Kitah Zayin: Letters to Parents

November 25, 2018

Hi, Kitah Zayin Families!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Heading into December, Stuart and I wanted to give you a few updates.

Up first, next week (12/2) we will be having a Hanukkah lesson where we will discuss some ethics.

Then, on Wednesday 12/12 we will be having our siyum! The students have been working very hard on a d’var and this will be their opportunity to share it with you. Please mark your calendars for this day.

Finally, I am going abroad next semester so my last day with the students will be 12/12. I am sad that I won’t be able to see their b’nai mitzvot, but I know they will all do amazing!

Thank you and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.



December 7, 2018

Good morning, Kitah Zayin parents,

We are writing to let you know about an upcoming program. Throughout the year, we have had conversations on friendship, dating, healthy relationships, and Jewish ethics. As such, on 12/9, The Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) will be presenting It’s Not Love® to both Kitah Chet and Kitah Zayin.

It’s Not Love® is the cornerstone workshop of AWARE® – the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse’s (JCADA) dating violence prevention initiative. It is a choose-your-own path style program in which participants assume the role of a character who is either in an abusive relationship or is witnessing one. Students engage in small group discussions to identify characteristics of both healthy and unhealthy relationships. The goal of the program is to educate teens so they can build healthy relationships in their lives now and in the future.

JCADA was founded with a three-prong mission: Support victims of domestic abuse to become empowered and live safely; Educate the community about domestic abuse and appropriate responses; and Prevent future generations from suffering domestic abuse. Since 2009, JCADA has presented the AWARE® workshops for over 8,500 students, educators and parents in congregations, youth groups, high schools, colleges, and camps across the DMV.

We believe that giving teens the support they need to make healthy relationship choices is one of the many ways we can create a safe community here at Etz Hayim. We know that talking with your child about the program and healthy relationships will help ensure that this program has a lasting impact. We encourage you to have an open dialogue with your teen about this program and healthy relationships. For more information about healthy relationships, warning signs of dating abuse, and how to talk to your teen, visit

This workshop will occur between 11:00 am – 12:30 pm in the Social Hall. After T’fillah, Kitah Zayin will do a text study on Jewish ethics related to Hanukkah. Next week, we will continue our lessons on relationships with a conversation on marriage and Jewish traditions surrounding marriage. Thank you for your continued support, and we looking forward to the discussion. If you have questions on the program this week, please let Amanda, Laura, and me know.

Shabbat Shalom!

Stuart Portman & Amanda Sky