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Sixth Graders Study Hanukkah Stories

Before the winter break, sixth graders learned about two different versions of the story of Hanukkah.

They studied the oil story from the Talmud and the story of the high priests' Civil War in the Book of Maccabees and discussed the lessons they might learn from each story. They brainstormed lessons that might be learned from the Book of Maccabees and came up with a variety of ideas, such as that "there isn't one right way to be Jewish," that we should "stick to our beliefs despite challenging circumstances," and that we "shouldn't make assumptions like how Antiochus assumed that the civil war between Jews was against his rule."
Students then created new Hanukkah rituals to reflect their understanding of these lessons. For example, a group of students created two boxes one larger box beautifully decorated and a smaller box, made to look plain and graffitied. Participants rolled a die to determine which box they could stick their hand in. Surprisingly, the large box yielded disappointing prizes whereas the small box yielded prizes such as gelt or putty. The lesson was, don't make assumptions like Antiochus did. Other groups created engaging board games, coded an original video game, and made a box of questions to help families and friends have deeper conversations and get to know each other better rather than fight, like how Jews fought Jews in the Hanukkah story.
Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center. A Sinai Temple school.