Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


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


Morah Jen’s Hebrew: To test our reading and translating prowess with phrases from Sim Shalom, Shalom Rav, Oseh Shalom and some new vocabulary, we played Hebrew jeopardy. The kids chose a category for 100-600 points and received a familiar or new phrase (or several) of corresponding difficulty to read and/or translate. No one chose a category below 400 points…and they all did very well!
Homework: Read Oseh Shalom on page 95 again, do the top of page 106, and read/practice the vocabulary and grammar on p.107 and 109. 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.

Morah Erin’s Hebrew: We started off with a little reading practice. Vowels are still a little shaky, so we’ll continue to do a few minutes of this at Hebrew class. Review them at home using an old primer:) We sang through ahava rabah, concentrating on lines 11-20. Finally, I dictated the vocabulary words assigned from last time and students spelled them out phonetically on bingo boards. Then we used the boards to play bingo. We will use them again next time. Kudos to Brita for making flashcards for the assigned vocabulary!
Homework: Continue to work on ahava rabah lines 1-20, and read through lines 21-24 a few times as well. Make sure you know the vocabulary on page 19. Read page 35 (it’s in English) to prepare for beginning mi chamocha next time. Here is the link to Ahava rabah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WTdJdgClr0

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class: We read through half of God’s curse against Adam and the very ground beneath him. We reflected on which of the three earthly characters, the serpent, Eve, or Adam, receives the severest punishment. We also mused (at an age-appropriate level) on the sexism embedded in the narrative, the implication that women’s permanent subjection to men was God’s curse at the time of the fall from Eden.
Homework: (1) Read through B’reshit 3:24. (2) Remember we will be refreshing our familiarity with some of the most important prayers each week till the end of classes. For this Sunday, prepare two one-line ones: the Barchu (link here) and the Shma (link here) (also has the complete v’ahavta, the Torah passage that for centuries has accompanied our reading of the Shma).


Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies: Following on the previous week’s lesson on Passover and the various seders we all attended, we discussed the role of another T word – trust – in the Passover/exodus story. We analyzed how trust between Moses and God, Moses and the people, and Pharoah and God were affected by the burning bush, Moses’ three feats (staff turned to snake, hand turned leperous and returned to health, and water turned to blood), the ten plagues, and the parting of the sea. We also considered the ten plagues’ effects on Tikkun Olam and tzedek (justice). Again, the students asked some great questions, including why God would only talk through Moses and not directly, and whether the Egyptians were able to find ways to avoid the plagues.
Homework: Think about why you trust some people but not others. What did they do to make you trust or distrust them?

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish Studies: Our middah of the week was ohev al HaTochahot, loving rebuke. We traced it back to Abraham rebuking God for intent to kill innocent people in Sodom. We also talked about a quotation from Proverbs: “One who rebukes another will in the end find favor more than one who flatters the person.” We considered why this statement might be true and followed with a discussion of what might need to be considered before someone. Our Jew of the week was Isidor Isaac Rabi., physicist and pioneer of exploring the atom. His work was theoretical, but was applied both to building the atom bomb and to creating MRI machines.
Homework: Students came home with a paper with some information about I.I. Rabi. Read through it together and discuss.

Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies: First we went around the room collecting students’ experiences of their Seders. Some wonderful vignette were one family’s tradition (ok, it was ours) of assigning each of the Had Gadya characters to a family member to evoke with words, gestures or sounds–the more hilarious the better—and another family’s tradition of singing show tunes at the end of the seder till maybe 3 am. Then we changed the subject and covered the essence of Shavuot, one of the three great holidays handed down to us from pagan times, all three related to the harvest (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot). Then we dug into the question box, out of which came the question whether Jews as a people have certain goals or traits in common. What does it mean to say “we’re all Jewish”? We went on to consider Jewish fast days: what do we think about? In the “great Haftarah” read on Yom Kippur day, we’re told to bring the moaning poor on the stoop into our home. In the world as it is, when someone comes for food, do we give? No. It turns out we have fears in common too.
Homework: Do a little comparative religion research and report to the class. What fast days, and for what purpose, are found in other religions? Pick one such day from one religion and learn about it so you can tell the rest of us.


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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