On Sunday, May 16, the Ohr Chadash school celebrated the upcoming holiday of Shavuot. The children studied the importance of Shavuot when the Israelites received the Torah, our foundational document. Via Zoom, author Sherry Wasserman, and illustrator Ruth Cisse, read their book “I am Standing at Mount Sinai” to the children and it was followed up by a lively Q&A. The book retells the Biblical saga of the Exodus and the Jewish People’s encounter with God at Mt. Sinai. It recounts the exciting and scary revelation of the Ten Commandments and the Torah. It explains the significance and celebration of the Shavuot holiday. The day closed with a tasty ice cream sundae party and a screening of an animated version of The Book of Ruth which is read on Shavuot.
On Sunday, April 11, Ohr Chadash focused on Yom HaShoah. As part of this commemoration, we welcomed via Zoom, author Amalia Hoffman who talked about the amazing story of Gino Bartali, the subject of her recent book The Brave Cyclist. Amalia was born in Jerusalem, Israel and is a creative artist and writer and storyteller who has won awards for her work.
Once a skinny and weak child, Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But all that seemed unimportant when his country came under the grip of a brutal dictator and entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany Bartali might have appeared a mere bystander to the harassment and hatred directed toward Italy’s Jewish people, but secretly he accepted a role in a plan to help them. Putting his own life at risk, Bartali used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver documents Jewish people needed to escape harm. His inspiring story reveals how one person could make a difference against violence and prejudice during the time of the Holocaust. The students were enthralled at this story as they asked many questions and inquiries to the author. Overall, the students walked away with a greater understanding of this somber day.
On Sunday, March 21, in honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, the students at Ohr Chadash were treated to numerous special activities and programs related to the holiday. We began the day by welcoming noted author, Brianna Sayres. We blasted off into outer space for Passover with her fascinating children’s book “Asteroid Goldberg: Passover in Outer Space!” The premise of the book was about Asteroid and her parents, who got stuck in outer space for Passover. Asteroid used some creative problem solving to plan a Passover Seder for herself and her family that was truly out-of-this-world! After she read the book, the children were given the opportunity to ask the author questions.
Brianna is proud to be the author of many picture books including the best-selling “Where do diggers sleep at night?” Brianna is also the founder of Intergalactic Afikoman, a new publisher of Jewish children’s books whose goal is to publish “out-of-this-world Jewish books for today’s Jewish kids. Brianna lives with her husband and two “future” astronauts in her hometown, Seattle, Washington.
On Sunday September 15th, we welcomed a special guest speaker, Nancy Churnin.
She is the award-winning author of eight picture book biographies, including Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing (a Sydney Taylor Notable and Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Notable) and Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank, which she presented this year at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn. and the Tulisoma South Dallas Book Festival at the African American Museum in Dallas and which she is scheduled to present at the Dallas Jewish Community Center and the National Conference of NYC Public School Librarians in November at CitiField in Queens. Nancy is one of the founding members of the Book Meshuggenahs, a group of 18 Jewish women writers writing children’s book with Jewish content and themes. A native New Yorker and former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News, Nancy graduated from Harvard University cum laude and has a master’s from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats.