We are continuing to work on learning prayers. We review v’ahavta each morning and we are now working on V’shamru which is a beautiful prayer about the importance of a rest day. We learn that God rested and so should we. The prayer emphasizes the need for a balance between work and rest.
Since yesterday was Tu B’shvat, the birthday of the trees which falls on the 15th of Shvat, we celebrated the holiday today. The custom of celebrating the birthday of trees is necessary from a Jewish law perspective as the fruit from a newly planted fruit tree is not to be gathered until the 4th year. So having a birthday noted each year for all trees makes it easier to count the four years. If a tree is planted anytime before the 15th of the year 5777, it is now in its second year. In the late 1800’s, the practice began of having a seder, an ordered service, to celebrate trees and nature and to remind us to take care of our natural world. At our seder today, we ate fruits from Israel and locally grown, fruits with a hard outside that is not eaten (actually Ken and I left that fruit at home by accident, so we had popcorn in honor of corn for which we don’t eat the husk), fruits that are not eaten in the center such as dates and apples, and fruits that can be eaten entirely such as grapes. We also had apple and grape juice in varying combinations to represent the four seasons.
During our seder, we compared the parts of trees to ourselves, our reliance on others, our need for nurturing, our need to be strong and flexible. We also read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and used it as a symbolic telling of the message that we must take care of the mother tree and she must not give everything of herself. We discussed how as children, parents do most of the giving but as children become teens and older, there must be a balance of giving and taking on everyone’s part. Even fourth graders should learn not to ask for everything they want, they can monitor themselves and they can do and give to others.
In Hebrew, the students continued working on learning to read and once they have learned a new sound to be able to read it fluently and accurately.
Enjoy the vacation.
Mr. and Mrs. Y and Katie