Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Jewish Children’s Education Program

April 24, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class:  We took advantage of the lovely weather by holding class outside.  The kids took turns reading lines from the Amidah and Avot v’Imahot (p. 20 of the textbook).  If they read a line correctly, they ran or walked a lap around the playground while the rest of us counted in Hebrew.  We continued counting where we left off each time, and we got up to 80!.  We discussed why the sounds of some of the numbers change when we count by 10s.

Homework:  Please do p. 28-29 of the textbook and practice reading the Amidah/Avot v’Imahot on p. 20.

Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies Class:  We made a chart of whether the actions of Pharoah, Miriam, Moses, Aaron, and God in the Passover story supported or thwarted Tikkun Olam, tzdakah, tzedek, and tshuvah.  We voted for yes, no or both for each category.  We found that sometimes their actions could do both. For example, God’s use of the 10 plagues supported and thwarted tzedek, since it helped the Jewish people to escape slavery, but it punished all of the Egyptians even if some of them weren’t involved in perpetuating slavery.  We discussed how Haman similarly tried to punish all Jewish people for his problems with one  — Mordechai.  We also briefly noted that during the Holocaust, not all Germans were persecutors; there were Germans who tried to help the Jewish people.  The kids wondered if any Egyptians might have tried to help the Jewish people to escape from Pharoah.  We ended class by making and eating our own charoset while we discussed the items on the seder plate and what they symbolize.

Homework:  Enjoy your seder!  Ask your parents if they know about Miriam’s role in the story of Passover, and if not, share it with them.

Morah Erin’s Hebrew classWe continued to look at the Shema and V’ahavta, both vocabulary and decoding. I’ve tried to convey important this prayer is to the Jewish faith, and suggested that even if parents hardly know any Hebrew, they probably know this prayer. Consider looking at it with your children, so that they can see this link. We also played a game of v’ahavta syllable war and a cross the reed sea 4 questions game.
Homework: Continue to work on page 60 of I Can Read Hebrew for passover and read page 28. Work on lines 1-13 on page 76 of S’fatai Tiftach. Do page 80.

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies class: This week we took another look at the story of receiving the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai. We thought about how it would feel to be free after hundreds of years of slavery, and why the 10 commandments would have been a gift and a comfort. We also considered why the Hebrews became Jews at Mount Sinai. We had three Jewish American Heros of the week this week: Gloria Steinem, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman! They had 3 things in common: they were all social activists, all Jews, and they all lacked a clear link between being Jewish and their activism. We engaged in a discussion about whether we thought they qualified as Jewish heroes, though they were clearly Jewish and heroes. As students think about the famous Jews that they will be presenting, this is going to be the most difficult element. With many prominent Jews, there is not a clear link between their Judaism and their fame.

Homework: Read pages 110-112, if you have not already done so, and come prepared to discuss it.

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class.  We read and sang “Mi chamocha” from the Friday evening service (siddur p. 79). It’s got two prominent references to the Passover story: one is to God’s rescue of the Jewish people from Egypt, saving Jacob “from a hand stronger than his own” (“miyad chazak mimenu”). The other is to the parting of the sea as a metaphor for divine power (“Your children saw you in your majesty, splitting the sea before Moses’ eyes”) (“Malchutecha ra’u vanecha, boke’a yam lifnei Moshe”). Powerful stuff. So we talked about all that. Then we got a little writing practice, which seems to increase everyone’s enjoyment of the text.

Homework: Read the “Haskivenu” (siddur p. 81) carefully, and aloud to a family member until you can do it without stumbling. And read the commentary on p. 82. Make sure you know what all the words mean. The siddur has both an English translation (p. 80) and a transliteration (p. 83).
Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies.  This was the second of our two classes on Pesach. We went through key rituals and their meaning, from “B’dikat Chametz” to “Dayenu” to the Afikoman, Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups, even the wonderful emerging anti-sexist tradition of the orange on the seder plate (in cheerful dispatch of the male chauvinist who supposedly said women belonged on the bimah like oranges belonged on seder plates). We went over the Four Sons, the Ten Plagues, and the Four Questions, and went around the room so everyone got a chance to suggest what Fifth Question they would try to ask at their upcoming seder. Watch for your child’s inventive choice!
Homework. Let’s get out the encyclopedia. Try to read chapters 1 through 4. They’re short! Enjoy the illustrations and try to picture yourself living in the times described. Start bringing your copy of the encyclopedia to class.

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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