Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chodesh Tov

In Parshas Bo, the Jewish People receive their first mitzvah from Hashem: to declare Rosh Chodesh each month and to establish a calendar based on the cycle of the moon.  

What a wonderful opportunity to explore our closest planetary neighbor from both Jewish and scientific angles.  Please enjoy the printable downloads and video I have posted below.

CLICK HERE to download a Phases of the Moon poster set.

CLICK HERE to download a blank Moon Observation Sheet.

CLICK HERE for a delicious astronomy lesson using cream cookie moons.

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Melody of Love - "Pieces" CD Giveaway!

A couple of months ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter Sheliya to New York to celebrate her bat mitzvah.  She had decided to forgo a party or Kiddush in shul in favor of a mother-daughter trip.  We stayed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with dear family friends.  On the morning of her birthday, we had the zechus (merit) to travel to the Ohel (resting place) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, obm.  She wrote a pan (pidyon nefesh) outlining her goals and hopes as a newly minted bat mitzvah girl.  The pan also includes personal requests for blessings.  I was so proud and happy standing by her side in such a holy place, admiring my daughter who had grown from a baby into a lovely young lady in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

Aside from the obvious appeal of a trip to New York – kosher restaurants, Jewish shops, sight-seeing – the trip was especially meaningful for another reason.  It was a chance for us to spend some time with Lubavitch women whom I greatly admire and see as role models for both myself and my daughter.  Little did I know that we would quickly (on the very day of our arrival) meet an immensely talented female song-writer, singer, and teacher named Sara Hecht.  It wasn’t too long before we were privileged to enter her world of music and inspiration.

Our hostess is a close friend of Sara’s and was one of a lucky few to have an advance-copy of Sara’s CD, “Pieces.”  The music was soaring through the apartment when we arrived from the airport.  My daughter’s immediate reaction was one of joy and curiosity.  “Who is this great singer?” she asked.  Well we were about to find out in person.  After a quick phone call made by our hostess, we were on our way to Sara’s apartment just a few blocks away.  She welcomed us inside and we sat around a small table to hear about the work and dedication that was finally bearing fruit with the production and release of her debut CD.  

It had been a six-year journey bringing the songs to life and getting them into professional production.  Sara had the privilege to work with professional musicians, arrangers, and producers from around the globe.  She detailed to us how each of the tracks was recorded and laid down in various studios and how the cover was designed to inspire and uplift.  Perhaps the most impressive part was hearing about her dedication to halacha every step of the way and her frequent consulting with others on matters of hashkafa related to her music.

I could see from the expression on my daughter’s face that she was living out a dream - sitting across from a bubbly and talented Jewish singer sharing her artistic life with us.  Sara offered to take some pictures with Sheliya and sent her off with an autographed CD.  And the fun continued several days later when we were invited back to the release party!

So why, you might be asking, is this appearing on a homeschooling blog?  What does this have to do with Judaism and education?  Well… absolutely everything.

Jewish wisdom tells us that, “words from the heart enter the heart.”  Children are innately attuned to sincerity.  There is no better way to communicate and implant the love of Torah and practice of mitzvot than from a pleasant and admired source.  This heartfelt, impromptu meeting with Sara provided exposure to a multitude of ideas that I value as a parent: inspiration, determination, financial responsibility, creativity, halachic adherence, business acumen and more.  The very fact that Sara had immediately opened her home and heart to total strangers – that she understood the soul of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood – showed my daughter how sincerity and generosity can unexpectedly brighten another person’s day.

From an artistic perspective, the songs on this CD are perfect for girls and women who appreciate musical diversity and lyrical creativity.  Guitars and pianos soar behind Sara’s voice as she praises Hashem for His daily divine assistance; extols the bravery and mesirus nefesh (self-sacrifice)of Chana and her seven sons; and recalls a special bus driver in Israel who shared his wisdom along the way.

So what could be a more perfect way to share my love for this woman and her talent than to do a giveaway of her debut CD?  Here are the rules:
  1. Open to U.S. residents only.
  2. Please go to Sara’s Facebook page and give it a like -
  3. Then come back here to my website and leave a comment on this post that you have visited and liked Sara’s page.
  4. Your like on her page and comment on this post will be your entry into the giveaway.
  5. The giveaway will last from December 12, 2013 through midnight of December 19, 2013.
  6. The winner will be selected and posted on Friday, December 20, 2013.
  7. The winner will receive a copy of Sara’s CD in the mail.

PS - if you want to buy the album, look for it in your local Judaica stores, online at, or download via iTunes.  You can also sample track previews at the artist’s website

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thank You JN1.TV

I am so honored and humbled to share this video with all of you.  Thank you to the fabulous interviewing team for bringing our story of Jewish homeschooling to life!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thank You Intermountain Jewish News

A few years back, when Nachshon and Shoshana Zohari made their first tentative steps to educate their children by themselves, they weren’t entirely sure how to go about it.

