Kitah Alef Hebrew Learning

In Kitah Alef, we approach Hebrew learning by using words from prayers that the children are learning to sing as the basis for learning letter-sound correlations.

Here the children are sorting high-frequency words into categories based on letters they contain.  Earlier, they’d searched for the words in the prayers and highlighted them with the colors corresponding to the sorting mats.

Community Tu B’Shevat Celebration

Join the celebration of Tu B’Shevat 5780!  We’ll gather at 10am on February 9th to conduct an ecologically focused Tu B’Shevat seder that incorporates song, text, discussion, and of course a variety of fruits.

All are welcome!

Please RSVP to Katherine Booker,, by February 6th to let us know you’re coming.


One Happy Camper Scholarship

Dear Friends,

I’m delighted to announce that, thanks to the generosity of The Michael and Anita Siegal One Happy Camper Fund, limited $1,000 incentive grants are available. Any Jewish child who would like to have a first-time experience at a Jewish overnight camp and who lives in a community that is part of JFNA’s Network of Independent Communities is eligible to apply.

To apply online for the One Happy Camper grant, click here. For a printed application, click here and follow the instructions on the application. These grants are first come, first served. Families must apply by Friday, March 20, 2020 to be considered. Applicants will be notified by Friday, April 24, 2020, if they have been awarded one of these grants. This is an incredible opportunity and we hope you will spread the word in your community.

To learn more about the One Happy Camper first-time incentive scholarship initiative of the Foundation for Jewish Camp or explore the numerous Jewish camp possibilities for children, click here.

If you have questions regarding the One Happy Camper grant application process for Network communities, please contact Edward Finkel, JFNA/Network Regional Director, at (212) 284-6530 or by e-mail at


Daniel H. Nathanson
Executive Director
The Jewish Federations of North America
The Network of Independent Communities

Glickman Scholarship Applications!

DMG Camp Scholarship Applications for SUMMER CAMP 2020 will be accepted through March 15, 2020. T

he Daniel M. Glickman Memorial Fund is available to KI families and students interested in attending a summer Jewish or music overnight camp, or Lansing’s Camp Gan Israel.

You are invited to apply for this scholarship award by submitting a request for funding.  The application form is available here.

The Daniel M. Glickman Memorial Fund gives priority awards to students who:

1) are receiving a DMG award for the first time

2) are attending an “away” camp for the first time

3) are attending Camp Gan Israel

Karen and Ken Glickman and the Daniel M. Glickman Memorial Fund Committee – Stan Kaplowitz, Eileen Heideman, Sara Kalt, Michele Loree’, Leon Puttler, Deb Weiland

From the Newsletter

By Nicole Ellefson

Among the great joys of working with our community’s children are moments of amazing Jewish creativity and insight. They happen all the time, some larger than others. Here are a few examples.

During Hebrew work in Kitah Alef as the children are learning to read/write the alef-bet and Hebrew, Ari F had a moment of artistic communion with our elders from long ago. We had a few minutes of spare time at the end of our morning. Ari asked if he could draw. I said it would have to be related to what we do in school. What he came up with is the ancient art of micrography, using Hebrew letters and words to create an image. He proudly showed me and the rest of his classmates how he used yuds, lameds, shins, and other letters to create his robot.

In Kitah Bet, the children dig into questions on topics that motivate them to learn more about Jewish writings, traditions, and practice. Several children shared projects about their study of Torah. Some of the recent projects really dug into the essence of “wrestling with the text.” Miriam F shared a project that focused on looking more deeply at some of the most prominent people in the Torah. She asked the group fantastic questions about Eve and the snake and how they were treated by G-d that prompted all of us to think about the story in new ways. Was it fair that the snake, Adam, and Eve were punished without a chance to conduct teshuvah?

