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Oct 11

Learning to Chant

יום רביעי (yom revi’i; Wednesday) is a special day in Beit Anafim.

On יום רביעי (yom revi’i; Wednesday) we have two children! Both have been at the Enrichment Center since day-one and both come two other days during the week. For this reason, we break from our usual theme and routine and do something special.

Three weeks ago, Rabbi Rebecca, the two children, and I sat down and discussed what they dreamed of using their time on יום רביעי (yom revi’i; Wednesday) to explore.

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Exploring the Tikkun–a book with Torah script and block letters with trope side by side, especially made for learning to chant Torah.

That day, at פגישה (Pegisha, meeting), we had heard Rabbi Rebecca chant a single phrase from that weeks Torah portion, and both children continued humming it as we walked back to our room.

I said “Do you know there is a special way to read Torah–there are special markings in the Chumash (the Torah in book form) that tell someone exactly what tune for each word?”

This inspired lots of questions:

Does Rabbi Rebecca practice before פגישה (Pegisha, meeting)? Did she already know that particular verse? When did she practice?

That day, we decided that we would learn to read Torah with our time on יום רביעי (yom revi’i; Wednesday).

The children have had lots of ideas about our learning, too! For example, first thing–and I mean REALLY first thing, backpacks still on–this Wednesday they came in and said “By the way, we decided we don’t want to do דברים (devarim, Deuteronomy) anymore. We want to do שמות (shemot; Exodus).”

It seems they had discussed at school that day which book of Torah they wanted to begin to learn chanting from!

We’ve begun learning one small group of Torah trope, starting with finding and naming the symbols–we hunted in the first paragraph of the Shema, color coded them, and looked for patterns.

Then learning the tune–walking around the social hall and singing together.

  • And finally putting it to words in the Torah–Rabbi Rebecca found the first phrase to learn, then the children searched for others themselves.

Here’s a little video of learning the tune, while walking around the social hall:

 

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