This past Sunday, we had a great opportunity to practice respecting each other. One of the students wore a Falcons t-shirt to class. Before anyone could say a word, I told this student, loudly enough for all to hear, that I was very proud of him for expressing his preference in a polite, peaceful manner. We talked a bit about how it is very easy to say things about sports team allegiances that can be hurtful and/or lead to contentious behavior. I understand very well that feeling passionate about one’s teams and rivals can be fun: I grew up in a “mixed family,’ with my grandfather a die-hard Red Sox fan and my grandmother a die-hard Yankees fan. Their arguments about their teams were amiable, though – a skill they had learned quite well by the time I was spending summers with them. As you know, I think it is imperative that we teach our children to accept others’ beliefs, whether it’s a sport team, religious preference or clothing style, and I am grateful we had an opportunity to practice this value. There will be time to tease each other about these things when they are older, and have learned how to do so while still respecting each other.
Speaking of grateful, have I mentioned that the root word for Yehudim, Jews, is from the verb for giving thanks? In that spirit, we started class by thinking about something we are grateful for. Thinking was requested; verbally expressing, optional. And yet, every one of your daughters and sons readily thought of several things, and were very eager to express them! To all of my students, I say YASHER CO’ACH! May Your Strength Be Firm! (This is the standard expression of congratulations that we say to someone who has had an Aliyah, which is the honor of blessing the Torah before and after a section is read in synagogue.)
HOMEWORK: This Sunday we are going to make candy trees to celebrate Tu B’Shvat, which is the Jewish birthday for the trees. Please be sure your child reads the Tu’Bshvat chapter in the Jewish Holidays book - - it starts on 90. If you cannot find the book, PLEASE email me and I will scan it and email it to you.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom: a day, an hour, a moment of peace with your families -