As you may know, last Sunday we learned about the Jewish calendar, and the celebration of the new month. A new month in Hebrew is called Rosh Chodesh (literally head of the month), and each Rosh Chodesh is like a mini holiday. Some take-aways include:
- a new moon is not the same as a full moon
- when we see a tiny crescent on the right side of the moon (our right), we know a new month has started
- all this moon talk is because the Jewish calendar is lunar
- but not only lunar; adjustments were made so holidays continue to fall in the right seasons and also so certain holidays do not fall on certain days. E.g., Yom Kippur will never fall on a Thursday night/Friday because that would not give people time to prepare for Shabbat.
Hopefully you have a better understanding of the Oreo project now. J
Interesting side note: I went to a presentation on the Jewish calendar some years ago, and a group of astrophysicists from Harvard and MIT commented that it was really spectacularly amazing that man/people were able to develop this calendar without the use of computers – it’s that complex!
During our first week of class we learned about tzedakah, which is usually translated as charity. But a key difference between those two ideas is that tzedakah comes from the root word for justice, because in Judaism, we believe that we cannot have a just society without helping others. Indeed, giving tzedakah is an obligation for Jews, not a choice. This correlates with a theme I emphasize throughout the year: Tikkun Olam, which is Repairing the World, another goal we have as Jews. We have a class tzedakah box; if you would like to send in a few pennies or some other spare change, it would be great if we could collect a nice sum to give to JNF and Magen David Adom. (We started last week with $5 – I told the kids I would put $1 in the tzedakah box every time I borrowed something from a student, e.g., a binder to hold up as an example; a pencil, etc.)
This week we will move on to the first of the fall holidays, ROSH HA’SHANA! That’s the Jewish New Year, which will be celebrated this year beginning at sundown on October 2nd and ending about 45 minutes after sundown on Oct. 4th. Hopefully this range will give you some time to spend with your families and reflect on what you might like to do towards Tikkun Olam in 5777 (that will be the year per to the Jewish calendar as of sundown on October 2nd. This week’s craft project will probably not involve food – so please send a NUT-FREE snack with your daughter/son.