Nitzanim Has Pen Pals!

Over the past two weeks in Nitzanim, we’ve been getting to know our community better by writing pen pals!

Nitzanim gathers to write a letter back to their pen pal.

Nitzanim gathers to write a letter back to their pen pal.

Here’s one of the letters our יום שלישי (Yom Shlishi – Tuesday) children got:


Shalom Beit Nitzanim!!!

Todah rabbah for your letter! I liked it very much and I it made me realize that we have some things in common!

First, I was born in New York City, too! I moved to Chicago before I was in 8th grade. Second, I love that you are called “Nitzanim” and that it means buds. Nitzanim remind me of spring and I hope spring will come to Chicago very soon! I like the sheleg, but I am ready for the nitzanim to start growing on our Eitzim.

Guess what else? I have a nephew whose name is “Nitzan”! He lives in Israel.Guess what else? There is a song that I like a lot. The words are all in Hebrew. The name of the song is: “Nitzanim Nir-u ba-aretz” which means, “The buds can be seen in the land!” Now when I hear that song or sing that song, I will think of you!

Todah rabbah for asking such thoughtful questions. The Torah that I saw in the Beit Knesset in New York City did, in fact, have a beautiful keter. It also had 2 rimonim. They were all made out of silver. (Did you know that the Hebrew word for silver is the same as the Hebrew word for money? Do you know the word?)

I was not sitting close enough to see the color of the yad that was used to read from the Torah. But – guess what? I have my very own yad in my house. It is purple! I also have a yad that is made out of silver. Do you know why someone uses a yad when they read from the real Torah scroll? Besides looking beautiful, the yad makes it easier to point to the Hebrew letters and follow along. It also makes sure that the person’s fingers don’t touch the actual Torah. There are many oils and dirts on a person’s fingers and they could make the parchment of the Torah get ruined. (That’s the special material that the Torah is made of.) Since a Torah scroll is very special and takes a very long time to create, we want to make sure we take extremely good care of it so that it can last many, many years. Sometimes the Torah in the Beit Knesset can be even older than the people in the Beit Knesset!

Yeladim, do you know what we call the name of the person who knows how to write the fancy Hebrew letters in the real Torah scroll? When you write back to me, let me know if you know the answer! Here is a hint: it sounds a little bit like the Hebrew word for “book.”

Please write back soon!


Your secret pen pal

Nitzanim wrote back to say:

Hello Secret Pen Pal Friend,

We all like you. Thank you for the note. You’re very nice. Our favorite צבעים tzevaim-colors) are ורוד (varod-pink), סגול (sagol-purple), ירוק (yarok-green), אדום (adom-red), לבן (lavan-white), and קשת (keshet rainbow). What’s your favorite צבע (tzevah-color)? We think it’s sagol because you have a sagol yad. We don’t know the Hebrew word for book, but we know the word for library, sifriah. We hope you are feeling good.

Here are the reasons we thought that you can’t touch the Torah:

• The words of the Torah might rub off, so you use a yad to touch it.

• The yad doesn’t smudge the Torah because it’s metal.

• On my sister’s Bat Mitzvah, she got a yad. It’s very delicate and if you touch it maybe it would mess the words.

We were wondering why the Torah doesn’t get smudged when you roll it up?

Who do you think is writing this note? Could you give us an answer to your question about who writes a Torah? What is your favorite thing to do? Out favorite things to do are exercising, doing cartwheels in gymnastics, going to school, reading books, and moving up to reading levels F, G, and H.

Goodbye Secret Pen Pal Friend!




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