December 11, 2016, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22204
Morah Erin’s Hebrew Class: Our new phrase of the week was “We want ice cream!”(anachnu rozim gleedah) (thank you Moreh Steve for the inspiration). We spent most of our time working on reading the v’ahavta fluently. Students studied three lines with a partner and then read them for the class. During this exercise I noticed that several students have written out English transliteration to help them read more fluently. While I love the fact that they’re thinking about how to make it sound more fluent, it is important for their developing Hebrew reading skills to look at Hebrew and not transliteration. I noticed that some vowel and letter review were needed, so we played a game of trasketball decoding one syllable (letter with vowel) flash cards.
Homework: Read pages 28-29 in Journeys Through the Siddur lines 1-21. Make sure you are reading the Hebrew, not a transliteration! Page 31, read these phrases. Read a phrase slowly, figuring out each word, then read the same line again faster, once you know what it sounds like.
Morah Jen’s Hebrew Homework: Read (or sing) the V’shamru again and review the vocabulary and grammar on pages 74-76. Read pages 77 and 78 and do page 85. 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 as far as line 18 of Genesis chapter 1, with the usual fruitful pauses for conjugations, tenses, and vocabulary, including some modern Hebrew equivalents. Then we took our first steps toward spring—remember Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind,” which ends, “O Wind, if winter comes,/ Can spring be far behind?”—by singing and translating “Echad Mi Yodeya,” the great 13-verse Passover perennial, with its references to creation: God (one), the days of the week (seven), the stars (eleven).
Homework: Read through verse 25 of Genesis chapter 1. Let’s see how few weeks it’ll take us to get through all seven days of creation.
Morah Jen’s Jewish Studies: We went over the story of Hanukkah (which the kids were able to tell with very little prompting) and discussed how we might resist someone who told us that we couldn’t pray the way we wanted. We then made protest signs defending religious freedom and marched through the halls of the UUCA.
Jewish Studies Homework: How would you convince a leader that they should promote tzedek? If you can’t conjure up plagues, what would you do instead?
Morah Erin’s and Moreh Zach’s Jewish Studies: Our Middah of the week was Ohev et HaMaysharim, loving straightforwardness. As a biblical example of this value we looked at the story of Elijah, king Ahab, Jezebel, and Nabot. The King wants Nabot’s land, but Nabot refuses to sell it. Jezebel arranges for a false trial in Nabot’s village, and Nabot is killed. Elijah goes to the king and berates him for the injustice done to Nabot. The king repents. Elijah had the difficult job of telling a person in power that they had done wrong, and because he did this, is an exemplar of straightforwardness. Our Jew of the week was David Halberstan, also an exemplar of straightforwardness. We read an article and talked about the difficult job he had as a journalist during the Vietnam war, letting the public know the truth about what was happening, despite the disapproval of the government.Homework: Talk about someone who you think is an exemplar of straightforwardness.
Moreh Steve’s Jewish studies. We discussed the great judges in Chapter 4 of Dimont’s “Amazing Adventures of the Jewish People.” What was so special about Deborah? What was the story of Hannah and Samuel? And who was Samson, what were his strengths and weaknesses, and what did he do to make the first rank of great Bible stories? And then we tried to extract moral lessons from each: a gift for resolving disputes and earning people’s respect; a mother’s promise to give her son to the study of Torah, if God would give her that son; and a warrior of legendary physical strength, tricked out of that strength by the lover who learned and exploited his secret, and who then gave his life in a tragic, destructive attempt to recover his glory.
Homework: Write a short story, modeled on the form if not the content of a Biblical fable, with a moral that lets you explore a Jewish value.