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5th Grade 3-9-14

Dear PASJE 5th Grade Parents,

In the exciting 5th Grade class today, we earnestly got down to working on our class play about the Jewish experience of the time period we are studying. The operative word being "studying," we continued learning about the high Jewish immigration to the U.S. during the turn of the 20th century. You can ask your 5th Grader to explore some questions with you:

  • What does the poem by Emma Lazarus, the Sephardic Jewish writer who welcomed the world to American Shores with her poem, The New Colossus on the Statue of Liberty, mean to you?

  • What word describes the small towns and villages, often with an agricultural component, in Russia, Prussia, and Poland where up to half of the Jews of the world had lived at that time? (Shtetls)

  • When Askenazi Jews immigrated to America, what shoreline cities did they arrive in? (Eastern Coastal cities from New York, New York, to Galveston, Texas.)

  • What was it like arriving from a tumultuous Europe by ship to America with an average of $8 per person into places such as New York City's Ellis Island, and other cities on Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast?

  • How did the existing US Jewish population (mostly Sephardic) relate to the inflow of newly immigrating Jews (mostly Askenazic) during this period?

Now, onto our play, we explored how to really convey a historical play about almost a century of Jewish American history, it takes more than acting as characters based on our favorite historical figures and events! It also might take:

  • Co-writing a script

  • A soundtrack to express the emotion of the events, from humor to greatness to sadness to uncertainty to....

  • Lighting changes to help tell the story, show the passage of time, and express the mood

  • Props and costumes to help create the setting and make the events of history more tangible

  • Stage blocking (where the actors enter the stage from, stand on stage, and exit the stage)

  • Key exact quotes we want to use

Our students wrote down ideas in all of these categories during class today, and we will continue building our play (which will only be 5 minutes long) when we next resume in class.) Feel free to talk with your Fifth Grader about more creative ideas for our play.

Wishing all a Happy Purim and beginning of Spring!

Micha'el Bedar

PASJE 5th Grade Teacher

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