News

Delray religious school teaches about Jewish cuisine


August 3, 2017
By Randall P. Lieberman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

JoAnn Gorodetzer, a teacher at the religious school of Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County in Delray Beach, says there is an old joke about Jewish food.

"They tried to kill us," Gorodetzer starts. "They failed. Let's eat."

All kidding aside, Gorodetzer believes Jewish food is very important in Jewish culture as something all Jews have in common — and she incorporates the teaching of Jewish cuisine into her classes at the religious school at Temple Sinai (a Reform congregation).

"I incorporate Jewish cuisine into my Judaics curriculum at the Temple Sinai Religious School to help students make connections to their personal family histories, our collective Jewish history and contemporary Jewish living," Gorodetzer said. "We also collect family recipes for a classroom cookbook among other activities.

"We make hamantaschen (fruit-filled pastries) before Purim, matzah (unleavened bread) on Pesach, and hummus (mashed chickpea dip) for Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)."

Gorodetzer piloted this curriculum with the fourth and fifth grades at the Temple Sinai Religious School last year and will be teaching it to the fifth and sixth grades this year.

"When JoAnn came to me with the idea to teach this last year, I thought it would be great for our students," said Rivka Felsher, religious school director of Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County. "The kids love it. They put on their gloves and get a little messy. It takes them out of their comfort zone which helps open up their minds."

According to Felsher, another project the Temple Sinai Religious School will feature this year is My Family Story — a cultural history project using a curriculum written by Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv in Israel.

This program will help teach Temple Sinai's students in grades seven through nine about how their current family is shaped by Jewish traditions, history and cultures.

"This program will allow our students to trace their family roots through the Jewish diaspora based on where their families came from," Felsher said. "The program is project-based learning in a six- to eight-week module — allowing the students to really go in depth with their explorations of this topic."

Finally, this year the Temple Sinai Religious School is adding a focus on ecology throughout the entire school.

"We will be teaching our students about being stewards of the earth and practicing spiritual ecology as guided by Torah principles — led by Rabbi Aviva Bass, the spiritual leader of our temple," Felsher said. "We will be doing fundraising for tree planting and greening projects in Delray Beach — and starting a gleaning program to help grow, gather and distribute tree fruits for the hungry in our area."

No matter what curriculum is being taught, parents of students in the Temple Sinai Religious School praise the school for its atmosphere.

Marta Josephson of Lake Worth has a daughter Jenna, 11, going into sixth grade.

"Jenna loves the Temple Sinai Religious School," Josephson said. "She loves going there every week and she just loves the teachers. There's something about the atmosphere there where the kids just feel comfortable."

"When my son Jake, who is now 15 and in10th grade, first went there years ago he had come from another religious school that he hated going to," Josephson continued. "But, at Temple Sinai, they made the lessons fun.

"The teachers don't try to make the kids conform to a certain learning style; they teach each kid in a way that's comfortable for the child's learning style."

Up through third grade a child can attend the Temple Sinai Religious School without the family being temple members, but starting in fourth grade the family must join the temple to send a child to the religious school.

Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County is located at 2475 W. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach — approximately a quarter-mile west of I-95.

For more information about the Temple Sinai Religious School, visit its website at www.templesinaireligiousschool.com, or get in contact with Felsher at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 561-276-6161, Ext. 119.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/news/palm/fl-jjpn-sinaischool-0809-20170803-story.html