Parent Toolbox

JLC Parent Toolbox

Our Mission:
Through a variety of dynamic learning environments, the Pressman Academy’s Jewish Learning Community at Temple Beth Am provides students with the tools to investigate and engage in meaningful relationships. Relationships with God -“Bein Adam L’atzmo”, the self - “Bein Adam L’havero”, and their community - “Bein Adam L’makom” offer a foundation and appreciation for Judaism and the values inherit in our tradition. By offering students a safe environment to struggle, question, and develop intellectual, emotional and spiritual thoughts, the JLC @ TBA encourages students to develop a meaningful connection to Judaism and their Jewish life.

What is a JLC Parent Toolbox?
More than texts and classroom projects, our most important resource for connecting and deepening Jewish learning and tradition is YOU, JLC Parents! Using this “JLC Parent Toolbox” our hope is to create and ensure a partnership with JLC parents. Using the tools provide we hope to enhance your child’s learning and provide you with opportunities to extend Jewish education in your own homes.

How to use the toolbox:
For each child you have in the JLC, you will receive a kit that is directed to their grade level. For example Kitah Alef (1st grade) parents will receive a “Kitah Alef Toolbox.” By using the toolbox parents will be provided with information their children are learning and ways to incorporate the learning at home in conversation or in practice.

This toolbox is also used by JLC teachers along with their curriculum to create relevance for families and students in everyday life. JLC administration also uses the toolbox to assess curricular goals and reflect on student learning.

We know that using the toolbox may require you to engage in some investigation of your own and as you do so questions might come. Please don’t hesitate to contact, Lisa Clumeck, JLC Director, for additional materials to add to your toolbox and more information on how to begin this engagement at home.

What comes inside my toolbox?

1. A summary of your child’s curriculum

2. Essential Questions – these are questions that will help you build conversations at home. These questions are not meant to be easily answered and should require some debate and deep thought. An example of an essential question is: How can I make Temple Beth Am my community?

3. Questions from your child’s teacher – these are questions that your child’s teachers feel are important for you to continue the learning that happens here in the JLC. Questions from your child’s teacher and summaries from classroom learning will be additions to your toolbox throughout the year.

4. Things that you can do at home to enforce your child’s JLC learning and make their Jewish education authentic and meaningful.

5. If you feel like there is something missing from this kit and would like to suggest some additions, please let us know! Email, JLC Director, Lisa Clumeck lclumeck@tbala.org

Here are some Overarching Essential Questions to get you started:
- How does individual and familial self-reflection establish spiritual development in your home?
- Does recognition and interaction with TBA and the JLC create stronger relationships with your family and your community?
- How does engaging in Jewish practice at home promote intellectual and emotional connection, lifelong learning, and commitment to a Jewish life?

Kitah Gan Toolbox (K)

This year’s theme: Hineini – Here I am
The Kitah Gan students begin their Jewish Learning Community experience by investigating what it means to be a Jewish person. Kitah Gan students will be challenged to answer to the question, what does it mean to be me - in my home, my community, and my world? Guided by their teacher, students will build a relationship with themselves and with God. By learning the Jewish concepts, shmirat ha-guf (caring for our bodies) and our shmirat ha-nefesh (caring for our souls), students will develop unique associations to Shabbat and its practices, along with learning to embrace familiar customs and traditions in Judaism. The curriculum is entitled Hineini – Here I Am, to empower Kitah Gan students to find relevance in their connections and meaning in their Jewish souls.

Unit 1 (September-December)
Begins setting up foundational understanding of the Torah by introducing the story of creation and the relevance of Shabbat. Kitah Gan students will become familiar with the order of creation, the various aspects incorporated with Shabbat and Jewish tradition and ritual, and the relevance of the Torah to the Jewish people. They will begin to learn basic concepts in Judaism such as protecting and guarding their souls and identify tefillot (prayers) that are recited daily and on Shabbat.

Unit 2 (December-March)
In Unit two students will begin to learn biblical stories and the morals that they encompass, specifically they will study the story of Noah and identify key values brought to Judaism through the Torah. They will also begin to understand the Jewish calendar and the order of Jewish holiday, and the holidays themselves.

