My name is Toby Kaplowitz and I am the Lower School Judaic Studies Programming Chair. This is my 2nd year at KSDS and I love being a part of this creative and forward-thinking learning community. Previously, I taught at Beth Tfiloh and a day school in Boston, MA. While living in Boston, my husband and I were the co-directors of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Brandeis University where we taught classes and created Jewish programming for students on campus.
What strikes me the most about KSDS is how truly meaningful and intentional the learning environment is here. Every teacher strives to create purposeful connections for their students between what they are studying in class and what they experience in the world around them.
My role at KSDS is to enhance the Judaic environment and learning in the Lower School. Beyond the academic classroom experience, each KSDS student is surrounded by a dynamic and meaningful Jewish learning environment. We offer a wide range of programs focusing on Shabbat, Jewish holidays, Hesed, and community building. This integrates Jewish text and values into the creative experience for our students. Our Judaic programs are focused on developing our own, strong Jewish community within the KSDS walls and expanding the students’ awareness and support of the broader Baltimore Jewish community and beyond.
The staple of our Jewish programming is our weekly Ta’am Shabbat program. Students take themes and lessons gleaned from that week’s parasha and create meaningful activities. Activities occur both in the classroom, grade-wide and school-wide.
Before Rosh Hashanah, our students zoomed with Rabbi Ze’ev Lowenberg, KSDS ’07 and chaplain in the US Air Force. We learned about what he does on base for the Jewish service members and how he helps them celebrate holidays and shabbat. Following our conversation, students wrote Rosh Hashanah cards to the Jewish service members on Rabbi Lowenberg’s base.
Prior to Thanksgiving our whole school joined together for our Friend to Friend activity. All students, grades K-8, learned about the Jewish value of hakarat hatov, showing gratitude for the good in our lives. Students were paired between grades with a buddy and worked on a school wide display sharing all that they are grateful for.
Most recently we celebrated Hanukkah at KSDS. Among our many celebrations we experienced a Silent DJ Glow Party, where each grade danced to Hebrew and Jewish music with their classmates in the dark, with glow sticks and bracelets. Throughout the week, we celebrated the miracle of light and brought the ruach (festive spirit) of Hanukkah to KSDS.
I am looking forward to more fun and meaningful learning experiences throughout the school year!
Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Krieger Schechter Day School. To learn more about the school, visit their listing in our independent school directory. Images were provided by the school.