On Monday, Dec. 18, fifth grade students at Krieger Schechter Day School (KSDS) in Baltimore presented their finished tallitot(prayer shawls) to parents and peers as they concluded a five-part tallit workshop. The workshop, which began on Oct. 17, was the result of a community partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore and KSDS. The project utilized the school’s brand new, state-of-the-art Abramoff MakerSpace.
Rabbi Jessy Gross, JCC director of Jewish life, and Jodi Wahlberg, KSDS director of community partnerships and a teacher in the middle school, came up with the idea of the workshop while discussing ways to enhance the KSDS curriculum and tefillah (prayer)experience with an interactive, integrated project. Rabbi Gross and Wahlberg carefully crafted the workshops to include text study sessions and meaningful discussions surrounding the wearing of the tallit, as well as sessions that allowed students to be creative and make the tallitwith their own hands out of fabrics they selected and with a personally chosen piece of text for the atara, the neck band on the tallit, literally “crown.” The hope was to provide a way for students to find a deeper, personal connection to prayer.