Congregation Netivot Shalom Preschool seeks to create a stimulating and enriching educational environment for each and every child.
We are devoted to helping children learn socialization skills, building their self-confidence and teaching them the preliminary skills to explore and experience the world independently from their parents.
In addition, we seek to ignite a spark in each child to lay claim to her or his Jewish heritage and commit him or her to a lifetime passion for learning.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PURIM at Netivot Shalom!

PURIM @ Netivot Shalom!
Wednesday March 7
Annual Dinner
starting at 5:15pm
$15 adults $6 kids
NEW This Year: Express line for those who pre-pay!
Ma'ariv and Megillah Reading starting at 6:30pm
Childcare and Kids Program: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Party with live music after the Megillah Reading
Please RSVP for the dinner:

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

We would like to fill you in on the excitement that happend in the kitah
last week. We did not have an opportunity to send Hashavuah on Friday.

- Many of our children are transforming into cats! They are no longer
speaking in English, they are meowing!
- Anna shared with us a story from her childhood about three cats who
wanted a little kitty sister. Anna made felt board pieces to share the
story with us.
-We used pieces of colorful yarn as cat tails. We tucked them into the
back of our pants.
-We continue to read stories about cats in our reading corner.
-Both Tobie and Ofra have shared stories about personal experiences with

-Last week was Rikki's last week with us here in Berkeley. She and her
family have returned to Chicago. We had a special snack for Rikki on
Friday. We also looked at a special book that the teafhers made for
Rikki. Rikki brouigt each child a postcard from chicago with a note on
it, including contact information. We have all been invited to visit
Rikki if we ever make our way to Chicago.

-We made new playdough on Thursday. An interesting shade of green.

- We have a plan to finish decorating the last of the paper bags for the
tzedakkah project.

- We have swapped materials in our science area.

- We made challah of course.

Have a pleasant week
Ofra and Anna

Friday, February 17, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

February 17, 2012
24 Shevat, 5772
Shalom Nachshonim Families,
This week in the kitah we have grown very excited about cats. Here are the highlights of our week.
- We now have several cat related books in our reading corner library.
-At circle time on Monday, Tobie brought in a photograph of her cat Huey. Tobie also brought in a very special book about a cat named Maru. Maru lives in Japan and his owner takes photographs and videos of her funny cat Maru. (You can check out Maru on YouTube by the way, he is quite enjoyable and he does some pretty cool things.)
-We have been looking at Maru's pictures a lot this week and reading about his daily life.
-Maru loves to squeeze himself into small boxes. We dismantled our Tu B'Shevat tree sculptures and we are now using the boxes that were the base of the trees as boxes for cats to climb in.
-We now have several children meowing and crawling like cats.
- We sang and acted out "Two Little Kitty Cats"
- We talked about how when we pretend to be cats, the only thing we are missing is tails. We talked about searching through our art materials to find something appropriate that we can make into cat tails.
- Play dough in the mornings!
- We had the guinea pigs in our kitah on Monday. We got to look at how they live and eat. We held them and fed them carrots and hay.
- One child brought in a book from home about pets and there are a few pages dedicated to guinea pigs. At circle time we looked at some images of guineas that look a bit different than our Rena and Shira.
-We had photo days on Monday and Tuesday and we got to see Amy the photographer's camera. Amy was very friendly to us.
- We had a look at our GIANT animal encyclopedia. Including images of wild cats and felines.
-We made challah of course!
We hope everyone has a pleasant weekend and a pleasant President's Day on Monday.
Shabbat Shalom
Ofra and Anna

HaShavuah - Nevonim

Dear Nevonim Parents,

 We started the week out with rainy day fun while we used legos in the social hall.  We made lemonade from our gigantic lemon.  We did a science experiment with glue and borax which has been an evolving gooey, bouncy ball explosion over the course of a few days.  Some of us learned to play cards (War became Peace). 

