Congregation B'nai Israel

2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604 | (203) 336-1858 | |

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A Day in the Life

by Ira Wise, February 2019/Shevat-Adar I 5779

Someone once said “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” There is some debate about the source of that quote, but in my experience whoever said it was right. I spend my working hours working with amazing people (our teachers and Hadrakhah Team, our clergy and Bonim director, our support and custodial staff and our lay leaders) to create learning experiences for our children of all ages. Sometimes you hear about them when your kids get in the car (and sometimes they answer “nothing” when you ask what happened today).

When we are in session, I get to watch the magic happen. And quite often, it is magic. Let me share a few slides…I will set up the (word) projector…

{click} This happened just yesterday! Kitah Hey (5th Grade) has been spending a lot of their time learning about Israel, the land and its people. We have had an ongoing relationship with the Kitah Hey students at the Nitzanim School in Rishon L’tziyon, Israel. Our students have created and exchanged artifacts and videos – telling one another about our lives. Yesterday, we gathered in front of the smart board and had a live video conference with the Nitzanim kids! They asked one another questions and shared things about their lives. Then one of the Israeli kids asked “Do any of you play Fortnite?”

For those of you who are not into video games or who don’t have children who are, Fortnite is a very popular multi-player video game. I am not endorsing or judging. But we are exchanging user names and some of our kids may be playing the game with their new Israeli friends in the coming weeks – if they can solve the time difference and get permission for the screen time!

{click} In the chapel one day last month. Mr. Cahr (our music teacher) was unable to teach that week. He sent in his daughter Alex, a college student who has substituted in our school. She was teaching Israeli dance to our Kitah Bet students when I looked in. The students were holding hands and moving in a circle with the music. Alex was describing how dance was a great way to get to know people and it was and is very popular in Israel. And you don’t need Wi-Fi! All of our Gan – Kitah Gimel (K – 3rd) teachers have been asking when we can bring her back, since the students had so much fun!

{click} This one came as an e-mail rather than from looking in a room. Laurie Renzulli’s son Alex in Kitah Vav (6th) with Mr. Flatto: “Happy new year! Wanted to share Alex came home very positive about Sunday school today – He enjoyed Keif (Kvitzvat Keif is our social engagement period led by Marisa Underberger and Jessica Becker) early in the day and thought the activity was very fun! He also shared with Scott and I some of material he learned in Mr Flatto’s class about the holocaust and Spanish Inquisition. Thank you!

{click} This one… wait a minute. I am starting to sound like my grandfather when he would show slides from the trips abroad he took with my grandmother. He was excited about the things he saw and the people they had met. I wasn’t because I hadn’t been on the trip.

So instead of me going on, why don’t you ask the students in your house to describe something that happened in their class? Please don’t ask them what they did today. The answer “nothing” is genetically encoded in all of us. Ask them to share something they, the teacher or one of the other students said or did. Ask them to teach you about something they heard or saw, or how to play the game or sing the song they had experienced. And please, make sure they show up for class! They can’t describe experiences they did not have. And there is a lot for them to experience!


Ira J. Wise, D.J.R.E.
Director of Education