Beit Shorashim continued our exploration of Torah today by embarking on a Torah Treasure Hunt that sent us throughout the building in search of Torah scrolls and all of the Torah’s special trappings (the mantle, finials, breastplate, and yad). The children enjoyed making a list of our finds, and noting all the unique materials used to make each Torah (wood, velvet, parchment, ink, silver, and more). All the Shorashim learners got a chance to hold and examine some of the beautiful silver ידיים (yadaim–literally translated as “hands”) and use these pointing devices to read the letters of the word בראשית (braysheet–“In the beginning”) on one of the class-made flags we carried with us on our hunt.
Our search commenced in our own classroom, where a child-sized ark full of soft plush Torahs greeted the kids upon their arrival. The ark and its contents sparked a wonderful impromptu game of “Going to Synagogue.” The children busily prepared challah and wine, arranged chairs around the bima, invited classmates to come to their services, handed out kiddush cups, and dressed in their finest clothes (silk scarf capes, sombreros, and plenty of glamorous costume jewelry).
A self-appointed Rabbi led the services with the help of her colleague, “Cantor Rachel,” who directed people where to sit, reminded them of shul etiquette (“Take your babies outside if they cry!” “Please be quiet!”), and chose music from our classroom collection to accompany opening and closing the ark.
We will continue to experiment with dramatic play as the Braysheet theme unfolds in Beit Shorashim. And we will use the experiential knowledge we gained on our Torah hunt in our project-based work, beginning with the construction of our own Torah scrolls!