April 3, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204
Homework: Study vocabulary from the sh’ma and v’ahavta on pages 74 and 78 in S’fatai Tiftach.Practice reading lines 1-8 on page 76. Read pages 28 and 60 in I Can Read Hebrew. The reading should be practiced several times since we will have missed 2 Sundays of classes.
Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish Studies Class: I had assigned the story of Moses and Miriam at the Reed Sea for last class, but changed my mind when I realized that this was our last class before Purim. So, instead we did a class reading of the story of Esther, complete with lots of noise when Haman’s name was mentioned. We talked a little about Purim traditions at Kol Ami and other Purim traditions (and we had some hamantaschen. Our Jewish American hero of the week was Leonard Bernstein, famous both for his conducting and composing. We listened to an excerpt from Chichester Psalms, which was commissioned by Chichester Cathedral and sung in Hebrew. Bernstein conducted the recording we heard. Students tried, with varying success, to follow along with the Hebrew.
Homework: Start preparing some information about the famous American Jew you chose for your assignment and review the story of Moses and Miriam at the Reed Sea so that it is fresh for next time we meet. Students have signed up for dates to give their little reports and have said who they plan to talk about. See the list that follows:
May 8thJonahClaraSamMay 15SarahBritaLucyMay 22
Morah Jen’s Hebrew Class: After reviewing the Hebrew numbers through 20, we realized that we can count to 99 once we understand the conjugation pattern for the 10’s. We checked for the root “ayin mem dalet” – “to stand” – in the lines on page 11 of the textbook. Several students had not done this part of the homework. Please ask your children to do their homework, so we don’t waste the time of those who did it! We also practiced the first line of the Amidah, and we ended by reading Purim words written on the board and writing some of our own (not necessarily Purim-related…) English words in Hebrew for others to read.Homework: Continue to practice the first line of the Amidah (p. 6 of the textbook) and read/do page 19, lines 1-8 on page 20, and page 21 in the textbook.Morah Jen’s Jewish studies class: We discussed the Purim story, then we each made and ate one hamantaschen. While they were baking, we read Barnyard Purim. We discussed the roles of tzedakah by Esther and Mordechai, Haman’s and Ahasuerus’ challenges to tzedek, and the resolution of these.Homework: Think about the Purim story. What would you have done if you were Mordechai? If you were Esther? Would you have done anything differently?Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We got through the entire Ma’ariv Aravim prayer, complete with translation, verb forms, context vocabulary—especially a list of Hebrew opposites—and blackboard exercises. But we still need practice reading and retaining.Homework: Read, study, and be able to read aloud and translate Ahavat Olam, in our siddur at p. 63. Next after that: the Shema and V’ahavta, siddur pp. 64-65.Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies class: We discussed the problem of “the pursuer” (“ha-rodef”), one who chase us to do us harm. We looked at the Jewish conception of when it is acceptable to resort to force to stop the pursuer, and if so what level of force. Then we came to something even more interesting: Jewish law says excessively violent treatment of your pursuer turns you into the pursuer. That led us to consider the broader moral question of the grading of offenses by severity and the imposition of punishment fitting the crime. We also looked at the one-canteen, two-desert-traveler problem, and considered when self-preservation outweighs the duty to rescue or look after another. These are famously weighty problems in Western moral philosophy, and we got to see what Jewish wisdom has devised by way of answers (in this case, keep your own water if by sharing you will bring about the deaths of you both). And we read aloud and discussed two stories from the Jerusalem Talmud about forcing a group to surrender one of its number in order to save the rest (the rabbis disagree, as do the moral philosophers of today).Homework: Read the ultimate pursuer-and-pursued problems, the last two in the workbook (pp. 59-62): the mother whose pregnancy threatens her life, and the question of abortion at various stages of pregnancy where the mother’s life is not in danger.