Unit 3 (March-May)
As a culmination to their learning Kitah Gan students will begin to investigate their own home life and see it in relation to the Torah and Jewish practices. They will find key connections to Jewish tradition, family, and the community.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year:
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.)

Essential Questions:

-How does learning my Jewish history help me be Jewish?
-Can practicing the customs of Shabbat teach me about Jewish tradition?
-Why should I listen to the characters from the Torah to help me lead a better life?
-Does learning about Judaism help me have a better relationship with my parents and siblings?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What are the 6 days of creation and how did they make the world a less chaotic place?
-How do we practice Shabbat?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Discuss the story of Noah with your children reinforce the morals and guidelines learned from our Jewish ancestors.
2. Have a Shabbat dinner and have your children explain to you the different parts of the experience.
3. Mark the calendar for each of the Jewish holidays and discuss what time of year they come in and their importance to the Jewish tradition.
4. Let your child ask you questions about Judaism, and start a book of why? Remind them that Judaism is a tradition of question and answer and they should always questions so that they can continue to learn. (If you need help answering their questions, go to the JLC director or their teacher.)

Kitah Alef Toolbox (1st)

This year’s theme: L’dor V’dor - From Generation to Generation
In Kitah Alef students will begin to explore Judaism beyond their own personal relationship with the religion. This year students will study mishpaha (family) and its importance in Judaism, its importance in community, and its importance in each individual's life. Through a deep examination of mishpaha, students will become familiar with the generational connections from Torah and within their own families.

Unit 1 (September-December)
Begins setting up foundational relationships with families from the Torah. Kitah Alef students will become familiar with the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rebecca, and Yakov, Rachel, and Leah. Additionally students will gain an understanding for key ideas and specific themes in Judaism. By defining Mitzvot as commandments, students will learn their responsibilities as Jews to help the sick - Bikkur Cholim, welcome guests into their homes – Hachnasat Orchim, and to guard and protect their souls – Shmirat Hanafesh.

Unit 2 (December-March)
As the foundational understanding of the relationship with God is identified students will begin to identify their relationship with the community and how important aspects of Judaism are communal and a shared responsibility. Students will understand the importance of passing on traditions and stories of key Jewish holidays, responsibility in prayer, and honoring the Torah and its commandments.

Unit 3 (March-May)
As a culmination to their learning Kitah Alef students will begin to investigate their own home life and see it in relation to all of their class studies. They will find key connections to their own Mishpacha (family) and the Mishpachot (families) of the Torah.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year:
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.)

Essential Questions:
-How do our biblical ancestors provide us with ways to lead our lives as Jewish people of today?
-When do ritual objects play a significant role in our home and community?
-Why does a connection to my family’s history and my family’s present determine my future?
-How does Judaism and Jewish tradition translate into Jewish practice that are transferred from generation to generation l’dor v’dor?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What is your favorite commandment and why is this commandment important in our tradition?
-Why is it important to pass our personal and communal Jewish tradition from Generation to Generation (L’dor V’dor)?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1.Discuss the stories of the Torah, listed above, with your children reinforce the morals and guidelines learned from our Jewish ancestors.
2.Have a Shabbat dinner and allow your children to invite guests to fulfill the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim.
3.Create a list of mitzvot that you can complete as a family and then complete it!
4.Remind your children of the importance of taking care of themselves, brushing their teeth, getting enough sleep, and eating well, as fulfilling the mitzvah of Shmirat Hanefesh
5.Keep a journal of your family traditions for each of the Jewish holidays as they come up on the calendar and discuss the importance of revisiting these traditions each year.

Kitah Bet Toolbox (2nd)

This year’s theme: Havruta - Friendship
Kitah Bet students will discover friendship as it is revealed in the Torah. Rather than describing friendship as it is typically labeled, with the term haver, we have chosen the word havruta. The word havruta is a rabbinic term referring to a partnership where two people would come together to study text. The idea of a havruta partner is to acquire both a friend and partner, which will challenge and push his partner to reach his ultimate potential. The hope is for Kitah Bet students to recognize the importance of friendship and its significant value for each individual.

