Opening Minds, Bridging Differences, Living Jewish Values.

Lower School Updates

Lower School Weekly Updates


Using the book, The City Kid and the Suburban Kid, as a jumping off point, grade 2 students discussed the differences between urban, suburban and rural communities. The students collaborated to create a mural of different types of communities. Together, they planned their work, identifying what needed to be in their mural.

Heschel hosted its very own pop up farmer's market. The market provided an opportunity for community members to shop for local, organic, and seasonal produce, as well as educational activities for the children throughout the day.
Based on their own curiosity, the children generated a list of questions and asked the community member about where they live in New York City.

Here is a list of sample questions that the students asked:

  • Where do you live?
  • Were you born there?
  • How long have you lived there?
  • How do you get to work everyday? How long does it take?
  • Are there any nice parks near where you live?
  • What are the different neighborhoods called?

Grade 3 students got a very exciting start to their curriculum on World Communities. Nissim Pingle, the manager of the JCC in Mumbai, visited the school and talked to the students about his life as an Indian Jew. He showed pictures of the JCC in India and described how they celebrate Purim and Yom Ha Atzmaut, and told us a little bit about the history of the Jewish community in India. According to tradition, the first Jews came to India after the destruction of the Temple by ship. Nissim went on to say that there was a shipwreck and only a very few survived. These survivors founded a Jewish community which has been there for 2500 years. Nissim also told the students a bit about daily life in Mumbai, showing pictures of a busy street, complete with an elephant among the cars. He even shared a video of some Bollywood dancing.

We had a special guest in tefillah b'yahad this morning -- Nissim Pingle, the manager of the JCC in Mumbai, who visited the Lower School today. He showed us how they chant sh'ma and v'ahavta in India with a beautiful melody (which we made sure to put on an audiofile so we can try to learn it). Nissim also told us a little bit about the history of the Jewish community in India, which has been there for 2500 years, without any periods of persecution or expulsion. Quite an achievement! He talked about the Jewish community's strong Zionist commitments and sense of connection to Israel. One other question was, "what do you eat for Shabbat dinner?" He explained that chicken curry is a favorite but since it is usually made with butter, they have a different version in the Jewish community with lemon.

Grade 3 students celebrated their Humash Ceremony this week, initiating their journey into Torah study. The children's sense of wonder and connection to learning was on full display during this milestone occasion.


A member of the NY Department of Recycling and Sustainability visited with the fifth grade today. The students discussed the importance of sustainability and ways that the children can chip in and take action.