In our LA class, we are reading a book called The Night of the Burning. It is about a girl named Devorah who used to live with her parents in a village called Domachevo. But then her parents died, so she was sent to a orphanage. Now a man came from South Africa to take kids there, and Devorah is going with her sister, Nechama. Devorah had a flashback of a scene in a cemetery. Her dad stated, “But there are different ways to remembering, my child. Hard ways and easy ways.” An easy way to remember something is if you have the subject every day, or if you like it, or if it is a pleasant experience. A hard way to remember something is if you’re not interested in it or the thought gives you painful memories.
Last Thursday, as you know, was Thanksgiving. We had school off on Thanksgiving, so on Wednesday we had a program called “Serving Those Who Serve Us”. We had veterans come who told us their stories. We had 2 men from WWII, 2 from the Korean War, 1 from the Vietnam War, 1 who was in Afghanistan, and a woman who was in the Administrative office of the Navy. The veteran from Afghanistan’s story was very meaningful to me. He was fighting one time in a concrete building when a bomb exploded on the building. He had his intestines ripped out, head seriously damaged and one of his arms was unusable. He had to stay in the hospital for a long time, but as soon as he got out he went back to Afghanistan. In total, he was gone from his family for 45 months. His story was moving because he kept fighting, and even after he nearly died he went back into serving his country. We really should honor these men and women for risking their lives for our safety. They are very brave and great for giving up their lives for their country.
In our Mitzvot class we had to make a presentation about a mitzvah. I didn’t do a mitzvah, but I made a Powerpoint about Jewish Literature. Enjoy!
Last week, I learned how to not gossip and do Lashon Hara. It is an important lesson to learn. It is important not to gossip because it can hurt other people. It is not nice to say things behind people’s backs. In a Community of Kindness we wouldn’t gossip because thats what we try not to do. Our goal is to be nice to everybody and that isn’t nice.
In our Mirrors and Windows: Connecting to Literature book, there is a story called “The Sandcastle”, page 98. It is about a future time, where global warming finally conquered us. They have to wear a type of morph suit to protect them self from the sun’s fatal UV rays. We were asked to define the connection between our story and Hurricane Sandy. The way it is connected is maybe some storm, like Sandy, caused the sun’s rays to be like that. Or because they both have to do with global warming. More storms, like Sandy, will come because of global warming, and we need to be prepared.
Last week, we didn’t go to school Monday-Thursday. That’s because we were at Camp Ramah Darom! We went there to have fun and advance to become a community of kindness. We played, prayed, had fun and made friends. Here are some things that I really liked.
The first thing is what we did on Wednesday morning. Instead of praying, we divided into groups and did a spiritual activity. My group was with Dr. Mitzmacher. First, we lay down on the floor and breathed slowly in and out. Then, after breathing Dr.Mitzmacher gave us a vision to picture. Finally, we looked over the 19 blessings of the Adimah and chose one as our favorite. It was meaningful because it was a lot to think about, with G-d and our blessings to Him.
The next thing that I enjoyed was horseback riding and ziplining at Sunburst Stables. I liked both. For horseback riding I got a horse named Chevago who was good for beginners but slow. Ziplining was amazing. I didn’t hold on for any of them and went upside down for 1 1/2! It had to do with being a community of kindness because in horseback riding you had to make sure your horse diden’t attack the one’s in front of you. For ziplining you could go with somebody else on the last course so that was sort of teamwork.
Another thing that I liked was being able to know the other middle schoolers and staff. I imrproved friendships with 7th graders and made new ones with 8th graders. I also got to know Dr. Mitzmacher really well besides as the principal. He’s funny, kind, and will listen to you. It will help us advance because it will help us know our teachers other than homework givers and test graders.
Another thing that I enjoyed was a educational activity about “I” sentences. You see, the theme was a community of kindness, so for the educational activities we were learning about how to do that. I statements are where, for example, say that somebody took your laptop and used it without your permission. You would say, “I do not appreciate it when you use my laptop without permission.” It would be important for a community of kindness because it would stop conflicts starting from a silly thing.
I think the retreat was a fun, meaningful experience. It was fun, but we learned valuable ideas. It was awesome, and I think the goal of uniting the middle school was achieved.