Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


January 8, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204


Morah Erin’s Hebrew Class: We read through and discussed the three Hanukah blessings, looking for words we know and remembering some prefixes and suffixes we’ve learned about. Students got a sheet with the blessings and directions for lighting the Hanukah Menorah. Then we played a modified dreidel game to review some vocabulary words we’ve learned and to learn some new words.
Homework: P. 28-29 lines 1-21. These lines should be smooth and easy to read after break without transliteration. Continue to study words on pages 24, 30, 32. If the v’ahavta is easy to read now and the vocabulary is already learned, work on phrases on page 31. I want to move on to a new prayer after break.

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class: We paired up and identified words we can read and translate in all three Chanukah blessings, revisiting prefixes, suffixes, and roots we know. We figured out that we can translate all three without help! We also played dreidel while snacking on munchkins (fried food in honor of Chanukah…), noting that receiving “none” for “nun” seems odd, given that the letter stands for the most important word on the dreidel, “nes,” or miracle. Finally, we looked over the Chanukah blessings again to idenitfy words that start with the same letters that appear on the dreidel (nun, gimel, hay shin).
Homework: Read (or sing) the V’shamru again, then try reading the first 7 lines on page 87, and read/do pages 86-88. Review the meanings of bayn (between), because (ki), ha/the, shel/of, -nu/our, l’/to, -cha/your, v’ or oo/and, b’/in or with, and roots shalom (peace), shomer (preserve or protect), asa (make), baruch (bless), zochar (remember), sh’ma (listen), melech (king), b’rei (create), kadosh (holy), or (light), ahav (love), tzivah (command), and chai (life).

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We skipped reading more of Genesis, and instead did some writing practice using our whiteboards. We wrote words and phrases from our reading, and looked at some elementary differences between Biblical and modern Hebrew vocabulary and grammar: for instance, past and future tenses are reversed. We also made sure we knew the Chanukah blessings, sang them and translated them.
Homework: Same as last time. Read the sixth day of creation, through Genesis 1:31.


Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies: During the dark winter season and as we celebrate Hanukah, the festival of light, it seemed appropriate to talk about the midday or value of simcha. We discussed two kinds of simcha–a joyous event in our lives such as a wedding, that leads to a temporary and intense feeling of joy, and a longer lasting deeper type of simcha, that might not be as intense. We looked at some biblical examples of happiness, from the story of Sarah finding out that she would have a baby when she was already an old woman, to examples in psalms and proverbs. We followed this by looking at two Jews who brought many many people joy over the years, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. We watched them in a coming attraction for On the Town, by Bernstein and we saw an interview with them. Finally, in honor of Hanukah we played a quick game of dreidel.
Homework: Enjoy winter break and think about a way to deepen your own happiness and contentment, or a way to spread joy to others.

Morah Jen’s Jewish studies class: We revisited Chanukah, focusing on the roles of tzedek (justice) and tzedakah (giving) in the origins and traditions of the holiday. Students made their own menorah out of clay and wiki stix, then played a quick round of dreidel in which everyone won one large gelt regardless of their spin results. We ate munchkins (fried food in honor of Chanukah…) while reading “The Flying Latke” by Arthur Yorinks, a story about miracles and getting along with family members. We ended with a quick scan of “Menorah Under the Sea” by Esther Susan Heller, a true story about a marine biologist named David Ginsburg, who made a menorah out of sea urchins and sea stars at the bottom of the ocean near Antarctica.
Homework: I’d like the kids to continue to think about where they would like to lead – their classroom, their sports team, their neighborhood, etc. ,and how they would show the T’s in their leadership.

Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We retold the Chanukah story, to make sure we knew what the holiday was about: Matityahu of Modi’in and his sons, especially the young warrior Yehuda, their rebellion and its allegory of faith and principle, the war with the Syrian Greeks, the return to the descecrated Temple, and the miracle of the oil. We talked about Jewish wars and the repeated destruction of Jewish places of worship. We talked a little about the solar and lunar calendars, and what a coincidence it is that this year Chanukah starts on Christmas Day. We also read a vaguely ludicrous anecdote from our Lawrence Epstein treasury, this one about the dreidel-spinning contest between the physicist president of City College of New York and a professor in the college’s Jewish Studies department. The physicist’s dreidel, informed by all that knowledge of angular momentum, should spin longest, right? Nope, Professor Greenberg’s won, and the wry scholar’s comment was, “The wisdom of the ages has triumphed over physics.”
Homework: Same as last time. In the Dimont “Amazing Adventures” book, read chapters 5 and 6 (pages 23-29).

Contact Kol Ami

P.O. Box 1801, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 571-336-5544
Rabbi's Study: 202-364-3006

Where We Meet

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) & George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
View Map & Directions

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up for a monthly newsletter about upcoming Kol Ami events and programs. Subscribe.