Jewish Values: Protecting the Animals


Students in Morah Elizabeth’s and Morah Susan’s religious studies classes put into practice the Jewish value of tza’ar ba’alei chayim – protecting or preventing unnecessary cruelty toward animals.  

They first examined the Torah story of Rivka, who showed great kindness to Abraham’s servant Eliezer by greeting him at the well and watering his 10 camels. (Camels, by the way, can drink 30 to 40 gallons of water in about 15 minutes.) 

They braided polar fleece strips into pull toys for dogs and filled old socks with noisy paper for cats. Then they delivered the toys to homeless dogs and cats at Animal Allies. While there, our students toured the shelter, hung some of the toys on the animals’ cages, and petted a cat and its newborn kittens. 

Mazel tov on these g’milut chasadim -- acts of loving kindness. 

Posted on June 25, 2019 .

Purim Carnival 2019

Posted on June 10, 2019 .

Students send love and hope to Pittsburgh

By selling lemony drinks during Temple Israel’s annual meeting and soliciting donations from synagogue members and preschool teacher/author Linda Glaser, Hebrew and B’nai Mitzvah students were able to send an abundance of hope and love to Pittsburgh.


From their lemonade and tea sales, the students sent $307 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to help victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue and their families.

From their book donation effort and Linda’s generous match, they sent 58 copies of "Emma’s Poem” and “Hannah’s Way” to preschools and after-school programs in the Pittsburgh community to help children there learn about diversity and tolerance.

Linda’s books were named to the Association of Jewish Libraries’ first Love Your Neighbor List, which was created in response to the synagogue shooting and to rising anti-Semitism in the United States. The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development distributed the books as part of a larger book drive it conducted.

In an e-mail, Roger Fustich, operations director of the Office of Child Development, wrote “We appreciate your generosity and kindness! We started our distribution last week and certainly received very positive feedback. …You, Linda Glaser, your students, and congregation are wonderfully compassionate. We love you.”


Posted on January 18, 2019 .

Kicking off the school year with Sukkot

Students’ thankfulness and wishes for the world are the foundation of the blessings chain we hang each year in the sukkah. Magen Davids covered in birdseed, tziporim of shalom, and bouquets of clippings from our buttefly garden add individualized touches of beauty.

Posted on September 28, 2018 .

Students send comfort, care to Houston hurricane victims


G'milut chasadim, acts of loving kindness, and tikkun olam, repair of the world, are two Jewish values playing out predominantly in this year’s religious studies classes. 

Our 5th and 6th graders were challenged by Morah Susan Rees to develop a tzedakah (literally justice in Hebrew though often referred to as charity) project. They chose to adopt 29 Jewish families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey and send them gifts of care and comfort over the course of the school year. 

The first gifts – fleece blankets and pillows our students knotted together – arrived in Houston in plenty of time for Hanukkah. Our students’ thoughtfulness extended to researching the favorite colors of the children from the families and having their names stitched into a corner of their blankets.  

This project has grown into a school-wide affair: Our preschool families chipped in to buy boxes of Hanukkah candles for the Houston families, which all our students dipped in various colors of wax.


It has grown into a synagogue-wide affair: Parents and DuSTY teens helped cut the blankets, tie knots and supervise the candle-dipping. Congregants and the students' relatives donated more than $2,000 to help cover costs. 

It has even reached into the Twin Ports community: Halvor Lines transported the blankets for free on one of their trucks bound for Houston.  

And it has fully blossomed down at Temple Sinai synagogue where those families received their new blankets and pillows, along with some Hanukkiyah and even a tallit, lovingly donated from our congregants.

Posted on January 20, 2018 .

Decorating the Sukkah 2017

Posted on October 6, 2017 .