Unit 1 (September-December)
This unit begins by exploring specific characters from the Torah and their relationships and friendships with God. Kitah Bet students will learn and begin to identify characteristics within the challenging partnerships that God has with Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph (and his brothers), and Moses. Through an identification of positive and negative challenges that each of these biblical characters are faced with throughout their lives, Kitah Bet students will begin a deep investigation of the High Holidays and how they relate to havruta in everyday life. By studying Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur students will explore the significance of teshuva and forgiveness as it relates to Judaism. They will begin to understand the practice of mitzvot (commandments) and our responsibility as a Jewish people to be thankful, forgiving, and to most importantly give back to our community and to our friends.

Unit 2 (December-March)
During this unit students will begin to put their knowledge of responsibility and the commandments to use in their own relationships. They will learn the important concept in Judaism of Dibuk Haverim (cleaving to friendship) and why it is important to value and respect the friends that we have in our lives. In this unit students begin practicing the different mitvot of lifting up one's spirit , and not speaking bad in addition to studying various tefillot, holidays, and stories from the Torah that express the importance of relationships and havruta.

Unit 3 (March-May)
As a culmination to their learning, Kitah Bet students will begin to create expectations for important characteristics they want to see in their own relationships. They will identify important relationships they have with family, friends, and community members that require their attention and devotion. In a special culminating project together with their teacher students will express their Jewish commitment to havruta within their live.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year:
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.)
Hallelu
Romemu
Amidah
Birchot Hashahar
Mi Sheberakh

Essential Questions:
-Why are the relationships written about in the Torah stories listed above useful for our lifestyles today?
-How does building relationships and friendships contribute to forming a our Jewish community?
-Why is learning to treat others genuinely and with respect important for establishing personal and meaningful relationships?
-In what ways do the terms partnership and friendship express the same thing?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-How does the idea of self-reflection and asking ourselves and others for forgiveness during the 9 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur relate to our personal relationships with God?
-Is there a difference between the relationship with ourselves, others, and God? If yes, please explain.
-When God asks Abraham to leave his home, Abraham listens. Many of us might be scared or uncertain about following a voice to the unknown. Abraham had a relationship with God and that is why he went. How do we create our own relationship of trust with God?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Discuss the relationships created in the Torah from the stories above with your children. Reinforce the important morals and guidelines learned within these relationships and how they relate to our own relationships today.
2. Write a list with your children of the people they want to apologize to or practice teshuva with between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
3. Plan a party or a Shabbat dinner with your child’s friends from the JLC, ask each student to say something nice about the others before they begin dinner or the party.
4. Write a list as a family of important characteristics to have in a friendship. Discuss which are most important to each of you and why.
5. Discuss each Jewish holiday as it happens on the calendar. Ask your children how friendship and partnership played a significant role for Jewish people in each of them. Some holidays to do this with - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim, and Pesach.

Kitah Gimel Toolbox (3rd)

This year’s theme: B’tzelem Elohim - Responsibility in being Created in the Image of God
This year Kitah Gimel students will progress beyond Biblical narratives into a deeper understanding of the rich text written in the Torah. Students will begin to uncover the importance and foundation of core values in relation to the responsibility of being created B’tzelem Elohim (Genesis 1.26-1.27), in the Image of God. Kitah Gimel students will also start to build a more intimate relationship with God through conversation, prayer, and by doing mitzvot (commandments).

Unit 1 (September-December)
Students learn the foundational understanding of what it means to be created B’tzelem Elohim (in the image of God). Using the stories of Adam and Eve, Avraham and the Angels, and Joseph and his dreams from the Torah Kitah Gimel students begin to understand in what ways we are responsible to act in the ways of God. By studying the leadership of Avraham, Joseph, and Moses, Kitah Gimel students have the opportunity in this unit to learn what it means to represent the Jewish people and be advocates for the earth and humanity. This unit incorporates Jewish ritual responsibility and explores tefillot (prayers) in terms of personal and spiritual commitment in being created B’tzelem Elohim.