We are sprouting beans to eat and  have been watching their progress.  We also planted more seeds and are noting the changes in the ones we are sprouting to plant that are in the windows.  On Tuesday, after singing with Melita and finishing up our two day picture days, we went to the park and we read the Lorax to our favorite tree.

 Today some of us experimented with making a pulley which became a pendulum - we are going to continue with this next week.

 We read "Say Hello Lily" in preparation for our visit to Helios Corner (senior living) next week.  We talked about how we might feel shy around new people whom we don't know and so we have prepared a few songs to sing for them to make us more comfortable.  We also baked  lots of gingersnaps to bring with us. 

Shabbatasaurus went home with Liam and Wild Thing with Elijah.

Thanks for the opportunity for the teachers to keep learning on Wednesday.  We spent the day talking about incorporating Jewish values into the kitah (which we do already!)  Rabbi Bridget Wynne talked to us about Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming Guests), Gemilut Chasadim (Lovingkindness) and Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home or Kitah).

You have probably heard or noticed that Shirlee is away.  She went to visit her family in Israel.  She will be back on Monday, the 27th.  Colin will be subbing for her everyday except Wednesday when Nina will join the class.

We hope that you have a peaceful Shabbat and weekend.

 Nevonim Teachers,

 Caitlin, Ruth, Shirlee and Colin

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two Family Events Coming to Netivot Shalom!!

“When the month of Adar arrives we increase our joy!”

PURIM @ Netivot Shalom!
Wednesday March 7
Annual Shorashim Fundraising Dinner
starting at 5:15pm
$15 adults $6 kids
NEW This Year: Express line for those who pre-pay!
Ma'ariv and Megillah Reading starting at 6:30pm
Childcare and Kids Program: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Party with live music after the Megillah Reading
Please RSVP for the dinner:

There are 3 options to make payment– either pay online at www. and use the “Make a Donation” Tab and put “Purim Dinner” in the description field or  send in your check to Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 and write  “Purim Dinner” in the memo line. You may also pay the door the night of the dinner.



SAVE THE DATE for: Trout Fishing in America comes to Berkeley!

Wednesday March 14 6:30pm
@ Netivot Shalom

DINNER for purchase beginning at 5:15pm

Purchase discount concert tickets in advance - more details TBA shortly!
$10/adult, $6/under 13, $30/family maximum

Tickets at the door: $12/adult, $8/under 13

Monday, February 13, 2012

HaShavuah - Nachshonim

Feb. 10, 2012
17 Shevat, 5772

Shalom Nachshonim Families,

This week we had many Tu B'Shevat related activities that were exciting this week. Here are the highlights of our week in the Nachshonim kitah.

- Our science area is filled with tree related materials. We have pieces of wood that have been cut into rings and sanded. We also have two pomellos and one yellow grapefruit. We have been rolling the fruits and the children have been using them in various play. We planned to eat them at the end of the week. On Friday at snack, we sliced them up and we got to taste the two fruits. Both were yellow on the outside, but the pomello was pink on the inside and the grapefruit was yellow on the inside.
- Our tree sculptures make our kitah feel like a forest. We read "In the Forest" as we were pretending to be in the forest when we brought our trees to the reading corner.
-We continue to read lots of  books about Tu B'Shevat and trees.
- We ate the alfalfa sprouts that we grew!
- The radishes in our "root vue" have sprouted first before the carrots and green onions. We can see their roots through the window.
- We collected all the stuffed animals that live in trees. We then used them in the branches of our tree sculptures.
- We made a large fruit salad for snack on Thursday with fruits that grow on trees.
- We had a very pleasant and special Tu B'Shevat seder with Rabbi Bochner who works upstairs. We ate three types of fruits. Fruits with a peel, fruits with pits and fruits that you can eat the whole thing. We said Tu B'Shevat blessings. We also opened the window and sang Yom Huledet Sameach / Happy Birthday to all the trees outside.

-After our Tu B'Shvat seder, we took the opportunity to explore our building and to see the offices of the people who work here. As we walk through the building, we always talk about keeping our voices down because people work here. Now we have a sense of what these work spaces look like. In Lauren's room, we saw a large collection of books as well as some toys and games that she keeps there.

