Press Release

Students at local Jewish day school work together with gaming company Jewish Interactive, make game about holiday

     Jacksonville, FL-Students at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, FL have taken their learning to a new level; they have been having two classes a week to develop an app to teach others about the Jewish holiday of Purim. The game, being made with the help of Jewish Interactive, involves easy games such as puzzles to help the clueless learn about Purim, a Jewish holiday.

Purim is a holiday that celebrates Queen Esther of Persia and her cousin Mordecai (both the Jewish prophets of their time) saving the Jews from the evil Haman.

The 7th grade’s subject has been about the custom of masquerading. Masquerading is associated with Purim because Queen Esther hid her Jewish identity from her husband, King Ahasuerus of Persia.

First, the students divided into two groups, and then each group made a mini-game. The first group’s game, with the Project Manager being Rachel L, 12, has made a puzzle game called Mask Mayhem. In it, you have to put together the masks of Purim characters.

The second group, leaded by Project Manager Casey B, 13, has made a game titled Whack-a-Haman. In it, the player has to hit the Haman figures, but avoid hitting the other objects . Haman is the main antagonist of the Purim story.

Those two groups are competing against each other, because Jewish Interactive, the company they’re collaborating with, can only animate one game.

At first, the game was supposed to be a Hanukkah game, but was changed to Purim due to a short time frame.

The game is scheduled to be released in January-February 2014. For more information, contact Shana Gutterman at She has also made a blog about the game, Look at that project to see interviews from some of the students and checklists that they had to follow.

6961659235_764c46946d_sHamantaschen, a common Purim treat.

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November Chai Reading- The Cross by Day, the Mezuzzah by Night

For this month’s Chai Reading, our whole class read the book The Cross by Day, the Mezuzzah by Night, by Deborah Spector Siegel. We had five choices for a Chai Reading project. I chose number 3, Character Traits. In that, we are supposed to take a main character from the book and compare him/her to us, using a Venn Diagram. I chose the character Papa, Isabel’s (the main character) father.




Now, to start out with Papa. Papa is Isabel’s father. He is the father of three, and the Royal Tax Collector of Seville. He is the leader of the family, and the one with all of the great ideas. He is a Maranno, and keeps his Judaism a secret. However, this does not deter him from practicing it in the cellar. He is also very smart and wise. He comes from Seville, Spain. He mostly teaches others, although he can occasionally learn. He shows much concern for people, especially for his fellow Marannos. He helps them sneak out of Spain.

Next, for me. I am a son, and a brother of three. I come from Jacksonville, Florida, United States of America. I am a student of Duval County. I am also smart, but not wise. I am a free Jew, and can practice my Judaism openly. I am lucky enough to have freedom. I mostly learn from others. I can also be stubborn and not listen.

Finally, our similarities. We both care about Judaism. We’re both smart and leaders. We aren’t afraid of our enemies. We both have a strong belief in God. We both help others, and are willing to sacrifice all for our family and friends.

The book was average, in my opinion. The plot was very slow, and the ending was left open, like the author didn’t have enough time to finish writing. The plot itself, I would give four stars. The ending would recieve two, and the book in general three stars. I would reccommend it for ages 9 and up. However, you might need to look in the glossary at time for there is many Spanish words in the book.

Journal 12- Intergenerational Day

Every year, around Thanksgiving time, we have Intergenerational Day at our school. Intergenerational Day is when our grandparents or other family members come to school and we do programs with them. This year, since it was the day before Thanksgiving, we had a Thanksgiving theme. We had two “modern-day pilgrims” come in to talk to us. They both had emotional immigration stories to share with us. Their names were Mrs. Goldiner and Mr. Lian.

Mrs.Goldiner tells her story to the middle school every year. She escaped from the Former Soviet Union. She described her hard life there, having to work very hard to get a morsel of food. She was constantly persecuted throughout her life as a Jew. Things got better for her. She met her future husband and got married. Then, she decided to try to leave the Soviet Union. She applied for a passport. She gathered her belongings. She said goodbye to family and friends. It was a long and hard process, but eventually she got the visa to go to America. Once she got here, she started to learn the language and looked for the perfect home. Eventually, she chose Jacksonville, where she has lived ever since.

Mr. Lian is a modern-day pilgrim from Burma (Myanmar). He was born there and lived there for most of his life. He has lived in Jacksonville for six years and has spoken to many other schools about his story. He lived in an average Burman family. However, he was very affected by the government. The government has won its independence from England in 1948, but in 1962 a coup d’état lead by General Win ended the democracy and started strictly military rule.  They pressured the people and made unnecessary, unjust laws. That is why Lian wished to leave. He was lucky enough to be sponsored by a church to come to America. Eventually, he made it to Jacksonville, his wife following him a year later. They cannot go visit their family back in Burma, because they would be arrested by the government there.

I learned many important things from their stories. I learned that some countries don’t allow their people to have as many privileges as we Americans have. We have freedom of speech, religion, act, justice, and basically everything. It is a long process to immigrate to America, even today! I think that we should work on helping immigrants get to America, like the church that helped Mr. Lian. It was shocking, though, that those countries would be so cruel and disrespectful to the people who are the lifeline of that country. Without the people, there isn’t a country. That is why we should have freedom.