Unit 2 (December-March)
This unit builds on the Jewish responsibility to guard and protect all living creatures and the earth that we live on. Students are introduced to Jewish themes and mitzvot tied to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Tzedek (Justice). Some examples of the mitzvot students will learn are Bal Tashhit (do not waste) and Tzar Baalei Hayim (proper treatment of animals). Through these mitzvot and others Kitah Gimel students will focus on identifying ways they can give back and participate according to the ways of God.

Unit 3 (March-May)
As a culmination to this unit, students will begin to investigate our world in relation to their studies. They will begin to put into practice many of the ideas that they have learned throughout the course of the year and create meaning and relevance in the concept of being created B’tzelem Elohim.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year:

Az Yashir
Sh’ma - and three paragraphs V’ahavta, V’haee, and Vi’omer
Adon Olam
Amidah
Chatzi Kaddish
Baruch Sheamar
Yishtabakh Shimha

Essential Questions:
-How does acting in God’s ways make me Jewish?
-Does creating a relationship with God make me a stronger Jew?
-Why does being Jewish make me responsible for caring for my environment?
-Will my understanding of the stories in the Torah provide me with the skills I need to navigate and be responsible for the world around me?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What does being created B’tzelem Elohim (in the Image of God) mean to you?
-If we are created in the image of God, why is it important for us to do mitzvot (commandments)?
-What are some qualities that you have that make you special or like God?
-If we all look different, how is it that we can all be created B’tzelem Elohim?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Discuss as a family the biblical figures listed above and how each of them acted in God’s ways, make a list of the characteristic and see which ones you and your family relate to.
2. Plant a garden and help provide the earth with some of the natural resources needed to maintain its original beauty.
3. Organize a beach clean up with your family and some friends and practice the mitzvah of Shomrei Adamah (guarding and protecting the earth).
4. Volunteer at a pet shelter and help care for the animals and fulfill this mitzvah of Tzar Balei Hayim.
5. Look over the daily tefillot and identify the portions of each prayer that requires us to act in God’s ways. Keep a list and mark off as a family when and how you have completed the different ways.

Kitah Dalet Toolbox (4th)

This year’s theme: Am Yisrael - Jewish Peoplehood
In Kitah Dalet, students focus on the Jews emerging as a people. Students will follow the Israelites on their journey through the desert, as they receive the commandments, build the Mishkan, and confront their freedom in a new land. Students will engage in exploration of defining moments in the history of the Jewish people, the same way the biblical spies were sent out by Moses to investigate the land.

Unit 1 (September-December)
The concept of Peoplehood is explored from a historical context, and includes learning about the moments at Sinai, the destruction of the Temple and the beginning of the Rabbinic age. Kitah Dalet students will study Torah and a variety of Jewish texts that The Diaspora is explored through both the historical and modern perspectives. Whether considering the Jews of Babylonia, the Jews of Spain, or the spaces and places of Jewish Los Angeles students will learn about the Jews as individuals and a community.

Unit 2 (December-March)
In this examination of peoplehood, the students learn the development of communities from a historical and spiritual viewpoint. Using the foundation of learning from the first unit, Kitah Dalet students will begin to identify cultures and traditions from around the world as they pertain to Judaism. Throughout this unit students will also learn the historical significance of Israel and begin to connect and relate to Israel as the home for the Jewish people.

Unit 3 (March-May)
As a culmination of this unit, Kitah Dalet students will begin to investigate their own ancestry and cultural representations. Students will begin to identify and find relevance in Jewish Peoplehood as it pertains to them as Jewish Americans and begin to make decisions towards ensuring the continuance of Jewish peoplehood in the world today.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.):
Ashrei
Yedid Nefesh
Shabbat Kiddush
Lecha Dodi
Shalom Aleihem

Essential Questions:
-How does our relationship with God play a factor in the significance of Am Yisrael – The Jewish people?
-Why do the Jewish communities around the world play a role in the Judaism we observe and represent in Los Angeles?
-What does it mean to have a Jewish State? Why is this important?
-What is the Torah expressing through the story of the Jewish people?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What is one way to answer - “How did the Jewish people come to exist?”
-Does God really need a house?
-Were you at Sinai? If so explain how and what that means to you or your family.

