/Faculty and Staff

Torah Talk for Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

In these parshiyot the Bnei Yisrael bring so many materials for the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that Moshe tells them to stop; Betzalel and Oholiav, gifted craftspeople, construct the elements of the Mishkan. The work of constructing the Mishkan is completed; Moshe receives the command to anoint its vessels and to anoint Aharon and the cohanim (priests). There is a classic debate between Rashi (11th century Franco-Germany) and Ramban (13th century Spain/Palestine) about the …

March 21, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|

Torah Talk for Parashat Ki Tisa

In this parasha, Hashem continues describing the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to Moshe; the people worship the Aygel Hazahav (Golden Calf), Moshe pleads on their behalf, and Hashem forgives them. This parasha contains one of the famous passages about the Shabbat, one which we recite in the Shabbat morning kiddush (31:12-17). The commentators ask why this section is here in the middle of particulars related to building the Mishkan. Further, the words come across as harsh: anyone …

March 15, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|

JPDS-NC Celebrates Purim with Joy, Creativity, Design Thinking, and Outreach to the Community

The entire school celebrated Purim on Friday with a day full of Megillah, Tikkun Olam, and design thinking – and of course a lot of fun! We saw Esthers and Hamans, pirates and baseball players, pandas, lions, and Hogwarts students. The children engaged each other in a Purim-themed design thinking challenge, made Mishloach Manot for the community, and were treated to an uproarious Purim spiel. North Campus students began the day by making Mishloach Manot bags. Each grade created …

Inquiry and Curiosity: Three JPDS-NC Sixth Graders Participate in DC STEM Fair

Have you ever wondered whether acidic fruit conducts electricity better than less acidic fruit? Or whether the pesticides we use on plants actually impact the growth of those plants? What about considering the effect of temperature on a polymer used for watering plants? Or how the food a chicken eats impacts the color of the yolks of their eggs? All our Sixth Grade students went on a journey of scientific discovery for their Inquiry Projects, …

March 9, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Science|Tags: Project Based Learning, STEM|

Torah Talk for Parashat Tetzaveh

In this parasha, Hashem describes to Moshe the clothing and the process of anointing the cohanim (priests). Almost an entire Torah portion is dedicated to how people – in this case Aharon and his descendants – should dress. At first glance, it seems like too trivial and materialistic an issue for the Torah to address. However, when we stop to consider the issue of clothing, we realize that what we wear speaks volumes about who …

March 7, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|

JPDS-NC Presents: The Lion King

Kol Hakavod to all the cast and crew of the JPDS-NC production of The Lion King! JPDS-NC community members and the preschoolers at Washington Hebrew Congregation and the EDCJCC were treated to two dazzling performances. The show featured 120 talented cast members and an extraordinary set and costumes that our 40 creative crew members worked on. The entire gym was transformed into a jungle – there were even monkeys hanging from the ceiling! – creating …

March 2, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Arts|Tags: Dance, Multimedia, Music, Performing Arts|

Torah Talk for Parashat Terumah

In this parasha, Hashem instructs Moshe to collect gifts from Bnei Yisrael in order to build a Mishkan (Tabernacle) so that Hashem can dwell among the people; Hashem describes to Moshe the vessels and structures that comprise the Mishkan. An oft-quoted verse appears in Chapter 25:8: “They will make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in [among] them.” One would expect the grammar in this verse to be “… and I will dwell …

February 28, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|

JPDS-NC Faculty Teams Awarded Two of Six Kohelet Prizes for Excellence in Jewish Education

JPDS-NC’s faculty teams were awarded two of the six 2017 Kohelet Prizes for Excellence in Jewish Education. The Kindergarten General Studies team – comprised of Lisa Davis, Xani Pollakoff, and Vas Pournaras – won the “Award for Development of Critical and/or Creative Thinking” category for the Community Library Project from the 2015-2016 school year. A cross-grade, multi-disciplinary team – comprised of Hanina Goldstein, Mindy Hirsch, Kelly McAllester, Vinny Prell, Melissa Rickabaugh, and Devorah Yeganeh – received the …

Torah Talk for Parashat Mishpatim

In this week’s parasha, Moshe informs the people of numerous ethical and ritual laws and seals the brit (covenant) between the Bnei Yisrael and Hashem. One of the numerous laws in the parasha states (22:20): “Do not wrong a stranger nor oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Hermann Cohen (1842-1919), a German Jewish thinker and spokesperson for the Reform movement, wrote that “this law of shielding the alien from all …

February 21, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|

Torah Talk for Parashat Yitro

Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, suggests a system for establishing lower courts to settle disputes; Hashem articulates the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Commandments) to the Bnei Yisrael amidst fire, smoke, and sounds of the shofar. We often translate Aseret HaDibrot, as I did above, as “The Ten Commandments.” However, they are not really Ten Commandments, because Dibrot means “sayings.” They are the Ten Sayings. Why are there specifically ten? Let us think of other things that appear in …

February 16, 2017 |By |Author Type: Faculty and Staff |Topics: Torah Talks|Tags: Parent-Child Learning|