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April 13, 1984 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Friday, April 13, 1984



The school classroom is her domain

Leah Kar makes first-grade Hebrew fun, as well as
educational, for her students

Staff Writer

Each weekday afternoon at 12:30 a
group of ,well-behaved six-year-olds files
into room 122 at Akiva Hebrew Day
Well behaved? Six-year-olds!? This
apparent contradiction in terms can be di-
rectly attributed to the work of Leah Kar,
the energetic, effervescent first grade He-
brew teacher at the school in Lathrup Vil-
By the time they leave the classroom
at 3:30 p.m., Mrs. Kar's 15 students have
gone through a myriad of educational ac-
tivities leaving them a little bleary-eyed,
but eagerly anticipating the next day's
class. Prayer, songs, games, responsive
reading, arts and crafts projects — all are
incorporated in Mrs. Kar's lesson plan with
each effort designed to implement a par-
ticular aspect of Judaism.
"I want to give (the children) a sense of
Jewish identity," Mrs. Kar said. "Even at
this age, especially at this age, I feel that
that is important." The educator also hopes
to instill in her students a love for Israel
that will grow as they mature.
Akiva, like many schools, gears much
of its elementary programming to the
calendar. With Passover approaching,
Mrs. Kar had the children engaged in a
number of holiday activities. Last week,
one class period began with students run-
ning up to the calendar posted near the
front of the room and pointing out the first

Photos by Benyas-Kaufman

Mrs. Kar turns the pages as Aliza Burstyn
reads to the class.

two and last two days of Pesach. Gathered
around their teacher in an informal circle
at the front of the classroom, the order of
the Seder was the next topic covered by
Mrs. Kar and her young pupils.
The children chanted the passage in
traditional fashion, as it appears in the
Haggadah. Then they went through the
order in a responsive reading format. Fi-
nally it was recited as a word association
game with Mrs. Kar, who has been at
Akiva for nearly nine years. She feels that
youngsters learn more when the same con-
cept is repeated several times in different
Through such creative teaching
methods "you can find and ignite a Jewish
spark in every child," she said. Mrs. Kar
has attended a number of summer semi-
nars in addition to regularly monitoring
classes at other day schools.
The technological revolution has
reached Akiva, and room 122, just in time
for Passover. Although the school's com-
puter room has been operational for some
time, Hebrew software programs have only
recently become available to the students.
Last week, Mrs. Kar's first graders used
the computers to learn the Pesach Kid-
Mrs. Kar and her volunteer teacher's
aid,.Selma Rich, divided the class into two
groups in order to learn the words. This
accomplished, the groups took turns using
a second-floor classroom equipped with
Mrs. Kar guides Bayla Cohen and Geoffrey Dworkin through the Kiddush recited or
eight computer terminals. First the boys
Pesach. The Akiva teacher often splits her 15-member class into smaller groups so that sh(
and then the girls sang along as the text of can give more personalized
the Kiddush appeared on the screen ac-
companied by the melody in perfect-pitch,
electronically-reproduced tones. Both new
technology and modern teaching methods
help Mrs. Kar remain excited about the
teaching field. "Where else in the world
can you see a Hebrew computer, except
maybe Israel?" she said.
Mrs. Kar was born in New York and
grew up in the Flatbush section of Brook-
lyn. She is one of nine children. Her role as
"family teacher" to her youenger brothers
and sisters whetted her appetite for a
career in education. A graduate of Wayne
State University, she teaches second and
third grade Hebrew at Cong. Shaarey
Zedek in addition to her class at Akiva. She
complements her professional interest in
Judaism with a personal one, attending
weekly courses on Torah and Halachah.
The Akiva teacher finds meeting the
needs - of her students is her biggest chal-
lenge. "Every year we do the same thing
differently," she said, "because of the dif-
ferences in children." In her current class
there is an Israeli boy who was far ahead of
the other students last September. She in-
stalled him in a leadershp role and now the
class is functioning at his level, the teacher
"I want to let my students know that
although everything they see in this coun-
try is in English, Hebrew can be a very
One of the eight computers at Akiva Hebrew Day School gets a workout as Leah Kar's first
important part of their lives," Mrs. Kar graders learn the melody to the Passover Kiddush. Pictured are from left: Zachary Herman,
said. "Hebrew is a living language."
Aric Salei and Steven Strimling.

American Jewry and the lesson of the Passover holiday

Special to The Jewish News

The Sabbath preceding
the Passover holiday is
known as Shabbat HaGadol
(the Great Sabbath). Differ-
ent opinions have been ex-
pressed as to why ttiis:Aab-
bath is called "Th6:t:Osieat
one." Some say to
derives from a 80414


Irving Greenberg
president of the
Jewish Resource Ce4te:r...:


with the Apocalyptic
prophecy of the prophet
Malachi, which is read on
this Sabbath. Malachi, in
the final words of prophecy
found in the Bible, pro-
claims: "Behold I (the Lord)
will send Elijah the Prophet
to you, just before the corn-
ing of the great and awe-
some Day of the Lord."
Others, however, link the
name Shabbat HaGadol
with a Passover tradition.
The Bible relates that each
Israelite family was in-



structed to take a sheep on
the 10th of Nisan and offer
it as the Passover sacrifice
on the 14th of the month,
the day before the Exodus
(the 15th of Nisan).
The rabbis taught that
the sheep was an object of
worship by the Egyptians.
To take a sheep, a sacred ob-
ject of the lord and master
and treat it as food, subject
to the needs and desires of
the Israelites, was an act of
defiance and auto-

It was even more daring self-assertion that signaled
for the Israelites to hold it the end of Israelite submis-
for a period of four days —
sion to Egyptian hegemony.
which included the Sabbath
The Sabbath which fell
in that year according to one during the period of this ac-
tradition — enough time for tion was in this rabbinic
the Egyptians to become
view the harbinger of the
aware of the rebellious act glorious Exodus to come. In
the Hebrews were planning tribute to the courage of the
to carry out. For while sac- Israelites who defied their
rificing the sheep for Egyptian masters, it was
Passover would have repre- named the "Great Sab-
sented one hasty and furtive bath."
act, holding it for four days
Franz Kafka once wrote
and over the Sabbath repre- that the Messiah will come
sented a con.scio
. the day after the Messiah
c49440-1W~M-4P AW.kiatkl,es944•4AtrAtti3W4

comes. Similarly, the liber-
ation of the Hebrews from
Egypt had to be preceded by
acts of self-liberation. Had
the Israelites simply de-
parted from Egypt on the
15th day of Nisan the people
would have been taken out
of slavery but the slavery
would not have been taken
out of the people.

The lesson of the Great
Sabbath that self-liberation
is the key to freedom from

Continued on Page 26






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