June 11, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204
Morah Erin’s Hebrew: This week, with summer (and vacation) on our minds our words were summer (kahyeetz), fall (s’tahn), winter (choreph), spring (ahviv). We did some sight reading to work on troublesome letters and vowels. We went over ahava rabbah, which is in really good shape. We learned the line on page 43 (adonai, s’fatai tiphtach oophee yageed t’heelahtehcha). I taught the traditional melody, but the class wanted to make up their own, which doesn’t sound quite as contemplative as the traditional melody, but seemed to help them get into the rhythm of the words. Finally we practiced lines 1-8 of avot v’emahot.
Homework: Read through the prayers we worked on this year: p.8 lines 1-4, P15-16 lines 1-24, P28-29 lines 1-21, P43 (translate), P47 lines 1-8. These will be good to practice over the summer too:) You can also practice sight reading from old books (or the book we used this year) and writing Hebrish words to keep up the letters and vowels and improve your speed.
Morah Jen’s Hebrew: We sang and read Shalom Rav and L’cha Dodi. We then played the vocabulary game on page 118 of the textbook. Everyone did a great job of reading and translating all of the words!
Homework: Listen to the tunes below for Shalom Rav and L’Cha Dodi. Read/sing lines 1-6 of L’cha Dodi on page 114. Using Hebrew letters (English words written in Hebrew are ok), write another short note to a friend or family member who can read Hebrew. Your note must include the letters bet, kaf, koof, tav, zayin, vav, resh and nun, as well as all of the vowel sounds. See if they can decipher your note! Tunes Kol Ami uses are here: Shalom Rav: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gypZvWEMrcI L’cha Dodi: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mozilla-002&hsimp=yhs-002&hspart=mozilla&p=L%27cha+dodi+tune#id=9&vid=e00cc9b15800d3bba022768705df58bc&action=view (Let me know if you have trouble with the second link. It should be of a male cantor singing L’Cha Dodi.)
Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We went over a few more lines of the Amidah (“Gevurot,” meaning divine powers), translating as we went. Then, as befits a class at the end of the term, we did a refresher on the Hebrew “sofit” letters: chaf, mem, nun, pay, and tzadi. Then we had our occasional fun on our whiteboards, writing English words using Hebrew letters. The more comfortable we get with the letters and sounds, the easier our Hebrew reading will be—that’s the theory, anyway. The difference is practice at home.
Homework: Go over the Amidah, as much as you can, and we will continue with the Gevurot section.
Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies class: We did a wrapping up activity. Students were on teams. Moreh Zach read hints about people we studied this year. Teams had to figure out who the person was from the hints and try to pair the person with a middah and tell why the middah went with the person.
Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies: As the culmination of our year-long discussions about trust, tzedek, tzedakah, Tikkun Olam, Torah, the Ten Commandments, and tshuvah, we took our annual pilgrimage up Mt. Sinai (aka the highest point on the UU playground) in honor of Shavuot. Before we began our journey, we discussed the holiday of Shavuot, why we have the tradition of staying up all night beforehand and why we eat dairy during the holiday, and the numerology associated with this (the letters in chalav, which means milk, add up to 40: the number of days and nights Moses was on Mt.Sinai). We also built on previous weeks’ lessons on trust in Exodus, discussing more of the events leading up to Moses’ return with the commandments. While eating ice cream atop our Mt. Sinai as a tribute to the dairy tradition, we discussed the roles of Tikkun Olam, tzedakah, truth and tzedek in the Ten Commandments and some of the additional commandments. These included helping your enemy’s donkey if it carries too great a burden, returning stray animals to their owners, and not accepting false reports when serving as a judge.
Homework: Think about your favorite and least favorite activities/discussions from the class this year, and be ready to offer some constructive comments!
Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We talked about resilience, the other value Rabbi Gilah mentioned in connection with Lag Ba’Omer and the counting of the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot (literally “weeks,” the feast of weeks). People instantly understood recovery from disappointment, on the scale of their own lives. Then we looked at far bigger questions: the resilience of the Jewish people over the millennia: the two Temple destructions, the desecration and re-consecration we celebrate at Chanukah (the holiday’s name means “consecration” or “dedication”), and then, with a deep breath, the Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel. We talk about the Holocaust from time to time, so it’s generally a story they know, but I encouraged them to consider the resilience of not just the Jewish people but the human species after something so horrible.
Homework: As we come to the end of the term, in midst of new threats to environmental protection and life on Earth as we know it, consider the stewardship of creation as a Jewish value. When we read B’reshit in the original in Hebrew class, we came across the little-noticed feature of the story that after God’s creation was finished, after he rested on the seventh day, and then he created us, because all he had created needed someone to tend it—the metaphors of the farmer, tilling the fields that otherwise might sprout but not grow. Look at that Biblical language again. Also look at this page from GreenFaith, and this page from My Jewish Learning, two among the many resources you should feel free to consult on the topic.