Category Archives: Ne’arim

Ne’arim video podcasts

One of the projects undertaken by our 5th through 7th grade Hebrew school class this fall was a series of short video podcasts, exploring themes of Judaism and civil rights through the lenses of some of their favorite pop culture stories.

Here are their four short videos, ranging in duration from about two minutes to about five minutes. The password for watching the videos is the name of that class (capitalized, no punctuation) followed by the current Jewish year.

(If you are a CBI member but can’t make the password work for you, email Rabbi Rachel for help.)


Nearim Video Podcast 5774: Civil Rights and Doctor Who


Nearim Video Podcast 5774: Oppression, Privilege, and Harry Potter


Nearim Video Podcast 5774: Oppression, Privilege and the Hobbit:


Nearim Video Podcast 5774: Star Wars and Civil Rights:

Holocaust Cinquains from the Ne’arim

Monday was Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), and the Ne’arim students participated in a lesson about the Shoah. They learned some history and talked about what it might have been like to be one of the Jews assigned by the Nazis to oversee other Jews in the ghetto. Then the students were invited to write Holocaust Cinquains.

A cinquain is a five line poem, and in this simplified form consists of a one-word line, a two-word line, a three-word line, a four-word line, and a five-word line. Here are the fruits of the students’ labors.

hate Jews
slaughtering 11 million people
bad time to live
— authorship unknown

Horrible century
Nazis kill Jewish
Crazy, horrible, fear, terror
— Jonah

people killing many
lots of death
lots of people died
— Cole

Horrible history
Tens of millions dead
Terrifying, horrifying, scary
— David

Ruthless killing
Exterminating a culture
Evil, insensitive, hostile, racism
— Adam

Killing many
Jews being slaughtered
Hiding, killing, fear, extinction
— Theo

Nazis: killed
Jews, Gypsies, gays,
Jehovah’s Witnesses, disabled people:
— Miriam

Thanks to the Ne’arim class for engaging so thoughtfully with this painful and meaningful subject.

Ne’arim Podcast Episode 2: The Scroll of Esther


Episode Two: Teen Takes on The Book of Esther
15.9 MB / 16 minutes 32 seconds

– click on the small triangle to listen:

or, download the file: NearimPodcast-Esther (mp3)

Just in time for Purim (which will begin this coming Saturday at sundown), here’s the second episode of our Ne’arim podcast, in which our 5th through 7th graders offer their own unique take on the Megillat Esther in advance of Purim.

Act 1: The students retell the basic story of the megillah in their own words. (Well, at least that was the plan.)

Act 2: A news broadcast featuring interviews with the characters from the megillah.

Act 3: Given the opportunity to respond creatively to the story, some of the class opts to set Esther in a contemporary junior high school, while the others retell Esther using figures and iconography from the video game Minecraft. Also, there’s a bit of discussion about casting Harry Potter characters as Esther characters.

And Act 4: a bit of closing discussion about Esther and what we’ve learned. The podcast wraps up with a few closing words and a couple of bloopers.

Happy Purim, and enjoy!

Ten Statements to Live By

After a study of the Aseret ha-Dibrot (the Ten Utterances / Sayings / Commandments) and their implications, the Ne’arim class jointly drafted these ten statments / words to live by. Thanks for your wisdom, Ne’arim!


1. Treat others as you want to be treated.

2. Be non-judgmental.

3. Try your hardest.

4. Do something meaningful with your life.

5. Don’t live in fear.

6. Try to live in a way that makes the world more good than evil.

7. Be awesome and be honest.

8. Don’t lie to purposely hurt someone.

9. Do not destroy the earth.

10. Believe in yourself.

The First CBI Ne’arim Podcast: on Joseph



21.1 MB / 22 minutes

– click on the small triangle to listen
or, download the file: NearimJosephPodcast (mp3)

You can read a little bit about how this podcast came to be in the post Beginning a Torah podcast…with my students.

Here are a few words from the opening of the podcast:

The Joseph novella is one of the richest stories in Torah. We read it every year as we approach the darkest days of winter. I like to teach it as a narrative about descent for the sake of ascent. What goes up, in other words, has to start out by going down.

But rabbinic opinions and teachings about Torah are a dime a dozen. How might the next generation of young minds understand this story? What implications might they tease out through a combination of bibliodrama, midrash, and improvisational theatre? Enter the CBI Ne’arim Podcast.

Act one: the Torah story, narrated by the students in their own words.

Act two: a taste of bibliodrama. We’ll hear segments of an interview with the Biblical characters.

Act three: going further afield. What if the Joseph story took place in outer space, or featured modern political personalities, or happened on a planet full of nothing but cows? Our young scholars will take us into some of these possible realities.

Act four: epilogue. A roundtable conversation with the students. What was this journey like for them? What, if anything, did they learn? Do they experience the Joseph story differently now than they did before?

My thanks are due to the Ne’arim students for entering into this adventure with such enthusiasm. I hope y’all enjoy!