In the past few weeks, we have been studying the holidays and working to see how the messages and customs of the holidays can help us to be better people.
The students learned the customs for Rosh Hashanah at home and brought home some materials to use for blessings and dipping the apple in honey.
For Yom Kippur, we looked at what the Kol Nidre prayer is at the start of the holiday. We learned that it is for undoing any promises to God. We also talked of the ten days before Yom Kippur and how those days can be used to think about any apologies we need to make and any new paths we could take. We talked about the confessional prayer where we say “for the sin which we have committed before the and then there are 41 different items”. We talked about the word sin and that it really means missing the mark, reminding us that we are always expected to try to do better. The students completed a sheet outlining where they thought they were on a scale of 1-5 in areas where most people find it hard to do their best, like gossiping.
Before Sukkot, we talked about why God would want us to stay in a Sukkah for 8 days. What could we learn from leaving all our regular stuff and fixed, stable homes and instead stay in a hut through which we could see the stars? The students learned through a story about a pretend conversation God had with Moses about houses, computers, and restaurants and that even though Moses had no idea what those items were, God knew that we would have to celebrate Sukkot to remind people of the basics needed to live and the importance of the environment and our responsibility to take care of the land around us. In the story in God’s Mailbox, it is said that on Sukkot, we use etrog that needs scratching to smell the lemon fragrance to remind us that we have to scratch the earth to make things grow, we have to take action.
Today, we celebrated in the Sukkah. Moses and Miriam visited from our past to teach us some lessons from the Torah about leadership, trying, bravery, caring, and standing up to bullies.
The students also learned about Simchat Torah and how we read the last portion of the Torah and start again on the same day. We examined the words of the last portion which are about Moses, the prophet. This led to an introduction to the writings of Prophets and what the students thought a prophet is/was. We read a story about the Prophet Joshua. Throughout the year, we will be studying what our prophets did and said and what meaning we can take from their words and actions.
Have a great week.