Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

JCEP

September 18, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204

Morah Erin’s Hebrew Class: We had a very small group this week! We created a set of class expectations and talked about what we want to get out of Hebrew school. The girls want to learn a little conversational Hebrew (which I’ll be learning along with them), so we decided to do one quick phrase a week! This week we learned how to say “hello, I am here.” We followed this with some games of pop, so review numbers from 1-8 and we touched on the sh’ma. Our class expectations are:

  • Try to maintain a positive attitude
  • Respect yourself, others, and materials
  • Stay safe
  • Do your homework

Homework: Take a look in one of the old Hebrew books and do a little reading! Notice the vowels and which ones you do not remember! I will ask at the beginning of class, so that we can review the ones we don’t remember.

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class:  We created two sets of class Ten Commandments – using Hebrew letters to write the English words.  Each student wrote down in Hebrew letters one or two “serious” rules and one or two “silly” rules for “real” code of conduct and a “surreal” code of conduct.   Others had to decode their sentences, and we compiled two lists.  The results will be sent to you all later this week.  Please sign them and have your child sign them, then send back to me via email or print and send with them to class.  Sadly, since several of the serious rules conflict with the surreal rules, the former will trump the latter in class.

Homework:  Dust off your textbooks (S’fatai Tiftah Vol s 1 and 2) and review the V’ahavta (p. 76 in Vol 1) and the Avot v’Imahot (p. 20 in vol 2).  Refresh your memory on the meanings of ha/the, shel/of, -nu/our, l’/to, -cha/your, v’ or oo/and, b’/in or with, and roots baruch (bless), zochar (remember), sh’ma (listen), melech (king), b’rei (create), kadosh (holy), or (light), ahav (love), tzivah (command), and chai (life).

Morah Jen’s Jewish studies class:  We reviewed the T’s we discussed last year, and the class collectively named and defined the following list: Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam, Torah, tshuvah, tashlich, tabernacle, temple, thanks/todah, tzedek, and Ten Commandments.  We recalled that the Torah contains 613 commandments, or mitzvot – 365 “don’ts” (one for each day of the year) and “248 “do’s” (one for each bone in our bodies).   We recognized that no one can remember 613 things, thus the top 10 became the primary focus.  We created two sets of class Ten Commandments, one “real” and one “surreal.”  Each student wrote down and drew pictures of one or two “serious” rules and one or two “silly” rules.  We used them to form our two sets of Ten Commandments, and the results will be sent to you all later this week.  Please sign them and have your child sign them, then send back to me via email or print and send with them to class.  Sadly, since several of the serious rules conflict with the surreal rules, the former will trump the latter in class.

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class.  We started by wondering about the purposes of prayer. Then we looked at the Aleinu, both because of its significance in the traditional service and because of its problematic chosen-people content. We brought in a little orthography–“kol” (voice, with a kuf) vs. “col” (everything, with a kaf). We used our whiteboards, a favorite prop of mine, which of course allows for doodling as well as Hebrew writing practice. And we discussed the didactic purposes of Biblical (and every other kind of) repetition in teaching. We also went over what we’ll do together this term: some High Holiday prayers, some actual Torah, starting with chapter 1 of Genesis, and passages from some actual Haftarot. This is real Hebrew, folks, and some of the greatest words ever written in any language.

Homework:  You all have Siddurs at home. Read and re-read the entire first paragraph of the Aleinu, p. 444, until you can recite it without stumbling. Do your best to translate every word in your mind, with the English on the facing page as a guide, but try to be sure you know which word means what in English, and how the Hebrew sentences are put together.  Think about which of the T’s our class Ten Commandments (both sets) support or violate.

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish Studies: We started off our class with a get to know you question: Do you view Judaism in your life as an operating system, app, or neither? It led to some interesting conversations. We created a set of classroom expectations. Then we read through the list of 48 middot, or Jewish values, that we will use each week as we think about Jewish heros, bible stories, and more. We went through and defined unknown words. The students had lots of questions, comments, and opinions and some of the middot. In light of how much discussion there was about miyut shaynah (a minimum of sleep), we decided to use it as the first value we delve into. Here are our class expectations:

  • Try to maintain a positive attitude
  • Respect yourself, others, and materials
  • Do not distract others
  • Stay safe
  • Come to class prepared

Homework: Discuss whether is Judaism an app or an operating system (or some mixture) for you and your family.

Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies.  We did an overview of the semester, with the following elements:

—A question box, which we filled with anonymous questions about Jewish lore, ethics and customs, to be plucked out at random in coming weeks and discussed.

—Max Dimont’s “The Amazing Adventures of the Jewish People,” a book of short chapters about highlights of Jewish history for young readers by an eminent historian.

—Modern Jewish figures selected for oral reports by each student, starting with anyone you wish who isn’t in a sports field (there’ll be time for those later, I promise).

We also talked about modern Israel: Why is it so important to the Jewish people of today? Is Judaism a nationality, a religion, an ethnicity, or some combination? What prominent Israelis can you name? (No one could name any—something to work on.)

Homework:  Choose a modern person of some renown who’s Jewish (again, other than a sports figure), make careful notes to inform yourself, and be ready to tell us something about the person with little use of the notes you’ve made. We’ll see how many we can cover this coming week.

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Phone: 571-336-5544
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4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) & George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
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