From generation to generation. That’s what Intergenerational Day is all about.

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Persuasive Essay- School Should be Shorter

    Do you think that your (or your child’s) school is too long or too short? 68 people once took a survey on The question was: Should school hours be shorter? ( Children and adults took part in this survey. Out of those people, 90% (61 people) said that school should be shorter and gave good reasons. 10% of those people (7 people) said that school shouldn’t be shorter and gave mediocre reasons. Why should you agree with these 90% and not the 10%? Well, in my opinion, shorter school days should be allowed. School is very stressful. You take long hours learning and quietly doing assignments. On average, you have about six hours of learning and thirty to forty-five minutes of lunch/recess.

      Many kids have after-school activities. It is not fair for kids who have two and a half hours of homework for school to start so early and end so late, especially when they are so busy after school and sometimes before school.  As stated in Fabulous 5S,  “When we get home from school the day is practically gone, we have no time to spend with our family or do the things we like best (Mahetta).” After-school activities allow children to express their creativity and use their brainpower to the fullest in a different way! It is also not fair to the teachers, because teachers get the same amount of time for breaks as the students and much, much more work to do. I believe that if five or ten minutes were taken off class time, it would drastically change the teacher’s workload. The teacher and the student would be happier.

      I understand that some people would argue, “Then there would not enough time to learn everything!” However, if you give more class work rather than more homework, you can still learn the same amount. Five or ten minutes is not going to really affect as much learning time as you usually have. Often, the first five and last five minutes of class are spent getting your supplies out and talking a little bit. If teachers didn’t allow students to have as much time to socialize before class, then they could learn as much without the extra five minutes.

      Have you ever failed a test because you couldn’t pay attention after five other classes? It’s happened to me plenty of times. School’s long hours actually affect student’s learning in a negative manner. You get bored from the long lectures and taking notes, and instead of focusing on the subject, you’re staring at the clock waiting for this class to end. If long school hours were shortened, it would make kids’ grades better, help them to learn more, and save their school money. The school would save money because sometimes kids, when bored in class, aimlessly color on desks and other school supplies. This leads the school to buy new supplies. If the school day is shortened, kids wouldn’t be as bored and destroy the school’s supplies.

     For the reasons above, shortening school would benefit, and only benefit, teachers, students, and parents alike.  Students could learn easier, be happier and be healthier. Sleep is healthy, especially for growing children. Students would be able to sleep more, and be healthier, if school was shorter. Parents would be happier because they would be proud of their children’s good grades. Teachers would be happier because they wouldn’t have to plan for so much. If we do not shorten school, however, students will be less willing to learn and expand their knowledge. School will become worth nothing. Grades will become worse, and when students grow up, they will not have the available knowledge they need for college and their life. Now, do you really want to deprive a child of their source of knowledge and their guide for the rest of their life by having an unnecessary seven-hour school day?

Do you want your child to be tired and stressed all the time because of long school?

Do you want your child to be tired and stressed all the time because of long school? 

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                                                     Works Cited

Mahetta. “School Should Be Shorter.” Web log post. Fabulous 5S. Ed. Mr. Squires. N.p., 10 May 2012. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

“Should School Be Shorter?” Interview by N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

Journal #11- Giving Thanksgiving to the Needy

For last week’s mitzvah project, our middle school did two things- our 8th grade sorted and helped distribute food at Mandarin Food Bank, and the whole middle school bought food and distributed it to needy families. Since we were only in school for Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday, we bought the food last Friday and distributed it on Tuesday. That counted as our Jewish Studies on Tuesday. We gave each family a turkey, a tin container to cook it in, and two bags- an A bag and a B bag. The A bag had a tag on it saying, “Happy Thanksgiving from MJGDS“. It contained canned vegetables. Bag B had no tag and breakfast products in it, like cereal.

We’re all students in a Jewish school. We learn about Tikun Olam (repairing the world). It’s one of Judaism’s most important values. We need to not just learn it, but do it. That’s one of the bases of our weekly mitzvah projects. It’s important that we, as Jews, people, and members of our community, reach out to help the needy right here in Jacksonville. Thanksgiving’s idea and base came from the Jewish holiday of Succos (Sukkot). The Pilgrims stated so themselves. Succos is a festival of harvests. Jewish farmers are required to leave the corners of their fields and what they drop of the ground for the poor. We, in a sense, were “leaving our corners” of Thanksgiving for the needy, and delivering it to them.

From these experiences, I learned much about hunger issues in Jacksonville. There are people who have to live in hotels. Most of these families have six people or more in it, all in one tiny hotel room. Others just need help getting back on their feet, after events such as the government shutdown. This experience, delivering to these needy people, made me be grateful for the things for I have. We take things like electricity, food, and clothes for granted. We don’t realize how lucky we really are. These deliveries, however, didn’t really have any effect on my Thanksgiving celebrations.

We really did a great thing. We helped Americans celebrate an American holiday and gave them enough food to last about a week or so. Hopefully, this extra boost can help them get back on their feet and recover from their debt quicker. I also hope they had a happy Thanksgiving with food given to them by the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.

Happy (Belated) Turkey Day!

Happy (Belated) Turkey Day!

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