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Discuss as a family the importance of having community. How has this affected each member of your family and what does it mean to each of you personally?
2. In the Torah there are very specific instructions for how the mishkan should be built, discuss as a family if you feel like there was something missing and what the purpose of building a home for God, might have been in biblical times.
3. Create a family tree and include our biblical ancestors, as you create the tree discuss your family's lineage and traditions that have been passed on throughout history. When you reach your own family identify some traditions that your children will pass on to their children.
4. Have each member of your family write out a monologue as if you were receiving the commandments from God at Sinai, present them to one another and discuss the differences and similarities in each of your stories.
5. As a family, learn Israel’s National Anthem Ha Tikva (The Hope). Discuss the meaning of the words in English and how it affects your family. Compare your relationship with Israel’s Anthem to America’s National Anthem - The Star Spangled Banner, how is it the same and how is different.

Kitah Hay Toolbox (5th)

This year’s theme: Jewish Lifecycle
In Kitah Hay, students are guided on a Journey in Judaism from birth to death. Using developmentally appropriate lessons the Kitah Hay students will explore the values and importance that Judaism places on lifecycle events. They will become more familiar with individual and communal customs as well as religious obligations.

Unit 1 (September-December)
Students will do a deep investigation of the stories within the Torah that recognize the foundation and development for Jewish lifecycle as it exists today. Students will have the opportunity to learn and recognize the importance of the covenant with God and our ancestors and ultimately within each of their lives. They will recognize the covenant as a translation into the beginning of a journey with Jewish lifecycle as they continue their own journeys. Students will be guided through lifecycle from birth to death by looking at other ancestral figures in the Torah that have experienced the journey and relating each occasion to personal and communal experiences they have shared.

Unit 2 (December-March)
In the second unit of Jewish lifecycle Kitah Hay students will learn to recognize the importance of participation and community responsibility in Jewish lifecycle. By becoming familiar with the impact that each individual has on Jewish lifecycle, students will examine their role in Jewish simchas and times when the community is in need. These studies will reinforce Jewish responsibility for giving back both physically and spiritually.

Unit 3 (March-May)
In a culmination of learning for Kitah Hay students will identify specific family traditions and lifecylce moments as they arise. They will begin the process participation and commitment to their journeys and identify which ways they can be actively involved in their lifecycles and the communities.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.):
Barchu
Sh’ma - and three paragraphs V’ahavta, V’haee, and Vi’omer
Brachot for Aliyot
Amidah
Kedusha p.6
Hallelu
Mourners Kaddish
Yotzer Or
Mi Kamokha
Sheva Brachot
Mi Sheberakh

Essential Questions:
-Why does our community play a significant role in Jewish lifecycle events?
-How do services and prayers create connections to daily and special lifecycle moments in each of our lives?
-How does understanding Jewish history help create meaning in the traditions that play an important purpose in Jewish lifecycle events?
-What can Jewish custom and tradition explain about the importance of Judaism’s influence in lifecycle?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What is a Brit? Discuss with your family what kinds of Brit celebrations or events you have had in your lives.
-Why is Brit important to building a community?
-What is the reason or importance for building a Jewish home through Brit or a covenant of marriage?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Attend the daily minyan or a Shiva call as a family. Afterwards reflect on the importance and commitment to community during time of death.
2. Discuss as a family the different lifecycle events that each family member has experienced. Pick the lifecycle event that is most nearing and begin to write down all the steps that the family needs to take in order to prepare.
3. Although it may seem far away, your child’s bar/bat mitzvah is only in a few years. Discuss together how this Jewish lifecycle moment will shape your child’s present and future. What are some important things you want them to know.
4. Go see the play Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, or watch the movie together as a family. Discuss the intense life journey that Joseph had from birth to death. Have a conversation as a family about how each of the things that happen in your life attribute to all of your Jewish lifecycle moments.
5. Write out a covenant/brit for your family. Describe in your family brit some of the important things you would like to see as your child/ren get older. Make sure each member of the family adds in something

