by Rabbi David Pietruszka
I am privileged to teach fourth grade boys at JEC. I feel strongly that halacha l'maaseh (practical Jewish law) is important for the boys to understand at this age.
In order to teach practical halacha, I chose several practical Torah Live videos that I felt I can bring to life and where I can add my own nuance to the learning.
The first video we watched was Tzitzis. It was fascinating to see how Rabbi Roth went deep sea diving to find the chilazon (from which the blue die for tzitzis was made).
After watching the video and reviewing with the student workbook, we bought begadim (four-cornered garments) and strings and we made our own tzitzis which the boys now wear on a daily basis!
Next, we embarked upon learning Tevilas Keilim (Utensils). This led us into a discussion about mikvaos (ritual baths) and how they are built. This learning culminated in a trip to the local mikveh to dip our pots and pans.
When I teach with Torah Live, I try to include as many sources from the source sheet which are age appropriate. Torah Live videos are both a pleasure to watch and extremely informative. The students enjoy the pictures, animation and video footage. Next year, I would like to make Torah Live an integral part of the curriculum and learn the sources inside the text to the best of our ability.
Rabbi Pietruszka is in his fourth year of teaching at JEC in Elizabeth, NJ. He prides himself on searching for ways to be be an innovative and effective teacher to inspire students to learn and grow. He uses Torah Live extensively in his classroom and has been amazed by the excitement and joy for learning that it instills.