This week, our Tuesday group of 5th and 6th graders studied gemara. Argued by the ancient rabbis 2nd – 6th century CE, the text has its own distinctive, cryptic style.
Gemara is HARD.
And it was SO FUN.
First we studied the text in pairs to try to figure out the topic sentence, who’s talking, and what that rabbi was arguing. There was a steady hum throughout the room as children worked together with purpose and focus.
Then things got loud.
We had to be precise, and clear, when we restated Rabbi Chanina’s argument. Rabbi Rebecca made us give supporting reasons for his argument before we were allowed to disagree with it. And then things got crazy as we started to debate with each other and the text. Hardly anyone stayed in their seats. One kid was so excited he even stood on his chair (and I missed the photo!).
What a feeling of power and accomplishment! And oh how we loved grappling with ideas with each other!