May 22, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204
Morah Erin’s Hebrew Class: This week we continued our work with the v’ahavta, focusing mostly on decoding it smoothly. Then we wrote sports down in Heblish.
Homework: Read through the v’ahavta 3 times (page 76), practicing lines that are difficult to read a few times. Pages 36 and 37 in I Can Read Hebrew.
Morah Jen’s Hebrew class: We spun a roulette wheel to find out which lines we’d read from the Avot v’Imahot, and correct reading of each line earned a target toss. No teams this time — everyone competed against their classmates. Scores ranged into the thousands, thanks to a few 500 and 600-point tosses…and everyone read their lines correctly most of the time, with a little bit of self-correction!
Homework: Practice the V’ahavta (p. 76 in the old textbook) and the Avot v’Imahot (p. 20 in the new textbook) for this Friday’s service and competitions in class again. Write down your own thought or blessing for Shabbat. If you’re coming to the service on Friday, please bring your thought or blessing to share!
Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We read through the key “Gevurot” and “Birkat Hashalom” portions of the Amidah, with translation and context. We paid special attention to the sort of praise these prayers contain: intimate address to God throughout, as “You” (mostly male, but in important places also female), not “Him”; and extolments of God’s finest attributes—kindness, compassion, the abiding faithfulness that brings spring shoots up after lying underground all winter—in beautiful Hebrew poetry. In the “Blessing of Peace” it seems as if every other word is Shalom. The fervor of the devotion is so striking.
Homework. Read, study and be able to recite and translate Elohai Netzor (siddur p. 107) and Vayechulu (p. 109), the last two parts of the Friday night Amidah. If you are coming to the JCEP-led Friday evening service on May 20, attach yourself to the group of your choice and recite with them.
Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies class: Examining the theme of wisdom as it relates to Tikkun Olam, tzedakah, tzedek and tshuvah, we discussed stories of King Solomon and the celebration of Lag B’Omer, 33rd day of counting the Omer. We noted that the stories often revealed King Solomon’s application of his wisdom to help others and the world, but sometimes not. We learned about Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon, and how lag B’Omer celebrates people’s respect for one another. We also ate some carob chips, a Lag B’Omer tradition commemorating the carob tree that grew outside the cave in which Rabbi Shimon and his son hid from Roman attackers. We also discussed and drew pictures of our own solutions for one of the problems posed to Solomon: what would we do if two people claimed the same pet as their own (an adaptation of the dispute over a baby brought by two women to Solomon to judge)? Proposed solutions included setting the animal free, letting the adjudicator keep it, taking it away from both people, asking an impartial third party for more information, making them share, and checking the pet’s collar.
Homework: Write down your own thought or blessing for Shabbat. If you’re coming to the service on Friday, please bring it to share!
Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish Studies Class: This week Lucy told us about Sidney Luckman, who was a quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950. Brita told us about Maurice Sendak, illustrator and author of many children’s books, including Where the Wild Things Are. We learned that his parents were Polish immigrants and that many of his relatives died in the Holocaust. They are depicted as the wild things in Where the Wild Things Are. We followed the presentations with a look at the David and Goliath story. We talked about what we could learn from the story—was Goliath overconfident because he was so big? Why wasn’t David afraid to fight the giant? We talked about how we could compare this story to the fable about the lion and the mouse and looked at a few great art works that have been created about this story.
Homework: Read pages 156-163 in The Bible, Alef to Tav. Sarah, Leonard, Mia, and Nathan will do their presentations.
Homework. Think about ways your chosen contemporary Jewish figure expressed Jewish values, or behaved in ways that accorded with them, during his or her life. And read chapters 8 and 9 of the encyclopedia, with special attention to the photographs and explanatory captions.