Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


October 29, 2017, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204


Moreh Steve’s Hebrew class. We limbered up some more with writing using our whiteboards, this time for simple words and phrases: boker tov (good morning), erev tov (good evening), po and caan (synonyms for “here”), ani (I) and the suffix ‘ee (me), ma shlomech (how are you—for a girl), ma shlomcha (how are you—for a boy), practice with verb roots like holech (holechet, halach, halachta (you went—for a boy), halacht (for a girl), rotzeh (want—for a boy), rotzah (for a girl), rechem (womb) (from which comes rachamim, compassion, and rachem, have compassion), etc., looking at context and ancillary vocabulary throughout. At the end we sang the first two sentences from “Ahava rabbah” using the melody most of the students learned last year.
Homework: Let’s get back into B’reshit, picking up where we left off. Please read all of chapter 3 in English, so you remember what happened, and then study and read aloud verses 21 through 24.

Moreh Eric’s Hebrew Class

We did a review of the letters and vowels we have learned thus far, with the kids really doing a great job retaining what is a complicated language .  Then we added new letters and vowels — the final mem, vav and yud. We added two new vowels — the two vowels that use the vav and make the “ooo” and “oh” sounds. We all broke off into pairs and did some team reading to one another with the teachers working with each group. Moreh Nathan, another of our highly capable teen teachers, worked with all of the kids and did a terrific job.
HOMEWORK: In the new textbooks, they should do lessons six and seven (which reinforce the new letters and vowels we learned). Where there is a writing exercise, they need to do all of them.  For the reading portions of the lessons, they need to say the lines aloud. Reading aloud and writing the letters down will help make it all stick.
PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY DO THEIR HOMEWORK: They really need to do at least 30 mins of Hebrew per week so that it all begins to . They can repeat the homework as much as needed to get to 30 minutes per week.
QUESTIONS? Please contact me with any questions…
HEBREW HELP FOR YOU AND YOUR STUDENT: If your student is one of the new ones and gets stumped doing the homework, don’t worry. You can help your student, even if you aren’t very familiar with Hebrew. The links below provide a nice mix of very good resources for both you and your student. Also the curriculum packet Mindy Rudell handed out has an excellent list of Hebrew internet resources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21-qxk53PvM  


Morah Erin’s Hebrew Class We learned the number 6 today (shesh) and looked at the prefix the (ha). We read some of the blessings in S’fatai Tiftach on page 11 and talked about the meanings.We did a little fluency practice in I Can Read Hebrew on page 11. Then we went over the first five words in  Al Shlosha D’varim and sang it. Here’s the link again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5z73mS_hiQ Finally we played trasket ball using the vocabulary from S’fatai Tiftach and Al Shlosha D’varim.
Homework: Pages 15-18 in S’fatai Tiftach and study the vocabulary words on page 18. Pages 12-15 in I Can read Hebrew.


Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We opened the “Journeys” book, the intro and chapter 1. We read about the beginning of the Jewish exile from Palestine. We looked at a demographic map of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East and saw where Jewish populations were to be found in the first five centuries C.E. Then we branched off into the development of Jewish law. What is the Talmud? A huge series of ever more elaborate and developed rabbinical commentaries, all post-exile, on the Torah and its commandments for Jewish life. It’s a huge part of what has held the Jewish people together in the diaspora. We spoke of the Talmudic doctrine(s) of kashrut—the complex rules for separation of milk and meat, derived from the one sentence in D’varim about not cooking a baby goat in the milk of its mother. We spoke about the possible moral rather than public health dimension of that command, and its possible relation to the requirement of humane slaughter of animals for food; and even “koshering” a Torah after it has been damaged or defiled.
Homework: Read through the end of chapter 2 in “Journeys,” including whatever earlier reading you need to catch up on.

Morah Shana’s Jewish Studies Class This week we discussed the holiday of Simchat Torah.  We covered how Jewish people do to celebrate Simchat Torah and why.  We also talked about Torahs, how they are made (by sofer), what they are made of (parchment from a kosher animal) and when we read them (56 parchas over a year).  Next week we will be discussing Shabbat.

Moreh Zack’s Intermediate Jewish Studies Class This week we discussed the All-of-a-Kind Family chapter “Who Cares If It’s Bedtime?,” in which Charlotte and Gertie buy candy and crackers to sneak into their shared bed. We discussed the trade-off between their saving all of their pennies to help Sarah pay off her library fine, vs. indulging themselves in the short term. But mostly we talked about food and eating: the girls’ deliberation over what candy to buy, the grocery owner’s treat of two slices of lox, and the ritualized consumption of the candy and crackers in the dark bedroom. I used this chapter to introduce the concept of mindful eating, and we discussed some of the ways that Judaism has traditionally encouraged such mindfulness: through Kashrut, through holiday fasting or ritual foods, and especially through the blessings said over food and drink. We examined the six Brachot and discussed how they can encourage us to be mindful of the origins of our food, both as a product of nature and of human labor. Each child imagined a favorite food and practiced the appropriate blessing. Finally, I reminded the children of the importance of not eating anything, especially candy, between brushing their teeth in the evening and going to sleep for the night.
Homework: 1. Read the next chapter: The Sabbath 2. Choose a favorite food, figure out the correct blessing, bless the food, and eat it mindfully.
Resources: “Blessings for Food & Drink.” My Jewish Learning (blog). https://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ritual/Prayer/Blessings/food_drink.shtml. “Brachot (Blessings) Before Eating.” http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/brachot-blessings-before-eating. Gordinier, Jeff. “Mindful Eating as Way to Fight Bingeing.” New York Times, February 7, 2012, sec. Food. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/mindful-eating-as-food-for-thought.html.


Contact Kol Ami

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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