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Oct 15

First Day of Yedidim & Nitzanim Explore the Torah Scroll with Many Senses

Tuesday was another special day at the Jewish Enrichment Center. For many of our children, we saw, touched, listened to and smelled the scrolls of a Torah for the first time. It was also the first day we introduced ידידים (yedidim — buddies) to the Jewish Enrichment Center. ידידים are a unqiue opportunity for the קבוצות (kevutzot — groups) of the Enrichment Center to mingle and get to know each other, and for younger and older children to help each other learn. On Tuesday, children introduced themselves to their ידיד (yedid — buddy) and discussed their favorite activities. Some children have a group of three ידידים, and some will have different ידידים on different days they’re here.

We kicked off our inter-קבוצה (group) activities with a celebration of שמחת תורה (Simchat Torah). Shorashimers and Nitzanimers created רימונים (rimonim) and a יד (yad) for a Torah installation, while older Nitzanimers and Anafimers created representations of Torah stories.

Earlier in the day, Nitzanim kindergarteners were able to make a special visit to the Torah in the Rodfei Zedek chapel. They had engaged and compelling observations about the Torah scrolls. The kindergarteners noted that the outside of the Torah was soft and smooth.

Morah: What does the Torah smell like?

Nitzan 1: Make-up…..lemon make-up.

Nitzan 2: This part smells like make-up [points to the parchment], this part smells like sticks [points to scroll handle]. It smells like yummy spices [parchment].

Morah: What does the inside look like?

Nitzan 1: All the Hebrew letters! Purple-white.

Nitzan 2: It looks purplish white, like the color of veins…..It looks so old.

This exploration could allow children to feel a greater sense of both comfort with and respect for the Torah object, showing both that it was their Torah and that it was something to be careful with. It also allowed children to memorize what the Torah looks like to them before we stained our own Torah parchment later in the day.

Check back in in the next week for a look at the Enrichment Center’s own Torah scroll.

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