As part of our learning about the Israeli government, Rozzie organized a mock election where children voted for which type of snack they wanted. Parties were made and each party had to decide with whom they would try to form a coalition, what they were willing to offer, and what they were willing to compromise. Jonny, leader of the Central Seaweed Party first offered a deal of 7 seaweed and 3 graham crackers to win over the Big Kids Seaweed Party (headed by Silas), the Little Kids Seaweed Party (headed by Ari), and the Central Seaweed/Graham Crackers Party (headed by Sasha). However, they later had to compromise to 6 seaweed and 4 graham crackers in order to make a majority coalition with the Central Graham Cracker Party (headed by Josh D).

A snack reflecting these negotiations was held on Sunday, November 24. Now to see if Israel can form a government!

Hail to the Chief (of Snacks)

This year, Kitah Bet has been learning about the unprecedented political conundrum Israel finds herself in: the Knesset’s inability to form a government after TWO rounds of general elections! We have been talking about the Israeli parliamentary system, how coalition building works, and its differences from our political set-up here at home in the USA.

The first question the kids ask when they walk into the classroom is, “Are there any election updates?” or “Does Israel have a government yet?” Their inquisitiveness and enthusiasm inspired Rozzie (one of the fabulous former MSU students teaching Kitah Bet) to write up a program simulating a parliamentary election. She even made sure that the election results would have a real-world impact the students care about…their snacks!

Click here for some pictures from that day and to find out who won the coveted title of Prime Minister of Snacks.

Kitah Alef– Hebrew Learning

Children in Kitah Alef use multiple means to learn about the alef-bet.  Children explore the shapes of letters using pattern blocks.  Children work on recreating familiar prayers with a partner.   Children read/identify the words of the prayer based on their emerging knowledge of letter/sound associations.  Working with a partner, or alone, children can take charge of their own learning!

Slichot Observance

Sarah led the children in a discussion of the 13 attributes of mercy that G-d shows to us.  After exploring the different types of mercy and learning about the tradition of how slichot is observed, children created art to reflect the aspect of mercy with which they most identified.

November Newsletter Article


Kivunim wants to thank everyone who came out for the run for Cristo Rey on October 5th. KI entered six runners and had FOUR division winners! Yashar ko’ach!

We really got into the swing of things in October. The Kitah Bet students finished their first research projects on the Tanach and presented their work to classmates. The kids raised a lot of good questions and showed a real depth of thinking coming up with possible answers to the Torah’s mysteries. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds in store.

Kitah Alef has been busy working on tefillot (prayers), alef-bet, and Torah.

Check out the bulletin board in the hallway for a sampling of how we blend learning prayer and the alef-bet.  Here’s a quick snapshot.

All of us at Kivunim hope that everyone had a great High Holy Day season. Shanah tovah umetukah!

Up-Coming Dates

  • Saturday, November 9th, 11am. Tot Shabbat. Anna Pegler-Gordon and Neil Gordon will lead a lively Tot Shabbat for tots and parents/grandparents.
  • Saturday, November 16th, 10am. Jonny Kalt’s Bar Mitzvah.
  • Sunday, November 17th, 10am. Global Day of Jewish Learning at Shaarey Zedek. We will be continuing our tradition of observing the Global Day of Jewish Learning with our pals at Shaarey Zedek. This year, they will be hosting us.
  • Wednesday, November 20th, 4pm. Sigd. Kitah Bet will be learning about the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd, celebrating Moses getting the Torah. This will be during normal Hebrew School time.
  • Wednesday, November 27th and Sunday, December 1st. Thanksgiving Break. There will be NO Hebrew School or Sunday School on these days. Have a great Thanksgiving and safe travels!

Welcome to KIvunim

Shalom! Hello!

We are the religious school at Congregation Kehillat Israel, a small-but-mighty synagogue in the heart of Michigan. Welcome to our website!

Here you will find more about us, an event calendar, student forms, and school announcements.

Wednesday school, for grades 3 to b’nai mitzvah meets from 4:00pm-6:00pm.

Sunday school for grades kindergarten to b’nai mitzvah meets from 10:00am-12:15pm