Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

It's a Tree of Life at CRJ's Steinmetz Family School of Chai


CRJ's Steinmetz Family School of Chai 'Tree of Life artwork.

The students and teachers at the Steinmetz Family School of Chai at Congregation of Reform Judaism recently celebrated the Jewish birthday of the trees Tu B'Shevat with an art expo and seder. As a mid-year culmination of the lessons taught by art specialist Judith Lazev, the expo highlighted the works of the students based on this year's school theme "Tree of Life." From the likes of such artists as Kandinsky and Klimt to the truffala trees from the Dr. Seuss story "The Lorax" and the apple trees from a favorite Jewish story, the students' works captured the essence of the artists and delighted all who saw the show throughout the weekend.

In her role as expo docent, Morah Lazev told the Jewish tale to the students of the smaller apple tree in the grove that always admired the bigger trees in the grove that looked as though the stars seen through their branches were a part of the tree. The smaller apple tree wished for its own stars. One day the tree noticed that when the wind shook the branches and the apples fell to the ground, the apples broke in half and there inside the apple was a star. The students enjoyed thinking about the stars and gifts from God that were inside of each of them.

At CRJ, we offer a unique opportunity for Reform Jewish children to learn the core values and traditions of Judaism. In addition to the prayer-based Hebrew curriculum, the experiential-based Camp Chai arts program offers students more hands on and creative learning. Within the classrooms, through family programs, and in the community, students are guided in understanding the richness and tradition of the Jewish religion along with the ability to make informed life decisions.

The Tree of Life theme has inspired continued learning and thought about Judaism and trees. For more information on the school, please contact Director of Education Sheryl Sacharoff at (407) 645-0444 or email to ssacharoff@crjorlando.org.


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