Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


April 23, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204


Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We caught up on our B’reshit reading, all the way to verse 15 of chapter 2, where God interrogates Adam and Eve and curses the serpent (“on thy belly shalt thou go,” or “How the Serpent Lost its Legs”). We talked about blaming others, and about the story’s portrayal of a God who creates humans able to choose and then gives them a choice, and who visits a less harsh penalty than the one originally threatened (eat of the tree of knowledge and you will die). Intelligent questions from the students included why the serpent didn’t blame some other creature, who intern blamed some other creature, who in turn blamed the Creator; so we talked about human consciousness, especially the self-consciousness of the writers. We noticed things like the dual name for God, which comes into use after the first six days of creation (from “Elohim” to “Yhvh Elohim”).
Homework: Let’s get though B’reshit ch.2, verse 20. Again, here’s the link.

Morah Erin’s Hebrew class: This week we spent some time decoding and translating the 10 plagues (dam, tzefarde’a, kinim, arov, dever, shehin, barad, arbeh, hoshekh, makkat bekhorot). We used these words and the vocabulary we’ve been studying from ahava rahah, yotzer ohr, and v’ahavta to play Hebrew vocabulary charades.
Homework: For those students who expressed interest in working on the four questions, there is a link to a video of the four questions below and I have inserted a photo of them in Hebrew and English. In our book, please continue to work on lines 11-16, p. 15, and lines 17-20, p. 16. Make sure to study the endings on page 18 and the vocabulary on page 19. As you learn what the vocabulary means and to recognize the roots, you will find connections and things you already know in so many of the prayers! Link to 4 questions Link to Ahava Rabbah

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class: I was out of town for a family event, so my Hebrew class joined Morah Erin’s.
Homework: Read Sim Shalom (p. 84), Shalom Rav (p. 91), and Oseh Shalom (p. 95) one more time, focusing on reading fluently without stopping. Also read/do pages 102 and 108. Review the meanings of ha/the, shel/of, -nu/our, l’/to, -cha/your, v’ or oo-/and, b’/in or with, and ki/because, and look for these in the three songs.


Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We spent our 45 minutes going over the Passover story, looking at the Haggadah one student had brought in, and going over key details. We went over the Hebrew for the four questions, the four sons, and the ten plagues, pondering the horror of the tenth plague in particular, Pharaoh’s sudden relenting, the Hebrews’ hurried departure and the parting of the waters (someone said the Sea of Reeds was known to be very shallow). We talked about the life of Moses, and the students remember a ton of it: the babe in the bulrushes, being raised a prince with his mother and sister to care for him, the hot coal in the mouth that gave him his speech impediment, the slaying of the slave-driver and the period in the desert as a fugitive, the burning bush, the inspiration to lead a freedom movement, the collaboration with Aaron, and the post-Exodus period. We wondered why there had to be forty years in the desert. We looked at the Exodus map in the back of the Chumash that Kol Ami uses—it has Mt. Sinai clearly marked in the far south of the Sinai peninsula. We saw possible routes for the wandering in the desert, and how you’d have to come in from the east if you were crossing the Jordan and then arriving at Jericho. At the end we talked briefly about a latter-day freedom movement, the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s, and I quoted them the very end of the MLK mountaintop speech (to view the famous last couple of minutes, click here) and how remarkable an echo of the Exodus story it was. Dr. King was assassinated the day after he gave this speech. I encouraged the children to talk about the American movement for racial equality at their Seders—so if they do, you know whom to blame!
Homework: Picking up on our discussion of the “Shalosh Regalim,” read this article, or any other of your choosing, about Shavuot and the period in the Jewish year between Pesach and Shavuot. Be ready to say what event Shavuot is said to commemorate, and how that relates to Passover. And find out what the “omer” is, including its 33d day, Lamed-Gimel or “Lag Ba’omer,” and why both are important in Jewish tradition.

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies class: In preparation for Passover we had students work in groups, looking at various Haggadah’s, noticing what elements were the same between all of the Haggadah’s and what some differences were. They came up with a list of things that were in all of the Haggadah’s, and noticed some of the more obvious differences (opening left to right or right to left, illustrations, amount of Hebrew vs. English), but time did not allow us to go too in depth with differences.
Homework: If you have Haggadahs at home, take a look with your child and notice some of the differences between them and note the elements that are in all of them. Happy Passover!

Morah Jen’s Jewish studies class: Shana Harbour taught my Jewish studies class. They talked about Passover from why we celebrate it to how we celebrate it. They also discussed the Seder and telling of the story of exodus. Shana brought Haggar (seder prayerbooks), and they talked about the Seder plate and the symbolism of the items on it. They ate matzo and charoset and made their own Seder plates with markers and paper plates. Finally, they also covered the 4 questions.
Homework: Think about which of the T words the Passover story reflects, and have a great Passover!

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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