-There are a couple of new documentation boards on the wall in the hallway. Please take some time to have a look at what we have been up to here at school. We have begun writing quotes from the children of their thoughts when they see these images.

- Some of our children got to hold our guinea pigs this week when went into the big kitah with the Nevonim.

- Some children have grown an interest in pretending that they are cats.

-We made Challah for Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom,
Ofra and Anna

Friday, February 10, 2012

HaShavuah - Neovnim

February 10, 2012
17 Shvat, 5772
Dear Nevonim Parents,

We had such a good week celebrating Tu bShvat Together. We learned a
song in Hebrew and English about almond trees blossoming as we drew and
admired apple blossoms in the kitah.
We learned about everything trees give us from fruit to oxygen to paper
- we made our own paper and in so doing recycled some of our old
artwork, We made paper soup, then ground it up into a "slurry", then
flattened it onto a screen and added leaves and glitter to it. We had
fun watching it take days to dry!

We made a habitat for the tiger snail that was visiting our kitah (first
we did research to find out what kind of snail it is and how to take
care of it). We also continued learning how to take care of our guinea
pigs, what they should eat and why, and how to clean their cage!

We sang tree sangs with Melita. The best present for the trees'
birthday was the beautiful rain on Tuesday that also meant we had rainy
day fun in the social hall instead of going to the park. We had fun
with trains, wheels and tumbling in a large space.

In preparation for our seder on Wednesday we made tablecloths for the
event by putting watercolor and pigment on fabric and then we put them
outside and let the rain "paint" them for us - they turned out quite
spectacular. Thanks rain! We also played a guessing game at circle
about where different objects come from, trees or other places. We made
a list which is in the hall about some of the ways that trees help us
and we can help them.

On Wednesday, a team of children helped set up the upstairs art room for
our festive seder with Rabbi Shalom. He taught us about the origins of
Tu bShvat that originally it was a tax holiday and a way for farmers to
keep track of the age of their trees so they could observe not picking
fruit from them for their first four years. We blessed and tasted
tangerines (you can eat the inside but not the outside), dates (you can
eat the outside but not the inside) and grapes (you can eat both). We
also had three different colors of juice to bless. The seder ended with
a reading of the Lorax and the singing of "Olive Trees are Standing."

On Thursday we made Hide and Seek muffins with dred tree fruit hidden
inside (cherries, prunes and mango). We read the Giving Tree and tasted
carobs that Savta Irene gave us. We also made her a thank you book for
leading the botanical tour this past weekend. We planted snowpeas in
individual pots and look forward to them sprouting. Today we planted
some Califonia poppies and the sweet potatoe plant we sprouted way back
in September.

We hope you have a great weekend!

Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

KOL foods Pesach: Kosher Humane Grass-fed Meat Buying Club

FYI: from Katya Gerwein

Pass the word along for Passover! The Berkeley Buying Club is open for spring orders as below:

Bring your values to the table and delight your guests this Pesach with healthy and delicious, glatt kosher, 100% pasture-raised beef, lamb, chicken, turkey or duck. We also have wild Alaskan salmon

Our products connect you. They connect you to tradition, to the land, to a sustainable future,  and to good health for your family and friends. Healthy animals should eat what they evolved to eat and live free on pasture. It should come as no surprise that this balance with nature results in not only healthy and environmentally and ethically sound meat, but delicious flavor. We think you will enjoy the meals you serve all the more when you can feel good about the meat you eat. Click here for a more detailed explanation about the difference between our 100% pasture-raised meat and anything less.

Order through the Club:
Minimize your shipping costs when you order through the Berkeley Buying Club. Just order through and at check out click the Berkeley Buying Club option. Order by March 21st for the Buying Club (FedEx home delivery continues through April 3rd).  Click here for more information. And remember, we deliver to your front porch all year round. 


Lisa Ellern-Feldman
Director Customer Service and Outreach

Feel good about the meat you eat.

