Educating our children in the richness of their past,
the diversity of their present and the possibilities for their future.

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Building a New Life in America!
Abbe Roth

Our Grade Two immigrants arrived at CJDS's "Ellis Island" on Wednesday! This unit was an extension of the Voyage of the Mayflower. As with that unit, through the reading of different books and the wonderful stories from their families, the students discovered: difficulty of deciding to leave one’s country and move to a totally new country; the different reasons why people make/made this decision; and the difficulty of adapting to a new country. The class discussed the connection to their grade level theme of “kavod,” respect, and explored the question of what part of these immigration stories show respect to oneself? To others?

Essential Questions during this unit were:

  • Why do people immigrate?
  • How do we use the process of immigration to make sense of and learn about the world around us?

Students participated in a mitzvah project through HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society), an American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees. They made congratulatory cards for immigrants who have successfully become U.S. Citizens. One of the largest programs at HIAS Chicago is the citizenship program: immigration case workers help clients apply for U.S. citizenship and volunteers then facilitate education (1:1 tutoring, mock interviews, group classes) to help them prepare for their exam and interview (which includes an oral interview, questions on U.S. history and civics, and a reading and writing component).

Students experienced a simulation of the Ellis Island immigration process by arriving at Ellis Island and taking the required medical, literacy, and legal inspections. After waiting in long lines, they finally made it to America with flying colors! We are so proud of our teachers and students for embarking on this adventurous and educational journey!