Exploring the idea of “the cry” during the high holidays

This week, alonim and middle school really wrestled with two ideas about a cry in relationship to the high holidays. First, there is the cry of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Second, and where they really had asked questions, is about the text they are reading. In Genesis 18:20-21,  Adonai said, “The cry of Sedom and Amorah is great. And their sinning is very heavy. I will go down now to see if the cry that comes up to me is true or not– and I will know”.

The fifth, sixth, and seventh graders big questions are:

  • “What is the cry that comes up from the city?”
  • “What kind of cry is it?”
  • “Is their cry like a shouting cry, or are they crying?”

  • “What is the cry about? What will Adonai know?”

We began to dive deeper into their questions by prompting the children to remember a time we experienced an adult crying and what that cry was about. We then wrote our categories of cries such as stress, pain, loss, frustration, anger, and happiness while listing examples of how we know of these cries. Around the room, pieces of paper included samples from each child of how they associate with that type of cry.
Written examples included “heart throbbing, hyperventilating, and joy“.
From these categories we moved into a text that took a closer look at the two cries that are heard both within Genesis 18:20-21, and around the high holidays. The children explored the sounding of the shofar as one type of cry. The second type of cry is the heart and a cry of the mind. In yetzirah workshop they expanded on their ideas from our week of text exploration.

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