They had researched the practice known as “homeschooling,” but there were still a number of unanswered questions.  After all, both parents had themselves been educated in standard classrooms in everyday schools.

“We didn’t have any other model,” says Shoshana, a stay-at-home mom who considers being her kids’ primary teacher a fulltime career.

“We had to de-school ourselves to some degree.  We wondered, what is homeschooling going to look like?”

At first, when they began instructing their oldest son, Avraham, they opted for a method that more or less simulated an ordinary school routine.

“We even had a phase where I’d stand in the kitchen, he’d put on his little backpack by the front door and he’d say ‘Bye Mommy.’

“You don’t know what to do.  You want it to be official.  You don’t want your kids to feel like they’re missing anything.

“A lot of people start out that way and then loosen up.  You move into a much more organic mode.”

That is certainly evident in the Zohari home today, a Southeast Denver condo whose living room is dominated by a large, classroom-style flat table, surrounded by shelves adorned with textbooks and a colorful array of school supplies.

Shoshana spreads her arms wide and smiles.

“We live in a small house,” she says. “This table is school.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Webinar In July

We are pleased to announce that our wonderful webinar series will begin soon!  The first one will take place on Sunday July 21, starting at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time - moderated by Shoshana Zohari.

"Creating Our Summer Scrapbook"
Summer has arrived and we are all headed in different directions with plans of all sorts.  For this webinar we are asking all participants to come prepared to speak a bit.  Tell us, in 5 minutes, what this season holds in store for your family and the valuable lessons to be drawn from those experiences.  We are so looking forward to sharing the virtual pages of this 'colorful, communal scrapbook.’

Monday, June 3, 2013

Homeschooling Conference in Baltimore Attracts Participants from Toronto to Tokyo (Photo Essay)

By Pensak
Posted on 05/28/13

Baltimore, MD - May 27 - Approximately 125 participants from cities across the United States and Canada, including: Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago, Fairfax, VA, New Haven, CT, Rochester, Savannah, Toronto, and as far away as Tokyo, attended the fifth annual Torah Home Education Conference, yesterday. The all-day conference, held at the Center for Jewish Education (CJE), is unique in being the only homeschooling conference geared for Jewish home educating families.

An impressive line-up of expert speakers, workshops, and panel discussions discussed a variety of topics relevant to today’s homeschooling families, including: Educating for Eternity: Clarifying our Vision and Passing it on to our Children;  Getting Started;  Skills-Based Homeschooling in Torah Sheba'al Peh - Principles and Practice; Learning as a Way of Life--Life as a Way of Learning; For the Record: Creative Ways to Keep Track; Hash It Out - A Moderated Shmooze; Homeschooling in Maryland: Laws and Other Guidance; Limudei Kodesh through a Classical Education Lens; Ways to Prevent Mother Meltdown; A Father’s Perspecitve; Unschooling Kodesh--An Oxymoron?; Teaching to Our Children: A Look at Individualized Education; and a Homeschooling Parents’ Panel: Let’s Learn!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Jewish Curriculum Experts

I have wonderful information to share from Risa Krohn of HaKol LaMoreh - The Educational Resource Division of the Israel Bookshop.  Please read her announcement below and don't be shy at all about contacting her.  She is extremely friendly, patient, and helpful.  This is your chance to get professional guidance on achieving your homeschooling chinuch goals.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Purchase the Conference Binder

In case you weren't there or haven't heard yet, the 5th Annual Torah Home Education Conference was a smashing success.  One of the most talked-about features of this year's conference was the extensive Jewish homeschooling resource binder that was created by committee and printed especially for conference participants.  Even if you weren't there, you can still benefit from this incredible collection of valuable information.  Find the details and purchase information below.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Conference Presentation from 2012

Baruch Hashem, I had the opportunity to attend the Torah Home Education Conference last year both as a participant and as a speaker.  The title of my presentation was, "Homeschooling the Middle Years: Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Beyond."

Have you ever wondered about Jewish homeschooling with the 10 and up crowd?  Please enjoy this video presentation given by yours truly, owner and blogger of Sustainable Jewish Schooling.  The question and answer period is a little hard to follow because the microphone did not pick up the questions.  But I repeated each one for the video before answering it.  Enjoy!


The views and opinions expressed in these videos are for educational purposes only and are solely those of the presenter; they do no necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Jewish Schooling or the Torah Home Education Conference.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Win FREE Registration to the Torah Home Education Conference!

CLICK HERE to register for the conference and to enter the giveaway.