Kitah Vav Toolbox (6th)

This year’s theme: “Hitbonenu” Internal Reflection/Contemplation
Kitah Vav students will journey through introspection by way of Torah and core biblical texts, rabbinic text, historical occurrences and contemporary subject matter and reflection. Students will gain an understanding and empathy for their Jewish community present, past, and future. They will deeply investigate the Jewish ideas of B’tzelem Elohim (Genesis 1.26-1.27) (being created in the image of God), Shmirat Ha-Guf and Shmirat Ha-Nefesh (Guarding and protecting the body and the soul), and Kol Yisrael Arevim Z’le Ze (all of Israel is responsible for one another). In addition Kitah Vav students will become more familiar with the larger Jewish community throughout the world.

Unit 1 (September-December)
Kitah Vav students are asked to discover personal meaning in connection with big Jewish ideas and themes. In the first unit of their learning they investigate a variety of texts from the Torah and other rabbinic and midrashic (stories) sources to help them understand the foundational concepts of being created in God's image, B'tzelem Elohim, and guarding and protecting one’s soul and body. These texts will teach students how Jewish belief has developed over time and how their influence and commitment to learning has the ability to shape the Jewish future.

Unit 2 (December-March)
In this unit, Kitah Vav students are given the task of taking into consideration the responsibilities we have as Jews and how those responsibilities affect the Jewish community. By learning about historical accounts of Jewish assimilation, persecution, and triumph, students will be able to discover and identify their role in perpetuating Jewish strength and determination.

Unit 3 (March-May)
In this culminating unit for Kitah Vav students they will determine exactly which ways they need to be responsible for all of Israel, Kol Yisrael Arevim Z’le Ze. The class will uncover the struggles and realities within today’s society among the Jewish people and within the general population. Using their learning they will have the opportunity to discuss and take action toward bettering the Jewish people and the world.

Tefillot (prayers) to be studied and learned this year
(Please note: tefillot are not expected to be mastered in one year.):
Barchu
Sh’ma - and three paragraphs V’ahavta, V’haee, and Vi’omer
Ashrei
Brachot for Aliyot
Amidah
Kedusha p.6
Hatzi Kaddish
Mourners Kaddish
Mi Kamokha
Hallel
Aleinu
Adon Olam

Essential Questions:
-Why is my behavior and identity reflective of the Jewish people?
-How does my understanding of history affect my relationship to the future?
-Why does God play a role in understanding my soul, my body, and my relationship to my friends; family; community; and the world?
-How does introspection play a role in perception of the past?
-Why does reflection on historical occurrences determine the success of the future?

Questions from your child’s teacher:
-What is the meaning of the terms Keva and Kavanah and how do they relate to who I am?
-Describe in what ways God is in our soul.
-What is the hallel service? What are the themes? Why do we say it?

Activities you can do at home as a family:
1. Have a discussion as a family your responsibilities to yourself, your community, and the world. How does being created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, play a role in each of the ways you are responsible.
2. Choose a “cause” to support as a family. Research the cause and find ways to participate in supporting that cause first hand. Discuss throughout the process the relevance in being a part of something bigger than yourself in Judaism.
3. Your child is quickly approaching his/her bar/bat mitzvah, create a list of the new responsibilities that come about as you become a young adult in the Jewish community. What changes, and what stays the same?
4. Call the synagogue and learn about ways to become involved or give back to your community. Decide one way as a family and work on it together.
5. Attend daily minyan and Shabbat services, after the experience ask your family about what felt spiritual and what felt fixed. Over time discuss what changes and encounters come about and how you feel connected, to the self, the community, and the Jewish world.

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JLC Events COMING UP!

JLC Staff

Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, EdD
Director of YLE

Lisa Clumeck,
JLC Director

Farrah Noah,
Operations Coordinator

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