom class begins on Monday, September 7th, 2020
. (We know that this is Labor Day in the United States, but remember that all KITAH classroom lessons are asynchronous. While the lessons will be assigned on Monday, your child can study at any time throughout the week.)

Courses:
The first class will study two courses weekly:
1. Chumash Shemot with Rabbi Johnny Solomon
2. Mishnah Berachot with Rabbi Reuven Spolter
Each course is twenty weekly lessons. With the completion of those courses, students will begin new classes.

Cost:
Kitah Classroom is priced with families in mind. The cost is $99 per month per family.

To register your children please fill out the contact form here, and we’ll be in touch!

We’re looking forward to seeing your children in the classroom!

An Innovative New Online Jewish Education Platform to Help Address the COVID crisis – Our First Press Release

For Immediate Release:

Contact Information:

www.kitah.org 

Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Founder and Director

Email: spolter@kitah.org

Tel: +972-54-220-4347, (US number in Israel: +1-​347-434-9212)

Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Kitah Founder and Director

Kitah, a new Online Jewish Education Initiative, to Help Schools Weather the COVID Crisis

KITAH unveils an exciting online Jewish Education platform to help Jewish Day schools and Jewish parents address the uncertainty they will face over the coming year.

YAD BINYAMIN, ISRAEL – Last March, when the COVID crisis struck shutting down cities and communities around the world, schools scrambled to shift to distance learning. Teachers and students adapted to Zoom classes and virtual schedules, utilizing online teaching resources to bring their students meaningful learning experiences.

Teachers quickly realized that they could not expect the same level of attention and focus from their students in Zoom lessons that they did in person. Judaic teachers discovered that while their counterparts on the “secular” side could access a wide range of digital teaching resources, very little ready-made online Jewish material was available for their own instruction.

“It was a struggle,” said Adina Blaustein, a high school Tanach teacher at the Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland, OH. “I couldn’t just email a worksheet and expect the students to manage on their own. And there simply was no available digital teaching material that we could easily assign our students.” 

Recognizing this need, a group of English-speaking Jewish educators built an online educational platform aimed at giving Jewish studies teachers powerful digital educational tools.

Titled Kitah (which means “class” in Hebrew”), the platform is modeled after the world-famous Khan Academy “flipped classroom”. In a “flipped” classroom, teachers assign students lessons via YouTube which they watch on their own. When the students meet in class, a teacher can follow-up, enhancing and expanding on what the students have already learned.

Kitah is built on this innovative educational model. However, instead of teaching math or science, Kitah focuses on classic Jewish subjects including Chumash, Navi, Mishnah and Gemara. Courses combine YouTube videos prepared by seasoned Jewish studies teachers with Google Forms, making the lessons easy for teachers to use in classrooms around the world.

“We built Kitah to allow teachers to assign home-based study focusing on skills and text reading,” explains Rabbi Reuven Spolter, founder and director of Kitah. “A student can watch a lesson once, or as many times as needed, in order to answer the included questions.” This allows students the time and focus they need to properly understand the Hebrew text, greatly enhancing and improving the classroom experience later on. “A teacher does not have to start from scratch. Students enter the classroom having been exposed to the basic meaning of the text, allowing teachers to focus on broader themes and deeper lessons they otherwise might not address.”

This coming school year, with the significant possibility of further community closures, Kitah offers schools the peace of mind that, should they need to shift to distance learning, they will have digital Jewish studies lessons ready to deploy.

“While we did not build Kitah because of the COVID crisis,” explained Rabbi Johnny Solomon, Kitah’s educational director, “Our platform is certainly an important option for schools looking for Jewish online learning tools.”

Spolter agrees. “In the end, we know that we’ve built a tool that will help Jewish children learn and connect to classic Jewish texts. If we can help Jewish schools and teachers weather this incredibly challenging time, that will be an added bonus.”

For more information about Kitah, contact Rabbi Reuven Spolter or visit their website, Kitah.org.

Megillat Rut Course Description

Course Description: Courage and Kindness in Megillat Rut

Adina Blaustein

Course Name: Courage and Kindness in Megillat Rut
Course Teacher: Mrs. Adina Blaustein
Course Details: Sefer Rut
Chapters & Verses: Chapters 1-4
For Grades: 6-8
General Course Description: In this course, students will learn Megillat Rut. The study will be focused around the following essential question: What is the true meaning of Chesed?
Students will learn about the protagonists through this lens, understanding that Ruth, Boaz and Naomi are heroic in their embodiment of this trait. Students will grow more comfortable reading text in the original Hebrew and using text to support key ideas.

The student will learn the following skills during this course: 

  • Text reading and comprehension
  • Identification of key shorashim and their translations
  • Differentiation between דיבור ישיר  (words spoken by characters) and narrative
  • Quoting from the text to support themes and opinions

The student will learn the following Judaic knowledge

  • Plot and themes of Megillat Rut
  • Connection between Megillat Rut and other books in Tanach

The student will understand:

  • The connection between Chesed and heroism
  • How to apply the themes of Rut to his/her day-to-day life, and what it means to truly perform an act of Chesed

Number of lessons: 20
Detailed Lesson Plans: A detailed lesson plan list is coming soon
Sample Lesson:

We are excited to present a sample of the first lesson in Megillat Rut. You can progress through the lesson to get a sense of how we present and organize Kitah materials. To access the sample lesson click here.