Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


January 29, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204

Morah Erin’s Hebrew: Our phrase of the week was yi’h’yeh b’seder, “it will be ok,” since a little optimism seemed in order…We started working on the yotzer ohr, lines 1-4, noticing that there are two words for creates in those four lines, yotzer and borei. We considered the different connotations and meanings light and darkness can have. Following yotzer ohr we reviewed the v’ahavta, which is getting better. Again, please do not use transliteration (writing out the sounds of Hebrew using English letters). The idea is to learn these prayers, but more importantly, to learn to read the Hebrew words fluently and learn about root words and affixes that we can recognize and understand, and this will not happen if we transliterate! We ended with a game of trasketball to review vocabulary from the v’ahavta and to learn new vocabulary frrom yotzer ohr.
Homework: Read page 8 lines 1-4 several times. Do page 9, 10, and 11. Review pages 28-29 lines 1-21, focusing on lines 12-21, which are less familiar.

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class: We played a word find game with Sim Shalom, looking for and reading specific words and roots (shalom, chesed, rachamim, or, and chai) to earn a throw at the target. Everyone did a great job of finding, reading and translating the words and roots! More of this in next week’s class. The kids are doing a great job of recognizing familiar words in and out of context, rather than just sounding them out.
Homework: Please review all of Sim Shalom on p. 84 of the textbook, looking for words/roots/prefixes/suffixes you know, and review the vocabulary words on pages 87 and 88. Please also read the first 4 lines at the top of page 91.

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We began reviewing the tail end of B’reshit chapter 1 (“vayechulu”) from last week, and discovering we needed more help on it, went over the verses again carefully, translating as we went, especially including the Sabbath and its meaning. We sang a traditional melody and learned it better than last time (I hope!).
Homework: Read, to yourself and aloud to a family member, the next five verses of B’reshit ch. 2, through verse 10. Again, the link is here. Don’t be satisfied with a single run-through; get to the point where you can read without halting or stumbling.

Jewish studies

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies: Our middah of the week was ohev et habriyot, loving all creatures. We talked about some of the original sources of this value, such as Leviticus 19:18, “love your fellow person as yourself,” and Deuteronomy 6:6 “love God with all your heart, etc.” We talked about a story about Moses as he died, asking God, who could see and understand everyone’s unique temperament, to find a leader for the people who could also understand each person’s unique qualities. We followed this with an exercise of looking at crowds of people from this weekends events, focusing on individual faces in the crowd, and trying to imagine their unique stories. Our Jew of the week was Franz Boas, father of modern anthropology. He argued against the idea that different races have different traits and that some societies are more “advanced” than others. Students brought home a short reading by Franz Boas that we didn’t have time to look at in depth during class.
Homework: Read through the short Franz Boas article and discuss.

Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies class: We followed on last week’s great discussion of potential links and conflicts between tzdekah, Tikkun Olam, tzedek, truth/emet, and tshuvah. We examined these through the story of Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s two sons, finding parallels between Jacob’s own birthright deception and his interactions with his grandsons before he died. We discussed Joseph’s embodiment of these T words and his brothers’ problematic approach to them even after Joseph died. We discussed the midrash that suggests that Jacob was the first person to become ill before he died, and why. We ended with a scenario to test our ability to support all of these T words in problem-solving. When presented with the scenario, in which each of the kids had a pet they could no longer feed because they had run out of money for pet food, the kids each offered a creative solution. We examined each of their solutions for embodiment of or problems with the T words, then voted on which we thought was best from this perspective. The kids identified the best immediate, short term and long term solutions that satisfied tzdekah, Tikkun Olam, tzedek, truth/emet, and tshuvah.
Homework: Ask your parents what they would do if they were faced with the scenario we discussed, and think about whether their idea satisfies tzdekah, Tikkun Olam, tzedek, truth/emet, and tshuvah.

Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We enjoyed two hilarious “modernizations” of Psalm 23, “The lord is my shepherd,” by Brita (“The iPhone is my shepherd . . it maketh me to lie down upon my couch”) and Noah (all Pokemon characters). Brita and Noah also shared with us King David-related items they had looked up. Then we read from our Jewish anecdotes treasury and opened the question box, which asked us about love and whether those we love can “feel” our love coming in.
Homework: As we discussed briefly at the end of class, consider honesty as a Jewish value, in our personal lives and in the life of a nation (for instance what’s happening in the U.S. national news these days). For fun, here’s a link to some kids’ and teens’ ideas of honesty from TorahValues.com. Which is your favorite example and why? Be prepared to discuss.


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
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