Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


September 25, 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 learned how to say “hello, I’m here. Today is Sunday.” The girls wrote the phrase in their notebooks, so they can practice what each word means separately and putting it all together. They also learned that the word sh’vuah means week and is related to the word sheva, which means seven. When we put sh’vua together with tov we could say “have a good week!” We found the word yom (day) in some prayer contexts and tov (good) and they had more questions about Hebrew grammar than I had answers! We followed this with a game to review letter and vowel sounds/visual recognition. I said a sound, they wrote all letters/vowels that made the sound and held up their paper when they had it. Then we read and decoded the Hebrew words yom (day), olam (universe), va’ed (and more), shem (name), echad (one), cha (suffix meaning your), elohecha (your God), sh’ma (listen), and baruch (blessed) in preparation for reading the sh’ma.

Homework: Make sure to bring the yellow notebook next week. Every week we will build on the vocabulary that we’re learning. Inside the notebook is the sh’ma and v’havta. I am ordering text books, but until then we can use the copies. Study both the meaning of the words and how to read the first two lines smoothly.

Morah Jen’s Hebrew class:  We did some target practice, earning two throws at the targets for correctly reading longer lines from the Sh’ma and V’ahavta, and one throw for correctly reading shorter lines.  I’m proud to say that our reading was better than our aim…but the top scorers earned over 1000 points!

HomeworkWe’ll spend another week reviewing, so please review the V’ahavta (p. 76 in Vol 1of S’fatai Tiftah) and the Avot v’Imahot (p. 20 in vol 2).  Review the meanings of ha/the, shel/of, -nu/our, l’/to, -cha/your, v’ or oo/and, b’/in or with, and roots baruch (bless), zochar (remember), sh’ma (listen), melech (king), b’rei (create), kadosh (holy), or (light), ahav (love), tzivah (command), and chai (life).

Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class
We read closely more of the Aleinu, learned some grammar and vocabulary related to its language, talked about (and illustrated) the deep bow contemplated in the prayer, practiced the guttural “het” and laughed, wrote a few words of Hebrew on our whiteboards, and considered how versatile and important the letter Vav is. We even tried to memorize the first verse of Genesis—parents, see if your student can recite it.
Homework: Read the Aleinu to the end, but this time be able to read it through, fluently! Then we’ll move on to a Rosh Hashanah prayer so you’ll have a sense what’s coming at High Holiday services.

Morah Jen’s Jewish studies class:  We reviewed the family tree starting with Abraham and stopped at Joseph, recalling interesting facts about each of the men and women and their stories.  We then played a game of Guess Who with the same set of Torah protagonists.  Each student secretly chose a person we’d discussed and wrote down and/or drew five facts about them.  They offered their clues to the class to see who could guess whom they’d chosen.  Everyone remembered some great details!  A student’s comment also led us to touch briefly on interfaith conflicts, and I hope to have a respectful class discussion later in the year regarding Israel.  If parents have views on the nature of the discussion, I would be happy to chat with you beforehand about my plans, and you’re also welcome to sit in on the class.

Homework:  Think about the T’s and each of the people we discussed in class.  Which T’s did they do, and which did they not do?

Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish studies: This week we took a close look at the middah Miyut Shaynah (a minimum of sleep). The class found this one odd because we know that getting enough sleep is good for us, and students pointed out that their teachers at school tell them how many hours they should be getting! Then we looked at where and how sleep is mentioned in the Tanakh, though we did a quick review of what the Tanakh is before this. We learned that it’s an acronym for Torah, Nevi’im (prophets), and Kethu’vim (writings). We learned that although people should get enough sleep to take care of themselves, too much sleep can lead to poverty. We talked about the feeling on a school morning when the alarm has gone off and it’s easy to keep hitting the snooze button instead of getting up to start our day on time. We followed this up by learning about Kleitman and Aserinsky, pioneers of sleep science and Jewish! Next week we will follow this up with the story of Jonah and the big fish, since it ties both into Yom Kippur, which is fast approaching, and sleep!

Homework: Look at the handout from class about references to sleep from the Tanakh (you can review what the Tanakh is!). Try to sort them into 2 or 3 categories and be ready to share the categories you came up with and why.

Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. I drew a map of Israel and its surrounding nations, and we talked about the geography of the country, how small the distances are, and then some background for the Israel-Palestine problem–or rather a preposterously short two-scene history of the Jewish experience: scene one in Roman times (Masada, the expulsion of the Jews, with a comparison to the medieval siege of the Jews of York, England) and scene two the gradual influx of Jewish immigrants to Palestine starting in the late 19th century, followed by the British takeover of Palestine as Ottoman spoils of World War I; Hitler, the Holocaust and the flood of Jewish immigrants after World War II (students wanted to know what religion the Nazis were—isn’t that a great question?); declaration and recognition of the Israeli state and what “atzma’ut” means; and the new country’s first three wars with her Arab neighbors (1948, 1956 and 1967). And then we considered who’s got a birthright to this land, those who were there 2,000 years ago, thrown out violently and now returned, or those who lived there for two millennia in the meantime. Whew! To be continued next time.

Homework: Find out more about the Six-Day War of 1967. How many foes did Israel have? How did the war go so fast? What happened on each of the six days? What was the outcome? How did the occupation come about? Did Israel originally intend to return the territories to Arab control? And anything else that interests you about it.



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P.O. Box 1801, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 571-336-5544
Rabbi's Study: 202-364-3006

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The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) & George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
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