Monday, February 6, 2012

HsShavuah She'avar/Last Week

Hashavuah She'avar / Last week
February 6, 2011
13 Shevat, 5772
Shalom Nachshonim Families,
We did not get a chance to send you "Hashavuah" last Friday due to a very busy afternoon. We would still like to fill you in on last weeks activities and how thrilling they were.
-We have two new friends at school, at they are both GUINEA PIGS! One is named Shira and the other is names Rena. They are very friendly and we have been able to hold them and pet them.
- We are practicing all the safety rules we established to ensure that our new guinea pigs stay safe.
Tu B'Shvat preparations!
- At circle time on Monday last week, we read two books about trees as we prepare for Tu B'Shvat.
-We started making alfalfa sprouts last week. First we soaked them in water overnight. Then we continue rinsing them once a day for several days. The seeds grew tiny little roots that grew bigger and bigger everyday.
- We have planted carrots, onions and raddishes in our "Root Vue". We will be able to see the roots through the window once they start to grow.
-We are singing Tu B'Shvat songs and various songs about trees at circle time.
- We have begun sprounting beans and we will plant them in dirt once the roots start to sprout.
-We have been using the word "sprout" a lot. We even pretended to be small seeds that get watered and slowly start to grow.
-Ofra brought in her juicer from home and we made fresh apple juice! It was delicious!
-We constructed two large sculptures of trees! Children brought in branches and sticks from home to create the branches of our sculptures.
- We checked up on our worms in their new "worm bed" to see if they are enjoying it. We discovered many worms hanging out in the new bed and everything is composting as it should.
- We went to visit the Torah in the sanctuary and we had a close look at the "yad"/hand  that is used when reading the Torah.
- We have been reading a few books about using the potty.
Shavuah Tov,
Ofra and Anna

Friday, February 3, 2012

HaShavuah - Nevnim

February 3, 2012
Shvat 10, 5772

Dear Nevonim Parents,

We started the week with the excitement of meeting our two new kitah
pets - Shira and Rina. Over the course of the week we learned alot
about taking care of them. We took turns feeding them bell pepper and
petting them. We are researching what their different sounds mean and
we are trying to keep our voices low around them because they have
very sensitive hearing. We also learned the Hebrew word for guinea pig
is Chazir-Yam (literally ocean pig!). One day Shira (the more
outgoing of the pair) climbed into Caitlin's sleeve - this was so
funny that some of the children have been writing and illustrating a
book about this adventure.

We also continued some other themes - Ruth brought back snow (which
became more like ice) from Tahoe and we had fun breaking it apart,
dying it, watching it melt and also using it on "boo boos" as an ice
pack. We cut open Lauren's giant lemon after many fun guesses about
what might be inside - we found many seeds which we plan to plant for
Tu bShvat. Also for Tu bShvat we recycled our fall mural and made
leaves for a tree we have "growing" on the wall. We spelled out the
word for tree in Hebrew using Aleph Bet Yoga. Both the ayin and the
tzadik sofit required great balance which led us right into the tree

We watched our "water dog" became a mosquito which then died. We went
to Strawberry Creek Park and said goodbye to the giant slide (assuming
it does get taken down) and we learned about a diesel spill that
happened in the creek.

We also make a "potion from the ocean" over several days with paint,
water, soap and other materials. We are still waiting to see what
this will grow into!

On Tuesday, we sang with Melita. On Wedneday we learned a a tree song
called "Etzei Zeytim Omdim" (the olive trees are standing) with Rabbi
Shalom. We look forward to his Tu Bshvat seder next Wednesday. This
Wednesday we also made Thai food for snack - banana and coconut soup
and brown rice since we have been loving hearing Caitlin's stories
from her Thailand trip. On Thursday we celebrated Liam's 5th birthday
with strawberries and challah.

Today Shabbatasaurus went home with Judah and Wild Thing with Isaac.
Next week with Liam and Ido.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nevonim Teachers
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirley